Tag Archive | Growing Up

Growing Up With Eczema

 Eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflamed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis, or atopic eczema. Atopic refers to a group of diseases with an often inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever. Source

I was just explaining to my friend how I grew up with a bad case of atopic eczema and I thought, maybe I should let you in on that one too. It all started when I was barely 2 months. That’s when my eczema broke out as my mum would tell me. It was dermatologist to dermatologist to figure out what was going on because I would have insistent rushes on my body. They established it was atopic eczema but none of them gave proper treatment that would cure the skin allergies. It got worse every time the weather changed or I wore certain kinds of clothing.

Boshori, Child Headgear

She told me how she once bought a cute woolen headgear (otherwise known as “boshori”). She was so excited to have it on me,  little did she know that my delicate skin was not so welcoming to certain cloth materials. As cute as it looked, it looked even cuter on me, but the itching was in excess and when she got it off, there was a collection of rushes on any part of my face the headgear had touched.

In most of my kid photo’s, my skin was patched, a little lighter here, darker there, rushy here. It was not pretty (at least that’s what I felt then), not on pictures and I guess not in person too. I think I plucked & hid so many pictures from the album so that my friends don’t see them and make rough comments or ask who that was. It reached a point after many appointments and many ointments, that she decided to take matters to her own hands. She’s nurse by profession, a good one at that. She did her concoctions and somehow, it worked for the better part of my life. It would heal then recur with seasons (when it’s hot, when it’s cold), environmental changes (occurrence of pollen, dust), food (we tried weaning off many foods – dairy, wheat, protein, but never quite identified anything I was allergic to), clothes materials (wool, silk, net). I had somehow already gotten used to it.

The eczema was mainly on my face and joints (back of my legs, on my hands, neck – technically, the rashes would appear anywhere but those were the most concentrated areas). How I handled it? I think I owe it to my mum because it would’ve easily been worse. She explained to me from a young age what eczema was and what it wasn’t. She told me it wasn’t contagious and it wasn’t a disease (contrary to what other kids would tell me in school). She told me it was allergy, allergy to certain things which we were slowly discovering together. Of course sometimes I would turn a blind eye to things I was told to avoid. Like when I was told to avoid eggs. I was that kid at birthday’s asking, “does the cake have eggs”, it was always yes, but I sneaked a bite or two. You can only deny a kid so much.

It became my way of life and I got used to it. When it recurred, I would apply the ointments then it subsides and life goes on. At some point, I used to thank God it’s eczema I have and not something else. I came to accept it. Even though at times when the skin gets dry & flaky I’d try conceal it. Sometimes I’d just expose and prepare myself to explain to anyone who asked why my arms have rashes or my face patches. It was the story of my life.

In high school, I got away with eating special diet and not touching dirty water, which meant I didn’t do difficult duties. Reason, I was “allergic” to them. I didn’t even have to get a note from the doctor as it was evident on the skin. I kinda used it to my advantage. By then I was so used to managing it, since I always had my ointments with me. Also lotions were a no-no, most of them were watery which didn’t get along with my skin. So Vaseline and it’s variants worked just fine. Make up, also a no-no, because I could easily react to the chemicals.

Then for some reason, I out grew it. The eczema cleared off. My skin color became even, no patches. There was no trace of eczema. Isn’t that miraculous? Sometimes I get a slight reaction and it bugs me. The small doses of it – from small rashes from reactions to the unknown, allergies (eye itches, sneezing), but they’re manageable and containable. Sometimes, I forget what it felt like to be that girl with heavy rash patches on my joints. It’s easy to forget, when you can pose for a pic with flawless skin or zero patches. I don’t take it for granted, because at one point in my life, I experienced the stigma that comes with eczema.

If you’re going through that phase, you’ll get past it, it’s not permanent and even if it is, that’s just part of who you are. Visit a good dermatologist (in my 27 years I’ve never gotten one that I can vouch for), get an ointment that your skin approves of (and that’s devoid of steroids or that you can apply systematically), an oil that blends with your skin and let it run its course. Don’t let it affect your personality or self-esteem. Those that love you, will look past your skin.

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

China Utensils and Fragile Hearts

Remember when we were kids and there were special china utensils tucked away in a locked cabinet? With the fear that your butter fingers could have them tumbling down with just one touch. Which was the case anyway. It’s like kids had magical powers, instead of the “midas touch”, it was more like the “break touch”. These utensils would only be unleashed when visitors and I mean important visitors are coming over. This is after you’ve been given the subtle warning that you are not to use those dishes. Just use your usual ones even when the visitors are busy clinking them away with forks, knives and spoons. Thank God my mother wasn’t that kind though. Or maybe it’s because well our plates were ordinary but they looked pretty in the cabinet which was never locked, you could pick whichever tickles your fancy. We also had this ‘bad’ habit of calling dibs on utensils, “That’s my plate/ mug/spoon” because you thought it to be really pretty.

Glass Heart

Sometimes in life we look at things and deem them fragile and you try to keep them away from anyone who has the possibility of breaking them. Not knowing that those things that we look at with so much fragility, have their own inner and outer strength enough to protect themselves.  Not giving them the opportunity to be admired by others or offer their services to people who would really appreciate them or whose presence would make them feel special. Sometimes we lock away the best of ourselves somewhere in our inner cabinets and save that for the people we think deserve our best not knowing that those that we think don’t deserve also do. Expose the best of you to people closest to you because they’re the ones who will appreciate you most. They know how fragile and delicate you are and will treat you as such. Unlike the other people who know and feel like they deserve the best of you but don’t know anything about you.

Basically, given the chance, be the best that you can because that person you’re locking inside and saving for an opportunity to display is dying inside and getting wasted when they could be out there being recognized for who they are, beautiful, delicate but strong to handle anything that comes their way. Ain’t it? And no more hiding china’s in the cabinet, let your children use them, let them have that confidence of using fine things without being instilled that fear of breaking them. Let them break them in case their butter fingers are slippery, punish them a little, and teach them how to handle the fragile things. With that, they’ll learn to respect people and their fragility. They’ll know that they’re also special because they are exposed to the same things that special people are exposed to. Let them know that china utensils can be broken and bought but hearts cannot be re-bought once broken.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

You got this

What are you up to over the weekend? Mine’s wedding things, one of my friends is getting married and I am on the line up. It’s been a long time since I was on one, so will definitely let you in on how it goes. Tomorrow is a HOLIDAY, thanks to our Muslim brothers and sisters. This post was done in a hush hush…lol have a blessed day. Work has to be done now. *Excuse me if there’s any grammatical errors, to be corrected.*

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

The Thin Line Between Independence and Dependence

If there’s one thing that confuses me or I just seem not to understand is where to draw the line between independence and dependence. So  that you can understand where I am coming from, let me give you my mini-story. I have the most amazing parents, let’s just start there. My baby sister can be the witness. We’ve never lacked what we need. We’re not rich per se, we’re wealthy but not materially. What am trying to say is we have been able to get what we need, not necessarily what we want. While I was growing up, I was under a good shelter in good neighbourhoods,  I ate delish food (save for the githeri days and how I devour it nowadays), went to very good schools, dressed well by my standards. All this was provided by both my parents in their different capabilities. I grew up seeing both my parents work and provide for the family.

independent woman, woman, finances

Miss Independent

Somehow I knew when my parents had money and when they didn’t. They didn’t have to really tell us. It wasn’t rocket science that mid-month was a tricky time to ask for something pricey. My mum was very open about her finances, my dad oh well, you know men. He wasn’t, but he made it clear when he didn’t have and when he got it if whatever it is you’re asking for made sense to him and he had the resource, he would take you to get it. Lucky me huh? I was blessed, still am. The other thing I was indirectly taught was how to budget my money, work around what I have and not live beyond my means.

My dad faithfully gave me money for lunch and transport every single day all through my undergraduate studies. He never asked me to work (unless ironing his shirts, washing his car or serving him food and coffee counts) or find means to get that money. It didn’t probably mean much then but it definitely means more than much now. This is because I know the struggle. After I got my very first job, which was not ‘oh so glorious’ but left me with the best experience, I promised myself that I will never borrow money even from my parents. I will  really work hard to provide for myself. My reasoning being that the two most important people in my life (the parents) have worked their asses off for me to get here so that I can be self-sufficient and independent. That’s just what I always strive to be. I want to be able to take care of them when they old, I want to chip in where I’m need or even sometimes not.

Did that make me who I am today? To a very large extent it did. It influenced my thought process with regards to independence. In my head, it’s make it or make it. There’s no other option. One thing I would never want on me is the inability to provide for (to the very least) myself. I wouldn’t want someone else to be responsible for me. I mean, that’s why my parents worked hard to ensure they’ve armed me with the resources that will ensure I am able to be independent. You get my drift right?

Then here comes the problem, where do you draw that line of independence and dependence when you’re in a relationship or when you’re married? I have attended some bridal showers and girl discussions that put the man in charge of certain things, actually most if not all things. He’s the sole provider, the one who handles the big bills. The woman is the one who takes care of him you know, make sure he’s cleaned up, well fed, happy and such like non-material things. I don’t disagree with this, but that’s how it used to be ages ago. Now we’re evolving. The economy is as well. Does it allow for the woman to be completely dependent on the man? I’m talking about the average man, not the president or the president of a multinational. The man who’s probably at the same level with you work-wise. You have the same fears, struggles, opportunities and so on.

Some may say if you give them that role to be the sole provider, they’ll be more hard-working and they will ensure that there’s bread on the table come rain or sunshine. That’s nice but with so many but’s on my part. What will make the man not look down on you as the woman who’s dependent on him? What if one day he finds it burdensome? What if you’re indebted to him, such that it becomes a blackmail for you to do things for him because he’s the sole provider. These things happen. We are human and we have feelings, especially when most of the pressure is exerted on you.

I’m not for that school of thought, it makes me cringe at the thought. I’m for the school of thought of sharing responsibilities. Why? Because I think it’s only fair. If the man feels like providing much more, thank God *chuckles*. I wouldn’t mind being offloaded some responsibilities. I mean, who wouldn’t? However, I stick to sharing is caring. If you split roles based on your financial ability. When you’re open with each other it’s easier because then someone won’t be overburdened with responsibilities they can’t handle. We need to have two scenarios though for those who are secretive. List down all the bills (not personal bills like the salon, new shirt, new shoes, no), bills that affect both of you (house rent/mortgage , electricity, water, savings, house shopping, school fees, TV e.t.c), then you can decide who does what or how you’ll help each other pay these or achieve these together. Then you can remain with your other money which you’ll use to your own liking. No one in the house will judge you if you decide to do some impulse buys because you’ve handled your stuff. I am probably saying this because am so used to being independent in terms of handling my own responsibilities. I don’t know how it’ll be when I have to split them up with my other half. I will write a post in future and refer to this one.

I hate asking for things especially things money related. I don’t like being told NO, and chances are that if its money related there will be a long explanation probably leading to a NO. That being one of the reason I believe in maintaining my independence. At least I don’t have to ask someone, just consult if what I am investing in is worth while. What about if he offers to provide? I am all for it, I won’t refuse of course. Now I can say that. Before (1 or so years ago) I used to feel weird when someone who’s not my parents buys me something (gifts). I used to think it’s because they want something back or something will be expected back in future. You know how parents can drill that into you so that you don’t rely on other people. To some extent that was true.

As you grow, you have to know how to differentiate those people that give because they expect something in return and those who give just because they love to do so and don’t expect anything in return.

You don’t want to be indebted or owe someone something because you were dependent on them at one point or another. It’s also good to know the kind of person you’re with. Is it someone who willingly shares responsibility with you or is it something you’re forcing on to them. I believe if it’s voluntarily, you won’t feel burdened but if it’s not you’ll need some jail breaking. Also, I think the independence is viewed more material than it is immaterial. We forget we also need independence in our thoughts, skills, abilities and so on. The big conclusion is that while we’re independent we still want our men to be there for us by all means. For the love, support, encouragement, company, protection among very other many things. Don’t you?

independent, dependent, men, women

LOL

NeYo also had something to say about the independent woman. What are your views on this? Miss Independent or Miss Dependent, what’s your take?

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*

#OnceUponAKenyanTime

It was a trending topic yesterday and it got me thinking of all the things that made my childhood the best childhood ever. From the cartoons (looney toons, saber rider, road runner, sonic the hedge hog, Denver, sky dancers, captain planet, anamaniacs, lion king e.t.c), to the snacks (goodie goodie’s, super snack, crunchie, ball gums, kashata’s e.t.c), the programmes (fresh prince, full house, martin, derrik, sunset beach, sister sister, seventh heaven, Tausi, Tahamaki, club kiboko lol e.t.c. ), the games (shake, rounders, brikicho ‘hide-n-seek’, cha mama, scrambo e.t.c) that kept me outside till dark when the house-help comes looking for you to go take a bath (that bit wasn’t fun). There was the music ( brandy, 3T’s, Monica, soul for real, sisqo, DMX, Ja-Rule, Bow Wow childhood celebrity crush e.t.c). How we would do cut outs from the Sunday paper on exercise books to get the lyrics so that we can sing-along when their songs are playing. Growing up in the 90′s was just it. There was so much time to do out door things especially as kids. I think it gave us so much room for development (both mental and physical). We had time to have socialize with neighbors and have fun while at it. Now? I don’t even know who my neighbors are and I don’t see me getting to know them any time soon.

It was the era between non-technology and technology. Technology has changed things I tell you. From the great wall black and white  T.V’s to colored now digital / L.E.D /3D TV’s. Cartoons are now more than ever complicated, they force the kid to grow up so fast. Games are even worse (from the simple brick game and adventure / fighting games (super mario, tekken, street fighter and so on) – now we’re on simulators for games). I am just wondering in the next say 30 years how life will be? There will be a gadget for doing everything. You will basically need to do nothing. Currently everyone is working on making life extra ordinarily easier. I can bet people may eventually end up not knowing each other offline.

Then there are just those things that were the best at taking “pain” away. Especially if you’re feeling unwell. You know kids,  they get sick every so often. Then your mum very appropriately asks you, “*insert home name*, what do you want to eat today?”. I would really like to know what some of your responses were. Mine was always an automatic, “FRIES and SAUSAGE”. I mean, I didn’t even have to think about it. Sometimes that would even make me forget that I was actually sick when the excitement checks in. But you know, you have to maintain your sick act or else the next day you’ll be up in the morning preparing for school…lol (that preparing for school in the morning part wasn’t fun. I remember there was a time I was so sleepy after the help woke me up, and instead of going to bathe I went ahead to sleep in the bath tub and she didn’t notice, my mother wasn’t amused ha ha. It’s never been repeated).

This previous Easter weekend, in the midst of all the moving we decided to make home fries. Best decision since I genuinely love home fries. Home-made fries can make me happy any day, any time as the taste is … oh so delish. So we started the preparations of making home fries. I was the one doing the potato peeling, then the boyfriend took over and made the chips slices. Talk of someone who complements your weaknesses. Yes, making chips slices is not my forte.

Cooking Fries, Ribena, Kenya

Then somehow, he’s the one who took over the rest of the frying. I was not allowed to comment on anything and when I started “won’t they burn”, “isn’t the heat too much” … I was shoo’ed off the kitchen. Some sausages were added to complete the meal. Plus what’s a meal without chilled ribena. I was in heaven for a moment, that’s redefined yumminess. It was nostalgic. Just that this time we’re the one’s making them. At least no one was sick and the following day was work day, no excuse for not waking up early.

Well, thanks to technology, in future I intend to get a potato peeler, a potato cutter (you know the ones that help you cut potato into chips) and a chips maker. This will eliminate the effort used to make this meal. But are they all necessary really? They make work easier yes, but don’t they spoil all the fun involved? We had fun prepping this home-made fries and the effort made them even taste better. What’s your take though?

I wonder what the “cure meal” for kids nowadays is?

Signing Off ~~~ *Kawi*