MISSING JEWELS

Today as Stella Nyanzi celebrates 45years of age, allow me share with you Poem #6 of her poems freshly inked from Luzira prison.

“The jaws of Joel crashed the jewels

Planted between the legs of men in the pearl.

The expensive jewels of manhood

Are missing from our governed men.

They lack the guts to defend the land.

They lack the stamina to reclaim the flag.

The proboscis of Joel sucked out the jewels

Between the ears of thinkers in the pearl.

The cherished jewels of critical thinking

Are absent from the politicians of the day.

They lack the will to mend the state.

They lack the power to right the wrongs.”

By Stella Nyanzi

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Cry today , smile tomorrow

Dear God ,

I know it’s okay to cry , cuz you know , weeping endures for the night ……….. but my heart is too weak for any more loss ! Around this time last year , my father bade this world farewell . He was a good man according to the stories I hear about him, I just never got the chance to know him. Now that’s now even the issue , I lost so many people , and so much stuff right after his death …….. my heart froze.

I am afraid of loss , I hate rejection – and loss of anything translates to rejection for me always. So today I allowed myself to feel all my feels . I allowed myself to cry , to be and to live . I listened to this song and it summarized my feels so I thought I would share it here. …….

“I got problems
And I’ll be the first to call them out
Yeah, I get lonely
Cuz lately friends don’t stick around

But I keep my hopes up
Cuz that’s the one thing I can control
I don’t fill my mind with petty lies
I let that go
I don’t fill my mind with petty lies
Let that go

And all…the troubles in my life won’t bring me down
And all…the struggles in my life they teach me how

How I’m perfectly imperfect
And when it hurts, I just remember there’s a purpose

So I’ll cry today, smile tomorrow
I cry today, smile tomorrow

And those nights, when I’m all alone
Feeling defeated, and beaten, abandoned, and far from home
I sit in silence on the sidelines as the world moves on
With puzzled pieces in my palms, wondering what the hell I did wrong

So I’ll cry today, smile tomorrow
I cry today, smile tomorrow”

May you allow yourself to feel the feels this month, My you get in touch with yourself , May you face the pain .

OWN,SHARE,STAND IN YOUR WEAKNESS!

Dear Leticia,

You’re a strong woman. Your skin is thick. It is armor. You put it on in the morning and don’t take it off until you go to bed at night. You swat away words that sting and hurt as if they are flies that can be squished. When life throws you hurdles that break your spirit, you pick up the pieces and make something new, something beautiful, something stronger. People lean on you. They come to you for advice. They seek your wisdom when everything seems to be falling apart at the seams. They look to you for praise and approval when they have achieved or accomplished something they wish to celebrate. You are their shelter in their storms. Yours are the arms that hold them up, that hug them close, that lift them higher. Your arms can withstand the weight, for they are strong.

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You’re a strong woman – and sometimes, just sometimes, you’d like to be allowed to be weak every once  in a while. Sometimes, just sometimes, you’d like to take off the armor. You’d like to not have to swat away the words. You’d like to stop building from the pieces that have been smashed. Sometimes, just sometimes, you’d like to not be the sounding board for everyone around you. Sometimes, just sometimes, you’d like to not have to hold everyone else up. Sometimes, just sometimes, you just want to rest. Sometimes it’s exhausting being strong all the time, and you just need a break. At times, weakness can mean lacking in strength. It can mean that you’re tired. It means that you physically cannot do something. That you just need to slow down. That you cannot keep up the juggling act, the running around, the constant chaos that has become your life. Maybe your weakness stems from an illness. Maybe you’re just exhausted. Maybe it’s both. But you know that? It’s okay. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to take a break. That doesn’t take away from your strength. It does not mean that you are no longer strong. It just means that you’re tired.

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You’re allowed to be tired, too. At times, weakness can mean that you have a tendency to self-indulge in certain things. You have a weakness for vodkas, for chocolate, for pizza, for men with cute eyes, for women with curly hair……………. Whatever your indulgence is, it has always been framed as a weakness. But maybe it’s time to shift your mindset. Don’t feel guilty for wanting to live, to feel, to break down. Sometimes you need to indulge. And that’s okay! Everything in moderation, of course. At times, weakness can be describing a quality or feature regarded as a disadvantage or fault. I ask you – who out there doesn’t have a fault? There is no perfect person in this world. Not one. Think of the strongest men you know – I promise you that they have weaknesses, too. This doesn’t diminish their strength, but rather it just illuminates their humanity. The same goes for women, too. I hope you give yourself permission to let your humanity shine. i hope you give yourself time to break down and reconstruct.  I hope you know that your true strength lies in the ability to own, and share, and stand in your weaknesses. For if we cannot see where we are weak, it makes it all the more harder to see where our strength lies.

CRY ON SHOULDERS

Do you ever find yourself crying uncontrollably in spaces your mind has convinced you are not worth your tears? Do you let your tears /nose run before the mirror in the bathroom or bury your head in your hands and just stay on the toilet seat motionless? Do you ever just stand in the shower and let the water run as you drift away in deep thought as you wet your face? Do you find yourself unsure how to express the way you feel and the only resort is the bathroom, alone with your tears. Do you ever give yourself the look, You know that look – the one where you see yourself and flinch away…and you are so tired and empty and drained that you just want to sit down and cry. Is this the start or end to most of your days. There’s got to be a better way.

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Do you catch yourself praying that no one walks into the bathroom while you break, do you wash your face and walk out like nothing happened yet deep down a big apart of you is falling apart? Today i want you to know that you are not alone.

You are allowed to act vulnerable, to admit when something is bothering you, even when it seems like the rest of the world is bragging about how little they care. You are allowed to break down , to cry, to just let it all out.  You should never be ashamed about crying in the bathroom, BUT,  you should remember , you don’t have to cry in bathrooms. You can cry out in the open. You can cry on shoulders. You don’t have to put on a brave face. You don’t have to lie about being fine. You don’t have to act like you are unbreakable, like nothing ever hurts your feelings. You are only human. You are allowed to break down. You are allowed to get upset. You are allowed to cry your eyes out, even over something silly, something you cannot imagine anyone else understanding

Allow yourself to be vulnerable when other people are watching. Allow yourself to unleash your emotions, to open the floodgates and admit you are not okay, instead of hiding your real emotions behind a mask. You don’t have to escape into the bathroom every time you cry.  You don’t have to squash any emotion you experience other than happiness. You don’t have to act like a robot because you are worried someone will accuse you of overreacting, of causing drama where there isn’t any, of being a baby.  Your emotions are valid. Your reaction is valid. No one else can tell you how you should feel. If they disrespect your feelings, if they act like you are a bother for coming to them with your problems, then it says more about them than it does about you. It says they are toxic. It says they are not worth your energy. You are allowed to have shitty days. You are allowed to complain. You are allowed to feel like an emotional mess.

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Everyone has days where they feel like everything has gone wrong, where they aren’t sure how many more setbacks they can take.  Everyone has broken down in the middle of a work week, or in the middle of traffic . You just don’t realize it because they are hiding in bathrooms, too. They are pretending to be fine, the same way as you are. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to act heartless in order to fit in with everyone else. You don’t have to hide behind your sarcasm to seem cool. You don’t have to act like everything rolls off your back, like words could never hurt you, like you are immune to emotion.

You are allowed to get angry, to get sad, to get frustrated. You are allowed to call someone out when they upset you instead of crying about it as soon as they leave the room. You are allowed to say what’s on your mind. The right people are not going to get scared off when you show genuine emotion. They are going to be flattered you trust them enough to be real with them. They are going to be honored to help you in any way they can. You should never be ashamed about crying in the bathroom, but you should remember , you don’t have to cry in bathrooms. You don’t have to cry alone. You can cry out in the open. You can cry on shoulders

THE COFFEE SHOP!

 

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Did you know that there are secrets to running a successful coffee shop ?  Did you also know that one of those secrets happens to be consistently serving the finest? Now i know that there is no good coffee shop you will visit , that only serves coffee, Most of them add muffins , some cookies , some other hard and soft drinks but it all has got to be the finest.  Customers will walk past ten other competitors to get the best coffee, which is why this secret alone means you don’t need the highly visible, most expensive location, you only need to be consistent with serving the finest of what you offer.  This month, Femme Forte Uganda Under the umbrella of the National women’s week , put together by the Uganda women’s network has decided to bring you the best coffee shop ever registered. Forget the latte, cappuccino, espresso and muffins only coffee houses you have encountered , The Femme Forte coffee shop is serving the finest in the world of Photography by the award winning zahara Abdul, portraiture by the famous Timothy Mwesigwa, Facial art, self care and make up tips by the phenomenal  Cindy Adong  , soothing and healing music by Who’s that band and deep relatable conversations by the amazing Angela Sanyu Okullo and Jeremy Byemanzi.  Imagine that combo !!

I have heard people say that, ‘its never a good day until you have had a great cup of tea/ coffee /juice or listened to that song that jump starts your day”. This will not only jump-start your day, it will set you on a good path for 2019, here is your opportunity to spend time with greatness and to grow.  Femme Forte Uganda  is a young women’s organization that mobilizes and equips young women to become better leaders who shape narratives in their spheres of influence.We exist to strengthen the pathways between young and older women who aspire to meaningfully contribute to the greater women’s movement in Uganda and our mission is to foster effective resilience to Break barriers and reach new heights for women in Uganda. We run learning circle programs where we create safe paces to have conversations that would ordinarily be weird to have. We structure these conversations informally to encourage people to loosen up and share from their hearts, these safe spaces are our Femme forte equip circles.

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On the 24th of October 2018, alongside other activities that will be happening in our coffee shop, we shall have in depth conversations on personal finance management and Relationships at 9:00 am -11:00 am and 2:00 pm -4:00 pm  Respectively in Kagera Hall at Hotel Africana.  The next day will be Thursday 25th October 2018  and we shall host another equip circle in Sezibwa hall, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm , that will address mental health issues, dismantle stereotypes and deal with stigma around mental illnesses. The beautiful Sarah Tushemereirwe twine will  share her story and experience and our expert panel will respond to any queries you may have.

One of the other secrets to operating a successful coffee shop is promoting multiple sales. Coffee may be the prime motivator for customers coming to the shop, but they must leave with multiple sales if you are going to be successful. In that regard , we have put together great music, incredible art (both portraiture and photography) some reading materials from the very best of of our Ugandan Authors  and an expert on self care to help you master your outlook and presentation. You will be spoiled for choice .

Make a date with us,  join us on Wednesday 24th and Thursday 25th October 2018, at Hotel Africana and lets walk a journey of freedom from the things that easily ensnare us with you. Come lets break barriers and unlock potential. Remember, life is not a dress rehearsal, the curtain is up and you’re on !!! The coffee shop is your space to be refreshed.

I WANT YOU!

Dear Mr. Right,

I hope you are preparing yourself  to receive all my love for you well. It is not simple love, it is like a tsunami and will swallow you if you are not well prepared to receive it. While we work on the part where you receive my love , here are a few things i would like you to know,  not that its a script i want you to follow, but it would ease your life by helping you love me right.  I want you to accept me and embrace my weird ! Trust me that is not an easy task. i have those days where i forget to take my medicine and its on such days that i need and want you to understand me most.

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I want you to touch me mindlessly while the two of us watch a movie – i  don’t want that ‘Netflix and Chill’ touching, where the movie is clearly just a pretext to do something else. I want  you to drag your fingers lightly along my arm, in my hair, on my hand. I want to know that you want to touch me as a matter of habit, as a reflex that just feels more right than doing nothing at all. Touching should become second nature, not always a means to an end.

I want you to surprise me , but not with some grand gesture you saw in a movie. I don’t need the you lighting a hundred candles in the shape of a heart or a cheesy word, and i  don’t need to be serenaded with soft guitar music. I need something that is romantic to just the two of us, exactly to our definition. Surprise me with a bacon egg and cheese and coffee on a Saturday morning after I’ve been working hard all week. Surprise  me  with a room that’s full of board games, so you can finally see who’s actually better at this winning thing over some tea or orange juice. Pick a movie that you know i love more than anything, even if i have  already seen it a dozen times, and set up a movie night around it. Let me  know that you notice the little things.

I want you to say that you love me, at weird, random moments when no one would expect it. I want your words to feel like a kiss on my forehead in the dark, something i can barely feel but which i absolutely need to feel is there. I want your love to be something fluid and effortless, not built around “big moments” you feel obligated to mark. Sure, there can be special events, but there’s something a thousand times more heart-swoony about hearing a quiet “I love you” when i have my face mask and bathrobe on, when i think i am at my least lovable, when it’s the last thing i expect.

I want you to love me just as much in front of your friends. I want you to kiss my cheek, to joke with me, to be the exact same way around them as i am around you. I never want to feel like the girlfriend who has to be dragged around, like i am an anchor to all of the fun you would otherwise be having. I hear the way other guys can talk about their girlfriends when they’re not around, like their relationship is an obligation. I know it would sound needy to ask, but  i want to know that you are never like that with me.

I want to get a letter from you, to be surprised that you remembered something that i didn’t, to hear the words “I already took care of it.” There is nothing more wonderful than knowing that someone else has already been putting in the thought, that you were on their mind enough to commit it to writing or make real plans. Because that’s the real romance that’s been dying – the romance of being thoughtful, the romance of taking your time and doing things right. I don’t want to be the thing you remember only when it’s late and you don’t want to sleep alone. I don’t want to be the one you come over to ,to pretend to watch a movie with, just so you can spend a few hours in my arms. I want to be the one you plan ahead for, the one you take a few extra minutes to make things special for. I don’t want your money or the things you can buy me, not that they wouldn’t matter, but i want your time. i want your attention. Did i mention i love flowers and i listen to the language of gifts and Physical touch? I want all that and more.

I want your patience, in a world where everyone is going way too fast.

Inspired by Charlotte Greene 🙂

OF ARMORED CARS & SHARP SHOOTERS!

Dear Mr. President,

Following your recent directive to the ministry of finance, planning and economic development to procure armored vehicles and assign sharp shooters for Members of parliament , i am inclined to ask you a couple of questions so i can understand where you are coming from.  see i have been trying to wrap my mind around what could be happening to you and your many Presidential advisers that you would even write such an absurd directive and have thus been pushed to write this letter. You see i do not understand how it is logically possible in your mind that procuring these cars will result into a solution for the security problems Uganda is facing right now.

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For starters, did you stop to think about the financial implication of procuring these vehicles and sharp shooters?  For 456 MP’s, at least 500 million  will be needed to procure each vehicle, totaling up to UGX shs. 228 billion. We haven’t even considered the costs that will be incurred on allowances for drivers, servicing the cars and mileage allowance. My brothers and sisters are already overburdened by the fat allowances for the Members of Parliament , including basic pay, mileage, constituency facilitation, sitting allowances, social security benefits, medical insurance, free i Pads , travel allowances and monthly gratuity payment. All these expenses have been compounded into increased taxation for the Ugandan taxpayer.We are increasingly being over taxed to fund a lavish lifestyle for these Members of parliament who ironically exempted their own allowances from taxation. This, sir, is a continuation of impunity and gratuitous expenditure  that is putting more strain on an already beleaguered economy.

Forty and more women have been killed in the recent past and the MP’s you so seek to protect never raised their voice to condemn the brutal killings because they simply don’t care.  Par-adventure if we had  given armored vehicles and sharp shooters to these innocent women, they would still live. But no, they were left to suffer at the hands of iron bar hit men, panga-wielding squads and armed robbers  and lately stalkers!

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It is absurd that you continue to undermine and inhibit institutional growth because the President should have no business poking his nose in the responsibilities of the parliamentary commission which is supposed to determine what Members of Parliament are entitled to. The nature of such implausible directives continuously undermines and weakens institutions, but you already knew that.

How does anyone in their right mind seek to protect 1% of the population neglecting the 99%  and call that a holistic approach to growth? What would happen if you invested in a professional and competent police force to protect all Ugandans other than the already privileged MP’s at the expense of the Ugandan Tax payer? How about if we channeled all this money to service delivery in social sectors like health, education and agriculture? I guess these are not your priorities at the moment since we seem to be having a lot of money to waste on luxurious lifestyles rather than improve livelihoods for our citizenry, so how do you sleep at night , if i may ask?

And the MP’s fr whom this proposal is being pushed, why not reject and rescind this discriminatory directive if we are truly  for the people, by the people, of the people? Why are we silent in the face of injustice?  How is getting you these vehicles going to translate into security for that woman selling tomatoes in Nakawa market?

We are already suffering with the useless lead cars that disrupt traffic every now and again and now you want to bring armored vehicles, that will make our already narrow roads more congested.  and Mr. President, thank you very much for expressing the state of fear in your circles. If you were not so afraid of the Citizens, you wouldn’t be making such irrational directives to protect both yourself and these Members of parliament from those you swore to protect.  I hope that you will rethink your directive and use your paid advisers to do their job before you make a fool of yourself again on national television over another national error!