There is something about everything in my life that irritates me. Perhaps the discontent begins with my name which I have over the years become more and more certain was not well thought of by mother. After six intense hours in the labour ward, you’d think she’d at least consider that of mother, or one of her nine sisters to name me after – or perhaps even a unique name that an imaginative, rebellious seventeen year old would name her new born.
I dislike the fact that as much as I enjoy healthy food, we have eaten ugali kunde for nine weeks straight because my drunkard of a father has found another waitress to shower his mediocre salary on and my housewife mother has resorted to selling our old clothes to make some extra money to feed us. I mentioned my father right?
Alcoholism would be a little more accepted if he were getting drunk on fine wine or champagne but he’s choice of poison is a daily 250 ml bottle of Legend with which he downs alongside a small pack of groundnuts that costs ten shillings. I cringe every time I picture him throwing the njugus one by one into his mouth as though he is a fish eagerly waiting for the pellets to land in his mouth. His face always to the ceiling or sky and when it does land in his liquor smelling mouth he turns to the person next to him to see if they witnessed his victory.
As if having paternal issues isn’t enough, their two rebellious souls fell in love amidst their teenage years and what they loved most about each other, what they considered made them ‘soul mates’ was their albinism genes. I use ‘was’ because there is not a single hint of love between them – at least to my knowledge. I am a product of their former lust worthy acts with skin that seems Caucasian from a far but ‘abnormal’ as you draw nearer.
Then there is my classroom teacher, Mr Musau with his thick Akamba accent that often makes his sentences sound like cultural hymns. Why the administration chose him to be our English teacher, I don’t know but I worry about our future. When he gets mad at me – which I must say, is very often he pretends to mispronounce my name saying “Beeech! You will find yourself in prep during lunch period if you keep drawing instead of participating in class.” This always provokes a roar of laughter from the rest of my classmates and I say often because this happens at least three times a week. I’ve gotten used to it, people calling me ‘beeech’, ‘bitch’, ‘beach’ as opposed to Peach but it also takes me back to the part where I’m mad at my mother for the name she had the midwife indicate on my birth certificate.
When I’m not drawing in Mr. Musau’s music class, I’m goalkeeping during the break and lunch periods because somewhere in my mind, if I make it past all this irritation I will be as great as Lionel Messi. Unfortunately, my appearance on the field has become quite limited. With more sunny days and less cloudy ones, my skin condition hinders my outdoor activities.
Although I want to be a grown up, I don’t want to end up with push up bras or fancy boob tops or have my left breast bigger than my right – which seems to be the case. I shiver just thinking about how unattractive this would look if anyone were to see me naked. And now, my football days are limited even when the climate is favourable because these mangoes emerging from my chest are as painful as 10 injections in the bottom all at once.
The gumboots I have to wear to school have to be the most irritating aspect of this life. My feet have been growing so fast that at size nine I can barely get a decent leather shoe for school and so it was my father’s wise idea to slash gumboots at the ankle and have me wear them. Now on weekdays I look like I have a part time job in plumbing or farming or perhaps even mining.
There’s one thing I’m certain of – I want to have a nose ring. I want to ‘rock on’ like Pink and be cool and if my dreams of being an international football star collapse in my ever dreaming mind, perhaps I could be a rock star! But even my skin irritates me. I got my first piercings when I was seven because to my mother, I needed a slight feminine touch. They were small shiny bronze studs that looked great for a good few days before they got itchy. Soon after small growths emerged underneath the studs threatening to conquer their presence and after a doctor’s appointment I had to do away with them. Now I have two massive keloids on both earlobes and my ignorant classmates think its part of a new Maasai tradition.
My weekends are spent at my grandmother’s house upon her insistence that I must be cultured into a proper Maasai woman yet she spends half the time sleeping while I do her chores. The other times she’s busy calling me “weh!” as she does her goats to the point that I’ve began questioning both her vision and my appearance. She once asked me if I was sure I was a girl because I looked like a boy – though I can bet the only 50 bob I have she meant to say I looked like one of her livestock.
There was a brief glimpse of hope when my twenty something year old neighbour Sheri took time to talk to me. She found me seated in front of our rusted gate with my drawing pad in hand and tried to engage in what the folks on TV call ‘small talk’. My responses to her questions were short and precise, and I almost asked her why she was suddenly eager to speak with me given that she never did. My mind even imagined her publishing our conversation on her college blog with the title “My neighbour that looks like a boy and acts like a goat but is actually an albino girl” but instead she gave me her two cents on puberty. I was offended at first but I shortly after realized she meant well. “Adole,” as Sheri enjoyed calling it “isn’t going to get any easier and the world will always seems against you but it gets better with time.” But what if I’m the one against the world? With my fruity, mispronounced, worth teasing name or my drunkard of a father and his groundnuts or my shameful body features and the ugali kunde we’re going to eat in another two hours that probably won’t entail even a hint of beef.
I’m getting a migraine just thinking about this.