Hey there friend, it’s my hope you are doing well and loving life.
A couple of days ago, Facebook did that throwback thing they do like 3 times a week just to keep you humble.
‘We thought that you’d like to look back on this post from 4 years ago.’
The image was one that brought up some interesting memories. A care free Muthoni in her short shorts and a spaghetti top. Braless!
The year was 2010. I had gone camping with my friends. They were more of my chosen family than friends at the time.
Yes, the camping was voluntary.
We had so much fun and bonded on such a deep level. On that particular day, it was really sunny and we were going swimming. Now those who know me well are probably rolling their eyes at this point like…
“Muthoni… you can’t swim though”
Maybe I should have mentioned that swimming was just a loose term here. Here’s the juice, I don’t know how to swim. But, if my friends are going to the swimming pool to swim and I accompany them and just dip my legs into that fake blue water, what do you expect me to say?
I’m going swimming, right?
Okay, maybe that’s not true, but I’m sure you’ve done it too.
That’s how I found myself here. Not the swimming pool. This post.
A cloudy Saturday afternoon with a kitten asleep on my lap, reminiscing about all the friends I have made along my life’s journey.
Thing is, TV shows made me think I’d have the same friends my whole life. It made me think that Kuria would be my lifelong friend despite the fact that we only met due to our mums being in the same chama. Then ‘somehow’ (mums being in the same chama) we ended in the same nursery school.
Lucy & Regina
When we moved on to primary school, it changed. Kuria was a special needs child. So we went to different schools. I met new people and just like before I gravitated towards Lucy and Regina. Lucy, was neighbors with kina Jobu (my favorite cousin) and Regina’s mum was in another chama with my mum. So we became friends.
They were cousins.
I don’t remember much of those first years but I remember we’d walk home together for lunch.
Yes, I was in one of those schools where we’d leave school at 12.40pm rush home for lunch and be back for the afternoon classes by 1.30pm.
When we turned 10, it was different. I don’t know what, but something changed. It could have been due to Sunday school. I say this because of an incident I had with them.
We were becoming different people but we still walked home together.
At 11, Lucy lost her mum.
I started getting sick a lot which meant missing school a lot more. Honestly, those are the only things I remember from that year. Then we turned 12 and everything changed.
People were getting their periods, I wasn’t.
People had boyfriends, I didn’t.
It felt like everyone around me was growing up and I wasn’t.
My interest was still being number one. That’s all I cared about.
Free primary school education was rolled out and I transferred schools.
Sema culture shock!
This school was different.
People didn’t walk home for lunch, they bought food at the cafeteria or carried lunch in a food flask. I’m not talking about hot pots, but those fancy looking food flasks. My mum’s boss bought me one so I wasn’t one of the few with a hot pot.
I was a fish fresh out of water.
These kids were those for ‘we are hanging out at Wimpy on Sato, wanna come?’ and Muthoni’s response…
‘What is a Wimpy and what does it do?’
Imagine a 13 year old Muthoni trying to convince her mum to give her money to go to town, alone, to hang out with guys from school.
That wasn’t even an option in her world.
These kids had allowances. Something I only knew existed thanks to TV shows. (One day I’ll tell you how and where I watched this TV shows)
I tried hard to fit in but there was a really huge disconnect. I became an average student. Struggled through my 2 years there then high school came knocking.
High school wasn’t the best.
Guess who I found there… Regina.
We had each other’s back but that’s as far as that went. She later transferred because she didn’t like the school.
Our mums were still in the same chama.
I can’t say I had friends in high school. I was cordial with a lot of people but I found it hard connecting.
Boarding school is like a prison. You don’t choose to be there. To make it even worse, you are there with a bunch of people who would rather be elsewhere as well. So what do you do? You just co-exist. That’s what I did.
After high school, I met this chosen family I mentioned at the beginning of this post. For the first time I felt like I chose my friends. As much as we went to the same church, I still felt like I chose them. We would spend a lot of time together. We knew each other’s desires, faults and weaknesses, strengths and that kind of stuff.
We’d hang out in and out of church. The beauty of this friendship, was that we all knew we would eventually part ways. That life would take us on different paths. And we were okay with it. We had fun. That’s all we ever did. Whenever we would hangout, all the worries and issues of the world would fall away and we would just be free.
We made amazing memories. Tried things together. Shared experiences. We laughed.
We laughed a lot.
It was so easy to make friends in the art world because we understood each other on a deeper level. We loved this thing that most people didn’t understand.
The gigs were cool.
They wouldn’t pay us but they were cool.
I met so many awesome artists and they made me fall in love with so many different art forms. We shared a struggle and the experiences brought forth unimaginable growth. Fought for ‘our rights’. Our passion for art was a beautiful thing to witness. There were some missed connections, but no one cared.
We had art.
Looking back, I am grateful for each and every experience. I may have left all these friends behind and many more not mentioned here but they all played a role in the person I am today. It’s a great thing that we don’t just have one friend our entire lives.
We may not see each other often or talk as much anymore but the kindness, tough love or hard times experienced with all my friends, were worth it and definitely memorable.
To those still around, may we continue on this journey and should it end, may we come out better for it.
Do you have one something to tell the friends you’ve left behind?
Share it in the comments.