STORIES FROM A NEWLY BROKE GIRL
“Asiyefunzwa na mamake hufunzwa na ulimwengu.”
He that does not learn from his mother shall be taught by the universe.
The painful last words my father said to me on the day I moved out of his house. Emotions were high, you could cut through the tension with a knife. We were not in a good place, some words he had said to me the previous year in November still hung between us. I think maybe he thought I would not call his bluff or that maybe his pride thought my pride would be the bigger person but you know what they say when two people and their pride are both in the room…
I was not ready.
Truly, I could not have been more unprepared for life than this moment. I mean, sure I had six years of education and a hostel stint under my belt, heck I had even stayed by myself in the cutest wooden cabin while pursuing my post-graduate Diploma in Law. The difference was that this time, I was solely responsible for rent, food, transport and other utilities. For anyone that has probably moved from a different city to study and had to work this is nothing new, in fact you are probably shaking your head like, this spoilt 26 year old is complaining about having to do normal adult things. The other person that was not ready was my dad, I do not think he actually saw it coming.
There are expectations and then there is reality.
To say that I was not prepared would be an understatement. You see when father dearest gave me 30 days notice, my 30 days fell in or around Christmas Day. While I understand egos I also value family and I was not going to bundle my wardrobe in a huff out of anger, I also had my mother to think off. So I went out found my first apartment within a week of this notice, some houses being built that would not be ready until January 2018. I paid the deposit and set off to Lamu for New Years’ I could not have been more blessed for that trip coming up when it did.
The universe is seemingly large, I needed something to hold on to.
I had been acquiring a few home pieces throughout the year, honestly because some stuff was cute and I couldn’t resist but at this point it seemed godsend. It was one of those, I will use these one day not soon. So while I had a couple of boxes with stuff it was not necessarily the fundamentals, I mean a whole box full of frames and candle holders does not exactly constitute the makings of a basic home. I was caught flat footed, while I knew that I could easily cry my way back to my cosy room, the nagging feeling that I would never push myself from the nest made me do it.
It takes one step.
So January came along and a few days after I came back from Lamu, I moved. The first night in my new apartment was cold I bought my mattress on this same night. We thank heavens I had a very warm duvet set to cover me from my troubles at night. The kitchen was empty, plates and a cooker but no gas to cook with, my curtain rods remained bare for a month. In fact I could not switch on the lights in my house for a good month until I got sheers. Njaanuary was long and hard, but this was not the lesson my dad had said the universe would teach me.
To survive you need tact.
Tactful I am, in fact I am so tactful I figured how to get myself fed every week for the month of Njaanuary until salary checked in. We shall discuss financial freedom as soon as I have a grasp on it. But let’s dive into some of the madness I have plotted in order to survive my new sense of broke girlness.
Here is the tea.
The first is 50 First Dates, I am not proud of this, but I will admit I went on many dates for the food, ask my sister she once brought me leftovers from their Sunday family lunch at Mayura. Okay I exaggerate, Mayura leftover is far better than any gourmet meal in this city. I am not proud of this but Uchumi fed me for free once or twice, LOL, I am personally very sad they had to close down. I ate out a lot, at my kibanda despite the doctor banning me from street food, and other better places.
Neighbours are great when they don’t meddle with your affairs but they’re even better when they give you a ride to work.
This requires a very strategic art of listening at doors and getting out of them in just the amount of time it takes to get to the lift and downstairs without appearing to linger and wait. This was a symbiotic venture given one of my neigbours was a learner and I think needed company in her car as she gained confidence to drive. Half the time I almost offered to drive her but I knew that I needed to respect the process. I made interesting friends because of this.
And in the evening, if you can’t get a ride home you might have to linger around work a little later than everyone else and wait for the fare to go down in order to get home. Since you are not rushing home to cook anyway you will find that you can get so much done when you have a few hours to kill. For creatives this is possibly the time you should utilise to work on your craft. I took this time to reflect on my life, but I also sunk to the depths of my feelings.
That’s barely scratching the surface of it.
You will appreciate true friendship, you know the people that understand that you can’t travel with them on a whim or that you would love to join them for Happy Hour but your wallet disagrees. At least I wasn’t homeless, and it didn’t was temporary season. I swore to myself when I left my father’s house that I would not suffer, no matter what the universe throws my way. If you are wondering what became of me and my father’s relationship, you better stick around to find out.
Slowly but surely I am getting my shit together and over the months making the necessary improvements to my life, including better financial decision. Even though I remain sleeping on a mattress on the floor my heart is full and so is my kitchen. This move is probably the best thing that happened to me, I grew up, I learned to fly.
Location: The Lakehouse Tigoni
Photography: Samsung Note 9 by Brian Babu