All posts by that girl with the novel

About that girl with the novel

love books, and like to talk about them!!

Anger Management : House maid version

There are very many emotions books explore, there are even self help books on how to find, control, hide and if you don’t have any of the above, heck there are books on how to treat your kind. You are normally under the term ‘sociopath’. Emotions can bring out the worst and best in each other, they rarely seem to bring out the ‘inbetween’.

They say love is the one emotion that should terrify you, and I do agree…it tends to bring out the crazy in people.

However while love is pretty powerful. The one that does terrify me is anger. Anger has been explored in many novels either as a self righteous emotion like in The Count of Monte Cristo that can lead to great things like justice or as a quick dangerous flash of explosion, there one second, gone the next.

But there is the one kind, the slow burning anger that just sits there at the bottom of your heart. It festers, simmers and is like a red haze that colors your vision and everything you do. It’s not over in a flash, and it’s the kind that people hang on to and it brings out the worst in people. The absolute worst.

This past weekend I was going to post something different, a lighter side of life than this, then I received a video. I couldn’t believe what had been sent. I even thought it was staged like some of those crazy videos making the rounds. Nope, it was a maid practicing her own version of anger management therapy. The video brought out the most bloodthirsty tendencies of it’s viewers. Me included. I accept the fact that if it had been me as the parent, that maid would not have made it to the hospital and or been found. Ever. And I would have to repent my sins at Christ the King and prepared myself for purgatory. As the instant fury and death threats aimed at the maid and those who supported her (looking at you Joweria), speculations were made into why she did it.

“madness, I tell you, she is mad”

“it was Satan!!! She is possessed”

“witchcraft!!!”

All valid suggestions. It is hard not to attempt to reason that only the supernatural or mental illness could be behind this. I think however she was angry and it had been festering for a while and when she saw someone who was smaller, weaker, and most importantly could not hit back or say anything, she took out her frustrations, her anger and every bit of poison in her on that child. Perfectly logical and I bet she felt pretty relieved afterwards. She had let go of her anger.

In other words, she’s a bully. That’s it. It’s made worse because it was a child. But I have met bullies just like her, they might not use their fists and it might not be a child, but they are putting all their anger, frustrations and every bit of poison on someone who cannot or will not fight back. What the maid did simply brought out the true vision of all the bullying tactics we have ever engaged in in our lowest point in our lives and I bet we were just as relieved after. We just were never caught.

Instead of stating how outraged we are and issuing new (and really creative by the way) ways of killing the maid, could we take a moment to stop this kind of cruelty in our own lives? Are we bullies, even in the tiniest of ways? Have we seen it taking place, shrugged and walked away? Or are we the ones bullied? And if we are any of the above, what are we going to do about it?

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Jane Eyre

jane eyre

Loving yourself is easy. Learning to love yourself is the hard part. Seriously. It’s bloody hard. Freaking hard. In fact am surprised by how some of us are able to do it. Sometimes I wonder to myself if it’s even possible.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a classic love story. It’s one hell of a love story, especially at its time. A young Jane gets swept off her feet by a dashing rich older man whom she works for as a governess for his young daughter. Their romance has to overcome many obstacles like a beautiful woman competing for his affections, society’s restrictions on such a match, ghosts, fires and as it turns out a beautiful crazy wife who’s locked up in the attic. One of the few times you are cheering for the other woman in a story. One could say it was the ‘Scandal’ of that time.

oh Mr. Rochester!! We shouldn’t!

 

And while all the grand drama and romance of that book gets to me, I think my favourite part of the book is Jane’s self worth. Let me explain.

Jane Eyre is plain. Really plain. She’s the girl in that primary/ secondary class who sat behind you and you don’t remember her. She disappears into the beige walls of classrooms. When you look at her, you would highly doubt she would inspire grand passions in any one. Those would be the thoughts that might pass through your mind the first time you meet her, or worse, that pass through her own mind on a daily basis.

So as I was saying, Jane is plain and all through her young life prior to Mr. Rochester, she has been told she is nothing. Her relatives, who were supposed to take care of her, treated her like dirt, took her to a school where she is treated  worse than dirt. This goes on until she’s a young adult. In my opinion this girl did not stand a chance. She could never love herself. But she does. She loves herself enough to walk away from Mr. Rochester, from a man who truly loves her for her, because she knows she’s too good a woman to be the other woman. And she refuses to marry another good man, because she knows they are not right for each other and she deserves better. And she’s PLAIN JANE!!!

From our youth, our negatives have been more emphasized than our positives. By our families, by our classmates, by our peers, by our teachers.  If a child can’t get her multiplication tables right, she’s beaten by her teachers in class, mocked by her fellow classmates for not being particularly bright, and compared to her better performing sibling by her disappointed parents. If he’s always reading his books and passing highly in class but is terrible at sports and does not make friends easily because he is shy, he’s mocked by his classmates for being a book nerd or weirdo. And that’s all before they are teenagers.  And now it’s, if you can’t wrap that matooke in banana leaves and cook it on a sigiri, which man will want you? Or if you can’t give that woman money for the salon, she will get someone who will. Yes, we have been reduced to matooke cookers and salon providers. That is our worth. That is all we are told is needed for us to gain a mate and be happy. And in the same breath, we are told to love ourselves.

But how can we? We have been told you are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or talented enough by our families, teachers and even enemies our whole lives. So what is there to love? How many times have you mocked someone for their failings, their shortcomings, for things that you do not understand about them? How many times have you praised someone for their triumphs, and they are not your friend? That’s why I say learning to love yourself is hard. You have been trained not to.

This is why Plain Jane baffles me. Or at least she used to until I gave the book a second…ok fifth read. See in her miserable school, she made a friend. Helen. The first person in a long time to like her for her.  Who comforted her at her lowest point and celebrated her high points. That’s where I think her self-worth started to build from.  I think that’s important to remember. Having a friend(s) who actually gets you, plainness and all; and even more important, being such a friend. We are surrounded by so much negativity and being told we are not enough that even one voice shouting back at all that noise saying that you are more than enough, you are special could help you remember you are worth a lot.

Of course there is more to learning to love yourself than just surrounding yourself with people who truly get you and love you for you, but it’s not a bad place to start. Not a bad place at all.

VENUS ENVY

I remember the first time I read the ‘Venus Envy’ by Louise Bagshawe. A book about  twenty seven year old Alex who’s stuck at a dead end job, feeling unfulfilled in her life, career wise, relationship wise and weight wise. Her younger sister has a successful career and is getting married, her three housemates are beautiful, put together and doing well for themselves in every way that she isn’t. So my dear heroine has a mad case of Venus Envy.

Venus Envy is a feeling of well…envy for the fairer sex.

As I was saying, I read this book, when I was on campus and I remember never liking the heroine. I mean, my gosh, can’t she just go out, get a job she wants, and work hard at it!! Make better life decisions when it comes to men…she has no one to blame but herself!!…I was pretty full of myself back then.

I soon moved on from that book, from campus, my first job and started to attempt to be a grown up. Then 26 came knocking around and a certain term came into my life. ‘The quarter life crisis’. And boy, did it hit me hard!!! I looked back to all the things I planned on achieving by 26!! Self sufficient financially, own a car, and yes engaged or married if he had really wooed my ass off!!! But nope, I am a  twenty six year old woman who’s frustrated work wise, relationship wise and actually gained 2 kilos last week. I am surrounded by friends who are beautiful strong women starting their own business, owning cars, being amazing wives and mothers….wait…why the hell does that sound so damn familiar…oh shit.

So I had a discussion with these amazing paragons of Venus on this quarter life crisis  and may I say this mild case of Venus envy (yes mild…shut up)  I, alone, seemed to have contracted and color me surprised but they too had been feeling the same! They thought they had fallen short of their own expectations. They should be owning houses by now, have travelled to morocco by now, should have a husband who wooed them to the altar instead of trying to be accomplished first (which we totally understand, gents and admire by the way), should at the very least be able to afford a ticket to Shaggy, mafikizolo and burna boy concert( by the way those people are the devil!! do you know what they put us through financially for that bullcrap of concert?????? EVIL!!!!!!)

It struck me that like Alex in ‘Venus Envy’ most if not all women will have a crazy case of Venus envy at some point in their life. Mostly due to unrealistic expectations we tend to place on ourselves. We have to be successful women career wise, relationship wise, financial wise, weight wise…and all that in addition to being perfect wives, mothers and daughters. No wonder we tend to lose it if we fail at all in any of these expectations. We need to cut ourselves some slack. So you have not gotten that promotion as you planned this year, or that car you were saving for is more expensive than you thought and you have to save another 6 months or that guy you are into is dragging his feet to the altar and your younger sister’s kwanjula is this weekend. Yes… that all sucks, it does. But guess what, you will be fine. You will figure things out and you will achieve your dreams, it might not be the way you planned it, but it will be better. You will get your happy ending just like Alex did. Life always evens out.

The secret island

Of all the gifts The Good Lord gives to us mere mortals, writing is one of the most awe inspiring.

At least to me. The ability to create a world in which others can disappear always astounds me. It has led to great plays, great movies and what’s the best of all, IMAGINATION.

I was 3 years old the first time I held a book in my hand. I couldn’t read, so at the time, it was the worst gift ever. I used to watch my mum and aunties read these things and not want to play with me….it all seemed like crap to me. I repeat, I was 3 years old. My mum kept that red book for years.

Then one day, during my holidays in Primary 4, after driving my mum a little crazy, she gave me that book. So I sulked to my room and started on it. ‘The Secret Island’ by Enid Blyton.

A little background into who I was. I was a loved child with two parents who took care of and loved me, relatives that spoilt me, did well in school and rarely if ever got into trouble. I always felt safe and I thought life couldn’t get any better. So when I opened this book about these young siblings (who were like me and my own siblings) who lost their parents, run away from their evil relatives and lived on a deserted island, it was a shock to my system. The sadness, the friendships, the survival and the adventure!!! Gosh the adventure. A whole new world opened up for me. All I could wonder was,’ were there kids like that??? How many islands are there in the world? Could I go to one?? I need moooooorrrree!!!!

I got done with that book and immediately nagged my parents and thus they started to feed my habit! Then to find out it was a whole series about these kids?? I almost passed out in ecstasy. Hmmm, maybe I did.  Since then I have nearly always had a novel on me. And sadly if someone asks about me, this response tends to come up “oh! The one with the novels?”   Sigh…At least they could say ‘the one with the great wit and intelligence?” or at the very least ‘the one with the great ass?’

The secret island opened up my mind, my imagination. I stopped living in only a tiny suburb in Kampala City. The Secret Island led me onto a road where being narrow minded would be difficult if not impossible. A road that made me curious, question the status quo and always want more. Because it made me know, that there is more to just being  plain old me, I could be successful, I could be powerful, I could be funny, I could survive on an island (as long as my friends are there)…I could survive anything because ‘The Secret Island’ led me on a road that led me to believe that there is more to being just me…in whatever tragedy, joy, adventure or scary moment there is, because I will just grab a book…and I can dream again and be more..