Archive for the ‘Reflection’ Category


August 13, 2012 9 comments

Dear readers, Joey is constipated. He has been since last week. It’s so serious a vein is about to pop on his temple. Okay don’t get disconcerted yet; my bowels are fine, it’s my mind that is not. See over the past week I have been unable to translate my thoughts into writing. A week ago I had what could possibly be the best weekend of my life and I thought I had a wonderful story to share until I placed my fingers on the keyboard and my mind froze on me. It was extremely frustrating. The only person that can possibly relate to what I was going through is Pamela Jelimo. In the Olympic 800m finals she thought she had it until her legs faltered.

Last week, on my Facebook fanpage I promised to post something midweek and on Monday evening I took out my laptop hoping to bang a few words. Sad thing is, I couldn’t even finish the first paragraph. At least Jelimo seemed promising in the first lap. I was not hard on myself that evening. I actually empathized with myself. I was like, “It’s okay Joey don’t be depressed. That happens once in a while when one is exhausted. It doesn’t make you less of a man”. So I put my laptop away and hopped into bed; I still had Tuesday.

Like Jelimo, I thought I’d put up a strong performance on the last lap. She’s done it before and so have I. On Tuesday last week I excused myself from work early since I wasn’t feeling so good. I spent the whole afternoon in bed, woke up at 7pm and had my lunch/supper, then switched on my laptop. Unfortunately, the cycle repeated itself. My mind simply refused to function. I felt like that ass (I could have used the word ‘donkey’ but I am not so proud of myself)… So I felt like that ass that obdurately stops in the middle of the road and refuses to move an inch.

On the second lap, not only was the Russian closing in fast on Jelimo, but the finish line seemed to be moving further away the closer she got to it. She could feel the gold slipping out of her fingers. And that ‘Oh shit I’m screwed’ look she had on her face, Joey knows it too well.

After the Russian whooshed past Jelimo and went for gold, our athlete must have thought she could still get the silver. Likewise, on Wednesday (it was my day off) I knew I wouldn’t be able to post in the morning but I thought I would have something by midday. But all I had were hard, dry thoughts that were refusing to come out. I pushed and pushed but nothing came out. It hurt like a b!@#$. I was so angry and frustrated.

There’s a scene in the movie 8 Mile where Eminem walks to the stage and after being handed the microphone he chokes on seeing a myriad of frenzied eyes staring at him. He does not utter a single line and what follows are jeers and callous remarks of derision. In my mind I could actually hear those hushed curses from my audience. The same way Eminem turned away from his audience, I couldn’t bear to look at my stats over the course of last week. I was embarrassed. For the first time I hoped that people would just forget about Joeytales for a week.

I was a troubled lad and on Friday I considered ditching the pen. I told my colleague that I didn’t think I could keep this blog going. His response, “You don’t have to write.” I liked that remark. It was exactly what I wanted to hear. I am not paid to do this. Joey and Joeytales do not share an oath.

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I lay awake in bed. Sleep had deserted me at around 4am. And as stared into the unnerving darkness, it dawned on me that I cannot quit writing because it’s something I love to do. I thought about the wonderful romantic moments my mind and fingers have shared. I realized that writing to me is like a fulfilling romantic relationship. Even in the best of relationships there are those moments when partners do not see eye to eye. Regardless, more often than not they share delightful moments that leave them breathless. Moments they wouldn’t trade for anything.

I enjoy writing. I am always laughing with my laptop. I could be busy typing away when a thought crosses my mind and I just burst out. There are times I even question my sanity. There are times when my mind thinks of something so silly my fingers blush as they type. My mind and fingers just need to tie the knot already. This relationship is not about to be broken!

Thing is, I act on whims. I do not always finish things that I start. Being a tech guy there are countless times when I’ve made a resolution to teach myself a new skill, gotten myself tools and tutorials and even made a schedule, but deviated a few days later. I thought about blogging many days before I got me a blog. I wondered if it was just a whimsical endeavor. But when I made up my mind to blog, I made a pact with myself that I would keep it running for at least one year.

When it comes to blogging, as much as I enjoy writing, I do it for the masses. I am like that greedy pastor who revels at seeing his congregation grow week after week. One day I might just pull an Esther Mwende on you people. Anyway in about 10 months this blog has managed to attract a small gathering. Hundreds of loyal fans drop by every week. I cannot bear to disappoint you guys.

On my first week of blogging I was expecting to get about 100 views. To my surprise, at the end of the first day my first post had 354 views. That week the blog attracted about 800 viewers. I was elated. I thought I was right on track. I felt like that shaky, amateur artist who gets onto the stage for the first time but performs so beautifully he leaves the audience in awe. But the only reason I got so many views was because I had left a comment on a popular blog and people were curious to see what I had to offer. I took a shortcut.

There was a dip in the week that followed. The total views didn’t even get to 400. In fact, in the weeks that followed, I would get less than half the views I got on my first week. I was frustrated. But at the same time I was pleased to see that there were a few people that actually thought that I was doing a great job.

Presently, on a good day I will come up with something brilliant that will be shared across the social media and attract scores of readers. But that does not happen too often. I am never on a winning streak. It’s all hills and valleys up in Joeytales. On average, my views are still in the hundreds. I appreciate those among you that drop by week after week. I am not going to quit on you.

Last week on Friday I was introduced to this awe-inspiring blog. 5pm rarely finds me on my desk on Fridays but at 5:30 I was still seated with my eyes fixed on my laptop screen. The writer of this blog calls herself Noelle and I had been reading her blog posts all afternoon .She is brilliant. Her writing is sublime. She seems to have the right word for everything and her imagery is unmatched.

At some point I even felt like Noelle is misplaced. I am not sure she belongs in the blogosphere with the likes of Joeytales. To paint the picture vividly, I would say she is like that graceful violin maestro that dresses the part and plays gloriously before a stupefied audience. The audience gets lost in her music as they watch her performance. On the other hand, Joey is that guitarist in dirty jeans and a t-shirt written ‘U Dig Me?’ playing a guitar that’s a little out of tune. In short, Noelle humbled me. Thinking about it now, I am more energized to improve the standards of this blog.

I just realized this post is a little too long. In summary, Joey seems to have lost his mojo. But I have a strategy. I will look for Jelimo and the rest of the Kenyan athletes that performed dismally at the Olympics and we will sit together for a group therapy session. We will appoint David Rudisha as our therapist. I imagine I’ll be sitting somewhere in the circle and as guys introduce themselves my turn will come and they will stare at me because they’ve never seen my face and I do not look like I can run for shit. And I’ll politely introduce myself and make them understand that as much as I’m not as prominent as they are, I can relate to what they are going through.  I imagine the ever modest Rudisha would say something like, “Guys don’t beat yourselves up too much. In life, sometimes you win and sometimes you fall. When you fall, you to dust yourself, you ngarisha your fiatu and you work on improving yourself.”

PS: I put up a few photos on my Facebook fanpage that summarize the story that is causing the tension between my mind and fingers. You can always like the page and get updates.

Categories: Reflection

All I want is a happy life

February 6, 2012 16 comments

As I write this article, I have just awoken from an afternoon nap and I feel like crap. I am not in the best of moods and I don’t know what my problem is. I have to write something so you will excuse the somberness of this article.

I am thinking about the twists and turns of life. I am thinking about the roller coaster ride this life takes us through. And I find myself wishing life came with a handbook. I wish there were stipulated guidelines that if adhered to, guaranteed success and happiness. No scrape that – there are successful people who lead miserable lives. Heath Ledger took his own life at the height of his career. The movie the Dark Night earned him an Oscar posthumously. Success does not guarantee happiness. Let’s focus solely on happiness.

Religious people will be quick to say that the Holy books (Bible, Quran etc) are the guidelines of life. That does not hold water in this argument. These Books tell us how to live here on earth so as to earn eternal life in heaven. They are about pleasing God. This post is about happiness while on earth. The Bible embraces suffering. It is evident from the Bible that leading a blameless life will not guarantee you happiness. Trials and tribulations are supposed to take us closer to God. Remember Job?

I have never really been able wrap my head around the Biblical story Job. It’s a very disconcerting story. For those who might have missed Sunday school, Job was a devoted man of God. He is arguably the most pious man in the Bible. But it’s this devotion that made him lose everything. He lost his children, wealth and even his health.

Job suffered because God presented him to the devil as a paragon of virtue. What a paradox! I mean if being righteous does not guarantee a happy life, then what does? What does one have to do to be assured of a happy life? You see the most defining thing about this life is its unpredictability. One day you are over the moon, the next day shit happens and that ecstasy is snuffed like a blanket thrown over fire.

I understand that you can never have it all. It’s the curse of humanity. But the fact is, the level of happiness varies from person to person. Some people are happier than others. And when I talk of happy people I am not necessarily referring to those people who always act all happy and rosy. There are people who cover up so much pain behind those facades. I am talking about those people who fall sleep with smiles on their faces. Those that can’t remember the last time they wiped a tear off their cheeks.

What do these people do that the rest don’t?

Being nice is definitely not it. Someone said that expecting life to treat you fairly because you are a good person is like expecting a lion not to pounce on you because you are a vegetarian. It couldn’t have been said any better. Karma only knows payback. She does not give incentives.

Human beings live in vanity. People have this misconceived idea that if they have a lot of money then they will be happy. People are willing to do bizarre things in a bid to enrich themselves. Men have killed their parents so as to inherit wealth. The lengths at which people are willing to go to enrich themselves is nauseating. I do not believe ill-gotten wealth makes anyone any happier.

Money does not guarantee happiness. Not all problems can be traded with money. On the 13th of October commuters in Scotland’s capital city watched in horror as a woman leapt to her death from the prestigious Caledonian Hilton Hotel in Edinburgh. If you click here you will see a list of millionaires whose lives were so unbearable they opted for a shortcut.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to live a full life. If someone teased me with a million dollars I will snatch it and run so fast Usain Bolt would be proud of me. I want to be wealthy. I want to bask on the beaches of the Bahamas. I want to take cruises.  But above all, I want to be happy. I would rather have an average lifestyle with lifelong happiness than a flamboyant one with momentary blissful moments that cover up underlying perpetual stress. Personally, happiness overrides everything else.

We are told not to worry. In fact one of the quotes on my Facebook profile reads “Worry makes one emotional and susceptible to making bad decisions that usually make the situation worse.” But how can you not worry knowing that you are not the sole author of your life? How can you not worry knowing that you’re not in complete control of your life? That there are cosmic forces that may conspire against you?

Contrary to the skepticism elicited in this post, I have never been one to worry too much. I live in the moment and I am a bit of a don’t-care. I am not easily bothered and I rarely panic. Even in the heat of things, I somehow find the courage to believe that things will get better. I remain optimistic that no matter the situation, sooner or later I will be back up on my feet. I’m not sure if this is because I have a strong will, or simply because I’ve never really been tested extensively. While working on this post I had to pause, search for my Bible, wipe off the dust and read the book of Job. The guy went through hell. I wouldn’t want to be tested to such lengths. I just want to live a happy life. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Categories: Reflection