Women, please, get stronger. #Rippedgoddesses

Who wants to be a ripped goddess? I do, which is why for two weeks now, I have faithfully visited the gym, read articles about strength training, changed my diet and bought a bunch of workout clothes. I have even forced myself to become more sociable, so that my fellow gym goers can teach me proper weight lifting form.

I intend for fitness to be a habit, a lifestyle, as opposed to one-off activities that leave me cursing the day I was born. The goal is for my muscle to develop enough to make me double take every time I pass by a reflective surface + general body strength.

It has been interesting, peoples’ reactions to my ambitions.

My cousin gave me a look that was half pity, half snarl and said, “I hope this phase will pass.”

My friends cheered me on, obviously, because I don’t make friends with idiots.

The men in my life have nodded nervously before shifting the topic to a different subject, but the most interesting of reactions come from strangers, specifically, strange men.

I have been told how a woman with muscle is a man’s greatest fear, how they will run away from me, how women are meant to be soft and fat.

I have been questioned about who exactly I want to beat up, told how I am already hot and that my desire to pack some muscle is an indicator of my low self-esteem.

I have been told how I will look scary and always, always I think, how come these men, strangers at that, are viewing my fitness plan in the light of their desire, or more specifically, how they desire me to look so that “men”, aka they, will find me attractive?

It makes no sense, but that is how women have been looked at for a long time, as mannequins that exist solely for visual, and other kinds of enjoyment. We are to tailor the way we look to society’s expectations, whose plan is to send us into dull unions, from which we shall be expected to pop babies.

I would never consider marrying a man who is threatened by me taking my health and body image into my hands and regardless of how good looking the jama is (and I really like good looking jamas you guys), when he starts to spout nonsense about how I belong in the aerobics section thanks to my being female, I tell him to stop speaking to me because the conversation just ended.

Here are a few reasons why I think every woman should make it a point to get into fitness and become stronger:

Osteoporosis: Strength training reduces your risk of getting osteoporosis, a condition which causes your bones to become weak and leads to fractures of the hip, spine, and wrist. If you don’t want to be as brittle as a pringle when you hit 50, start accumulating bone density now.  

Molestation and rape: One out of every four women around you has been a victim of rape or molestation. One reason that unsavory characters feel it is OK to harass you is because they know they are stronger than you. Men are also routinely encouraged to molest women, by our own leaders. Take for example youth minister Ronald Kibuule who has once again opened his rapey mouth to spew rapey sentiments, like,

“I have talked to the IGP and the police in Kampala to see that if a woman is raped they look at how she was dressed. Most women currently dress poorly especially the youth. If she is dressed poorly and is raped, no one should be arrested,”

Asked to define what amounted to indecent dressing, the minister, who is also Mukono North MP, listed mini-skirts, bikinis and tight jeans.” This is from the Daily Monitor website.

When you can fight back, you are that much safer.

Posture: I don’t know about you, but I want to be walking as straight as a jambula tree at the young age of 95.

Peace of mind: Depression cannot share space with sweat. The more active you are, the more likely you are to feel energetic, motivated, confident, sexy and in control of your life. Take it from a girl who has battled some mean demons. Working out will shoo the black birds away.

One thing women worry about a lot is that when they begin to lift, they will bulk up ala the hulk. Honey that isn’t going to happen. You don’t have the testosterone necessary for that. You’re just going to get super toned and you’re going to feel even more beautiful, stronger, more alive. For more information on that, holla at the Google. 

Check this page out for inspiration: Who wants to be a ripped goddess?

And please sign this petition that is demanding the resignation of Ronald Kibuule. We cannot have rapists in public office. This rape apologist is youth minister. I will not have him as my minister any longer. Sign here: Out with Kibuule

Feel your feelings, read and travel.

First of all you guys, Chuma Nwokolo Jr. just followed me on twitter.  I don’t know. The world is so strange. My great grandmother, Apenyo the 1st would not be able to wrap her head around why a thing such as a ‘follow’, a little bit of finger pressure on the right space of computer screen would make a person so hysterical with joy. I barely understand it myself.

Chuma is the author responsible for Diaries of a Dead African, one of my favorite books this year.

Read this book

Read this book

It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me eat a lot. Give my mind a moment to explode with bright yellow joy.

Yes, it disturbed me that the few female characters in the book were two dimensional, but  Meme Jumai will always live in my head. I’ve made for him a special space where things like desperation and hunger and indignity don’t exist. His section was my favorite.

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I’m still obsessing over what my Thursday posts should be about. Should they chronicle the little dramas in my life? Should they be about herbs? Sigh.

For this post, the first idea that came to me was: What to do when you’re contacted by an ex who you have very deliberately cut out of your life? This is probably the most used and abused subject in the history of the internet, but I wanted to add my angst filled voice to the choir, but then I actually met with him and my anger went away. How disappointing.

But maybe I’ll write about it when I feel less lazy.

I then considered writing about the process of finding your correctness and how you can get thrown off your path by hypocritical and condescending people who are convinced that they know you and the workings of your mind better than you do. But then I realized it would get too personal then I’d begin to over edit, then I’d just choke on angst and die.

Sometimes, an asshole is somebody you appreciate on other levels and it is better to shift your focus on to things that matter.  Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu and all that.

But maybe I’ll write about it when I feel less lazy.

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You all know how much I love traveling. Travel writing is something I’d like to dedicate a large part of my life to.  Sabili Tours contacted me at the beginning of the year and together, we came up with a campaign called Around Uganda in 7 trips. These guys are passionate about getting young Ugandans to travel around their country.

This talk nti being a tourist is for bazungu is just lazy. People are coming from other continents to look at your baboons and to hike up your mountains and to rent rooms around your tea plantations and you’re here in Kampala choking on matatu fumes. People, tutravelinge!

Come and we model next to falls and such

Come and we model next to falls and such

Season 3 of Around Uganda in 7 trips is taking us to Queen Elizabeth National Park. It is going to be brilliant on so many levels (foh exampo):

1. Road trip!

2. Spending the night close to animals that you have probably only ever seen on TV.

3. Actually meeting these animals (from a safe distance).

4. Hanging out with some of the coolest people I know.

Click this link to see evi-da of how epic these trips get and then book your place.

In final news, Sunday is going to be a very special day in my life because Writivism is taking me to Hilton High School to read and discuss True to Nothing with the literature club there. Bless them.   

To find out more about my involvement with the Writivism competition, watch this video. 

Kawa Apenyo out!

See you on Monday 

x

Marketer’s Night: Don’t be a Mumu

I never miss Marketer’s night. Why?  Scrumptious food, good looking guys and seriously inspiring women. I also want to be able to rock a 10 inch heel and bombard keynote speakers with intelligent questions. As things are currently, I just tiptoe in, exchange a few cards, listen to the speakers as hard as my attention span will let me and wait for dessert.

Sometimes, I also dance.

Kona!

Kona!

The last topic was the role of the board in driving corporate excellence. There was some noise about what goes into the choosing of a board member, whether or not marketers need to be included on boards and other things. Maggie Kigozi disabused the audience of the fantasy that to be a board member is a lucrative thing. Apparently, they get zero pay for a truckload of work. Perhaps like writers, they get paid in ego and free meals? I don’t know.

The person I was eager to see and hear was Dr. Wale Akinyemi, a business strategist, consultant, author and inspirational speaker who had been flown in from Nigeria to deliver the keynote speech.

Now either Nigeria has some of the richest proverbs in the world or Nigerians have done a better job than the rest of us at preserving and incorporating their proverbs into day to day conversation and life in general. The multi-layered goodness of these phrases, the humor and power all packed into one short line.

Proverbs in a story are like spicy currants, treats that I look forward to encountering whenever I begin a story.

I have even been inspired to start collecting Acholi proverbs for use in my own writing.

Wale Akinyemi is loud, dramatic, eloquent and highly successful. He delivered so many wisdom bombs that night, some of which I will attempt to reproduce below:

You have the power of process. Of all animals on God’s green earth, humans have the most power of process. Don’t squander it. If you do, you are a mumu (fool).

Don’t confuse activity with productivity: Wale gave a wonderful analogy to describe this, but I can’t remember his exact words, only the sentiment behind them. I will make one of my own. Say you are tilling the land. If you are a mumu, you dig in one spot with all your might and sweat very much, but what you’re really doing is creating a pit that eventually you won’t be able to climb out of.

On the same theme, he said, “You think you are thinking. You are not thinking. You are a mumu, rotating blocks of ignorance around your mind.”

In response to those in the audience who had been demanding explanations about why young people are never put on corporate boards. His advice was: develop yourself. Study everything that you can in the field where your biggest dream lies and then you can truly use your intellectual power to progress. He summed this up perfectly with, “If your knowledge doesn’t produce tangible results, you are useless.”

Akinyemi is writing a book about the advice his mother gave him that didn’t work, for example: slow and steady wins the game. He told of how for the longest time he was going real slow, and real steady, frustratingly so, but nothing was happening. He was still losing. He abandoned that mantra and now goes with “Fast, focused and consistent wins the game”.

Clearly, that has worked for him. That’s right people. Cliches actually work.

I will end with the words of Sanaa Gateja, one of Africa’s greatest artists. He says, “The wonderful (and terrible) thing about dreams is that they all come true.”

Grow yourself to meet the capacity of your dream.

More Transport Tales from Kampala

The bodaholics and taxi lovers that I connect with on social networks sent me such a nice collection of stories that I had enough material for a second Stiletto Point article. Big thanks to everybody who contributed. First of all, y’all saved me from having to write that Sunday. Secondly, thank you for helping me paint a picture (wordpicture?) of what it is like to use public transport in this our chaotic and often funny city.

Kampala, home of organized chaos  From Kabiza.com

Kampala, home of organized chaos
From Kabiza.com

Akech: I once boarded a taxi from Gayaza to town. When one lady got off off at Kubiri , the conductor started to call for people to come in. Unfortunately, that woman had thrown up all over the back seat. Passengers of course refused to sit there. The conductor then said, “Whoever accepts to sit there will pay half price.” In unison, the whole taxi shouted, “yiiiyyiii?!’

Laura: A taxi I was once in stopped to wait for customers in a sunny spot. When a lady sitting next to a window complained that she was getting sunburnt, the conductor said, “Woviira mu waliwo umbrella?” – meaning “Is there an umbrella at your stop?”

Notice that there is a guy behind the boda guy? Where is he resting his feet?

Notice that there is a guy behind the boda guy? Where is he resting his feet?

Kyakyo: One time, I flagged down a boda along Acacia Avenue. He was wearing a helmet.  It was around 9pm. I didn’t bother negotiating and  just said “stage” and he grunted. I hoped on. As we approached the now Mish Mash area, he reached back and touched my thigh! Indignantly, I shouted, “excuse me!” but he insisted on touching me. When I told him to stop the bike, he took off his helmet and that is when I noticed that he was Indian. I just told him to scoot on.

Kumbuka: In my O’Level at Mwiri college, I was once sent home for school fees. Fare from the Jinja park to home had always been 2500/=. All through the journey, I sat confident that I had enough money, not knowing that fare had been increased to 3000/= . When I paid, the conductor asked for the 500/=. I didn’t have it.  I explained that I was just from school and didn’t know about this increment and even started faking tears but the man wasn’t having any of it. He said,”Mwe kusomelo temusoma mawulile?” Meanwhile, he was taking my shoe!

kla247

Achetun: Yesterday evening, I boarded a taxi near Mulago hospital. As soon as we joined the main road, a Police bike followed us. Two officers ordered our driver and conductor to get out and sign in their book. They then issued a fine demand note. When they asked see the driver’s permit, he claimed to have left it in town. It was when the police unleashed another ticket that the conductor started to complain bitterly, saying they had received three other tickets that day. Altogether they had been charged over 800K in one morning. We were chased out of the taxi and it drove off via Yusuf Lule road.

Ntezi:  I always have conversations with my boda men, especially when we’re travelling long distances. Also in the unusual or ungodly hours I find myself sharing real life experiences with them. This is my way of ensuring I am humanized in their minds, so that they abandon any evil plans they might have. Hasn’t failed me yet.

Osweri: I’d always wondered about people in taxis who make a spectacle of themselves over 500/- until I boarded some taxi to Ntinda (1500). I told the tout I was disembarking in Nakawa. Translation: I’m paying 1000, right? Long story short, my beautiful leather handbag is sans a shoulder strap now. I’m mad and mournful, but without an ounce of embarrassment. I need to stop talking and just buy that scooter already!

Bodaholics

Bodaholics of Kampala

I’m with Marvis. I spend so much time and money on boda bodas that it would be a super smart move if I bought a scooter. Perhaps I would even hire a rider.

Do leave a story of your own in the comment section.

See you next Monday.