Category Archives: Therapy Sessions

Sounds of the world – Singing Birds

Others sing

The Malians make beautiful music. But then, I am not objective. My Africans roots are deep.

A friend & I had the honor to listen to Nahawa Doumbia at Fasching in Stockholm. IMG_1844[1]

She is older now. Her husband still plays beside her, to her left in the picture. And the fantastic instruments from West Africa! I could take them home just for decoration. Because I cannot play.

Has anyone listened to the Rough Guide to Mali collection?

If you haven’t, please listen & let me know what you think.

Lorde’s Melodrama is out and lawd! was it worth the wait?! I have waited. Followed Lorde on Twitter @Lorde. Followed Lorde on Instagram #Lordemusic.

Waiting. Waiting.

It is most interesting how we describe sounds. Birds sing. Birds never talk. If I ever said “I walked by the talking birds” or “I was woken by the talking birds”; someone of the loving people near me would shake their heads sympathetically. 

“no dear, birds sing. They. don’t. talk.”  slowly. so I can hear & save. So the crazies won’t take me with them.

My boss would definitely suggest that I take a short break from work to clear the cobwebs from the grey cells.

Lions roar. Fiercely. we should either (1) be afraid when a lion roars, or (2) impressed and fascinated by the lion’s roar. The sea roars when a storm is coming on.

Otherwise, the calming waves are calm, like calming music.

Hyenas scream. Or Scream.

Horses neigh. Or snort. Or whinny. Even nicker.

But do birds really sing? All of them? All of the time?P1030100

Sometimes it sounds like laughter. Other times, it sounds like a conversation. An answer to a question. Sometimes it sounds like a scream, a loud uncontrolled scream.

When I am in a good mood, and listen to birds on a nice summer day, they sound happy. Each listening to its kind, and answering to its kind.

Is it possible, that we, who love definitions & categorizations, have defined our sounds; and then allocated them to animals?

So since we like the sounds birds make, we call it singing?

P1020132No one ever says happily to their best friend during the summer “oh! I woken by the vultures/carrion singing this morning! So beautiful!!” imagine some dancing around surrounded by nice beautiful flowers like i Renoir painting.

All about birds describes black vultures:

Black Vultures are silent most of the time. They make raspy, drawn-out hissing sounds while feeding and fighting, along with grunting noises that can sound like hungry pigs or dogs barking in the distance.

Courting vultures may give a yapping sound.

Under which circumstances do we use raspy, hissing, hungry pigs, barking dogs?

That’s right folks! disapproving, scared, hating & disliking etc.

Snakes hiss. We are not just afraid of snakes; we hate them. People who make us queasy, who scare us, who we don’t recognize ourselves in; are snaky.

They hiss when they communicate with us.

Cats meow & purr when they are nice, cooperative, satisfied & calm. Not scary. Cats hiss when they are angry, scared & unhappy. Scary.

Others sing to us. Sweetly. Silently. Deeply.

Healing us.

Repeatedly.

My Boobs Hurt

I have been on a bra hunt for over 10 years now. A constant desperate hunt.

bras

There are booklets about bras. Articles about bras. Books. Real books, about bras. Stand Up comedy about bras.

When the boobies first showed up, they hurt. They were perky tits. Pointed breasts. Fantastic.

I swear you could see the nipples from 3 kilometers away.

A late bloomer, my fun balloons showed up at between 15-16 years old. I was skinny; a boobies and bones kind of awkward.

The fun balls needed to be hidden. Concealed from all the neighborhood adolescent boys who were sniffing around. The nuns thought the boys could smell the nipples like the cat can smell a rat hidden in a ditch.

There were many helpers within the secret society of “African Aunts”. All the nuns, aunts, cousins & female friends were committed.

Over 10 years into this journey and the boobs are still one of the reasons I make those grand trips to the malls.

Recently, the pleasure bags hurt every month during the premenstrual days.

There is the far away headache.

There is the far away backache.

There is the moodiness and the claws barely sheathed.

premenstrual him: “love, did you put on the kettle?”

premenstrual Me: “don’t you call me love! it is patronizing! why would I put the kettle on?? because I am a woman??!”

Ovulating me: “yes dear. & the egg is boiling! kiss kiss”

Premenstrual him: “are you having your periods?”

Premenstrual me:screeEEEEeeeeEEEEEeeEEEEEEEK

.!

Premenstrual him: am off to work then! have a nice day. sorry, running late!

There is the huge torch of a pimple in my face. It leaves black mark which leaves me spotted like a giraffe after a few months of pimply periods.

There is the sleepiness. I want to sleep & sleep & sleep & sleep. not the regular 9-10hrs. I want 15-20hrs.

There is the occasional herpes attack. don’t judge me. All of us have Herpes virus in us. You know, the mouth sore when you have the horrible cold? THAT. IS. HERPES!

And then there is the hurting mammary glands. Rubbing my hand/arm on them while performing some other thoughtless result-less activity makes me screech with pain.

So I keep looking. And trying. And fixing. And buying. And reading. And now writing.

bras 3

And the checklists!

I have some favorites in my wardrobe. Nice colors. Beautiful lace.Wonderful cups. Fabrics that would make a queen pine. Silk. Cotton. Straps. Strapless. Brands. Brands whose names cost money without providing MORE support.

etc

Still, during these great days; when the uterus acts out in bloody anger after the realization that; yet again, no baby is going to come out of the poking fun & canoodling that has been going on week after week; every single one of my well selected bras make me grimace in pain.

I come home & before I open the door, I open the bra. And smile. And breath. And smile.

Shall I ever find this wonder bra that keeps them happy and calm through the stormy days?

When do I know I have found the bra?

We bought a bed though. Instead of a bra, we found a good comfy bed.

That should sort the back aches

 

 

 

 

Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks

I am the old dog in this story.

I never took a Swedish driving license you see. During the late teens & early 20s, I was too broke to shoulder the cost and did not fancy getting into debt. A license costs a shirt, a leg & an arm in Sweden.

Striding strongly into my 30s, I have decided to have a driving instructor do this with me.

parking-stopping-forbidden

I can’t remember when I felt as daft as I have felt while learning to drive. It is like being thrown into a maze for the first time. Drunk.

I have felt daft before, of course. Many a times. Sometimes on a daily basis. Working in an IT department can do that to you. With colleagues who have been at it since before the days Nokia 3310 was the best phone around.

Thinking & talking about some new way of executing some old activity can turn into the most intimidating &/or condescending situations you can imagined.

Looks that say without a word:

oh, dear; little, pretty one. We tried that in 1993 & it did not work. It will not work now either. Didn’t you know that? What do you know then?! Why are you even here? Are you one of the quota group? women in tech or black women in tech? can you get us some coffee & take some notes while we talk?”

A condescending smile follows. You can’t report this crap to HR so don’t even waste energy thinking it.

You see the look. No one else sees the look.

You see the smile. No one else sees the smile.

You hear the tone of voice. No one else hears a pip!

You feel the being ignored. No one else sees your being ignored.

Someone else repeats your words as if they were news coming from Computer Power user or BBC.

Everyone is nodding their experienced smart heads in agreement.

You say in your I am gathering my wits around me voice. In your strong woman voice. In your I know my crap voice.

“Thank you kindly Joe. That is exactly what I was saying.”

Everyone shakes their extended experienced smart heads in consensus.

angrycateyesYou see the pity they feel for your pretty little head. You feel sick.

You get your knickers in a knot against all sense. One way or the other, you play your few angry cards.

All your nice kind helpful knowledgeable experienced colleagues can see the hard knots in your knickers & the angry cards that YOU threw on the table on the floor if you really went for it.

Once again, you are the negative one. The uncooperative one. The angry one.

It is impossible to prove the shit that is happening to you. If none of your fantastic not-angry colleagues acknowledge that they also saw the discreet actions; the discreet actions did not happen.

You are bonkers. You’re on the way to hitting the wall. Being sent off on sick leave.

circulationtrafikStill, me learning to drive made me feel dafter than I have ever felt.

Like running in circles surrounded by rules no one understands, but everyone, seems to live by the same said rules.

And the rules were written by experienced smart heads in total consensus.

You don’t feel me? Try learning the Right of Way rules.

 

The Subtle Art of Not Forgiving

She sat at the bus stop and spoke to strangers.

She is not a better person. She says. Far from it. She is a work in progress. A difficult, opinionated, happy, work in progress. Daily reminding herself that she needs to be kinder. She needs to think kinder thoughts. To be more mindful. To be more generous. To smile more. To think of others twice before she thinks of herself. To use her ears as much or more than she uses her mouth. To accept love when love is offered and to be graceful when she loses an argument or a game.

She will not forgive him though. A nameless him. A faceless him.

“Shall we call someone?”…”someone who can come get you?”

She would never do anything to harm him, she says, she just won’t forgive him.

A pause. Silence. We start to leave. She is crazy.

Not after what he has done. she says

“what has he done?”…”Are you injured?”

Not yet. Not today. Not tomorrow. And possibly not the day after that.

She will live in her unforgiving state for a while. She will enjoy the not forgiving.

She laughs a little brittle laugh.

She says she will call friends to let them know that she hasn’t forgiven him.

She will even call her family and let them know. His family too if she has to.

If he was alive, she would not speak to him. Silence & No Contact would make him understand that she hasn’t forgiven him.

She smiles. Her eyes glitter with tears. She shakes her head to keep the tears away? Or to shake a memory?

Because, she asks, why would she forgive him for making sure that she felt, felt deep inside her, that

  1. she is prioritizing the wrong things, but, only when she prioritizes herself? her needs?
  2. she is not good enough to be loved?
  3. she is not good enough at loving?
  4. her work is not as important as his? if she works overtime once a week, it too much, and when he works overtime twice a week it is too little?
  5. she did not deserve to achieve what she has achieved?
  6. she does not deserve to have the dreams that she has?
  7. her expectations are wrong, other people have better expectations?
  8. her boundaries are not as good as his boundaries? or other people’s boundaries?
  9. her lies are worse than his lies? even when he constantly lies about their future and she lies about her past?
  10. her people are less than his people? based on his expectations of how people should be?
  11. the places that she knows well & love traveling to are not good enough for him?
  12. her ways of escape are not as good as his?
  13. she is not worth some expense, or some trouble, or some concern, or some compliment?
  14. her anger, or any of her negative emotions are not valid? other people that he knows don’t have negative emotions. That makes them normal, while making her abnormal.
  15. she may not be a good parent when that time comes, because she does occasionally get angry, or sad, or drunk, or restless, or dissatisfied?

That after all that, after all the trying & fighting, and talking & making up. He would go and kill himself.

She will not forgive him now.

She will try later, but not now. Even nature is, sometimes, unforgiving.

 

 

 

Recommended Art: The 2 movies to watch this Month

If you don’t do anything else this month, do this!

2016 ended with the hysteria of Have a Valentine Dinner with Idris Elba. Now, don’t get me wrong. I have had my moments with Idris, but he is getting on; isn’t he?

trevanteDare: In 2017, let anyone, & I mean anyone, up a video like that with Trevante Rhodes on it! I will be all over that shit like a bad rash. Oh. God. Please. Let Someone.

Last weekend I had 2 dates. Good dates.

The 2nd date was on Saturday with a friend who is culturally cultivated. The movie was the highly recommended Moonlight.

Forget about the movie. I don’t really care about the movie. It is him, he doesn’t become wonderful until the end.

First, it is a clumsy boy who everyone loves to abuse, disabuse & ignore. Except the drug dealer of course. Whatever his name is.

And then it is a teenager who is gay and lost. Abused, disabused & ignored. Or not. And there is another teenage boy who is not so important touching him at some point.

chironSuddenly, from no where, he is this man. No, he is these muscles. these fantastic muscles and the wonderful eyes. He has these awful golden teeth but who cares when you look at those eyes and those muscles.

His regular smile, without the golden teeth, is beautiful.

He is supposed to be gay but I don’t believe it. I would not be having all those feels if he was gay. or? Because if he was gay, only the gay guys would be feeling anything looking at his muscles and his so “come here” eyes. And the lips; just slightly open. Just look at those eyes and those lips!

After Moonlight, I left the movies wondering: “what do I do with all this heat, warmth, wanting love?”

The explanation for my not so lady-ish, catholic nun-recommended feels? I watched Moonlight just 24 hours after watching 50 shades darker. As you can guess, this was with a kind of loose canons gang of friends.

50 shades is ART. Real art. The shit. There is even an art display room called the Red Room. Art in its best form.

I never saw 50 shades of Grey. I read the book. I am pretending to be better that those who watched the movie.

smiley-emoji

Someone once said to me that the 50 shades franchise is for middle aged women who are starved for fun and sex. This was during a weak moment when I was pretending to be better that those who watched 50 Shades of Grey.

That someone was wrong! Totally not true! They were speaking about the movie. Not Mr Grey.

Mr Grey, the master is h.o.o.o.t. Watch 1:02-1:04 and let me know if that is for middle aged ladies!

I left the movies wondering “what do I do with all this heat, warmth, wanting love??” My wonderful friends recommended a sex shop where I can actually buy the “balls” and other paraphernalia that can be useful.

But just for this night, it was too late to buy any of these wonderful recommendations.

You will thank me after you’ve watched these! Or not.

Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes and listens with the soul – Part 2

Part 1 is here

Yes. the Carmelite sisters taught me all I know about discipline, hard work, rebellion and self respect. They also opened all our letters, read them, censored them with a marking pen and then handed them Carmelitasover. I was a small thin girl with short hair. So sister Paula called me to the “letter reader’s office” [there really was a letter reader!] and she said “Linnie, if you weren’t so small and innocent I would think this is a boy disguised in a girl’s name. But I am happy to think that it will take a while before boys notice you at all! You have no breasts!!?” She looked me over, smiled and handed the letter to me. She then shooed me out of the office.

Encouraging. Very encouraging. I have a lot to thank the sisters for. Although puberty and discipline (rules) were at odds with each other for the four years they shared a compound.

For  many years, I thought the two verses were the whole song. Until I moved to Sweden 10 years ago and looked it up because I wanted to send the CD/LP to Sessa back in Nairobi. I then found the whole.

In mid November 2002, the end of my 2nd year in high school, I received another letter from Sessa. Nothing special with that, I received a letter from Sessa bi-weekly. If the nuns didn’t keep it too long, then I received two letters at once. Which was fine with me.

Dearest, dearest, good things are happening!! the letter began

Hope you are ok and hope the nuns are treating you as Christians should treat each other. She was, and still is cheeky when she sets her mind to changing status quo

Are you really a good street child in the play? I know you can act but you are so proud! A street child has to be dirty, humble and broken. That is what you have to be good at.Taking care of the garden in the mornings sounds like fun. I would have liked to do that with you. But mass in the morning feels exaggerated. Do you really think the priest would be having a relationship with sister Paula or are you just mean? Is it because she reads your letters?

thank you for the book about Anna Frank. Mom said you are keeping my head in the sky so I am hiding all new books at the Salon. The ladies like it. They say it fools the customers that we are classy ladies. Sessa had been training/working at the Rwandan owned salon outside our court, musaponi court, in Komarock, Nairobi. She was learning to be a hairdresser.

Be kind, be nice, be strong, be happy.

Chari has been to visit and yesterday, she informed me that I could find a job at a tourist restaurant at the coast. A place called Watamu. It sounds tamu tamu (sweet sweet) already. I plan to go and see. But I won’t leave until you have come home for Christmas holidays. When will we see each other if I leave without seeing you in December? Only God knows. I am now earning a little more at the salon so I am saving a little money for you so you can come with me and see where I will live. We need to move to a bigger place so Tensa & I can have a room. If I move to the coast, then at least Tensa can have the room to herself. It is no longer comfortable to sleep in the living room. Some privacy is needed since you know what… [referring to puberty, breasts and menstruation] Hopefully I will earn some more in Watamu.

I am happy that I did not rush to marry Timo. When I move and work far from here, I may be able to wait so we can  marry at the same time!! Nobody will bother with me then and I can just wait. [If you become a sister, I will also become a sister.] I thought she did that to please the nuns

Number 52 fought all night last night again. And she is pregnant again. Remember last time we wondered if you can get pregnant from fighting??!! But I will tell you more when you come home.

I don’t know, do you think it is a waste that I am better at hairdressing now  and then I am going to work at a restaurant?

Lots of love from Sessa Sessa.

We both knew my parents would never allow me to come with Sessa. And we also knew that I would come with her anyways. But we never spoke about permission or the lack of permission. We just planned our lives and went about it.

Where mother felt Sessa was holding me back, a bad influence with no prospects; Sessa’s mother felt I was keeping Sessa fed on a dream that would never come true. A dream of independence, freedom, own income.

Schools opened during the 2nd week of January. We would have plenty of time.

Valentine’s day & the rabbit stew

It is valentine’s day tomorrow. I will be quite happy if an sms/whatsapp/messenger message finds its way to me asking how I am doing. Genuinely asking.

This weekend, we spoke about valentine’s day. For some reason it was almost ½hr dialog about “how rabbits celebrate valentine’s day”.

How decent, adult people; and lady brought up by nuns come to that question?

Thanks for asking!

Stockholm has so many rabbits, sometimes, they have to be shot to control the population. So maybe, just maybe, we saw a couple of rabbits running around happily, completely oblivious of the fact that they could be shot any minute.

Or stewed.

I was busy thinking of valentine’s day and what it means for rabbits when the memory of childhood rabbits popped in my head.

A boy needed a pair of shoes. He really wanted a specific make that lasts long. In his tactical planning, if he got a pair of Safari boots, a size too big, he could have them for 2 years before he needed a new pair. In 2 years, he would have saved enough for a new pair of the same.

The boy was 10. maybe 11. maybe 12. not older than 12. The boy & his older sister have tried to remember exactly without success. Repression.

If you know how alcohol infected families work, you know that needing something does not translate to you getting it. You can walk around in too tight or torn shoes. Too small or torn clothes. Too messy hair. Dying of malaria etc Regardless, an adult will prioritize alcohol over your need.

The boy got an entrepreneurial idea. He would rear rabbits. Rabbits breed fast. He could sell the kittens/bunnies. Keep the mother rabbit for continuous breeding. within 6 months, he calculated, he would have his first pair of safari boots.

He worked after school, for over a month! Helping a neighbor with one thing or the other.1 Kenya shilling a day.

Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

He paid 30 Kenya shillings for the mother rabbit. He borrowed a buck from a neighbor two villages away (2 hours walk from home). Within a month and a half, the boy had 4 kittens! The sister could hear, feel, sense and help him count the money that was on the way into his little torn pockets.

Everyday, on their way home from school, the boy & his sister picked weeds by the roadside. For weeks. Food for the rabbits. On Tuesdays, market day, they ran by the market, which was forbidden by the adults toxic people; to collect cabbage pieces left lying around when market closed.

About 3 weeks after the birth of the kittens, they came home from school with their small handfuls of weed. They head to the rabbit house. Oh, I forgot to tell you, the boy had built that little rabbit house, with little help from his sister, with sticks, nails, iron sheets, reeds, anything they could scavenge, borrow or steal without being caught.

The rabbit house is empty. The boy starts to shake. They can remember a cat. And a goat.

They finds mother. In adulthood, they can’t remember if they looked for mother specifically, called out, or just found her in the kitchen. He asks about his rabbits. In character, she avoids looking at him. “ask your father” she says.

He goes towards the main house to ask father. Halfway across the corridor, he turns around. Back to the kitchen.

The rabbit mother, the doe is stew. In the kitchen. In a cooking pot just beside mother.

He asks, tears running down his face without a sound:

“the babies?”

mother: “he sold them and went drinking”

he: “where were you?”

mother: “what could I do?” still not looking at him.

The sister takes his hand & leads him away towards the river. To the big stone by the oak tree where the big snake may or may not be hiding her babies.

The boy is still entrepreneurial. A teacher who runs all sorts of small businesses together with his wife to supplement their income.

Where there is even a little love, some things can be salvaged.