Reading through Masubuko’s story obliged me to affirm that it’s not only Nigger-bulls who hijack spouses when the other partner is away. Though uncommon, there is a worse breed known as the hungry Swedish women thirsting for Nigger-bulls.
When I finished my first full marathon, I felt a deep sense of contentment. It was not just a simple act of training but proof that I had survived, that I had learnt valuable lessons and that I was re-discovering my own improved brand of happiness and satisfaction. That I had gone through all the phases of a bitter betrayal and I survived.
At 30, the last thing I expected was to find myself separated and living with my family in Nairobi. Just 5 years before, my heart was bursting with, what I thought, was unwavering love of my new found African fiancée. Like many women with high expectations and low patience threshold, I had entertained a simplistic view of marriage. I thought that love is all we needed to build a home together, bear children and live happily ever after. I was mistaken.
The reality was that we were starkly unprepared for the battle that would ensue – the bleak moments of silence, the subtle put-downs, the mounting irritations and the monstrous realization that just because I had taken a flight to Stockholm to live with him – my love – he would not suddenly metamorphosize into a strong and emotionally honest man I had dreamed of.
I didn’t escape the common phobia in Sweden-that I was a “paper searching girl”, just an opportunist and not a human being searching for love and affection. Irritably, this situation came from a man who had taken me from the hands of my parents, with all promises of love.
After several years together, trust was created. Like every other `Paperless’ person, I yearned for freedom: Freedom of speech, finance and movement. I had to return to Kenya to wait for my papers so I packed my luggage happily, hopping to join him in a short while after my paper problem was fixed so that we could live together happily ever after.
The weekend before leaving, I invited my `best-friend’ for a picnic at a near-by beach. She turned up in the company of a white Swedish friend and her daughter. After feasting, bathing in water and sand, I invited them for dinner at home. Little did I know that I had just hosted my competitor who would ruin my romantic future for ever. The emails and text messages that followed proved that my African X had fallen for the Swedish woman instantly. After a confrontation, they both promised to behave. I trusted them.
The promise was broken immediately I stepped out of Sweden. With all the freedom and space, he gathered all words and guts to convince the white woman that I left after a break up.
Like Osewe’s story on Masumbuko, this white woman had tasted Nigga-goodies before and she couldn’t avoid the temptation. Telling her to keep off was like telling a two year old kid to keep off from a jar full of cookies. She dug even deeper and it worked well. In fact, the least I expected was to be switched with a white Swedish woman. This was because my would be hubby talked ill of Swedish women and so, for me, the abrupt turn of events was very ironical.
Suddenly, it emerged that my “best friend”, whom I had invited for dinner, was to visit her family in Kenya that December together with her white Swedish woman friend and my X. Feeling a sense of pain and embarrassment that I could not bear, I took a stunning decision to run away from my problems.
I bought a ticket and landed in Botswana in the safe, loving and kind hearts of my brothers. But my problem was not yet over. I was haunted repeatedly, day in day out. Worse still, I dared not speak about my pain to anyone. Honestly, the thought of opening up froze my blood. I never wanted any one to carry my pain. They all knew how much I loved this guy. I knew that it could have been too painful for them too.
Bitter lessons and challenges of a new beginning
Being unable to talk about my situation was an addition to my problems because they kept enquiring about his welfare. I lived in a skin and skeleton love and it pained me a lot. What followed can make up a hilarious and poignant movie which could feature the white woman grazing happily in what, I had assumed, was destined to be my life time garden of bliss.
Separation, just like divorce, is an ugly word in the victim’s vocabulary. It smacks of failure, bitterness, broken promises and lack of effort. On the ladder of disenchantment, it pushes you up another rung and in moments of despair, separation or divorce invites you to doubt almost everything about yourself. It brings with it a wave of loneliness, a faint but constant sense of panic and the feeling that had you been a more supportive/stronger/sexier partner complete with `papers’, things might have acted out different.
Making a mistake is one thing and admitting the mistake to yourself is another. As I did my morning runs, I constantly told and re-told myself that no matter how bitter the betrayal, there are always positive lessons to be learnt. I worked hard in digging out the positives. It turned out to be a blessing to me and to my community.
My therapy of choice was not the usual one. I didn’t dissolve into another relationship but instead, I bought a real nice jogging kit and turned my legs and thighs into running machines. I made a promise to myself that no matter how many mistakes I make in trying to become a runner, an amateur in this case, I would celebrate my failures as potential triumph and my triumphs as something to be lauded.
Not surprisingly, and as a novice marathoner, I made all classic and bad choices. I ran without stretching, ran too fast, burned out quickly and bought second hand shoes that were not compatible with my feet. But, as I got used to muscle cramps and went through other experiences, I saw my new found hobby as a challenge than as a failed experiment.
I took advice from experienced runners like Paul Target and made weekly rehearsals. I learnt the difference between “tempo running”, “cross-training” and “interval running”. Slowly, but surely, my whole self corresponded with my desire to run. I sweat out all my past and began a new and interesting chapter of life. Looking back, I truly thank God for the turn of events. Honestly, I had jumped down a cliff that was too steep to climb back to the top.
Finishing my first marathon was a big achievement. I knew for sure that though I was no longer engaged romantically, I was still intact. I was no longer in denial but in recovery and that I was no longer ignorant about how important it is to nurture budding desires with a little extra care. I understood how important it is to follow inner-self instinct to the end. How important it is to let closing doors close without a bang and how to let others open other doors softly and silently.
I learnt how important it is to respect and practice self love. I learned to love myself unconditionally and to never let anyone come between myself and my ambitions. I had denied myself too much love. I just gave it all and got very little if not, nothing. I learned to smile, just a smile, even if my whole self was breaking down.
I realized that the most important element in life is to dream and never to stop dreaming until the dream is born to become reality. I leant that in life, there is no such thing as a high hurdle that you cannot jump over if at all you are willing to jump. Life will always bring forth your desires. But, the big challenge is how high you are willing to jump outside your known comfort zone. My X was so unapologetic because for him, he never promised me a garden of roses when he took me from my parent’s hands but thank God because I have moved on.