If you look at my Instagram or Facebook pages you will see a young man who’s got it all. In the stream of photos I post, I look classy, wealthy and spoilt for choice. Like the many other young people my age, I choose to post when I have something to show off, not when am in my shoddy house or eating mutura in the evenings but when am hitting those posh joints or attending those fancy events. Truth be told there are some words I have never used in life, words like fam, chilling or bae are only found on my social feed. In short, am living fake, showing off to the world the good parts about my life. This is why I cannot connect to most people because they think I got it all and would really want a life like mine.
I know you maybe thinking, ‘Well this is getting interesting’ or ‘What just happened to Siloma?’ or worse, ‘This is another internet crap giving another opinion about life.’ Before you get all peppered kindly know that is not another internet lecture, it is a story worth reading.My name is Siloma and this is my story.
Born to a single mom in Loitokitok, Kajiado County was this young boy so full of dreams, so visionary that he spoke of things that bewildered everyone. I was quick at things, I got things really fast and has this photographic memory that I really miss. I would cram all those old songs from Tanzania Choirs (AIC Makongoro, Nkinga NCC, Mapigano Ulyankulu, Barabara 13 etc – am not a fossil 😄) Kyande and Munishi were all I knew. The epic intro of ‘Ni Pastor Pius Muiru wa Maximum Miracle Center, Odeon Cinema hapa jijini Nairobi’ graced my Saturday evenings on KBC radio. Since there was no aerial reception at that time, Sarafina songs, that sounded like witchcraft chants would serenade my boredom. The first Nollywood epic ‘The Price’ by Pastor Ken (Prounounced as Pastor Oken) was heartwrenching as First Blood, Enter the Dragon, Sister Act and Fist of Fury washed the sadness of Nollywood songs hidden in the soul. Animal documentaries, Londolozi and The gods must be crazy made us go hunting naked in the forest. I knew I had it all, Tv was the best thing that happened to me though I really wanted to know what the Bold and the Beautiful entailed.
I wanted to connect to anyone, someone who had Tv in their home but sadly I ended up being the story teller as most friends I had could not afford shoes let alone a decent meal. Of the most important lessons, mom taught me to value and respect people regardless of their walks of life. Most of my friends were poor and I really loved hanging out with them, most times I would spend in their homes. I was the coward of the village, the one who got teased and cried. I was the one who cried at the sight of the cane and got laughed at for my cowardice. With this, most of my classmates thought I was spoilt and proud. One thing helped me though, I was top of the class. Growing up without a father resembled growing a bean seed in the dark where the stem would stretch in weakness as it tries peep for light. Stories of other kids’ dads were like fairy tales and I couldn’t imagine how fantastic or horrific it was living with one.
High school happened, and the soft me was schooling with Nairobi kids who had it all, Nairobi kids who had knowledge of the streets and other village kids like me. I got bullied, of course, but continued to get bullied up to form four. I hated high school, I never wished to go back nor have any photos of my time there. I never had friends – to date I have no single friend from High School. That’s why I wrote my high school haters a letter here in this blog. I found kids who were filthy rich, kids who had cars in their homes and who were frequently visited and showered with shopping. I knew that any soul who had a car was more like God. I could count the number of cars in the village I grew up in, I mean cars meant for business e.g. Nissan, lorries, double cabs etc. People who had cars for luxuries were feared, respected or treated as devil worshippers because it was too real to be true. I remember seeing a photo of a school mate’s home and I went nuts. I was like, ‘Who in God’s name will have a basketball court and a swimming pool in their compound? Even the school has no swimming pool.’ I knew that I had the best childhood ever, I thought I was spoilt and that I was among those who were close to God as in the village, when one is rich, they are said to have given God a handshake. No one really believed I came from Oloitokitok, some people to date do not believe so. Sometimes I ask myself, do I look too Nairobish? How do people from Loitokitok look like? What are they supposed to look like?
I cleared high school and I joined campus, the school of life, the place where you get to experience the phrase, ‘Nairobi is not your mother’s’ in reality. Nairobi was the place that humbled Nairobians and still humbles villagers. Nairobi was just a name until I got to experience it. Tao was a fancy place that villagers like me would say we needed to go because of the many errands we needed to do. People from the village would think that Nairobi was heaven. I thought Nairobi was heaven, the epitome of life, the cradle of the elite and the wealthy. I thought to live in Nairobi, to make it in Nairobi and to live the ‘Nairobi way’ was making it. But who owns Nairobi anyway? People born in Nairobi? People who acquired wealth in Nairobi? Or is it we villagers who come to find meaning away from our humble backgrounds and show other villagers that we have made it? While nightlife and entertainment were the in thing during my campus years, I had a hard time finding meaning in life. I was used to being alone in high school, I was used to living the life of ‘I’ and not ‘we’. While Konshens and Vybz Kartel confused my brain with patois, I was busy trying to jump off the train of ‘let’s rave’ and ‘let’s do another house party.’
I was so confused about my life and having a pre-existing condition then, (You can read my struggle with seizures here) I found it hard living life like a normal campus guy. I would faint often and thus had to bar myself from people and life. Life became my greatest enemy. Surviving from hand to mouth as a campus student was not easy as many who lived with their parents made our lives look miserable. With their parent’s cars and pocket money, they hived the beautiful bees that swarm around them. I used to live in Mathare back then, in a single room that had my everything in it. I couldn’t connect to many people and so I invested lots of time in skills. I did Photoshop, I did music, I started teaching myself how to make websites, I edited sound and made music mixes. I used to deejay during weekends in house parties and small clubs and repaired laptops just to get life going. It was sad that Mixcrate went down with the many mixes that I did. However, I uploaded some to Soundcloud and will continue uploading others.
I also played in a band, though the band leader really took advantage of us as young people. I loved playing classical music, (I still so much do) a passion that I really had when I heard of Pachelbel’s Canon in class one in a movie and said that I will one day play it despite having ever touched a piano. I have always dreamt of performing music since I was young. I have always seen myself speaking in front of people something am yet to discover in my life. Everything I have promised myself to do I invest all my time and energy to do. This was a cover of Pachelbel’s Canon done in 2012.
I began doing writing poetry in high school and I remember posting my pieces on the noticeboard every week under a series dubbed ‘PoemLeash’. I was weak academically and I remember students telling me to get myself together and study instead of trying to show off how much I knew nothing. I took to poetry when bullying was so severe and I wrote my pain off. I am really glad I never stopped, thanks to the many of you who say they are inspiring. You can get my free poetry ebook here. And the many others on this blog http://silomasays.com/poetry.
Whenever I got confused in life, whenever life seemed sad and gloomy, I used to get to my balcony and think. Every 2:00-3:00 am I would walk to the balcony on a vest so that the cold can refresh my heated brain and I would ponder on life and ask so many Whys? I remember the months I have spent indoors improving my skills while jobless. I have had my fair share of pain, illness, despair and hopelessness. In my quest to reach out to people who could help by just hearing me out, I was shoved and accused of not being man enough, regarded as petty and spoilt. I was suicidal, I tried to seek help online, in the Kenyan space it was hectic, I remember 7 cups of Tea was my hangout joint, a place where you would chat with someone they called a listener but not necessarily a professional. This was when I decided to write my troubles down. This was when http://silomasays.blogspot.com came to be, this was where the drive of writing tons of articles came from. I wanted to connect to someone, I knew someone like me existed, someone fed with life, someone constrained in their world and I wanted to connect with that person, I never wanted that person to be alone. It is through this journey that I realized that so many people have sad stories. Masked by the fancy things we see on their social feeds are social beings bereft of love and depressed souls not wishing to live another day. This was evident after the many emails and WhatsApp messages I received after doing this post.
Why am I telling you my story? To show off? Because my script changed? Well, it has not, I still face even greater challenges. Why have I not quit yet? Because I have decided to live though all I have wished in life was to die. It is because I decide to brace on though people tell me of how inadequate and incapable I am. There are places I post my articles and people roast me because of my bad grammar, bad sentence structure, incoherence etc. Earlier, I felt so inadequate but I later realized that am not on their path. They maybe blogging for money, recognition, awards or to be the best writers in their age but am trying to connect to a lost soul, am on a mission to help a being who is feeling inadequate. I would not want to be crowned the best but I have done what my soul seeks to achieve. Someone asked me the question, “Which voice are you listening to? Are you listening to the noise around you?”
Why now? Why wait for 5 years to write my story? Was I looking for content? No! I was meeting a client whose first words were, “I am so and so and am depressed and suicidal.” And in my head I was like, “Hey calm down, I don’t know you. Don’t open too much.” It was weird for a complete stranger to open up in such a way. It was so weird that the conversation lasted for more than hour, primarily not talking about business but about how she wished she knew about mental illness before she lost her only daughter at the age of 25 (a story for another day, I will surely do her story). It is 3 years down the line and it still haunts her. “Steve, you do not know how your story can change somebody else’s life.” She said, “Current stats say that around 30 young persons aged 18-35 commit suicide every week. This is simply because they had no one to hear their story.” With this, do I still fancy myself on Instagram and Facebook while no one really knows me, my story or my walk in life? Is there too much noise in your life? Has that noise stopped you from doing what you ought to do in life? Care less of the ills people say about you, invest in passions, no matter how bad you may be or how many will comment on how pathetic you are. The best thing I ever did in life was to invest in my skills and passions to shun the noise around me, among the things I have been doing and still do are Blogging (Kajiado, Silomasays, Loitokitok, Kkrewbs), Web & Graphics Design (BraIT), Music (Hadds Men, Sisimka), Graphics (Silomasays), Vlogging (Silomasays) Photography (SilomArt, BraIT Photography) and there is still more to be done. What’s stopping you?
Guys am back to writing in full throttle, I will be sharing pieces every Monday without fail. I do share snippets of what I get from the world on my Facebook page on my Twitter handle and I post daily graphic inspirational quotes on my Instagram. Please follow these pages so that we can interact the more. If this post has challenged you kindly share. And you can Join our WhatsApp Group to interact with us. Thanks and God bless.