I’m in the business of being awesome and the business is good.

You lied to me and let me pour myself into you. I loved you. Always will. I fell in love, watched it grow, watched it change, and watched it fall apart. I stretched my heart for you but you bruised it. I hoped to find love but instead I found a beautiful disaster. Whatever we had (for lack of a better term) was built on a strong foundation of (my) delusion and (your) lies. I knew how crappy it was, but I couldn’t bring myself to walking out (damn comfort zone!) because you are/were the king of mixed signals. Every time I was starting to close the door, you knocked with the I LOVE YOUs, I NEED YOUs, I MISS YOUs and I would let you in. My worst fear in relationships is not knowing whether someone will hurt me or not. But you did. 
You not only did not love me back, you were pursuing a relationship with another girl you really saw a future with. And you also cheated, but didn’t have the balls to tell me or try to work it out so you just put her photo on your profile, in the hopes that I would ask about her (dear God…) I inevitably found out the truth (about the cheating)… I was utterly heartbroken and overcame with grief that I just wanted to crawl into a hole and stay hidden there. 

There are thousands of ways to get your heart broken; but, none are worse than getting cheated on. To be honest, cheating is something I never condoned nor even understood. I couldn’t understand how someone who said he loved me could treat me like how you did. I was inconsolable for weeks. It threw my heart off balance. Cheating is the worst. I thought I was smart, beautiful, caring, loving, a great partner…but then you threw me to the side as if I were garbage, and there I was, wondering if I was as great of a catch as I thought I was. I thought something was wrong with me and that’s a shitty feeling. How the hell did you even sleep at night? 

Heads up guys: we are not fragile dolls. You can tell us the truth, we can take it.

You disappointed me once again (when you suddenly fell off the radar yet I needed your help). I called for hours (that turned into days) but you didn’t return none of my calls. I texted you a zillion times, nothing. That was going to be the last time you would let me down. We were friends (at least I thought so). You were one of my closest friends, if not the closest. We laughed about things completely mundane. You meant everything to me. But that time I realized that I had been wrong on the friend part, it wasn’t real. Suddenly that perfect perception of you was tainted. And thanks to that, I now see you without your masks. I now see you as someone whom NOT to call when things go rotten.

You sent texts days later, but I didn’t reply. You kept sending texts and seemed not to understand why I never replied to any of them. Why would I? So that you could lie to me again? So that you could say “sorry”? To be blunt, I just hoped what was left of your conscience pained you to such a degree that the only way to relieve the pressure was to come clean. I’d gotten tired of your coward intentions. I stopped trying to understand why you couldn’t be authentic. Besides, one doesn’t need to warn anyone when cutting them off, they just do it silently and peacefully. Even though it was hard, I finally did it…cold, clean and remorseless. It’s very okay to walk away from someone/something that hurts you. No blame or justification, you just stop fanning the flames. I cut you off because it was necessary, not just because I wanted revenge. I vowed not to repeat my mistake again. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to compromise myself like I did before, because I’m better off without the thought of when you will run off without notice. I’ve promised to never put myself in a situation where I don’t know where I stand in someone’s life again, where I feel unsteady and unloved.

Sometimes one can’t really see the damage until they force themselves out of the situation. I’ve worked so hard to finally love myself and to believe that I’m deserving of happiness and love. I no longer toy around relationships where someone hurts me over and over again because they value their own comfort above my happiness. I know how to be by myself, I know how to enjoy my own company. I’m not angry. Neither do I hate you. However, I don’t care about you the same way anymore, because you hurt me. Really badly. And you know this. Rather I hate your hypocrisy. I hate your lies. Lies that you kept feeding me till you sent me to a painful place that I wanted to run away from, but couldn’t because one doesn’t get to run from oneself. Rather, I sat in the pain, cried about it and prayed about it. There’s no exit route for pain. I started from there, accepted it, built myself again, replenished myself after you’d took so much from me, nurtured myself and grew from there. I still continue to recover from the pain. My heart is still healing, and a part of it is still going to have that scar from giving all of me to someone who didn’t want it. 

I’m so glad that we broke up and that you didn’t make up your mind to come back when I was still waiting for you. For that I thank God all the time because, there is no delicate way to put this so I am just going to say it: you were a bad guy. But you helped me in the end. I may have lost you but I gained back myself and all my self-respect I had lost with you. You helped me see what I don’t want in a partner. Some things that happen to you and you realize later that it was because God needed to use you for the benefit of others and for your own happiness. It was necessary to hurt to have learned what I learned. I learned that sometimes you have to experience what it means not to be loved in order to know what love is when you finally find it.

There’s a misconception that people who are/have been hurt, end up hurting other people. People who use their pain to give others pain. Heartbreak is inevitable and we are all hurting in one way or another but not all of us are out to hurt others. Just because your heart is broken, doesn’t mean you have to break someone’s heart too since you’re too immature to know out what to do with it. Because having had my heart broken, I learned to forgive. But I can never forget how a broken heart feels.
I’ve been through enough to trust my gut instinct and to stick with it. I trust my intuition will lead me to light. Most of all, I trust myself enough to know that I wouldn’t choose to be with someone who doesn’t deserve me, again. I still love, but I love myself more. And I’m still very much afraid of pain but I’m not afraid of being vulnerable.

After the heartbreak, I was a broken girl with trust issues. A girl who needed to learn how to love herself. A girl who hadn’t yet let go of the wrong person she was holding onto. I hadn’t forgiven you. But was that the hill I wanted to die on? No! Today, as I write this, I have forgiven you because there’s no longer room in my heart for that kind of baggage. Life’s too short to carry such a burden. I know that I am complete, without my partner. I recognize my flaws and pledge to work hard on taking my flaws with strength and to be comfortable in my own skin.

The happy ending of my story is that getting over you (who never shared my love) felt like having a blindfold removed. I suddenly saw all the love I’d had this whole time. I am grateful. Nobody healed my heartache. I sat with it and was able to fix myself on my own. And I realized that real love comes first from within, not from anyone else. Today, I am so much stronger, wiser and so much more certain of myself. I am now watering my own garden, blooming where I have been planted and loving it. I love me. There’s no glorious revenge than living your best life.

Though I’ve endured pain, overcome heartbreaking experiences and I’m scared of letting someone in, I won’t close myself off completely. I’m allowing myself to be led by hope. I’m in the business of being awesome and the business is good.

Invest In People

​It’s not everyday that you see a dead body. Last night, I did. His name is (or was?) Sibomana. He was crossing the road when a car hit him. Maybe, he was going to the shops to buy something for his wife and their baby. I don’t know. But he died on spot. His lifeless body, covered by a kitenge, lay by the roadside. His sandals arranged by his feet. His head had been crushed and you could see a stream blood running from under the kitenge covering his body, and onto the tarmac. The car was parked, just a few meters from where his body lay. His wife sat there, numb.
It is poignant to watch a vulnerable person like her in a such painful situation.

Sibomana died last night, and I realized how extremely fragile our lives are. I truly realized how transient life is. Every time we are potentially flirting with death. You could lead a healthy lifestyle – drinking 2l of water a day, exercising regularly, eating vegetables & fruits – just choke on your own saliva and die, leaving behind guys who smoke and eat fries daily. At any given moment, one’s life can end in any number of unexpected ways. You don’t even need to do anything risky to die. One minute you could be walking to the shops to buy groceries and next minute a car hits you and you die. Like Sibomana. Or you could be showering, slide on the slippery bathtub floor, snap your neck and die. Or you could be having lunch, choke on a bone and die. Or you could be shot to death. You just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a bullet hits you. Or you could be declared dead untimely. You be screaming but nobody hears or answers you. You can’t move. It’s dark, you’re running out of air and no one can save you. No one knows you’re there. Then your world becomes soft and foggy and everything fades to black. Nothingness. Long and empty. And you’re gone. Or even, you could think that you have superpowers, jump off a very tall building and die.

Though a common preferred way to die, is in bed (pure, perfect, uninterrupted sleep) we don’t get to choose how we die. At the very least we don’t think we will die in a gruesome, brutal way. Yet sometimes, someone is just unlucky and dies in a strange and terrifying way, like Richard. I remember vividly the night when Richard died. Earlier that day, he’d been complaining about having a headache and couldn’t see. That day he was taken to Ndera (the Psychiatric Hospital). He was admitted, was scheduled to undergo head scans the next day. Unfortunately, he died that night and shocked everyone. Death took his life, leaving behind his old grandma who was completely dependent on him. I didn’t make it to his burial but I imagined the profound sadness that enveloped his grandma during his burial. I wished I could restore his life, for his wailing grandmother.

Sibomana and Richard probably never thought they would die that day, just like you don’t think you’ll die any time before your unfinished business. But the truth is that you could. 

Richard’s and Sibomana’s deaths reset an already existing reflection in my head. Why do we fail to show love and care for the people we claim to love whilst they are still alive? Like, someone lays ill in a hospital bed for months, with no caregiver, nothing to eat. Though the person would so much enjoy a visit from relatives/friends, no one shows up. But the very moment the person draws their last breath, the relatives who had not seen him/her in decades show up out of the blue, crocodile tears flowing plenty. Makes one wonder where the so-called relatives and friends were when they were very much needed. The hypocrisy is mad sickening. 

I’ve witnessed where upon the death of an old man, the relatives quickly re-innovated his house, painted it, put electricity and everything, so that the funeral be held in a decent place. They be mourning and groaning inappropriately. The hypocrisy that the mourners display is shocking. One would say that maybe they were trying to make up for what they had failed to do before, but it was too late. The old man was gone. Nothing could make up for the hurt they’d caused him. Yes, we should show love and respect to the deceased, but how about we show the same love and respect whilst they are still alive? How about we come together to help before the person dies?

People matter more than anything, more than money. People matter more than the things we kill ourselves to get. People matter more than another plot you want to buy, or another house you want to purchase. We should place value on people, not on money. We should invest in people. Because when the curtains close, all these things we kill ourselves to get won’t matter if you are alone at your deathbed.

Nothing exposes the ugly face behind the mask of concern that people wear, like death and funerals. That’s why I have always hated the hypocrisy at funerals. Sometimes it feels like funerals are for displaying the mask of concern that people wear and for showing how much they’ve been able acquire in life. Well, people are entitled to honor their loved ones in ways they please… But, funerals ought to be about giving support to the relatives of the deceased and to comfort them while celebrating the life of the deceased. To acknowledge the pain that comes from the demise of a loved one and help begin the healing process.  

Did They Do It To You Too?

It is beautiful outside. The sun is REALLY shining. Birds are chirping. It is summer, which means weddings, which means gutwerera and bridal showers (and the inevitable pressure that comes with weddings). Almost every weekend on your calendar is booked. Every now and then, you get texts reminding you to attend those wedding planning meetings (a.k.a. the fundraisers). You groan everytime you get such a text. 

If you are a chick and also a friend to the soon-to-be bride, you’ll be added to a new WhatsApp Group called ‘Gisele’s bridal shower’, then the fun will begin (Hehe). The admin will welcome you all and inform you that it’ll be a surprise for the bride (bya he?) and that the shower is due in 2 weeks. She’ll proceed to tell you that the contribution is fixed at not less than 5000frw, followed by contact details to transfer the cash to. Dress code: all white. 

For me, the concept of sitting in a room with a bunch of women (whom I don’t know) while one special lady sits on a throne-like chair for hours freaks me out. I hate bridal showers. However, I don’t hate showers out of jealousy or the urge to be on the receiving end. Naah! I may say that I hate showers and be told “Do not worry, it’ll be your turn soon” Hehe! I can’t even predict what the next day of my life will look like, let alone harbor the idea of getting married and having babies! Anyhow, I know that couples need household items, and we all need all the help we can get. But isn’t that what wedding gifts are meant for? I find these showers unnecessary. And I always wonder why these bridal showers don’t include men? If the marriage is between a man and a woman (as per Rwandan Constitution), why should the shower be an all-female event? Also, men have money, and more money equals more gifts, and we all know that showers are gift-grab events.

Bridal showers aside. There’s also the (inevitable) pressure that comes with weddings. The pressure of being single. I don’t feel the pressure on the daily, but when I get ‘save the date’, I can’t help but think “am I missing something?”. I wonder why the fuck am I single? And there’s always that relative or your mother’s friend who for whatever reason needs to know why I’m still in school after so long, why I’m still single, and what I’m doing about it. Like my choices are any of their damn business. They be giving subtle hints like “Ko ntacyo wibwira?” or “Uzaduha inzoga ryari?” These old guys are unimpressed by one’s ambitious pursuits and be reinforcing notions that marriage and babies should be the primary focus in our lives

*rolls eyes*

Anyways, it is wedding season, remember? Which means that you need several outfits so that you won’t be wearing the same outfit to different ceremonies. You wore the red and black dress to Fiona’s wedding and to Alice’s introduction. You wore the long blue dress to Mutesi’s introduction and to Jack’s wedding last month. You don’t want to wear the black and white dress to Fred’s wedding, since you wore it last weekend. So, there’s one person you need: a tailor.

You’ve got a piece of fabric/material. You’ve already chosen your own style. You ask your friend, Solange and she recommends a tailor. Mama Sumaya is her name. You have hope. You tell Mama Sumaya that Solange recommended her, and you proceed to tell her that there’s a wedding in 3 weeks that you plan on wearing the dress to. She seems to pay attention and nods. You show her the style and she immediately says that she can sew it. Hmm. You explain that you want it embroidered with black and she still nods. You agree on the price, pay 50% (the remaining is to be paid when you pick your dress) and take her contact number. 3 days before the wedding, you remind her that you’ll be coming to pick the dress the next day. The next day, you try reaching her but both her Tigo and MTN lines are switched off. After a couple of times, you finally get through to her but she doesn’t pick up. You text her but get no reply from her. Then you know that something is wrong. You text her that you want your dress or the material in whatever form. And that’s when she comes clean with you, telling you that she had finished the dress but burnt it while ironing it. Hehe! How does one cope with such?

It’s like tailors find it easy to let people down. If there’s anything that tailors can teach someone, it’s patience and the importance of having plan B. When you take your material to the tailor for sewing, just add 2 weeks (before the expected time) for adjustments here and there…maybe too tight or a bit loose (when she takes your measurements but then decides not to use them) or when the tailor decides to remix your style, because well you know tailors and their madness. Like, when you repeatedly tell her to use black embroidery but instead uses yellow embroidery.
Speaking of plan Bs, your outfit is burnt (sorry) so you have to find another one. And it’s not easy to pick out an outfit. You stare at your closet, wondering if you don’t own anything nice. After an hour or so, you’re dressed and out the door. You arrive at the reception hall. Only 30 minutes late. Good thing, the newly-weds have not arrived at the reception hall yet. 50 minutes later, the newly-weds still have not yet arrived at the reception hall. They are still taking pictures. You are wondering why the reception hasn’t begun, yet. Why aren’t you at least drinking? The drinks are right there. You could grab one. But you have to wait. I have many problems with the food aspect of weddings. You never know what to expect. At most weddings, there’s only cake and fanta (that is if you’re seated in the front rows). If you’re very lucky, there’s take-away (bread, a slice of potato, and a tiny meatball). I miss that time when they served food and beer during wedding receptions. Weddings are about celebrating the union of 2 people. But what’s a celebration without food and drinks?

Anyways, you’ve already eaten your cake. So, it’s time to go home.

Happy Wedding Season to you all.

Fuck the Past

At any given moment, you have the power to say: this is not how the story is going to end

~ Christine Mason Miller

Have you ever made a mistake you thought was terrible that you simply couldn’t forgive yourself? A mistake you thought was so bad that you sunk into depression? A mistake that made you wonder silently if you’re not probably the stupidest person alive?
Well, here is my story…

I was in this relationship for almost 4 years. Though he said that he loved me, his actions proved otherwise. But I continued to see the relationship for what it could be, rather than what it actually was: toxic. There were lots of things that I thought I could ignore or shove under the carpet. Then he hurt me, on purpose. He cheated intentionally. I, on the other hand, not knowing better, kept wondering silently what lacked in the relationship that gave room for such betrayal. Perhaps love is truly blind.

Despite it taking me months, I came to terms with reality that it wasn’t much of a relationship, at all. It was just a fantasy world created from his half assed efforts, with a strong foundation in delusion. It was entirely unsatisfactory! I used to think that I was never good enough for him. I was constantly coming second to dozens of other girls. I thought I was the main chick, but I was being played. I was led on, for almost 4 years. I thought he shared my love for him. Then the cheating happened and photos on his social media accounts broadcast the fun they were having, status updates said what was on his mind or announced his availability, commitment or something in between. When I questioned him about it, he quickly pulled them down and denied it! Hehe. I kept quiet but I’d seen everything! I tried harder than anything to forget that but I couldn’t. He made me feel completely worthless. He emotionally ruined me. However, I finally realized that it wasn’t me not being good enough for him. And these words have resonated with me for some time now. 

Later, I was overcome by shame. How could I be so stupid? Why did I tolerate such behavior? Why did I allow all that to happen? This terrible feeling continued. Flashing before my eyes, I saw all the opportunities I had to walk away, but I had chosen the other way. I would be so close to getting out, but he would call or text, and I would blow it again. I would fail myself again. The logical-side knew the truth long ago, but the emotional-side nearly destroyed it. Sure, emotions keep one from being cold and cruel. But they can also cloud vision and enable scum to try to create a mess.

After walking in and out of the door so many times, he taught me to lock the door. The hardest and saddest part was to stop fighting and just walk away. But then I thought why should I be sad? I had lost someone who didn’t love me but he had lost someone who loved him, genuinely. Not only was I done investing my time in him, I also cut him off completely and burned down the damn bridge, instead of running around absorbing and forgiving everything. Sometimes, you got to be cold to show people that you were being loving (and understanding) the entire time.

Looking back, now, I wonder how I even tolerated such unhealthy behavior. No matter how hard I tried to forgive myself, I continued to beat myself up for this. I couldn’t shake off the feeling. Even after the break up (for lack of a better term), I continued to experience shame and self-loathing thoughts. But you know when you’re dealing with a person who did you wrong/hurt you, you can choose to forgive, release the hurt, and maybe not maintain contact with them anymore. But with yourself? That’s not even an option. You don’t get to quit or walk away from yourself. No!

Fortunately however, one day it gets better. You wake up and you’re not angry or sad anymore. And there’s no explanation or reason why. It just happens like that.

I can’t go back in time and fix it. However, I can recover from the mistake, learn from it, forgive myself and move on with my life. Because having had my heart broken, I learned to forgive but I can never forget how a broken heart feels. I’m learning to be selfish with me and with my time. I don’t want to reconcile with him. I want to forgive myself for not knowing better. To forgive myself for all the pain that I’ve caused myself. For not loving myself enough. I am constantly reminding myself that I deserve better than the distorted perception of love that was handed to me on a tarnished platter. 

The experience has changed me. It made me a better person. It made me stronger and more discerning. I learned the dangers of not putting myself first and not loving myself enough. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be loved in a way you feel you deserve. I deserve better than being ignored and taken for granted, I deserve better than being manipulated. I deserve God’s best for my life and nothing less. Simply because I’m worth it. I am thankful for the opportunity to grow in these ways. I celebrate who I have become because of my past mistakes.

I’m happy now

My New Favorite Thing To Do

My name is Angela and I’m an artist (not the regular kind though). I’m also a Biomedical Laboratory Sciences graduate, an aspiring chef, a meat-lover and a procrastinator. But this post is for another story. A story about my new favorite thing to do.

Last Tuesday I washed one of my denim pants. While washing them, I noticed that they had started to give away at critical areas (read: the bum). Since they’re not really wearable any more but the denim is still good, I thought “How can I reuse the good bits of denim?”

I remembered seeing denim bags at campus. I googled and found some tutorials and that was it. I couldn’t wait for it to dry and put it to good use. Once dry, I cut off the upper part across crotch area (I’ll make a bag out of that, later) and used the leg parts. With the help of the tutorials, I made a small purse (the first one).

I was quite surprised I could sew like this, I thought it would come out with some ugly zig-zag patterns. I loved it.

Yesterday, I made another purse using a small piece of a kitenge fabric and some denim. I took a zipper off an old bag. I was quite pleased with the purse as well, because for a beginner like me, it’s not so bad. I worked on it till 3:34 AM today.

However, it needs some minor adjuments here and there. 

I want to learn sewing (not just sewing for fun) and how to use a sewing machine because the struggle of using a needle to sew is very real…my fingers are hurting since last night. And I intend on sewing my own clothes in the future. To be my own fashion designer.

Watch this space…

Thanks Mom for ushering this wonderful child into the world

Lets assume it’s 20-something years ago. It is on the 25th day of June and it is 8:21AM to be exact. I see strange new faces. Who are these people? Where am I? I don’t even know why I’m covered in blood. Or why my life should begin with yelling. I’m being born.

Well, it’s that time of the year again. Today is my birthday! My sixth 21st birthday, to be exact! Yes, you read that right.
This is me in them wonder years. I wonder how and when I got here. I wonder where all the time went. It feels like someone been holding the remote control and just pressed the fast-forward button and baam, I’m now twenty-all-those years old! This is a set-up that I didn’t sign up for. I was forced into adulthood, against my own will. I have not mapped out a plan for this (though I look like I do). This is not me going confidently in the direction of my dreams. 

    When I was young, I thought all the shit I had planned would work out. I watched and read fairytales and the idea of Prince Charming had imprisoned me in a box of unrealistic expectations when it came to love and relationships. I thought I would meet a nice guy, fall stupidly in love, get married by the age of 23, have babies and live happily ever after. Ma vie était tout tracée! *Everybody laugh with me* Haha. Then life happened. I met guys who broke my heart and one whose heart I broke. 

    Now I’m old enough to realize some of my plans won’t work out and it officially sucks. It’s probably wrong that sometimes when I attend a wedding or see a friend’s baby, I think “what the hell am I doing with my life?” Others have their shit together! But then I think to myself that just because you finished last doesn’t mean that you failed. It just becomes annoying and irritating when people keep pestering you with questions and reminders such as “uzashaka umugabo ryari?” *rolls eyes* As if a husband is something you find at the market and take home with you. Or as if having a husband is a priority or even an accomplishment. In the midst of such annoying episodes, punching them really seems like the better option. But for the sake of not letting my mama down, a coy smile does. Anyways, finding that special someone is never easy, and has never been. That someone who really gets you (why are the good ones always unavailable?) Maybe one gets a sign, like hear a choir of angels singing, or a bright light shines upon him like some supernatural vision from God. But what do I know? I think it’s going to be many years before I find that someone. For now, I’m enjoying my singlehood. 

    Anyways, I have this image in my mind of what my life should be but I don’t know how to get there. It’s like dreaming of everything you have ever wanted but then it’s a cruel trick waking up and realizing it was all FAKE! I often feel like screaming “this is a scam and I need to speak to whoever is in charge!”

    2016 has been a bad but important year in my life. It was so overwhelming, I had a really tough time while working on my dissertation. But with the support and (unconditional) love from my family and friends, I worked hard to achieve the milestone and I officially graduated with decent results (distinction). God’s greatest gift is having such a beautiful family and friends. I learned (the hard way) from every incident that happened to me (especially the heartbreak) and I’m very glad that I went through it and I’m super proud of myself that I sailed through.

    • Am I happy? Definitely, I am.
    • Am I thankful? Yes, no doubt.
    • Do I feel blessed? Indeed, I am.

    Now it’s almost half-way through 2017, and here I am. Single, sleepy and unbothered. Even more lazier than a cat. And still super broke. There’s no difference between the 3-year old me and the me now…financially, I’m still dependent on my parents. I still have nothing in my name. I’ve listed other (random) things that I know about myself…

    1. If anyone could ask anyone who knows me, they would easily say that I don’t like talking, at all. I have thought about jumping out a window to end a conversation. But I have the loudest mind. I always have something on my mind…every single minute I’m thinking and analyzing.
    2. I’ve been asked countless times why I’m mad, just because of my face.
    3. I have an extreme phobia for frogs (and lizards). I see a frog and run for my dear life.
    4. My greatest pet peeve is seeing someone spit. Spitting takes me on another level of anger. If only killing was legal.
    5. I’m not a morning person. I don’t remember the last time I rocketed out of bed and sprinted for my life in the morning.
    6. I don’t wear make-up. I find the whole process of applying make-up very tiring and time-consuming. Make up doesn’t make me feel as good as that extra 1 hour of sleep. For those girls that wear make-up, kudos to you. Your effort deserve recognition and appreciation.
    7. I have dreadlocs. Faux locs. I cheated on the locking process because I didn’t want to go through the shocking and most unpleasant part of the experience, the budding stage a.k.a the ugly stage, as my hair was starting to figure itself out. 
    8. I have the weirdest dreams. I’m a professional dreamer.
    9. I google everything. When I can’t find something on Google, then I know that the Lord is testing me.
    10. I have the world’s best parents. And I have the best godmother. Together, they all give me ambition.
    11. I’m very observant. I pay attention to every single detail.
    12. I’ve never fought with friends (or others) in any way whether physically or verbally. However, I have ignored (and cut off) a handful of friends that weren’t trustworthy.
    13. I prefer beer over any other alcoholic beverage. Wine? Nah. Whisky? Nah. Just beer, preferably a cold one.
    14. I hate high heels. And I don’t know how to walk in them. I be like a grasshopper. Hehe.
    15. I’m terrified of needles and syringes.
    16. I seek perfection in everything I do.
    17. I watch a ton of movies and TV shows. My most favorite being GoT & HTGAWM. And I so very much love French movies, my favorite ones are Le prénom, le dîner de cons, and most of Louis De Funes films.
    18. I have a high metabolism and I’m really slim. I can eat a lot of food without getting fat. I’ve been eating lots, not skipping breakfast, only to find out yesterday that I weigh only 46kgs. The horror!
    19. I love MEAT…all kinds of meat…pork, beef, chicken, goat meat, you name it…whether boiled, grilled or fried. I also love salads and fruits (especially mangoes. Yummy)
    20. I have a shopping addiction and I derive great joy from it. And for that reason, I always keep a shopping list (just in case).
    21. I speak basic French and I hope to continue improving. I want to learn Spanish, German and Chinese (currently learning Chinese).
    22. I want to learn sewing. In the future, I want to be wearing clothes that I’ve sewn myself. And I’m also thinking about going to culinary school because I love cooking.
    23. I’m rubbish at anything sporty, and have always been. As a child I’d find any way to get out sports activities at school.
    24. Everyone tells me that I look younger than my actual age. The last person I showed my ID card (a policeman whom I told my age thought I was joking, so I showed him my ID card as proof) suggested that I cut off 10 years. So, I now officially declare myself 19 years old.
    25. I’m best friends with my Dad. 
    26. After stopping many years, I’m now doing art again (drawing, mainly). It’s not easy but I know I can go far, so I don’t intend to ever stop again.

    There is still so much I still have to do, so much I want to accomplish!

    My birthday is always an opportunity for me to reflect on all those little things that make me realize just how blessed I am, and how much good I have in my life. 
    As I celebrate my birthday, I do not just see someone who is a year older. I also see someone who is full of unbelievable awesomeness, more talented and even more loving.

    Today, I have looked in the mirror, and I found that it is not so bad! In fact, I can still pretend to be ten years younger, than I actually am (see #24).

    So, cheers to myself for surviving another year. And thank you, Mom for giving birth to this wonderful child. 

    To being forever young.

    Happiest of Birthdays to me.

    Introducing Me: Angela, the artist


    Drawing has been one of the best parts of my life ever since I could hold a pencil.

    I started drawing at a young age, but not continually. I remember helping a teacher at school make cards for her class, for the Christmas holidays. However, as a child, Mom didn’t encourage me to draw because she thought drawing would distract me from paying attention in class. She wanted me to concentrate on my studies. Then studies replaced drawing and my art was put aside. But I always knew that time would come when I could dedicate much more time to it. Because I’ve always believed that such gifts are given to us like seeds to water and nourish them and to let them grow. 

    I graduated from college, in Feb 2017 (thank heavens). However, I didn’t want to apply for a job then. Even though I didn’t want to, I couldn’t apply anywhere without licensure. The process consists of sitting for a series of exams and because of that, I had no intention of sitting for another exam any time soon.

    Speaking of jobs, today the job market is tough. And too tight. Businesses are too volatile and complex. Jobs that once took a bachelor’s degree, now take a master’s. Then there are young students, working hard and studying for a degree that may not be helpful for finding work. Thus, debt-strapped students wallow in student loans. For some job offers, experience is one of the requirements. 3 years experience or even 5 years experience. Hehe. Yet, as a graduate, one has limited quantity of experience. Sometimes if you’re lucky to get a job, the job is in a rural location with very little potential for growth. Yet one has big city dreams. It is a struggle, and it is (very) hard to remain positive. 

    Anyways, since I’m done with school (at least for now) it was a perfect opportunity for me to commit myself to reviving my art. And now I have my mother’s and father’s full support and encouragement. It wasn’t until about the time my best friend was getting married (four months ago) that I began to revive my God-given gift again. I started by thinking of a wedding gift to give her. I wanted to give her something unique. Something made specially for her, and only her. Something that had meaning beyond any words could express. Something that would make pleasurable, vivid memories. Picking up a pencil and starting drawing after a 20-years stop was hard. So, that’s when I started to make decorative art. With the help of a carpenter who made a frame for me, I made a wedding gift for her. 

    For another friend’s wedding, I made him also a wedding gift.

    And since then, I’ve been drawing though not frequently. For now, the very reason I draw is because I can. I draw because I need to. Because it is fun and fulfilling. It’s a passion that flows strongest in me. It’s like a force that can’t be stopped. It’s something beyond explanation. My natural gift is generated from creative passion. Spending hours on a drawing gives me a real sense of accomplishment once it’s done. 

    Claire & Placide

    H.E. Paul Kagame

    I feel so great when I see my drawings. It is so satisfying. I feel the same with my art pieces. I could spend hours staring at an art piece that I made. My life wouldn’t be the same without it. 

    I have wanted to be an artist, for as long as I can remember. Maybe my name will never be in lights or no pictures will be taken of me on any red carpet but I have a dream to do art professionally, not just as an amateur. I want to use the God-given gift to the fullest possible extent to make the world a better place in some way. And I hope my work brings joy to people.

    I’m still on the discovery path, exploring many subjects…painting, weaving, calligraphy, collage making. For now, the particular kind of art I’m inclined to do is decorative art. Drawing is relaxing, for the most part. However, it can be challenging and frustrating at times. So I do decorative art because it’s a lot easier (for me) to do than drawing. And I feel it is one of the best means of expressing myself. Few weeks ago, I also began taking classes for (bamboo) weaving. It wouldn’t hurt if I also made some bamboo handicrafts. However, I don’t intend to stop drawing because I want to be an expert in drawing and the only way to get better is to so it consistently.

    Even though this is the beginning of my art career, I already feel that relief inside that I am doing what I love doing.