It’s 3:00am, and I can’t get back to sleep. My mind is preoccupied by young faces from yet another FGM Kenya documentary I put myself through yesterday.
It is not a hidden fact, that the age for circumcision is getting younger and younger. Perhaps its in order to combat the increasing awareness of its detrimental health side effects.
The procedure is so excruciating that it makes illegal torture practices look like childs play. It is often practiced in places so remote, that emergency health care is an impossibility. Once pregnant, if by the grace of God, both mother and child survive, post natal complications are dire. I won’t go into those details (watch the Untold Stories three part documentary on You Tube if your interested. I cried.). The whole thing makes me feel completely helpless and worthless.
Why are we not shouting about this insanely detrimental practice? Maybe its not entertaining enough. Maybe it doesn’t come in a package with dinner and a raffle ticket.
One of the most common replies I have gotten when I bring this up in conversation, is that the girls themselves want it to happen. Talk about sticking your head in the ground! If an eight to twelve year old girl told you that she wanted to have sex, would that make it ok for her to do so?
Children are not responsible for their own safety. Adults are. I am more disgusted by the lack of political incentive to stop these statutory butchers than i am by the perpetrators themselves. The executors of this ceremony are uneducated and have known no different for their whole lives.
What’s your excuse?
When these girls become women, they are expected to bear children through an orifice that was stitched closed specifically to allow only the flow of urine.
As Kenyans, we defend our country ferociously. Woe unto the foreigner who spots a problem within our borders and speaks publicly about it.
Instead of attacking the problem spotter, attack the problem. It’s about time we turn our glass house, into a safe and sturdy home.
One day, they will ask me for my autograph,
May my blush never subside
One day, they will ask me for an interview,
Honoured that i will take the time,
to allow myself to be unscrewed.
In an attempt to keep their audience glued,
there are questions designed to amuse.
“And Coming Up Next! Just For You!”
They package publicity to make it personal.
Their lies are intravenously slipped, into
free water, flavouring our coffee.
Then there are questions they will not ask.
They will paint my face, to reinforce the mask.
“When did you start writing?”
Is approved by the editor.
Why didn’t you stop? Is not.
So I will answer now, for the questions,
they will pretend, they forgot.
I couldn’t stop writing, when Daddy was impressed. I couldn’t stop writing, when Mama taught me that; practice makes perfect,
and didn’t teach me how to settle for less.
I couldn’t stop, when my geekyness meant, that the cool kids, wouldn’t miss a chance to laugh at my best.
I couldn’t stop, when there was paper an pen, in front of me,
although I was supposed to be studying, for some French test.
I couldn’t stop, when I grew up in an age,
where writing a love letter means your desperate. So I have a chest of poems to crushes who crushed me when all i had was a nervous smile and shakey legs
I couldn’t stop, when I couldn’t cry in public
about a statutory rape, that would never shame the culprit.
I couldn’t stop when Maya taught me,
that the caged bird sings! When I discovered that I too am a phenomenal Woman.
It was possible to speak in a voice that would announce for billions.
That, lit a fire, that would not accept minimum.
So I Write, though the night, drafts and drafts,
hundreds of poems that may never be quite be right, serve as practice,
That One Immortal piece,
Is the treasure, by which I will measure
My success, when my hair rests,
On a pillow, wood encased.
They will ask, “What made you a success?”
They will not be able to ask, what stopped me!
Of course, this world is filled with excuses we use to sit and have fits, about how successful people owe us their success.
So I made a list. All the things that could have stopped me, but kept me going instead.
I was too young.
I didn’t have the right dress.
I’m the wrong colour to be identified with
I can’t try to out shine whoever’s coming next.
I didn’t have the time,
stage fright shakes my bone to my neck.
They don’t understand me, and if I speak my mind, I might as well be getting undressed.
It’s too hard.
It doesn’t pay.
I am before, and after my time.
I don’t feel like getting out of bed today.
Those are all the things I could say,
If I never push myself, scare myself, work myself,
To a point where any camera would be bothered to record what I say.
They will ask, “How did you fall upon exposure?”
They don’t want to know about the times before I learnt to shout,
above the drunken hums, that weren’t bothered to listen to spoken word.
When callouses deformed my middle finger,
I just changed the way I wrote.
They want to know about my rise to fame,
Not about the time I was under the heard.
crouching, cowering, from the stampede that forms crowds,
in this disinterested world.
They want to see a smiling face,
A two dimensional role model.
They don’t understand, my hurdles scarred my knees,
and made me stronger, bolder.
The beauty in truth has to be sought for.
The curvature of welts from lifes daggers,
hold in them the secrets to true success.
But to stop, the ‘beautiful’, ‘amusing doll’
From making anyone else, feel less,
We have to apply mascara, foundation,
Smooth away, any formative facial lines that would confess,
That endless comfort zones, in themselves concede, any real shot at victory.
And I would hate to see a day when there is footage of me,
Where I can not be seen, for my
Wholly human, perfectly imperfect being,
Who wears her crown of blood and sweat, in beads,
She sat, with his hand in her lap. Nestled. Offering the only comfort she could. She rubbed her hand over his hair, clear of his hair line. It was difficult to tell whether he was more upset with the world or with Tessa.
She couldn’t help feeling like a fall back. She would do anything to have him in her arms. She couldn’t help but feel painful pleasure everytime Tessa cocked up.
His best friend. All she was, was his best friend. It offered endless promise, that promised never to be actualised. That is, except for in her dreams. Surely she couldn’t be punished for her dreams?
Still, he was in her lap resting his mind after having vented his disappointments in the woman he had chosen to spend the rest of his life with. He had chosen her, but “that was before he met me”.