paylessDear Kenyan ladies,

I’ve spent quite a bit of time interacting with many of you, lately, and I must say it’s very interesting how a few short years can change a people’s mindset.  It’s amazing to me that some of the things that, as recently as five years ago, were regarded as atrocities and abominations, are now commonplace. They are not only accepted, but also encouraged and smiled at.

Ladies, things have to change. Now, in my field of work, we are cautioned against using words like “Don’t,” “Stop,” and “No,” because they cause people to become defensive. We are told to rephrase them in order to make them a bit more palatable. Even churches these days say that these words are reminiscent of, and rooted in, the law. They’re “Old Testament”.

Jesus said quite a few “Don’ts”, though. Don’t judge. (I know you love that one.) Don’t give your alms before men. Don’t be afraid. When Peter chopped off a soldier’s ear, Jesus said, “Stop! No more of this!”

As His servant, I am here to say the same. Stop. Please. No more of this. If what I am about to say came from a man, he would be attacked. So here I am. A woman, just like you. I have no hard feelings, I am not mad at you. I’m not jealous of you. I’m not attacking you. In fact, I love you to life. I worry that what I say might fall on deaf ears. But enough is enough. Grace is not an excuse to sin.

It’s time to stop being so superficial.

People – men or women – are not what they wear or drive. Their places of residence and work do not define them.  Their incomes should not determine whether we offer them our friendship. Let’s stop judging our friends by how much they spent on their handbags or whether they are able to afford that apartment in that area. Let’s stop using men’s incomes, shoes, belts, watches, earthly achievements, to determine whether we will say yes to their proposals. I don’t care what your pastor tells you: life is not about possessions. Don’t put yourself under any kind of pressure to wear certain things or look a certain way. Shop wherever you’re comfortable. Shop at the Kenyan versions of Kmart and Payless, Nordstrom and Macy’s, Saks and Bergdorf Goodman, or a combination of all these. Do your hair in Kenyatta Market or in Gigiri. Use a matatu and clean your shoes, drive a Vitz and disregard the sugar-daddy comments, or rock your Range and feel no need to explain how you got it. Live in Westlands or in Kawangware. At the end of the day, do what God leads you to do, because, in the words of my amazing friend, Robert, I can assure you, nobody really cares. They’ll take two seconds to comment on your fake red bottoms, and their lives will go on while you’re still trying to fulfill your loan payments.

It’s time to stop being a dumpster.

Your ears and eyes are not dustbins. You don’t have to listen to every bit of gossip, read every article, or watch every clip that is shared with you on WhatsApp. You don’t! Stop using your social media pages as conduits for rubbish. Why must you share every single meme, video, or joke? No, why? How did that silly, trending book improve your life? The enemy uses many of these things to gain access to women. Please make a deliberate effort to guard what you allow into your space. It has long-term repercussions. Stop using your energies to promote the demonic agendas of others.

It’s time to stop sleeping around for money.

If there is one Kenyan trend that irritates me, it is the collective socialite, clandé, mpango wa kando, sleeping one’s way up, second wife trend. Sleeping around, period, is wrong. But generally speaking, these trends are all inspired by the love of money, and go to show how destructive this can be. I kid you not, one question I have been asked severally is “Who do I have to sleep with to get X?” Are you serious? Who do you have to sleep with? Not where can you send your résumé, or what course can you take, or whom can you meet, or what type of business can you start? It’s disgusting. There are far too many spiritual and physical consequences. Please know it can never be well for a woman who steals another’s husband. The saddest thing is that the women who do these things are doing things they do not have to do! You don’t have to sleep with any man to make money or move up. What happens when you do things like this is the women who actually work hard, particularly in politics and in the media, always have their achievements questioned. “There’s no way she got there without spreading her legs,” it is assumed. Because of the behavior of a few, many women are treated with suspicion and shamed for their work. It needs to stop. Speaking of which:

It’s time to stop virgin-shaming.

Virgin-shaming exposes the fakery, mockery, travesty and sham that the feminist movement is. The same women who say they are constantly attacked by men for their choices, the same ones who claim women need to band together and “overcome”, the same ones who are “pro-choice,” tend to look down on fellow women because of their decision, their choice, to obey God and wait until marriage before they engage in sexual intercourse. The spiritual reasons for this are obvious. The enemy has attacked every single thing that is a representation of Christ’s relationship with the church. Today, in stark contrast to the reality of just a few decades ago, people are having sex earlier and earlier, and then delaying marriage more and more. If you are a virgin reading this, please do not let any woman make you feel like you are less than she is. Hang in there. Remember your Relevant Audience. Don’t let any woman or man talk you out of it or make you feel ashamed for it. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Dump that man if he tries to make you think that’s how to prove your love.

It’s time to stop viewing skinny-shaming as a solution to fat-shaming.

For some reason, it’s trendy to be overweight these days. Not only that, it’s also trendy to attack women who are slim, slender, skinny, small, whatever you want to call it. Somehow, it’s okay to say “You’re so skinny!” but it’s not okay to say “You’re so fat!” Somehow, it’s not okay to say anything about bigger women, but it’s okay to share memes about how only dogs like bones. It’s okay to say “You need to eat more!” but it’s not okay to say “You need to stop eating so much.”

I hate to break it to you but it is not healthy – and it should not be fashionable – to be obese. Obesity comes with too many health risks and should not be glorified. Gluttony is a sin. It is also not healthy to be underweight. And it is definitely never right to feel the need to put another woman down so that you can feel better. It’s not good to “fat-shame”, and it’s not good to “skinny-shame.” It’s interesting to me how after all these comments, bigger women proceed to go to great lengths to lose weight and share videos and photos of their new bodies.

The truth is, body-shaming is something that would take more than a point on a blog post to explore. It is not about being fat or skinny. It’s about identity. It’s about who we believe we are. It’s about why one woman would resent another woman simply because they do not look alike. I believe this issue shares the same root as racism, tribalism, and the gender identity crisis. It comes from the perception that one group of people is better than another. And it is a cultural thing. Your weight, skin color, accent, ethnicity, and location are all part of what makes you unique. But these things do not define you. Your identity is not hinged on them. You are priceless, and until you understand this, you will attack others for being different – especially if they are confidently different.

It’s time to stop treating Kenyan men like they are dogs.

I sit down with guys a lot and many times, they open up to me. I can tell you this: Kenyan men are really, really hurting. They have so much pressure to be and become, to do and undo, and to live up to a standard that no human being can achieve. Many are afraid to date because they think they cannot afford to. They’ve had their trust and egos crushed and are guarded. Many of them even have predetermined defensive answers to things ladies say. You have to be very careful when talking to them, because at any moment, a statement about income, their mothers, their cars, their shoes, can touch nerves and trigger the putting up of walls. Today’s Kenyan man in his 20s and 30s has very few sensible role models. Today’s boys have even fewer role models. I think enough is enough. If we knew just how influential we were in the lives of these brothers of ours, we would address and call out the kings in them. He might be making a sh. 30,000 income when you meet him, but you might also be the person to change that.  There is no excuse for any type of deadbeat behavior from men. But I think they have taken enough flack. It is time to pray for them, help them get help, and deal with them realistically. If a good, godly man wants to marry you, please prayerfully consider it. Don’t turn him down because of dusty shoes.

It’s time to stop seeing single motherhood as a trend in which to glory.

I know. It’s hard. It’s not always a choice. But with all due respect, I think women need to stop having all these children with no fathers. It’s one thing to adopt, to be widowed, or even to mess up and end up pregnant outside wedlock. It’s an entirely different thing to celebrate bringing children into this world with no stability, no paternal role models, no father figures to speak of, simply to fulfill the desire to be a mother. I put it to you that the root of all this is the same selfishness that causes one woman to abort a baby because she has no desire to be a mother. Motherhood is not just about the woman. Please begin to think generationally. When you make something like this a trend, you are telling your sisters and daughters that it’s okay. You are sowing the seed for a fatherless nation. And the results of this are horrific. Ask the African American community what it means to raise sons and daughters without dads. Talk to people from blended families. It’s a difficult thing to deal with.

It’s time to stop attacking and being jealous of other women.

Pharaoh was threatened by the Israelites because they multiplied. He began to afflict them. And the more he did, the more they multiplied and grew (Exodus 1). I always say that part of the reason for Pharaoh’s folly was it did not occur to him that there was, even then, a God in control, and there was more than enough to go around.  Jealousy occurs when people do not trust God, when people forget that there’s enough for everyone, and even when people are downright lazy. You want the anointing without the relationship. You want the car, house, money, body, without the work.  You want the palace without the prison. You want the place but you don’t want the process. Until you understand that some things are a matter of principle, you will continue to frustrate yourself, compare yourself to others and disregard the fact that no two people can travel the same, exact journey. It’s time for women to band together in Christ. Think what kind of impact that could create. It should not cause you pain to serve another woman, nor should it cause you pride to be served by another woman.

It’s time to stop viewing those who love you and tell you the truth as judgmental.

I’m not talking about this post. Actually, maybe I am, a little bit. But I’m mostly talking about the fact that women do not seem to be able to take correction these days. If you are not teachable, you are a disaster waiting to happen. Allow older women to teach you how to love your husband. Bi Msafwari might seem old-fashioned to you, but her advice is not. On the other hand, a certain radio presenter whose name I’d just rather not mention, but who would qualify as a “strange woman” per Solomon, might seem like “it”, but is that who you really want to end up like? When you take away the money, what is left? Is that what you want as your legacy? Are those not the kisses of an enemy? And on that note, finally:

It’s time to get some real role models.

Think about the women you look up to. To what kind of life do you aspire if these are your role models?

I think just that question is heavy enough for me to leave that as it is.

No more of this, ladies. Enough is enough. Invest eternally. Think eternally.

All love,

Pea