Na Bado


28.11.2016 | photo by Poon

Celebrating one year since this glorious, gloomy day in Edinburgh- my MSc graduation. This was one of my best days in 2016. I had a really wonderful time after what had been a very frustrating week.

I think I’ve said this before elsewhere but my time in Edinburgh was so special. It shaped my world view and work ethic and I can’t thank my God enough. God took me there, looked after me and made sure I left with both my hands and heart full.

I had never considered a PHd. For a while, it had felt like I could barely manage being in the academy- the pressure, my goodness! It makes you feel small and insignificant. But towards the end of my programme, watching some of the incredible PHd candidates in our department, I wondered what it would be like to be on the other side- creating knowledge and influencing ways of learning. Aside from the personal interest, I take with great seriousness the need for more black, African, women scholars influencing world views and decolonizing the academy.

I hope to start on this journey in the future. But for now, I celebrate all that I am becoming. I will get there. I’m living and loving the space I’m in right now. Most of you know how much I was looking forward to coming home! I love being here and feeling first hand the currents that are driving the future of this country. I’m also in the early stages of a career that is stretching and teaching me so much. This is not to say that it’s easy and a joyous occasion everyday. There are some really difficult days- sometimes weeks! And it can be a mammoth task to get on with what I have to do. In those moments, I try not to look for an antidote. This is what life feels like sometimes. You just try to get used to it.

I’m looking ahead but once in a while it feels good to look back and feed off the energy of past accomplishments.

Thank you to my lecturers whose teachings still guide me to this day. Thank you to my friends- some of who I am delighted to still be close to. Thank you to my family, whose love and support has fueled me every step of the way.

And most importantly, to the God I serve.. I shine because of you. May I never forget that my strength comes from You.

T

© Tessy Maritim

October Debrief (Audio Post)


captured in Nandi County

Introducing my monthly ‘Debrief’ in which I subject you to a little ramble about how my month went. Basically, new format to my previous ‘Thank You’ posts!

I hope you enjoy it! Press play, below:

References made:

  • Tetu Shani– find him on Instagram and check him out on YouTube
  • MatchMentor– would love to see you there! Please come or share with someone you know who could benefit from the event. Link here with all the details on the mentors, sessions and how to get tickets.

T

© Tessy Maritim

This Month in Music (September 2017)

Music is such a central part of my life so I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate it into my blog. From this month, I’ll be sharing a monthly playlist with you- a curation of what I’ve been listening to. Music that’s made me smile, think, cry and dance. Some old tunes, some new.

Queen Alia International Airport, Amman

Happy new month, friends! Here are the songs that took me through September. Enjoy.

Track List:

Magic (Medley)- Maleek Berry

That’s The Way It Is- Celine Dion

What Lovers Do- Maroon 5 ft. SZA

My Love is Your Love- Whitney Houston

Overnight Celebrity- Twista

Angel- Shaggy ft. Rayvon

Versace on the Floor- Bruno Mars

You Gotta Be- Des’ree

Acapella- Kelis

Seduce Me- Ali Kiba

Faithful- Me’Shell Ndegeocello

Million Voice- Muthoni Drummer Queen

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

Working Through

When work is difficult, it’s natural to feel like you want to stop. Difficult work requires the best of you and it’s not always effortless.

If you find yourself in a difficult space, struggling to push through and deliver what you need to do, it’s perfectly fine to pause. A pause doesn’t mean you’re quitting. A pause means you’re giving yourself the room to feel inspired again; the room for an influx of new energy to recharge you.

When it’s difficult, work through it, engage and confront the tough issues. There are things you won’t be able to run away from- because any (good) work will require you to reach far and wide and pull your best self in to action. I’ve found it useful to have quiet moments to talk to myself and ask the critical questions- What’s going on here? What are you not happy with? What can you fix? What’s the next step?

If you find yourself facing something big and difficult, find a way to unpack it- divide and conquer. It works every time. For me at least, anyway.

But it’s also necessary to realise when you should walk away from something big and difficult. You don’t have to work through every situation that comes your way. Sometimes, leave it alone.

I’ve said this before here– even the things we love to do are sometimes big and difficult. I’m learning the discipline of putting my head down and just working through the difficult things that come my way. It’s scary and sometimes very overwhelming. But I try to see the discomfort and pain as a process- shedding my skin and growing into something new.

One of my favourite songs on Sampha’s album, Process, is Plastic 100°C, where he says:

It’s so hot I’ve been melting out here
I’m made out of plastic out here

You touched down in the base of my fears
And that’s when your beauty appears

The analogy of the sun (or fire?) and melting plastic is poignant. Sometimes the things that awake our fears are vessels for the growth of new and beautiful in your life. I’m learning to not be afraid of the heat, the pressure- it may be good for me.

But, as mentioned earlier, I say this with a caveat- don’t burn out. Step back when you need to. Your life, your health and your happiness are far more important.

I’d also like to always remember that even the work I love to do will be difficult, stressful and exhausting. That doesn’t take away from the fact that the work is still worth it.” | Alliance Francaise, Nairobi

I hope you find your rhythm again and may things come together for you!

T

© Tessy Maritim

This Month in Music (August 2017)

Music is such a central part of my life so I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate it into my blog. From this month, I’ll be sharing a monthly playlist with you- a curation of what I’ve been listening to. Music that’s made me smile, think, cry and dance. Some old tunes, some new.

Have a listen, let me know what you think.

 Track List: 

Too Fast- Sonder

Holy- Jamila Woods

Got Til it’s Gone- Janet Jackson

Teenage Love Affair- Alicia Keys

Lovestar- Common

Remember the Rain- Kadhja Bonet

Rendezvous- Craig David

Rivals- Usher ft. Future

Papa Lolo- Mose Fan Fan

This Kind Love- Patoranking ft. Wizkid

Rara- Tekno

 

Enjoy!

T

© Tessy Maritim

Facing A New Direction

 

For a time when I refused to look elsewhere.

 

My eyes were fixed. Fixated. Captured. I refused to look elsewhere.

It was gone, but I refused to look elsewhere. As if my gaze would make it reappear.

Your gaze will not make it reappear.

Your eyes will hurt. Your soul will hurt.

Look away. Or close your eyes, at the very least.

 

It’s gone, but you are here.

Listen- there’s nothing good for you there anymore. Look away.

Take your gaze elsewhere. Your eyes are not captives. Set them free, baby.

A new direction. A new bearing.

We’re looking for more. We’re looking for different. We’re looking for ourselves, again.

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19) | Eldoret, Kenya

 

Your eyes will stop searching. Your eyes will stop seeing the same thing in a different place.

It won’t follow you forever.

A new direction. A new bearing.

 

T

© Tessy Maritim

In Case You Missed Me

Friends,

It’s been a while.

…so, I just wanted to say:

In case you’ve missed me- I am well. Just up and down, left and right- all over the place really.

Working, mostly.

My friends say I’ve lost a lot of weight! I don’t see it. But then again, we’re not always privy to the change that happens to us. Sometimes the people around notice before you do.

A time like this last year, things were really bad for me. At least, it felt that way.

A crisis.

My research proposal was not holding together like I hoped it would. Actually, things in general, were not holding together like I hoped they would.

Nothing I tried was working. I was drawing blood from a stone. Looking outside from the library to the Meadows, everything seemed far away- and yet the end was nigh.

I was trying to be calm but I was looking for help from everyone I came across. Hoping they would tell me something to soothe things because I truly felt lost.

I remember the feeling so vividly and often walk through it like it was yesterday. It was tough!

I’m telling you this so that in case you’re going through the same you know that you can make it through. As I tell you, I’m also reminding myself, for future reference- you can swim, when it feels like you’re drowning. Take it a day at a time. Don’t rush yourself.

2016 started off really well. And then crashed somewhere in the middle. The end was restorative, refreshing- desperately needed.

I’m hoping this year will end with a clean break. I don’t think I’m quite there yet. But seeing how far I’ve come since? Eish! I’ll make it through. At my own pace.

This life is full of roughness. But roughness comes with so many beautiful things that I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 

For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3) | Nairobi, Kenya

So yes, that’s it. Just wanted to let you know, in case you missed me.

T

© Tessy Maritim

 

p.s. I have an event coming up on Saturday 29th July, please come through! Details here:

All the Mentors Attending Social Changemakers #MatchMentor | The Arena Kenya

At Your Own Pace, Babes

We’re on our way to church. My mom is driving and we’re about to cross Waiyaki Way. She’s concentrating because it’s a busy highway. There are people behind us hooting- she’s moving too slow and they want her to cross quickly. My mom looks across the car to me and says;

“Mummy, when you start driving, don’t let anyone rush you. Take your time.”

She looks back at the highway. Someone behind us is still hooting.

My mom is right. Take your time.

We live life with a tremendous sense of urgency. Like everything will be taken away from us if we slow down. What are you running to? What are you running away from?

My mom says that it’s important to slow down and take your time when making decisions. Give yourself time to internalise information and familiarise yourself with context. How does this feel? What is this doing for you?

Sit with it. Meditate on it. Let it sink in.

Don’t rush yourself. Don’t let anyone rush you. If they’re threatening you, let them know that they must wait- or, they can leave.

Part of living life on your terms is knowing how to express your needs with those close to you. Often, they don’t mean harm. They just want what they want. But if it’s pressuring you, if it’s hurting you- make it clear to them. Ask them to give you time. Ask them to give you space.

Give yourself time,

to heal

to move on

to start your career

to finish school

Don’t be afraid to pause. Pause so that you can engage, dissect and understand- what is this really doing for me?! 

Haraka haraka, haina baraka” (Swahili proverb) | Geneva, Switzerland

Let no-one cheat you- this life is yours. Make what you wish out of it.

I’m learning this everyday.

T

© Tessy Maritim

No More Words

Can a writer ever run out of stories to tell?

Someone wanted to know. I did too.

I had ran out of words. I was out of stories to write.

But words are not stories. Writing is not the only way to tell a story.

The way we express ourselves over time changes. Today, we sing; tomorrow, our voices just want to talk. There’s no melody left.

Expression is about release. Setting words free. Setting ideas free. Setting worries free. Setting yourself free. 

Your hands may not write forever. Give them room to do new things. To grow and learn a new rhythm of expression.

It may be that each season requires a new form of expression. And to see the best of it- observe and listen before you find your bearing.

An integral part of new beginnings is letting go of what looks and feels comfortable to you. Embracing the pain and discomfort of a new direction. That’s where the magic of life lies.

Yes, you can run out of stories to tell- but try not to. Because stories concern the way we see the world. And losing that ability to translate and interpret what’s around you is a sign of darkness.

You can translate the world around you in so many different ways- writing is not the end. Be open to something new.

“your art

is not about how many people

like your work

your art

is about

if your heart likes your work

if your soul likes your work

it’s about how honest 

you are with yourself

and you

must never

trade honesty 

for relatability”

(Rupi Kaur)

Eldoret, Kenya

It gets tough- it really does. But this expression is about you. A lifeline. A way to keep you above the water. And that’s worth fighting for.

T

© Tessy Maritim

Just Like Before: A Pep Talk To Myself

Okay, you’ve done this before.

It always starts like this- seemingly impossible. Big. Scary. Above you.

Like a mountain. Insurmountable. Little me. How did I even get here?

Well.

You got here slowly. Step by step. One leg after the other. You divided and you conquered. You committed the journey to God. You covered yourself in prayer. You looked after yourself- every day, every moment. You reminded yourself that it’s okay.

You asked for help. You took breaks. You slept. You cried. You woke up, determined to face each day.

Looking ahead, it seems like there’s no way. It always feels like that. But remember the valley of dry bones:

Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Ezekiel 37:4-6

This work, this life, may seem like an endless valley of dry bones. But, speak life into each situation. Watch the tendons, flesh and skin come together and bring life again. You can do it, just like before.

The journey will emerge, even if it doesn’t seem that way. Just like before, you’ll rise up to the occasion. Because you’re prepared, you’re capable. You are loved. You are precious.

Just like before, you’ll go up, across and down.

And you’ll celebrate. Not just at the end, but throughout the journey. Because small victory is still victory.

Remember that things may be different. You can’t always use yesterday’s blueprint for today’s journey. You may have to go back to the drawing board. Take time to think. Turn things upside down. Unpack the issues. Deconstruct, so you can construct again.

That’s bringing to life what was not there before. That’s the power you hold, never forget.

What seems above you is above you for a reason. So that you can stretch yourself. Make yourself bigger. That’s the essence of life and that’s what you’ve been praying for. A richer life. An exquisite life. This is what it looks like.

Kuvunjika kwa mwiko sio mwisho wa upishi” (Swahili Proverb) | Nairobi, Kenya

May you see life in all its colours. May you learn throughout the journey. May you always see yourself the way God sees you- as strong, as kind, as compassionate, as smart, as important, as special.

You can do it, again.

T

© Tessy Maritim