You know what else I love about my Luo tribe—apart from Obama and Lupita Nyong’o—? The accent! Yes Omera! Let me tell you how the fun in that accent got me kicked out of a physics class. The thought of it alone just makes me laugh this late in my bedroom, I look crazy. Oh I have an extensive laughter. I think what I lack for in body size I make up for with the size of my forehead and laughter. Check out my maxi dress… and the forehead…and of course the laughter! By the way, I wear my own designs 95 per cent of the time. You can see/buy/ask to be tailored any clothe I wear others on my Instagram here. You can also check out my Facebook page here
In 2004, the travails of life plucked me from my dream school to a modest day school in Nyanza in Rongo called Rongo Junior for a term. I was in form two. During the physics lesson, I heard the teacher say “the electrons are ‘sealded’”. I thought, “oh well, Physics is a technical subject so let me write this word down and hear about what it means as the lesson progresses. Spell I did. S.E.A.L.D.E.D. When I lifted my head from the book, I saw what the teacher had written “The electrons are SHIELDED” on the chalkboard! Having been brought up among the Kikuyu, this was all new to me so I burst out laughing. Thunderously! The teacher and my classmates were surprised. Remember this is a near rural school with those colonial tendencies where students stand up when they speak to the teacher, curtsy and everything. So here I was, laughing and wailing with tears on my eyes in the lesson of a graduate teacher—yes that meant a lot here— and he was not amused. He asked me whether I could share the joke, and amid sobs I explained the joke. I stopped laughing and sped out when I saw him advancing with a stick. Needless to say I was banned from attending the Physics class the whole term.
A day before that I had been called to the assembly to read out the names of those due for punishment only to hear that my desk mate was to be among them. When I read the crime for which he was to be punished, I exploded in the assembly ground again. The whole school watched my whole body spasm… and the tears as I read my desk mate’s crime. To the History question “Who invented the steam locomotive in the 18th century?” he had filled the name Denish Onyango, the math genius who sat across us. I met one of my classmates in Rongo Juinor—Basil Okoth— at the university four years later (2008) and he noticed I was still laughing loudly.
And such is life these days. The world will try to fit you in a box if you are not as trendy, or the person that is updated of the latest hashtag. I have blogged about how my inability to keep up with my generation has made me a social misfit. I am, let’s say that again, socially awkward. Today, I showed up late for an interview. My interviewee asked me what had happened, I gushed “You know I think I am ovulating because I woke up with this huge craving porridge I had to make a cup for myself, and then when I was about to light the oven I realised the matchbox was missing and I looked for it all over the house for one hour only to realise it was inside one of the cooking pans near me. Can you imagine this inanimate things?” I cannot measure them, but I could have sworn as soon as those words were out of my mouth, my eyes widened… and you can see they are already large. He laughed and said “should we order for more porridge from the waiter before the interview?”
I always thought I was hopeless. A couple of weeks ago, I made new friends through my friend Dr Wala. These friends’ awkwardness made me shout “Thank you Jesus I am normal!” What I loved about these women was how attractive their aura was, you wanted to sit there and listen to them gush about the funny things they did and laughed about them later. They were so free in their flaws, it made them so beautiful.
So at this moment, in this dark silent night, I am looking at sketches that defy every rule that I know about garment construction and colour combinations. In Verah Okeyo’s next line of clothes, I want to break rules in tailoring to allow people to wear what represent their inner energy. Our beauty can be wild, inhibited, free and warm.So I will be here after a month, and we will allow all of us to show us their own #WildBeauty.
Please tell me about your #WildBeauty