Life, when you think about it, is all about memories. Every action we take -voluntary or involuntary- creates memories. Some are pleasant while others would rather be forgotten. Hidden away in a dark corner of your mind. Nostalgic moments are few and far between. Humans are programmed to remember unpleasant memories more easily than pleasant ones. Think of a time someone annoyed you. When someone hurt you. It’s easy, right? Now think of a moment in time when you genuinely felt happy. A time you got a warm fuzzy feeling where your heart should be. I am willing to bet my squat doing ass that it took you longer to remember the good time. Childhood memories are precious. We are forever affected subconsciously by what happened to us during our formative years. Sad fact of life. I was told I look good in shorts when I was 5 years old, been wearing them ever since. See what I mean. You can never forget your first friend in school. Your first crush. Sylvia Gikonyo, if you did not know now you do. I am not fat anymore. My phone number is everywhere. Halla at me. *Winks*
I don’t know if this happened elsewhere but where I schooled there was boyfriend -girlfriend list. A list of shame. Suspected couples were paired up and forced to hold hands in front of everybody. That was punishment. Hilarious. I was paired with Sylvia. God was looking out for me even then. My palms got sweaty. I’m sure it was uncomfortable for her but at the time it was the pinnacle of my life. I never thought I would get to touch her. The list was accurate I must admit, I was crushing on her. She wanted nothing to do with me. Shame lied solely on her. Relationships were taboo in primary and secondary school. I don’t understand why. The cycle of life in Africa is funny. Most of your life you are told to stay away from the opposite sex and then when you are in campus your parents wonder where your boyfriend/girlfriend is and when you are getting married because they want grandkids. It’s not logical. Practice makes perfect after all.
I had a tough childhood. I was a fat kid. I don’t know how many of you can relate. It is hard being a fat kid in school. There is always a target on your back. A never-ending stream of fat jokes and court jesters to boot ready to make you the butt of a bad joke. If you are self-aware and thin-skinned self-esteem issues will probably crop up. It is hard to get over them. Developing a sense of self-worth after enduring a barrage of insults is challenging but it teaches you how to roll with the punches and make fun of yourself. That’s how you take power away from a bully. I hope you guys are taking notes, this applies to all types of bullies. I am no Michael B Jordan presently (if you haven’t watched Creed you need to) but things change when you get older. There is less teasing and more acceptance. Some girls actually like big guys. They say they feel like teddy bears.
Come to think of it, I did not have a proper childhood. ‘Cha mama’ and ‘Cha baba’ is still a foreign concept to me. I never played in the mud or climbed trees. I wasn’t physically able to climb trees to be honest. It was too much work. I never stayed out late with friends playing with balls made of plastic bags. The famed ‘lifundo.’ No child born in Kenya from this year onwards will play with ‘lifundo’ balls. Curse the plastic ban but that is their reality. I was into monopoly. It taught me how to stay out of jail. I was always the last person to be picked on the team for a game of football. Well, it was either me or Samuel. He was ranked second fattest. What an honor it must have been to come second in such a prestigious category. I was quite offended at that, I had fancy footwork -still do- and I was fast but what offends me most is that it was decided it was better to keep me as the goalkeeper where my fat ass did not have to move too much. They liked me plump and round I figured. Such was life.
There was one game I was invited to play. ‘Chobo war.’ If you have never heard of this game let me break it down for you. The aim of the game is to get the ball through an opponent’s legs. Football fans know it as the ‘nutmeg.’ Once the ball gets through his legs (no girl played ‘chobo war’) everyone participating pummels the living daylights out of the victim until he makes it to the ‘safe’ spot and touches it. Take a wild guess why I was invited to play. Yes. You guessed right. It is very easy to get a small ball made of plastic bags through a fat kid’s legs because they have thunder thighs and thunder thighs never close fully. It was cynical. I learned how to take a beating that way. I can dish it out now.
There were plenty of good memories too. Fond moments with friends. The few that I had anyway. Stupid dares. I was once dared to spank a girl’s ass. This is not a big deal to me now. I mean I could walk up to a girl spank her and tell her it’s a dare. I might get slapped but hey that’s life. Back then it was like walking into a hungry lion’s den. An extremely dumb move.one that required serious planning and technique. The first time I saw a girl topless. Class six. It was a great moment. Don’t judge me. There wasn’t much to see but still. It was different. Exciting. We were on a school trip. Kampala the destination. Makerere university hostel the location. If I decided to drop out of school at that very moment my life would have been complete. I had seen a semi-nude girl and been to university. What more is there to life after all. Wait. There is grilled chicken. Speaking of chicken. The chicken on sticks sold on the Kenya-Uganda border is to die for, I highly recommend it. I have a picture-perfect memory just so you know. I can close my eyes and see the faded white walls. Tints of grey concrete clearly visible beneath the paint. The winding staircase to my left. The hostels were built in an open plan sort of way. There was a large square space in the middle. The bathrooms were right across from the room where Ror (that is a real name) and I slept. I had stepped out to take in the air and ambiance. A girl who I will not name walked out of the shower and dropped her towel by mistake. I was treated to an optical feast. It was just a split second but I saw it all. The grass was greener on the other side. She saw me see her and fled to her room. I hope she wasn’t traumatized. We visited Dee dee’s world, rode on a giant swinging ship and rammed each other with bumper cars. Good times.
First time I saw porn. It was a life-changing moment. It was also the day I confirmed that I was indeed as straight as a ruler. Class seven. On Samuel’s Nokia 3310. That was the phone to have, it had a radio and internet accessibility. Edge was the only available option. Viewed via waptrick.com.
“Please confirm that you are over 18 years of age,” it asked.
Our 12-year-old selves said yes. What is age after all? Just a number, we mused. I don’t know how he even knew of porn at that age but honestly, I don’t care. My eyes were treated to a bounty. Two large lovely mounds called breasts on the female actor. She was white. Dark haired. I think she was pretty but who was paying attention to her face. They must have been implants. They sat a bit too high. Experience has taught me some things don’t sit that high when they are held up by ligaments. My only thought as we watched was where that guy’s wiener -which was a whole lot longer than mine- was going. It got me curious about the female anatomy. Let’s just say now I have a lot of fun facts about organs that I would rather not share. I thought that maybe they were hurting each other with all the grunting and moaning. Sweet innocence. Why did we have to part company?
My first of many interactions with commercial sex workers was in Mombasa. Another school trip. California hotel the location this time. When I say interaction, I don’t mean inter-action. I was too young then and I am not that desperate now nor have I ever been. By interaction I meant talking with them and being aware of their presence. I have spent a lot of time talking to commercial sex workers over the years but I will get to that next week. The highlight of the trip was sun and the sand. Sexy girls sun bathing in bikinis was just a bonus.
I was only supposed to write about the bullying but that would be boring and sad. Thank you for taking a trip down memory lane with me. Remember to like my work. Follow me and comment on the post. Adios.