Too much love may kill you

The best day of my life last year was the day Mufasa came into my life. He was sent by the universe, the very universe, to break my heart three times.

I’d gone to the back of the shared apartment complex I lived in to take my dry clothes off the wash line when I saw him. He was chained around a tree, lying prone on the grass. He did not acknowledge me. His face resting forlornly between his paws, his eyes devoid of any life, stared blankly ahead.

I walked toward him and sat by his side. He did not register my presence.

This was a dog who had given up on humans utterly. This is when my heart broke for him for the first time.

Humans make the common mistake of thinking heart breaks are reserved for losing someone. How wrong we are. Our hearts break when we meet people too. My heart broke for Mufasa and that heartbreak pulled me towards him. 

I stroked his head, his back, his tail, his snout for more than half an hour without him registering me at all. Finally, he wagged his tail faintly. It was enough. I returned to my house.

He was a street dog who the apartment askari wanted to train as a guard dog, which for Mufasa, is as natural to him as breathing on one condition: he has to love you body, heart and soul. This I learned the hard way, and I betrayed him for it, may the Universe forgive me.

I listened all day as the askari beat Mufasa up, his screams echoing through the complex. The man and I already had a hostile history so life was as it should be when I finally waked down to where Mufasa was cowering, trapped against a corner of a wall, with the askari raising a short thick wooden stick to raise more blows on him.

I stood between him, Mufasa and his stupid bullying stick.

“Don’t touch my dog again,”, I told him.

“Eh?, he said, confused.

“I said, don’t touch my fucking dog again”.

He pointed the stick at me. “I’m going to beat you”, he said.

“Ha!”, I laughed. “Then at least you’ll beat someone who can fight back. Now walk away from us”.

He walked.

I then dragged Mufasa out of the complex. I opened the gate and locked him out. I did not know that sometimes his brain forgot to function and that day it went away again.

I had barely settled on my sofa when I heard screaming. Mufasa’s screaming. Rushing downstairs, I was met with a sight that made me laugh. The askari was trying to beat Mufasa and get him out of the compound, and Mufasa was dodging him with the agility of a leopard.

He was looking for me.

Again, I locked him out of the gate, where neighborhood children (and the askari) started to do what Ugandans do best. Make a dog’s life miserable for fun. They threw stones at him, they surrounded him in packs pocking and beating him but he would not leave. He would run away from them and come back. He sat outside that gate and nothing would make him leave his position.

I always tell people that when they go to a shelter to adopt an animal, they should not choose the animal. They should let the animal choose them. You will know when it happens. Your heart will break.

Mufasa had chosen me. He was just waiting for me to choose him too.

Instead, I called the Uganda Society For The Protection and Care of Animals (USPCA) to rescue him, which they did. I was then ordered by my landlady to vacate the premises, which I was happy to do so seeing as Mr.Askari and I were one day going to kill each other or die trying.

I adopted Mufasa to punish him for getting me evicted. I called him Mufasa because he had the aura of a royal personage. He was a formidable looking animal and I named him as was befitting a King above dogs. He looked scary as hell, but was really a sweet giant bear.

We moved into another shared complex, and became inseparable. Mufasa would not leave my side. However much space he had to run in the public lot, he preferred to remain at the very most, three feet away from me. I became used to him leaning against me as I worked on my laptop. He always leaned against me when I was working.

Then I begun to notice some disturbing traits. He hated children. He lunged at them. He was a lot of muscle and controlling him was difficult. He knew to obey me because I’d trained him thoroughly but like I said, sometimes his brain went to Keynjojo.

One day during a walk, he blocked a child’s path and was barking at him furiously. I resolved the situation but was deeply shaken. I’d been distracting him with treats during walks when kids passed by but his hatred of them would not diminish.

Another day, I was in the house when Mufasa woke from what seemed like a dead sleep with a rough bark, a rush out of the door and my worst nightmare-the screams of children who’d entered the compound.

Soon, the steps to my house became his job to control. A milkman who used to deliver milk in peace was being refused to advance the steps with warning barks.

And then I begun to fear for myself when he one day breezed into my bedroom, which he knows is equivalent to suicide. He left the room only when he decided he’d made his point about territory being his now.

I’m not going to have territorial battles with 4 year olds whose histories I don’t know, thank you very much.

The beginning of the end was when I went to the bathroom at 1:00 am and came out to find him standing at the end of the living room. He was usually snoring, whether I was awake or not. But today he stood, very still, and stared at me. He just stared at me.

I locked myself in the bedroom, certain I was a goner. The next day I called a vet who advised that he be put down for my and other’s safety, with his unknown history and sudden aggressive and unpredictable behavior.

I called another vet to put him down. He examined Mufasa, seemed to pay close attention to how he and I related, and closed his bag up. He started laughing.

“I’m not putting this dog down. He is a happy, well trained animal. He has become over protective with you, so this is the worse place for him. If he thinks his job is to protect you from people, every tenant’s visitor is a potential enemy. He is a guard dog and all this foot traffic is driving him mad because his instinct is to chase strangers away”.

And suddenly I understood. When he entered my bedroom, he wanted to be close to me as he was when I worked in the living room. When he stared at me that time I went to the bathroom, he was begging me:

”What’s wrong? Why are you withdrawing from me and starting to keep me locked in the house? What do I need to do to get you back?”

I found Mufasa a new owner in an enclosed compound that he could control. I’ve been informed that no amount of money will convince his new owner to return him to me if I move into an enclosed house.

I don’t mind. He came into my life to get me away from that horrid askari and I came into his life to rescue him for the streets.

The world may think that I saved Mufasa, but really, Mufasa saved me with his unconditional love and fierce protection of his Mistress.

It’s been real, King, and I will love you for ever.

Ssssh! I’m going to share a family secret.

As a child, Christmas was a magical, magical, just the most fantabulous time.

I believed in Santa because like all parents, they had the lie-to-child-make-their-life-fun gene. Christmas eve, I could hardly wait to go to sleep because in the morning.

Oh, in the morning.

There they were. The Christmas presents, colorful and wrapped around the tree with our names on them. When I learned Santa was not real, thankfully I had a strong constitution and it did not traumatize me so much.

By the way, I apologize for sounding dreadfully bourgeoisie up in here.

As we grew, we developed a new family, less lie-induced family tradition. I’m going to share a family secret.

Just because it’s Christmas…

We now buy gifts for each member of the family and place them under the tree surreptitiously the night before. How members of a family are able to dodge each other in the placement of these presents is a matter for the gods to understand.

So anyway, each person has to pick boxes with their names and guess who gave it to them. Isn’t that neat?

Beware of people who make you apologize for the bad things they do.

I should know. I used to be one of those people, so you can’t kid a kidder. I know the signs.

A good friend of mine told me that every feeling, emotion and impulse I have is obviously shared by others (I’m unique but so is everybody else by that reasoning). Therefore I share this in the hopes that someone who has enabled disrespectful friends in their lives can enter the new year freed from the kavuyo.

Growing up, it was in my nature to be a doormat. A relative once told me: “Lindsey, someone can wipe their mud on your back and you’ll ask them if they need to wipe some more!”.

An illustration, reader, of what a doormat, in my case, signified:

“You’re angry with me. What did I do? Please, please, don’t ignore me and be passive aggressive. I confess I take full responsibility for whatever it is. You don’t even have to tell me. I forgive you and will allow you to pull childish stunts forever and ever amen”.

“I lent you 2 million shillings, may I have it back? Yes, I realize you helped me out with airtime every now and then. How selfish of me to not think of your sacrifices. Yes, you’re right, I should shut up because you don’t have the money and I’d better appreciate that if I want to be your friend!”

“You did something that upset me and I reacted badly. I’m so sorry you’re angry with me for reacting to something you did. I understand you don’t need to respect me enough to apologize. Please disregard what you did for my ‘sensitive’ reaction, and you have my permission to shit on my feelings forever and ever amen”.

“You talked about me behind my back, told someone sensitive information to hurt me. But of course, I can’t sue you for defamation since you claim you’re free to speak if it’s truth. You have also insulted me on numerous occasions, but please, let me be the one once again, to apologize for putting you in the position to do so. I accept that I am unworthy of any apology from you forever and ever , amen”.

Pathetic.

But this year, I finally had enough. One woman in particular pulled an old signature move I used to tolerate from her: ‘I’ll shit on you and remember to take responsibility for making me shit on you”.

My brain finally restored itself to factory settings and I am able to see gaslighting and disrespect for what it is. Especially after I noticed that when I begun to stand up for myself and noticed my ‘friends’ did not appreciate this new person who will no longer take responsibility for their bad behavior, they begun the name calling and the “You now have kajanja” comments.

Everyone deserves love and mutually respectful relationships, and if you’re reading this and identify with what I’m writing (I’m sorry you’re also pathetic) let next year be the year you take responsibility for how you make people feel, but don’t allow yourself to give undue respect to those who won’t do the same for you.

Too much love may kill you

The best day of my life this year was the day Mufasa came into my life. He was sent by the universe, the very universe, to just break my heart to pieces. But without pain, there is no pleasure and he filled my days with enough joy to make up for the pain.

I’d gone to the back of the shared apartment complex I lived in to take my dry clothes off the wash line when I saw him. He was chained around a tree, lying prone on the grass. He did not acknowledge me. His face rested forlornly between his paws, his eyes devoid of any life, staring blankly ahead.

I walked toward him and sat by his side. He did not register my presence.

This was a dog who had given up on humans utterly.

Humans make the common mistake of thinking heart breaks are reserved for losing someone. How wrong we are. Our hearts break when we meet people too. My heart broke for Mufasa and that heartbreak pulled me towards him. 

I stroked his head, his back, his tail, his snout for more than half an hour without him registering me at all. Finally, he wagged his tail faintly. It was enough. I returned to my house.

He was a street dog who the apartment askari wanted to train as a guard dog, which for Mufasa, is as natural to him as breathing on one condition: he has to love you body, heart and soul. This I learned the hard way, and I betrayed him for it, may the Universe forgive me.

I listened all day as the askari beat Mufasa up, his screams echoing through the complex. The man and I already had a hostile history so life was as it should be when I finally waked down to where Mufasa was cowering, trapped against a corner of a wall, with the askari raising a short thick wooden stick to raise more blows on him.

I stood between him, Mufasa and his stupid bullying stick.

“Don’t touch my dog again,”, I told him.

“Eh?, he said, confused.

“I said, don’t touch my fucking dog again”.

He pointed the stick at me. “I’m going to beat you”, he said.

“Ha!”, I laughed. “Then at least you’ll beat someone who can fight back. Now walk away from us”.

He walked.

I dragged Mufasa out of the complex. I opened the gate and locked him out. I did not know that sometimes his brain forgot to function and that day it went away again. Why didn’t he choose to run and be free again?

I had barely settled on my sofa minutes later when I heard screaming. Mufasa’s screaming. Rushing downstairs, I was met with a sight that made me laugh. The askari was trying to beat Mufasa and get him out of the compound, and Mufasa was dodging him with the agility of a leopard.

He was looking for me.

Again, I locked him out of the gate, where neighborhood children (and the askari) started to do what Ugandans do best. Make a dog’s life miserable for fun. They threw stones at him, they surrounded him in packs pocking and beating him but he would not leave. He would run away from them and come back. He sat outside that gate and nothing would make him leave his position.

I always tell people that when they go to a shelter to adopt an animal, they should not choose the animal. They should let the animal choose them. You will know when it happens. Your heart will break in a pleasant way that will pull you toward your doggie mate.

Mufasa had chosen me. He was waiting patiently for me to choose him too.

Instead, I called the Uganda Society For The Protection and Care of Animals (USPCA) to rescue him, which they did. I was then ordered by my landlady to vacate the premises, which I was happy to do so seeing as Mr.Askari and I were one day going to kill each other or die trying.

I adopted Mufasa to punish him for getting me evicted. I called him Mufasa because even though he had some local in him, the exotic seemed to Boerbel. He was a formidable looking animal and I named him as was befitting a King above dogs. He looked scary as hell, but was really a sweet giant bear.

We moved into another shared complex, and became inseparable. Mufasa would not leave my side. However much space he had to run in the public lot, he preferred to remain at the very most, three feet away from me. I became used to him leaning against me as I worked on my laptop. He always leaned against me when I was working.

Then I begun to notice some disturbing traits. He hated children. He lunged at them. He was a lot of muscle and controlling him was difficult. He knew to obey me because I’d trained him thoroughly but like I said, sometimes his brain went to Keynjojo.

One day during a walk, he blocked a child’s path and was barking at him furiously. I resolved the situation but was deeply shaken. I’d been distracting him with treats during walks when kids passed by but his hatred of them would not diminish.

Another day, I was in the house when Mufasa woke from what seemed like a dead sleep with a rough bark, a rush out of the door and my worst nightmare-the screams of children who’d entered the compound.

Soon, the steps to my house became his job to control. A milkman who used to deliver milk in peace was being refused to advance the steps with warning barks.

And then I begun to fear for myself when he one day breezed into my bedroom, which he knows is equivalent to suicide. He left the room only when he decided he’d made his point about territory being his now.

I’m not going to have territorial battles with 4 year olds whose histories I don’t know, thank you very much.

The beginning of the end was when I went to the bathroom at 1:00 am and came out to find him standing at the end of the living room. He was usually snoring, whether I was awake or not. But today he stood, very still, and stared at me. He just stared at me.

I locked myself in the bedroom, certain I was a goner. The next day I called a vet who advised that he be put down for my and other’s safety, with his unknown history and sudden aggressive and unpredictable behavior.

I called another vet to put him down. He examined Mufasa, seemed to pay close attention to how he and I related, and closed his bag up. He started laughing.

“I’m not putting this dog down. He is a happy, well trained animal. He has become over protective with you, so this is the worse place for him. If he thinks his job is to protect you from people, every tenant is a potential enemy”.

And suddenly I understood. When he entered my bedroom, he wanted to be close to me as he was when I worked in the living room. When he stared at me that time I went to the bathroom, he was begging me:

”What’s wrong? Why are you withdrawing from me and starting to keep me locked in the house? What do I need to do to get you back?”

Mufasa is now in enclosed compound he can protect in peace and I made sure to place him in a place with no children.

It’s been real, King.

I do not pick fights with females. I value my life.

I tend to be, sometimes, only occasionally, just a little bit, confrontational. I know how to throw down and I will throw myself into the fray of every and any fight. As long as it’s with men.

I gotta tell you, women scare me. If a woman tells me she wants to beat me, I will prostrate before her on my knees, beg for surrender and kiss her feet. Because let me tell you something.

When it comes to fights, women become possessed by an external force that turns them into efficient pain delivery machines. Fighting with a man is predictable. Verbally and physically. Arms and fists and all that, they lack no imagination. But a woman will kill you with a fingernail, a shoe, hair pins that appear out of nowhere, she’ll rip your own damn hair out, drag you across-you get the drift.

Women are unpredictable, and when they’re mad, lordy, they are MAD. Even if the other woman is in the wrong, I will earnestly beg her forgiveness and offer her my handbag as a gesture of my sincerest apologies.

Please don’t kill me.

I’m not ashamed to be stupid

I’ve been interacting with a gentleman I met online. I don’t usually ‘be-friend’ strangers on an Internet but he’s followed my writing for years and soon we became pen pals, come to speak.

Until in his foreign privilege to be a snob without logic or reason he asked me when Africans are going to ‘get their shit together’.

This man is from Ireland. I felt like asking him how in spite of having only two ‘tribes’-nationalists and loyalists, I think-they hadn’t gotten their own shit together. But I no longer engage in such arguments. Only if I want to sleep.

In the course of our chats, it emerged that I was ignorant about certain geographical and historical contexts of countries. In his words, “I’m shocked at your ignorance of basic blah blah.”. He wasn’t polite about it either.

I don’t have time for wahala anymore from people who think they graduated from the University of Wikipedia. No one is not stupid in something.

This shaming of people for their flaws is an unfortunate practice of humans. People run to Google rather than say ‘I have’t a clue’ and good for you but you really make your life difficult.

It took me a long time for example to not be ashamed of being thin in a part of Africa where it’s tantamount to criminal negligence. I’m not ashamed to be a scatterbrain. I’m not ashamed to be extremely forgetful. I’m not ashamed to ‘confrontational’. I’m not ashamed to always be chronically late. I can work on my bad sides but I cannot be ashamed of them.

I made a decision one day to embrace my flaws and polish my virtues and it’s made all the difference. It is natural for good and bad to co-exist together.

Don’t ever let anyone shame you for being a human. And if you consider yourself superior to anyone, you are ignorant-of the other person’s gitfts that you dont have.

There are many baskets for your eggs

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

A common phrase which is not applied in real life. In fact, it is encouraged not to apply it so I don’t know why they wasted time inventing the quote. Businessmen, ‘success stories’ etc. Everyone of them usually says, “Focus on only one thing at a time”.

I was watching Tyler Perry give advice on how to succeed and he went on and on about the importance of choosing one thing and sticking to it. And it works. But there’s never just one way.

There are people who are designed to be employees. Don’t even tell ’em you want to form a company with them. They don’t have the time for that stress. There are people who are great at having one idea and executing it over decades.

And then there are the ones touched by the muses themselves. The musician who is also an actor who is also a writer. I first ‘met’ Oprah Winfrey as an actress before I ever saw her as a talk show host and my goodness, the woman can act. Then the talk show hosts and presidents who find time to write a book while still working. Jennifer Lopez is a singer and a dancer and somehow manages to maintain a career in body hotness maintenance (witchcraft). Frank Sinatra released countless music albums and acted at the same time. For those who think dancing and acting and singing are one career, there are actors who choose to drop singing for acting and singers who drop acting for singing.

There are the actors who are also producers, executive producers and directors of multiple projects covering different themes.

I think these people are not particularly special. I like to think of them as outliers which is why the message of focusing on only one thing is ‘normal’. Most theoretically normal people operate in this fashion and that is the notion that is projected as good advice. So how many outliers are focusing on one thing when they have more than one ability they can attempt to apply in their lives?

Like eggs, wealth of ideas, talents and work should not be kept in one basket as a rule of thumb, in my humble opinion. ‘Normal’ changed as soon as COVID-19 paid the planet a visit and I think this age old rule has probably affected a lot of careers and people if they had a choice of several baskets to store their eggs in and only chose one.

Produced 18 films, starred and directed in some of them, acted in 61 films. Musically, he recorded 59 albums and 297 singles. I think that’s two baskets of eggs?
And lots of cocaine coz that kind of work production ain’t natural.

Why I am, and always will be, against the anti-smoking campaign

Many years ago, a zealous organization embarked on a campaign against tobacco use, citing all the dangers, people it kills etc. I had quit smoking for about a year at the time and did not start up again until five years later.

Anyway, they approached me about being some sort of ambassador because I had ‘given up the vice’. I told them no. I told them I did not like how they were spreading their message. I didn’t want people who smoke to be demonized and those who don’t to be pillars of morality. I don’t like hypocrisy. Many things kill people in Uganda but are not demonized and those who practice the acts are not demonized either.

I saw what was coming down the road (I’ll give you sufficient evidence as you read) and I didn’t like it. I wanted the focus to be on allocating smoking areas, and providing help for people who want to quit.

The law that was passed provides the focus I expected of smoking distances, zones etc. The coalition did, as I suspected, a spectacular job of using the law to viciously attack the freedoms of the right to smoke. They focused on the penalties, the punishments, the jail time, with a vigor that would make the early missionaries ascend to heaven on the spot, twirling in ecstasy.

The law and the coalition advertised the campaign in such a way that smokers are now scared to smoke where the law allows them to. I am abused smoking in smoking zones by fans of the coalition. I have been threatened to be shot by a prisons officer. SHOT!

I was in a restaurant once (smoking area) when KCCA came in and did their thing with gusto. Poor manager. They told him it was illegal to allow smokers. They threatened to shut him down, revoke his licence.

I have not yet learned the patience of how to deal with ignorant exploitative bullies like a grown up. I invited the KCCA men to join me, cigarette in hand, and asked why they were they doing harassing the manager. I toldthem I was seated in a smoking zone, it was not illegal to smoke, and they were committing an actual crime of harassment for solicitation of a bribe. They didn’t bother to deny the bribe part.

The KCCA guy genius instead told me if I wanted to smoke I should go to the toilet.

Gods of verses, insult challenge accepted

I took a deep breath, opened my mouth and by the time I was done, they left with their tails between their legs and abject apologies.

Threats of shooting. Threats of closing restaurants. Individuals being abused in public for being smokers. We have an anti-tobacco law but we also have an anti-tobacco campaign.

And the campaign is the biggest collection of selfish cow dung typical of Ugandan ‘morality’ being used abusively, citing public health as a justification. No one is demonized for drinking alcohol or eating junk food. They affect public health and kill too. It is not addressed so we have alcoholism, depression, diabetes, pick a disease. Draft a bill. Ban chicken skin.

As for the coalition-as smokers like myself adjust to a new life of persecution, you may start a program for those who want to quit their addiction to nicotine, as well as educating people about the law, and NOT the promotion of denying people the right to smoke.

The rest is too late. You helped yet another law get passed that, while it is an obvious sign of progress, is being used to oppress, persecute and threaten.

So for those who want to come to smokers and lecture them-if you have the right to sit in a bar and eat pork and drink beer daily, you may even die before the smoker. Enjoy the self-righteousness while it lasts.

UGANDANS, I LOVE YOU, BUT DOGS CROSS ROADS BETTER THAN YOU

When I was a child I remember being told how to cross a road.

“Look left. Look right. Look left again. Make sure it’s clear. Go!”

I think they have taken that bit out of the school curriculum because I use bodas a lot and I’m amazed that I haven’t been involved in at least accidents where 60 pedestrians have died.

I occasionally lose my head. I’m on a boda, we’re about to make a turn and a Ugandan without bothering to scope the joint starts crossing the road. He either jumps forward or backwards in alarm when we almost hit him. We didn’t know he wanted to cross and he didn’t check for who was coming.

Ugandans leave their lives at the hands of drivers and boda boda riders because who knows-the law tells them to love complete strangers?

I said sometimes I lose my head. I ask my boda to stop and give the Ugandan a lecture so vitriolic that God feels no need to intercede.

Pedestrians are killed and whoever knocks them down is murdered in mob justice. But just how many of these accidents are killed by the pedestrians themselves?

When I was a teen I crossed the road like a Ugandan one day and got exactly what I deserved. The cat hit me, I crashed into the windshield and lost consciousness. I came to a few minutes later to find the driver being beaten and I had to push the crowd away.

“Leave him alone, it was my fault!”

I rarely say ‘Government etuyambe’ but I’m saying it now. Introduce road crossing into the school curriculum.

dog

GENTLEMEN-STOP LYING TO US ABOUT HOW YOU LIKE OUR HAIR

It has come to my attention over the last couple of years that men are starting to make comments on the Internet like:

“I like women with natural hair”.

“A natural woman is worthy of respect. Keep it real sis!”

“We prefer you natural instead of wearing horses hair on your head”

Blah blah blahblahblahblah.

First of all, having interacted with us for so long, I’d think you know how you prefer us is your business and not ours. But I must address this lie being peddled about.

When I wear my hair natural, women compliment me. Not men. There might be one and a half who have said, “Nice afro” but that’s about it.

But when I wear a wig. Or a weave. Or extensions. Lucifer and Jesus work together to take the wheel.

And that is the reason some women may choose to relax or not have natural hair. Ladies, shoot me if you’re offended, and I’m also open to insults which I much prefer to shooting. But shoot me with a slingshot, not a gun. I don’t want you to go to jail.

I’m gonna share two pictures of myself and I’d like people to think about it. Which one would get more attention from men?

I’ve even kept the afro-pic humongous but which would get the most whistles?