• Kenyan battling alcoholism in America seeks solace in a pet, then boyfriend, in vain
Allow me to introduce myself. I wonder how many race questions I inspire in America. How many little comments, conversation, arguments or even plain realisation people have when they see me every day.
You see it in the little looks at dinner, the comments, the stares and mainly the smiles held together by firm eyes. I’m the main girl of this story. Everything that happens, happens in my world, where it’s almost always about me.
In my world, I’m complex. It’s why I am obsessed with myself.
A year ago, I was sitting in the sh*tstorm my fast-declining mental health had caused. I had seen rock bottom and somehow managed to fall another six feet deeper. In one final attempt at winning this fight, I had myself committed.
For a bland three days, I was state property. They had to deal with me. I needed a break from myself. They told me what to eat, when to eat, where to sleep, when to sleep, what to do and how to do it. It was the first time in two years I had exhaled.
I remember feeling silly that I was there. The Kenyan in me didn’t think my mental illness had gotten to Mathari level. We will unpack that later because, believing that the sh*tstorm (constantly trying to veer off the road so you cause just enough of an accident to kill only you, seeing every bridge and lake as a way out and every pill as a 'what if') was not enough to have someone else make some decisions for me, was crazy. I would consciously overdose my medication and wait and wait and wait. In the waiting, I would see myself frustrated, hurt and alone, wondering why even death didn’t want me.
In my present, there is nothing I would not do for my body. My home. I punished, poisoned and abandoned my body, and yet every time I came back, my home was still here. Still breathing, still doing the best it could. My home accommodated me, protected me and at our most desperate point, my home shut down to save me. We needed to burn so we could cleanse. By fire, by force, almost quite literally.
In February, exactly a year after being in the psych ward, getting an emotional support animal a couple of months after, having to give up said emotional support animal, meeting a white boy and loving him broken, and then having him break me all so gently, I was ready to not die.
If I’m being honest, my relationship with my cat is what made me want to change. My relationship with my white boy is what forced me to change. My cat was my little baby and he needed me. I would wake up because of him, I would go and sit outside because of him, I did so many things to make my life better because my cat only deserved the best. I bought him the best food, the best toys, spent ridiculous amounts of money at the vet and was just about to buy him a life insurance policy when they found him. I wasn’t allowed to have him in my apartment, and he needed to go. That day I took him to the shelter was the rockiest bottom I had ever seen.
I cried the whole way there, I apologised and tried as much as I could to hold on to him. When they took him away, something in me broke. But not in the helpless way I had always been breaking. This was a new kind of pain. A new level that wanted me to do something about it. The kind of pain that pushes you forward because at that point, I literally had nothing more to lose.
I tried to turn to my little white boy for support and ended up dumped. He only had room in his life to make himself happy, he said. My pain married the rage I could feel in my being, and that’s when it all started to burn.
Self-work is a b**ch. She will dry hump your shame, guilt and fears right out of your system and never break eye contact. There was a time when I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror, could not see anything reflecting back, so I broke them all. I took the shards of my broken mirrors and dug deep into my skin in pursuit of my inner child. I found her lying in a pool of blood, broken and beaten, gasping for breath, longing for love and in need of me. As everything around me burned to the literal ground, I took her and ran.
Like a Phoenix rising from its ashes, I finally worked through enough of my pain to rise from the bottom. I had fallen about six rock bottoms down, but the Phoenix that I am now is six times better than before. Probably more, humility is no longer a point of pride. So when I see the stares at dinner and when the smiles chill my spine, I remind myself that I am a m***f*ing Jedi. The main story. The moment. It’s my world and everyone else is just living in it. Welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous.