I never thought that in my writing journey I will get to know someone who can write from his/her soul, one who can share his/her life experiences to inspire others, not until a mail hit my inbox. Her name is Sandra Mwateni, I assure you you will love this…
I’ve been putting off the small voice that kept urging me to tell my story. ‘It’s just been months.’ ‘I mean, it’s no big deal, right?’ The excuses kept going. Why now?…You may ask.Well, because I see too many girls go down the same road & it sickens me. Maybe also because I got sick and tired of being sick & tired. I got tired of being the ‘miss goody-two-shoes’…Tired of having to live a lie.
I want everyone to know the real me…not the pretty version they’ve always had. I wanna scream out my flaws & imperfections and show the world that am human. I want to allow myself to feel the hurt & pain without having to hide.
You’re probably thinking…”Who’s the real you?”. Well, I’m a 19 year old christian girl…Let’s pause there first. Being a teenager can sometimes suck. And being a christian teenager isn’t easy. I was 14 when I fell in-love with him. He was ‘perfection’ in my eyes; an all rounded student, multi-talented, funny, outgoing…He was everything I wasn’t. So you can imagine my surprise when he said that he liked me. It was me; the chubby, introverted, shy girl. I was beyond excited, so I said yes. I was 15 when I got appointed to serve in the Christian Union (C.U). I was principled, God-fearing & my mum had done a pretty good job raising me up. But it was also that time I was forced to leave my relationship. The pressure was intense and at some point I couldn’t take it no more. Who would have thought serving God would end up so frustrating? I didn’t understand why I should not be happy with the person I loved. ‘Teenagers, huh?’
I was 16 when we got back together. That year was probably my best at that time. I thought I could manage it; serving, school, dating…But it was also that year I had to comprise many of the so-called standards I set up for myself. I loved him…so it wasn’t that much of a big deal. “He goes out clubbing, you know…shouldn’t you do the same?” “You’re too different…he’ll leave you for someone who’s more like him.” “There’s another girl in his life, Sandy.” “You’re too conserved…Loosen up a bit.” Everyone had something to say about our relationship and soon enough, my mind echoed back what they said. I kept thinking I needed to please him enough or he would leave. I skipped meals just to be as attractive as all the girls he was after. I saw the frustration in his eyes every time I said “no, I can’t do that.” I wasn’t the kind of girl to succumb to peer pressure but see, I loved him. And I was desperate to keep him in my life.
I was 17 when I gave myself to him…It was meant to be special…He was supposed to be ‘the one’…We were supposed to be more in-love after that. We were… weren’t we? However, he came up to me a month later and asked that we break up. “Am no good for you, Sandy.” He said. But I already knew that…I just didn’t care. He was right for me. I couldn’t get what I did wrong. He couldn’t just leave me…But he did. And a few months later he had a fling with my best friend. Everyone knew…everyone except me.
I’d been suspended as a C.U member about that time…It was a big deal because they’d just appointed me chairperson. The suspension made me bitter. I’d done everything right, hadn’t I? Was it my fault that I wanted to love & be loved back? I was angry at God.
I was 18 when I’d had enough. I wasn’t gonna be that naive girl anymore. I started drinking, smoking, clubbing…I wasn’t breaking out of my shell like everyone else thought. No, I was trying to be more like him so that he would take me back. Well, he did once, but I screwed up so many times. The insecurity, jealousy and bitterness changed me…It didn’t work out. I offered sex and he didn’t say no…”No strings attached.” That’s what we called it. He slept with four other girls that same year… I know this because he would brag it to my face. Crazy, huh? We had a connection, him & I. It didn’t matter. We came to Nairobi. It was one word; Freedom!!! I’d gotten so hooked to that insane lifestyle. It was bad…
By the end of that year (2015), I kept wondering why I did it. I wondered why I woke up at 3am to let him into my place; why I let him crawl back into the sheets with me. He had a girlfriend…She was lovely…but he was still there… He didn’t love me and he reminded me every single day. It hurt a lot…not just the rejection, but also the numbness. I didn’t care about the risks. I didn’t care about God…no, God hurt me too much. How could he let me be so stupid? He took everything from me… But I still wondered why I was stuck living that way. No-one else knew who I’d become. “I wasn’t that bad…” I kept telling myself. “It’s not like I go sleeping with every Tom, Dick & Harry.” But deep down I wanted to care…I wanted to feel again; to stop the numbness. But God kept reminding me that I chose my ex over Him…Did I really do that? Choose a man who abused me verbally & emotionally over the one who died for me?…Yes. And so I renewed my vows to Christ and chose Him instead. For real, this time.
‘This is the good part, huh?’…Sorry to disappoint…This is the ugly part. I started 2016 saying the cliche; New Year, New Me.
I was saved, cleansed, delivered…but why was it so tough? Wasn’t this supposed to be the good part? I spent my nights awake; in tears and groans. I kept asking ‘why, Lord?’ I was depressed & lost. Outside, I smiled and said, “am transformed.” But inside I was breaking apart. I hated myself; not just for what I did back then. No, I hated myself even more because I missed it. I missed that life so bad and I couldn’t understand why. Why did I find sleeping alone so weird…Why did my body still crave his touch…Why did I still stalk him on social media…Every night felt like a knife was being stabbed into me. The pain was too much & I would cry my eyes out. I spent my daylights hiding from the world in the name of being sick. Thank heavens for make-up..they hid my swollen eyes & worn out face. I kept to myself all through January. I drowned in my depression. I thought about my funeral, one too many times. Suicidal?..no..Am too much of a coward. But I still preferred someone to end my life for me. I thought it would be simpler that way. I wasn’t worth all the good names they kept using on me. I had given my life to Christ to be saved from my addictions…but I kept wanting them more & more.
God kept urging me to join a church…I was hesitant. Like I said, I wanted to keep to myself. I kept saying, ‘Well, God, these YouTube sermons are enough.’ But one Sunday morning, the pastor I was listening to pointed out the need to be among fellow believers. I kept saying, Lord this is unnecessary..but I did go to church that day. I kept going back every Sunday & every other day in between. I found a team of youths so in-love with God & I wanted that too. By March, I was in church 4 days a week. Bible study, music practice,services, etc. It wasn’t easy for the first few weeks..I still battled with bitterness & unforgiveness. But I found Christ in the midst of fellowship with others. I learnt how to make friends, to be patient in waiting & opening up about my weaknesses.
So back to who’s the real me…
Am a christian; unashamed of my walk…though tough at first. I’m a christian who isn’t afraid to say ‘no’ to invites to clubs, random dating & behaviour that pulls me a step backwards. Am now learning to trust God on a daily basis & finally opening up to a relationship with Him.
Am an introvert…Not one who hides indoors, drowning in loneliness. No, I’m one who enjoys being alone listening to sermons, reading novels & growing as a writer. I’m one who’s discovering myself & falling in-love with every part of me I’d loathed before.
Am a girl who loves life & who is passionate about loving others. I probably won’t want my family & friends to stumble upon this because am afraid they’ll find parts that weren’t so pretty. But I don’t mind; I want to be honest about it. It wasn’t a ‘hallelujah, deliverance pap!” kind of thing. It was a slow, painful journey & I don’t regret it. The process was necessary & am proud of who I am becoming. This here’s the good part I guess.
Am the friend who says; Know Christ & embrace the change that comes with it. It won’t be easy letting go of your old life but I’ll be here to encourage you & hold your hand. I’ll be here to remind you that it’s important to have standard & to be principled; to remind you to choose Christ & only Him. Because I’ve been there…& I know it’s so worth it!