To the world March 8th is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but to me March 8th is, and always will be, my mum’s birthday.
I say all the time it is not a coincidence that my mum was born on International Women’s Day as she embodies embodied everything WOMAN. In an old blog post I put up on her birthday in 2016 I wrote:
But that does not mean she was perfect and as I grew older I got to see that my mum was flawed and made mistakes just like everyone else.
I learnt to love my birthday from my mother and with time I began to reciprocate that love by making sure we did something to celebrate her birthday, more so after she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in 2012. That was also around the time I started working meaning I had more money to spend on her birthday celebrations so we could have some fanfare on her big day.
My mum passed away on December 13, 2017, and the following year my sister and I began a tradition of meeting up on her birthday. For the first birthday I invited my brother to join us for dinner but he did not show up. Last year I took a break from firstborn-ing and handed over all the responsibilities that come with being a firstborn to my sister. She was the one who invited my brother to join us for dinner but he ghosted us and did not respond to the invitation.
This year though, my sister and I would not be doing something as just the two of us for my mum’s birthday because I would be at Two Rivers Mall for their IWD 2020 celebration. They had initially intended for my BFF, Adelle Onyango, to give a talk for IWD 2020 but Adelle felt that was too mainstream. She proposed that instead of a talk her BFF of 15 years should interview her live on stage as we celebrate ‘A Woman’s Best Friend’.
Her proposal was accepted and Adelle and I had a conversation about next steps the day after she was given the go ahead. We met the following week and agreed on a few topics and talking points that would serve as a guide, but she mostly left it up to me as she did not want to know of the exact questions beforehand.
I worked on the questions on and off as I was writing last week’s blog post about all the fire flames sex I am having *flips hair* and after the post went live I was able to focus solely on my preparation for the interview.
But in the midst of all the preparation was a shitlaod of sadness that I can only assume was because of my mum’s upcoming birthday. I say assume because my mum’s birthday was not a trigger for me in 2018 and 2019. I am always triggered by Mother’s Day (I fucking hate Mother’s Day) and the holidays because my mum died 12 days before Christmas. I am sometimes triggered by my birthday because I learnt to love my birthday from my mother, but before this year I was never triggered by my mum’s birthday.
I say all the time that grief is not a linear process, but when I take stock there are days I am certain that my grief is getting worse because I have cried more in the last 33 days than I cried in all of 2019.
That probably sounds quite alarming, so let me put it into perspective. I am both a crier and not a crier at the same time. I have a highly empathetic nature so I cry easily when watching/reading something sad, but after my mum died I hardly ever cry in my real life. If I were to venture a guess I would say it is because I cried a lot in my formative years as I had a very turbulent childhood, and I am now tired of crying for myself. If I were to think back to the last time I cried it was probably in August 2018 as I was overwhelmed with sadness at the first birthday of mine that I would be celebrating without my mum. I may have cried in December that year around her first anniversary/the holidays but I do not remember.
I cried a few times in 2018 but I am pretty sure I did not cry even once in 2019. But in the last 33 days I have cried six times: Feb 7th, 8th and 14th, March 4th, 5th and 8th. I ALMOST cried on March 7th and 10th but I somehow held it in on both days. March 7th, the day before my mum’s birthday, was particularly difficult and I am sure the only reason I held it together is because I did not speak to my boyfriend until later that night when the sadness had passed. Talking to my boyfriend always sets me off when I am on the verge of tears and I did not want to chance it that day. That probably sounds strange, but it is because I hear all the love and concern in his voice and I get overwhelmed to the point of tears by how much he cares for me. Once that makes me tear up I then start crying because of the shit that made me call him in the first place. Le sigh!
On February 1st I had my first panic attack, albeit a mild one, but on the morning of my mum’s birthday I had a more pronounced panic attack. I woke up at around 7 a.m. and within minutes my chest was paining, my stomach was unsettled and it was not long before I was crying.
I will do a post soon that will serve as a deep dive into all the crying I have been doing of late, but for today I only want to focus on IWD 2020.
The gig was scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. though my boyfriend and I got there just after 1 p.m. During the entire drive to the venue I was a bundle of nerves dressed up in a cute playsuit and sexy heels. In fact, let me tell y’all a story that explains just how nervous I was.
I finished my preparation for the interview that Sunday morning but as I was running a bit behind I did not have time to print the questions. So I saved a copy of the document on my phone and I also carried a copy of it in my flash disk so that I could print it at the mall. At the printing shop I requested for them to print for me a double sided copy to save on paper. However, they messed up the first one and had to print another copy. As I was leaving the shop I asked for the misprint because I did not want to leave it lying around, preferring instead to trash it. How did I end up trashing the one that was printed properly?!
And the way it was KES 50!!!!! to print!
50 fucking bob!!! Ugh! So I had to go back to the shop to ask for another copy.
Me: Please print for me again
Guy at the shop: You trashed the wrong one?
Me: … yes
Guy at the shop:
The gig started not long after 2 p.m. and I was so nervous when I was giving my intro that when I caught my cousin’s eye she mimed “breathe”. Also my hand was shaking so badly at the beginning that another cousin of mine joked that she thought I was trying to fan myself with the paper. Lol. The hand shaking got better as the afternoon went on but my leg, on the other hand, absolutely refused to stop shaking 😐
A shitload of nerves aside, I had a really good time and I enjoyed meeting new people, some of them being my readers who were present at the gig.
One of my cousin’s brought me flowers for the occasion which was super sweet and thoughtful of her.
I mean, can I possibly look any more excited!? After the gig my family, boyfriend and I went to get food and happy hour drinks in celebration of my mum’s birthday and each other.
All in all it was a lovely day and a truly memorable celebration of what would have been my mum’s 61st birthday. The day may have started with a panic attack, but it ended with some fire flames sex and had so much love, laughter, nerves and learning in between.