When I was at the University of Nairobi in late 2010, a History lecturer told us during one lesson that men who have never been touched by a woman's love tend to be very cruel and tyrannical. He gave an example of Adolf Hitler, who I have learnt while doing research for this story that he was only married for less than 40 hours. Going by that lecturer's inference, I am thinking that I too would have become cruel and tyrannical had I not changed the bad attitudes towards women that I had in my teens. Okay, let me tell you the full story.
I grew up as a girl-shy boy, something I have said before in this blog. At Noru-Moru where I had much of my primary school education, I rarely talked to girls even though I admired a few. Then in the year 2000 when I transferred to Kunoni Educational Centre where I finished off my primary school education, I found myself in a class whose boys had a culture of not talking to girls at all. The boys even considered looking at a girl as an act worth ridiculing. I quickly became absorbed in that culture.
Eventually during my time at Kunoni, that culture of not talking to girls led me to develop a strong dislike for women. Like I felt very jealous when I heard in the news of girls trouncing boys in KCPE and KCSE exams. I was also consumed with jealousy when President Daniel Moi appointed Dr. Sally Kosgei (a woman) as the Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet sometime in 2001 when I was in Standard 8. Imagine I came to dislike women so much that one day while at home here in Kiserian, I perused through an old encyclopaedia trying to look for facts that would convince me women are inferior to men.
After we finished our primary school education, one of my classmates named Calvin Morekwa told me that he thought our Kunoni culture of not talking to girls was stupid. I can't recall what I thought of Morekwa's remarks. All I can tell you is that I continued avoiding girls like plague well into my high school years at Starehe Boys' Centre.
At one time in 2003 when I was in Form 2, a senior staff member at Starehe named Mr. Kennedy Hongo came to lecture us on the dangers and spread of HIV/AIDS. During his talk, I stood up and suggested that one effective way of not contracting HIV is to avoid talking to girls. I can't recall Mr. Hongo's response to my suggestion but when I reflect on it now, I find it absurd and far-fetched.
That year when I was in Form 2, some of my classmates, led by my good friend Rocky Mbithi, wanted to hook me up to girls in another school. I resisted the idea as strongly as a little child resisting a vaccine injection. But as my high school years at Starehe rolled by, I began to like and appreciate girls. I remember in the year 2004 when we broke for December holidays, I made a conscious effort to interact with girls I met in my home-town of Kiserian and in church. And, believe it or not, I even hugged one during that holiday.
When I entered Fourth Form in 2005, I started talking to girls during school functions when they came visiting in our school or when we visited them in theirs. We used to refer to those school functions as funkies. At first, I felt very nervous about approaching girls for a talk during those funkies. But as I attended more of them, I developed the chutzpah to initiate talks with several girls though I doubt where I ever managed to make a good first impression that would make them thirst for me, so to speak.
However, there was one funkie that I really enjoyed talking to girls. It was on the day we sat for KCSE Music practical exams during which girls from a school called Riara came visiting. I felt unusually happy and clear-headed that day. After we finished the exams, I approached two of the girls who were then in Form 2 and had come to our school to accompany their Fourth Form school-mates in traditional African folk songs. As we talked, I took the two girls for a walk around Starehe, even inside the school chapel where I showed them the grave of Dr. Geoffrey Griffin, the founding director of Starehe. From the way I conducted myself that day, I am of the opinion the girls were impressed with me. And they probably miss me to this day, wherever they are.
Yes, I came to love talking to girls during funkies. To be honest, those funkies are what I miss most from my high school years at Starehe especially at this time when I am looking for a soul-mate. And they led me to like and appreciate women for who they are. As I speak now, I can hardly wait to fall in love with the woman I envision in my dreams. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on how I came to appreciate women, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Improving Social Health". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Mistakes That Made Me Grow
In his book The Wit and Wisdom of Richard Needham, Richard Needham says that strong people make as many and as ghastly mistakes as weak people. The difference is that strong people admit them, laugh at them, learn from them. That is how they become strong.
Richard Needham has set me thinking about the mistakes I have made so far in life. And unlike before when I would sometimes feel guilty for committing those mistakes, I will now laugh at them. Would you love to hear about some of the mistakes I have done? Okay, let me tell you about them.
Earlier on in this decade, there were times I would feel very excited. And in those moments of excitement, I would text and call people on phone or post some stuff on Facebook that I would later on feel ashamed of. Maybe I suffered from manic-depressive disorder, a mental illness that makes people overly talkative during manic periods, often going rapidly from one topic of conversation to another.
For instance, at one time in 2011 when going through those moments of excitement, I texted some of my fellow choristers at All Saints' Cathedral telling them loads of nonsense which I thought was funny. Some of them didn't take it kindly. And one complained that she was feeling harassed by my messages. A month or so later, some of the choristers who weren't impressed by the messages I had been sending them summoned me for a meeting in which they expressed their displeasure at what I had been telling them via phone. I must have been a foolish young man because I still continued texting and calling people whenever I felt exhilarated.
Like at another time in 2013 when I was on cloud nine, I decided to call a high school class-mate of mine called Lawrence who is now a doctor. I somehow came to like Lawrence during our high school years; that's why I gave him a buzz.
Guess what! When Lawrence received my call, I ended up talking to him in a loud manner about irrelevant stuff. Imagine in spite of me talking loudly out there in the field, he complained he couldn't hear me properly. Maybe network issues came into play but I am of the opinion that he couldn't hear me properly because I was telling him silly things in an unkind way. And I came to realize that Lawrence wasn't impressed with me at all.
Later on in 2016, I tried to make up for that error of judgement by calling Lawrence again. I intended to show him that I had matured up by conversing with him in a calm, relaxed way about relevant stuff. He didn't receive my calls.
Coming back to that year 2013, there was yet another time in those moments of excitement that I sent an abusive, unprintable message to a fellow chorister at All Saints' Cathedral called Ruth Wangire. Please allow me to tell you a little more about her.
I first met Ruth Wangire in May 2007 when I joined the All Saints' Cathedral 9.30am English service choir. She became a good friend of mine who always tried to draw out the best in me. Like she always encouraged me to accompany hymns on the organ during church services. And later on in 2008 when I messed up at the university, she was among the first choristers to show interest in what had happened to me.
Then come to that time in 2013 I have told you about, I sent her an abusive, unprintable message without her having done anything wrong to me. I really don't know what was going through in my head as I sent Ruth that message. All I can say now is that whenever I felt exhilarated, I had a courage (or should I say a weakness?) to say or write stuff that I would later on feel ashamed of. I think I suffered from manic-depressive disorder for shizzle.
As in the case with Lawrence, I later on tried to make up for that error of judgement by calling Ruth to show her I had matured up. Last year when I contacted her intending to apologize to her and update her on what I was doing with my life, she neither received my calls nor responded to my text messages. Since we no longer meet in church, I am just hoping she forgave me.
Yes, I have made many mistakes over the last ten years especially when feeling very happy. These days, I am always endeavouring to control my enthusiasm by refraining from talking and writing too much to people when I am on cloud nine. And I have resolved to always be asking myself before talking, "Does the other person need to hear this?"
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