Taking Stock – July Joy
I hope you all had a good July! I did, it took me a few extra days to write my recap but it’s here! (The WordPress app is trash and we deserve better.)
It’s been a really good month, I’ve really been inspired to create a lot of content, and been incorporating a lot of wellness practices into my daily routine. By 2:00PM all of the farm duties are done, so I spend a large chunk of my day writing, reading, watching YouTube videos, meditating and taking pictures. “Izza good life! Izza good life.”
Cooking: Indian based recipes. I’ve grown really fond of lentils, red lentils especially are really good in a curry. I really liked using this recipe. If you make naan with that? Such a wonderful meal. I am not one to be driven into a frenzy by chapati so naan is a great alternative for me and tastes miles better (fight me). Ghee makes everything taste so much better so if you have to eat your chapatis (which,why?) try substituting your oil with ghee and taste the difference.
Drinking : lots of water and herbal tea. I discovered that Kericho Gold’s Detox tea is really great during your period. It alleviates cramps and your stomach will stop beatboxing. That, plus some chamomile tea, and you’re good to go. While I will always stan for Kericho Gold I have to give credit where credit is due – Winnie’s Pure Health has the richest chamomile tea. Trust me on this!
Reading: more blogs! I realised I’d been getting a lot of my articles and essays from publications and not really seeking out writers on their own platforms – which is pretty ironic coming from me. I admit being caught up in the culture of consumption – the one that says you’re only as good as your last byline. “Sure your lil website is cute but where is your work?” There’s a lot of great content out there. As someone who’s worked in publishing before I am well aware of how lot of good content isn’t on publications because they are not “advertiser friendly”, because they chose to go with a recognised name instead or even just because of sub par editors with shitty taste. When people create their own content on their own terms without word count restrictions, deadlines and creative limitations they create brilliant authentic work.
I discovered The Letter X, a brilliant site where the author writes fantastic short stories where all, if not most the characters are queer. There’s a trilogy of stories that got me in all my feelings – read part one, two and three, as well as the epilogue. #SupportQueerArt
Next read: Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh. To be honest I’d never heard of this writer before I read an article about her on The Cut. This article is so weird because it feels like the writer has a huge chip on her shoulder, some sort of jealousy or kimnatho. Later in the article you find out that the writer was rejected by an editor who had nothing but good things to say about Ottessa, which *oprahshrug.gif* I have to thank this hating ass reviewer for this decision.
Wanting: a USB rechargeable blender. I saw one first on CrazyRussianHacker’s YouTube channel and was like “wau technology so wandafu!” And because I have a phobia of international online shopping (don’t ask) I figured it’d just be a dream. But I saw one being advertised on a sponsored IG post which means if I’m serious about this I can definitely get one in the CBD.
Looking: for a subscription service in Kenya. Do we have those? I hear about them when I listen to The Read and other podcasts. If there aren’t any someone should start one soon? I saw a pretty cool one called Masks and Memoirs that sends you art, books and skincare products. Like?!?! That is so awesome.
Playing: Sun El-Musician’s album, Africa To The World on repeat. Akanamali is my jam.
Listening: to longer podcasts. I still stan for short episodes which make sense in for wellness and productivity podcasts. I do enjoy listening to the comedy podcasts when I’m doing chores – Jade and XD are hilarious:try out their Auntie Jams III – The Electric Boogaloo episode, where they sing Auntie Jams, and I felt so attacked by the young auntie jams because I knew some of them, and I’m not ready to be an auntie at 27. Life is really coming at me fast. The Read of course is a fave – Crissles Couch is dope. I was glad to realise that some of the things that her therapist had helped her through (like working on how you talk to yourself, giving yourself props, not sacrificing yourself for other people’s comfort) are also things I have been working on, and that was very affirming!
Making : lots of progress in my photography. I am now permanently off auto mode, and now usually take pics with AP-mode or plain manual, which, go me! It was kind of hard for me to start, but once I did I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I got used to it. “But Liv, where is your portfolio?” Hahaha, next question!
Wishing: Nichelle Kobi would come to Kenya. I was bummed out when she cancelled her event in Kenya. I’m not even sure there was an event because she hadn’t talked about it on her Insta and the Eventbrite link didn’t work. I was so ready btw I had even borrowed a vintage blazer that my mum wore in uni. Here’s hoping she eventually comes through, and if not, here’s to hoping I go see her!
Enjoying: the weather! I don’t think there’s been a full day in July without any sunlight. I’m so sorry to the folks in Nairobi who are suffering through this tropical winter (a phrase only white immigrants use) with your daily depressing videos about how cold it is and the dimly lit pics of the sun the one time a week it shows up. The sun doesn’t even look like it wants to be in Nairobi. Can’t relate.
Marvelling: (still) at the lunar eclipse. That was the most breathtaking scene I’ve witnessed to date. My camera died just minutes before it all started so I was a bit disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to capture it. Which is a shame because there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. I watched the entire thing and damn near cheered and cried when the moon was fully covered. When I say breathtaking I really do mean that I was so overwhelmed by what I was seeing that I momentarily forgot to breathe. Because of the lack of light pollution, the Milky Way was clearly visible and the stars were super bright. I even saw shooting stars. It was really spectacular and I’m so glad I witnessed it!
Waiting: for my tree tomatoes to ripen. These are my favourite fruit to be honest. Despite the fact that none of those health websites have confirmed my suspicions, I’m putting it out there that tree tomatoes are an aphrodisiac and that’s that on that. As for my other plants, my broccoli did not grow because I didn’t soak them beforehand, but the seeds aren’t very expensive so it wasn’t a terrible loss. I thought my lettuce had also failed but there are some pretty shoots coming up which I just noticed a few days ago. My garlic has been suffering, I planted it with sukuma which is sprayed regularly, but garlic doesn’t like that so it suffered. I would move it to another section of the garden but this would be the second time I’m transplanting and they might not survive transplant shock so I’ll just be patient. It is a learning process. The spinach is really thriving though so I’m very proud of them! Yes it’s me, your farmer bae.
Liking: For Harriet’s YouTube channel. I like the way Kimberly Foster explains things. Here’s a great episode on why we can’t cancel everyone.
Wondering: when you decide to try out new content and start to enjoy it, do you also get that little voice in your head that asks “What if this person hates gay people? What if they voted Trump? Do they hate black people? What if they are misogynistic?” and then you kinda just get bummed out? Is there a name for that?
Watching: Wonderland Sessions by Gala Darling. I discovered Gala Darling on the Self Service podcast where she was talking about how to manifest abundance. I found her IG then was motivated to watch her YouTube. I went in very sceptical but everything that I have picked up on from those videos has worked for me. The magic morning practice, making focus wheels and tapping are just some of the things I use regularly and they have done wonders for my mood, my creativity and just my general outlook on life. She’s also so pretty, I love her big eyes and colourful tattoos!
Loving: the magic morning practice! I was looking for a morning routine that worked for me. All the ones I found on Pinterest insisted that you should not look at your phone first thing in the morning, and that was proving to be very difficult. Everything is on my phone, my period tracker, mood tracker, habit tracker, to do list, calendar, alarm, EVERYTHING. So I was thrilled to find Gala Darling’s recommended practice, which incorporates your phone into it. Basically the practice is this: as soon as your eyes snap open, go to your Voice Notes app and make a 3 part recording. The first part is what you are grateful for. Be as detailed as you possibly can, and there’s no limitation to what you can say, you can even be grateful for the really satisfying dump you took the day before! It can be whatever you want. The second and third parts are for setting intentions – the second for the day and the third is for the long term and future. The trick is to say them in the past tense, as if they have already happened. So instead of saying “I want to get three new clients today” say “I am happy and grateful that I got three new clients today!” When you say this visualise it, imagine having those already signed documents on your desk, imagine having the money in your pocket, and hone in on that good feeling it produces. Then after you’re done, send the recording to someone very close to you and have them do the same! Send it to five of your closest friends and whoever responds with the most enthusiasm can become your accountability buddy. If you don’t have five friends or feel shy about it, its okay, you can do it for yourself until you’re ready!
I’ve been doing it since mid July and I swear after three days I was already noticing a difference. This practice really gives me purpose for the day, and I’ve realised that it’s lit a fire under my butt to pursue the things I really do want for myself. And as for manifestation, even when I jokingly add that I made money that day, I randomly find money in a drawer or in a old pair of jeans, or someone sends me MPESA out of the blue. One day I mentioned wanting credit and I had 400 bob worth of airtime by noon. This shit works!
Next watch: the latest season of Masterchef. Joe Bastianich is back which thank God. He’s an asshole fine but anaongeza ladha. Fun fact: Did you know that the Chicken Connoisseur was inspired by Joe to start critiquing chicken shops? He was like if he can criticise food why the hell can’t I? Lol!
Practising: writing fiction. Like most artists I’m sensitive about my shit, but I’m very sensitive about writing fiction. Even though I am the co-founder of a site that (ir)regularly publishes fiction from writers around Africa I would refuse to write – I only wrote Lovebird which I handed in at the last minute after a lot of panic and self doubt. I decided to stop fucking around and just started writing. I’ve written three or four drafts and even though I’m not sure whether they’ll make the light of day it just feels good to be writing again. I don’t have to be great to start, but I have to start to be great.
Considering: going full vegetarian. I haven’t been eating meat for a few weeks and surprisingly my entire world did not come to a standstill. At first it wasn’t by choice, I went to the butchery and it was closed and I didn’t feel like building up a rapport with a new butcher so I just bought more veggies. I don’t mind not having meat, and I don’t feel offensively bloated after eating. I am always peckish though, and now I understand why the vegetarians I know are always like “kuna chips?”
Buying: Korean skin care products. My skin is ready.
Hoping: that the nail technician who has to give me a pedicure once I get back doesn’t pass out from fear. #UshagoToes
Cringing: at yet another literary scandal. This month Kwani was accused of non payment. I found it so interesting how quiet this one was, as compared to how the Enkare one played out. (Which, *ChrissyTeigencringe.gif*) Considering that it was Billy Kahora who was mentioned by name, and a quick search of his name pulls up awards and panels he’s a part of, no-one wanted that smoke. One tweet can destroy your chances of getting a Caine Prize and we all know how Kenyan writers love them some Muthungu recognition. Since it appears to be a monthly pattern I hope that the whispers about StoryMoja not paying folks turn into something larger. No tea no shade, but it’s time to overthrow the self appointed revolutionary vanguard of Kenyan literature. Just replicating colonialism here. WE ARE TAYAD! Pay us our tu-shillings and take a jav foggosake!
Following: drama channels on YouTube. I love the attention to detail and the level of investigation, Ghafla could never! Screenshots of deleted tweets, looking up trademarks and fact checking. I barely watch these gurus (though they did do one on Alissa Ashley, who I love) but these channels keep you invested. They prove time and time again that you can have a gossip page that isn’t full of sexual policing. People are awful in many ways that do not involve their genitals. I like TeaSpill, because I love the Exposed song and the use of the AHS theme song and sound effects at very appropriate moments. Here For The Tea is also very thorough.
Needing: new stationery. I’m always looking for new places to buy notebooks and cute pens, especially now that I write primarily on paper. It sounds great in theory and it is in practice, but I like really cute journals and notebooks and they are very expensive! I did find this store that’s somewhere in Highridge, and I can’t wait to lose my mind in here once I get back.
Questioning: (update) last month I was questioning my approach to feminism. That section seemed to resonate with people and I continued to have conversations about it. I managed to expand that paragraph into a lengthy essay, published on Will This Be A Problem. I really did enjoy writing this piece, even though I admit it was particularly draining (which is why my recap is late! I had to recover!) In a recent interview with Bust Magazine, bell hooks says “I think we have to restore feminism as a political movement. The challenge to patriarchy is political, and not a lifestyle or identity.” I loved that quote and it really affirmed what I was driving at in the piece.
Wearing: perfume to bed. I heard XD mention it on the podcast and decided to try it. It’s an expensive habit but I like the practice.
Worrying: I eat raisins now. I don’t think they’re appalling anymore. I put them in my oatmeal. WHO HAVE I BECOME?
Unfollowing: I recently unfollowed TheShadeRoom on IG and that alone has been a great shift. Cardi B also had to go, and that was because of the ‘bupbakes’ and ‘bonvinced’ lmao as in I’m sorry that’s enough ma’am. She has been an inspiration we will never forget A HOE NEVER GETS COLD but I’m now an auntie who eats raisins. Goodbye sis. Unfollowing pages that do not make you feel good about yourself is self care. Even if it’s your friend who makes you feel kiwaru every time they post a meal, own that and free yourself. Don’t even mute or hide your story, unfollow!
Noticing: I have not been on Facebook for a while, but when I did log on recently I noticed that my feed was very Ugandan. All the people I may know are people I used to see/talk to in Kampala. It could be because Nyege Nyege is around the corner but I’m taking it as a sign from the universe. Why am I being shown fridges, gas cookers and washing machines for sale? It’s because I’m destined to move there. I accept this universe! Speak Lord, your servant is listening!
Learning: all the words to Cupcakke’s Duck Duck Goose. Cannot wait to shout them in public.
Thinking: about how awesome I will look with tattoos. After years of changing my mind I finally settled on the design I want and now every time I look at my arms I just imagine them covered in art. (Blame Gala Darling. As in hers are just amazing. Ugh.)
Admiring: Nneka Julia. God really did not sleep creating this woman. She is so beautiful. Waste his Time Wednesdays on IGTV is pretty funny (bitch yes that is HER cellar! Yake. All those bottles are hers.) Her photography is really dope, and she’s started a podcast which is on my to-listen list.
Getting: heavier! Woo-hoo! I’m gaining weight! My weight usually fluctuates between 52 – 55 kgs, but now that I’ve been cooking for myself and eating regularly I’m somewhere around 57kg. Ideally I would like to get to 65kg and stay there.
Bookmarking: Here: An Anthology, a short collection of stories, poems and essays by Kenyan queers. Since all the money to develop writers is going to Uber we have no choice but to support and share indie content.
Disliking: rats! Now that we’re starting to harvest, the field mice have left the field and have made it to the stores. And when they’re done eating they come looking for warmth in the main house. Of course I got poison and they more or less fucked off…to go die in the walls. This is one of the hardest things to adjust to lol there’s nothing else I could do but wait for the shitty smell to fade away. It takes a week max, but that was a long week. I was so mad. Monkeys are also a new pest to worry about, if you’re not chasing children from the fruit trees, its monkeys. And the damage looks the same so you’re never too sure who did what.
Giggling: at this thread of hotep memes. I am dead.
Snacking: on almonds. And raisins. Also Paul’s Bakery Eldoret is the best bakery in Kenya fight your uncles not me. Their chocolate chip cookies are fantastic and they don’t even have chocolate in the ingredients. Your faves could never master such deception.
Hearing: about a week later that Big Shaq was in Kenya. Really? Did anyone ask him about #SWIL2? He said March, then April, now he’s doing a world tour. Man’s international now.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading!