Let’s try this again, shall we?
I’m baaaaaaaaaack!!! Or, to borrow from Emimen:
Guess who’s back
Tell a friend
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back
Guess who’s back
It is only the first day of March but whew chilllleee I feel like I have already lived out half of 2021 because of how incredibly BUSY work has been over the last two months. In my first (and last 😐) blog post of the year I lamented that:
I am yet to work on my 2020 reflections as well as set my 2021 goals and word(s) of the year because work is really kicking me in the balls right now. I have not even started working on my 2021 content calendar for the blog, and that is a big fucking deal because by now I either have majority of my content calendar figured out, or I have a clear indication of the direction the blog will take for the year. But as it stands now I have neither of those things 😐
Things remained just as hectic for the first half of February and it was only after Valentine’s Day that work FINALLY slowed down enough for me to catch my breath. Unfortunately by then it was too little too late as half the month had already gone, so I decided to hold off till March 1st. The decision to not bring the blog back last month was not an easy one to make and it took me most of February to make peace with it. The consistency the blog has had over the last 2 ½ years is something I take great pride in, so having to postpone bringing it back by a month had me feeling like a failure if I am to be completely honest. In my first ever Lwile the Leo post I shared that I have tried and failed at blogging before, so before making a second attempt at this writer shit I promised myself that if nothing else I would be consistent with putting up a post every Wednesday. Whether that meant sleeping/waking up at 3 a.m. to write, or sacrificing reading/TV time, I did whatever it took to make it happen. And make it happen I did because ever since I launched the blog on August 22, 2018 I have never missed a Wednesday, with the exception of January when the blog is on hiatus and May 2020 when I ran guest posts all month for the inaugural Mental Health Awareness Month. So I was really gutted not to bring back the blog on February 3rd as promised in my Kwaheri 2020 post, but I also feel like the decision to do so, or rather not do so, was not 100% mine because my workload had me by the motherfucking balls.
Nothing lasts forever though, and eventually work slowed down enough for me to dedicate some quality time to Lwile the Leo. So, one month later, here we are. I still have a long way to go with regards to getting my house in order, but we are here today and that is all that matters.
For anyone reading this who is new to the blog, the essence of my Karibu posts (see here 2019 and 2020) is me sharing what I have planned for the year for Lwile the Leo. In my letter to my mum on the third anniversary of her death, I said that 2020 was a really muted year for me and I am hoping for better and MORE in 2021. 2020 may not have been a bad year overall, but neither was it a great year. If I were to describe 2020 in one word I would choose nondescript, because other than my relationship nothing really stood out for me last year. I believe the main reason for that is because 2019 was the best year of my life and it set the bar extremely high, so 2020 had to work twice as hard to be half as good as its predecessor. If that was not challenging enough on its own, a global pandemic that no one could have foreseen really threw a spanner in the works, giving 2020 little to no chance to be even a quarter as good as 2019.
Last year was a very challenging one for me with regards to writing because I just did not enjoy it at all. The downcast mood of the year definitely contributed to my lack of enthusiasm for writing, but more than anything it was having to tell the story of my mum’s battle with cancer that really made writing feel like a chore last year. For those who are new to the blog, last year I told my mum’s story in 13 themes (because she died on the 13th) under the tag JS Kicking Cancer’s Ass. The tag was borne from a post I put up on October 17, 2018 titled ‘JS Kicking Cancer’s Ass’ that you can check out here, and in the post I shared my reasons for wanting to tell my mum’s story:
It was equally amazing how much pain I had remembered without experiencing the pain again.
When I set out to tell my mum’s story in 2018 and then finally got around to it in 2020, I was naïvely confident I would use that quote in the final theme. I knew telling my mum’s story would retraumatise me, but what I did not know was that I was only aware of the fact in abstract terms. I knew I would remember the pain, but I believed it would only be from a far. Similar to how you can look at a scar from some long-ago wound and remember the injury without feeling the pain all over again. I could not have been more wrong as there were sooo many times I felt the pain so acutely it was like I was reliving my mum’s slow demise all over again. But I committed to telling my mum’s story regardless of how difficult it would be because, as I said in my letter to my mum on the first anniversary of her death, even the battles lost are still worth telling. My mum might have lost her 5 ½ year battle with stage IV breast cancer but that does not make her story any less powerful because even the battles lost are still worth telling.
That said, I am sooo relieved to be through with telling my mum’s story. I will forever talk about my mum on the blog because she was the great love of my life, but for this year I want to tell more cheerful stories about my mum because she was such a fun, cool mum. Plus I am just really, really, REALLY tired of sad stories. I have some leftovers from the JS Kicking Cancer’s Ass series that I might sprinkle here and there, but in general I want to tell more light-hearted stories this year. Not only do I want to tell more light-hearted stories, I also want Lwile the Leo to have a more upbeat vibe this year and one of the ways I intend to do that is by having visual content. I will not say much about this today because I only have two ideas firmed up for now and everything else I am considering is still a WIP. What I will say is that I am in the process of buying a tripod and a ring light because I am very serious about creating visual content this year. Most likely the visual content will live on my social media, rather than on the blog, so if you do not follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you might want to do so that way you do not miss out on anything 😊
On that note, if you do not follow me on Facebook please stop reading at this point and immediately head over to my page (here) to like and follow it. One of my goals for 2021 is to grow Lwile the Leo’s Facebook page likes and follows to 500. I am currently at 52 likes and 51 follows meaning I am hoping to increase those numbers tenfold! Welp! So please, from the bottom of my heart, if you do not follow me on FB please stop reading right this minute and only come back after you have liked AND followed my page on Facebook. Kthxbye.
Welcome back. Lol!
I finally made headway with my 2021 content calendar two Fridays ago.
I mentioned it briefly in my last post, but not having a content calendar was a major source of stress for me. I started working on my 2019 content calendar in Q4 2018 and by the time 2019 rolled around, I had very few blanks left. I was a bit late to start working on my content calendar last year but by the end Q1 2020 I had figured out that I wanted to tell my mum’s story in 13 themes and everything sort of fell into place after that. I always leave a few blanks in my content calendar to allow for spontaneity, but before my breakthrough two Fridays ago my content calendar was 99% blank 😐 Like, March was fast approaching but I only had content planned for 1st, 3rd and 10th. This is the longest it has taken me to make headway with my content calendar, but better late than never I suppose.
On that note, I have been meaning to start a Mental Health Monday (MHM) segment on the blog for almost a year now. Next Monday is my mum’s birthday and for that reason I have decided to put up the inaugural MHM post on what would have been my mum’s 62nd birthday, so look out for that next week.
One of the things I decided to try out in 2021 is a Word of the Year. My Word of the Year is discipline, but technically I have three Words of the Year: healing, mindfulness and discipline. I was planning to explain this in today’s post but after getting to just under 1,000 words in the outline alone it was clear it needed to be a standalone post. So look out for ‘Healing. Mindfulness. Discipline’ that will be up later this month.
In keeping with the light-hearted vibe I want Lwile the Leo to have this year, I am also being deliberate with reading books I am likely to enjoy. I currently have 69 😉 (for real though) unread books on my shelf because I simply cannot go to the CBD and not see what the second-hand booksellers have in store. Even if I only have five minutes to spare I will quickly glance through and see if there is anything I have been looking out for, or if something tickles my fancy. I have bought countless random books by authors I have never heard of because I think the cover art is dope, the title is interesting or it says “Oprah’s Book Club” on the cover. And can you really blame me because with a price range of KES 100 – 300 the bibliophile I am has nothing to lose. I have bought a few gems as a result, but I have also bought a lot of duds. A lot! And last year I read SIX!!!!!! 1-star books. Bruh! To make matters worse, four of them were technically back-to-back as I read The Postmistress followed by I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You as book one and two of the year!! What a poor AF start to my reading challenge aki. Then in October I read We Were The Mulvaneys followed by Straight Up and Dirty: A Memoir and the former is THE MOST BORING BOOK I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE! The other 1-star reads were Good in Bed (my fourth book of the year… poor poor poor start aki) and Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously (HAAATED!!! that one). So this year I am deliberately reading more books that I know I will enjoy while interspersing them with those I am not too sure of. And so far so good 😊
Before we move on from books, I had mentioned in my Karibu 2020 post that I wanted to start a book club last year. The pandemic may have fucked up that plan but I never stopped thinking about it. Last month one of my male (important information as men generally do not read my blog 😐) readers suggested I start a group on Goodreads and after thinking about it I am definitely going to take him up on his suggestion. I have professed my love for Goodreads sooo many times on the blog so it will be interesting to see where this endeavour takes me.
This year I have also decided to make my skin a priority. I have always been good at the basics – cleanse, tone and moisturise – but as I have gotten older my skin needs have changed and the basics simply do not cut it anymore. I am still figuring out my skincare routine and when I do I might share it in case anyone is interested, but for now what I will say is WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY SINGLE DAY! Whether it is sunny or not, whether you are indoors or not, wear sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every single day. I have been wearing sunscreen every day since January 3rd when I went to Diani for my baecation and in a month’s time there was already a marked difference in my skin.
As I conclude, I would like to share this major milestone I hit on 21.02.21:
Two-fucking-thousand days!!!!!!! If that is not a big fucking deal in and of itself, peep how much I saved (in KES, not USD) in the 2,000 days since I stopped smoking. Bruh!! I am TOTALLY buying myself something expensive to celebrate this achievement. I have not given too much thought as to what it will be, though I do have some ideas. Suggestions are more than welcome, so feel free to send any via the comment section or hit me up on any of my socials.
A (veeeeeerrrrry) belated Happy New Year to you dear reader. Here’s wish you more happiness, peace of mind, success and normalcy in 2021.