Text, Don’t Call: An Interview with Introvert and Cartoonist Aaron Caycedo-Kimura

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My Addiction

It comes down to this, to that step that you take knowing that it’s a bad idea but still take it because, whatever, who cares anyways.

Been thinking alot recently about impulses and desires. How is it that in most times what we desire in life and our actions don’t really rhyme?

I am an addict, i’m addicted to smoking. Doesn’t seem like much yeah? I haven’t had a cigarette in 2months but I know that if I dare take one, I’ll be back to square one.

I remember when everyday I would wake up and my first thought was to get a cigarette and I’d get out, smoke and hate the after effects, the smell on my clothes, the smokers cough and I’d tell myself, not again, that’s my last ever cigarette, but I’d still smoke.

I used to think that getting out was hard, but it’s not just that, it’s the staying out that’s hard. I never knew this but apparently

40 – 60% of addicts relapse

Well that’s rough, working so hard to get out only to get ourselves back in it again. I have a friend, we started out smoking roughly the same time in a but he quit and to be honest I was really inspired that he could quit. He stayed off for 2 years then one day told me, “I got back to it” I didn’t get it, you we’re out already, past the “this is my last ever cigarette” stage as you reach for another, past the headaches and anger management issues during withdrawal (this stage really sucks) and then you get back to it?

I just couldn’t understand it till I understood addiction. It could be to anything, pills, dust, smoke, drink it’s all the same. If you can’t stay a month without taking it, you’re addicted to it and the sooner you admit it, the better. Addiction is a disease that needs to be treated and the number one medicine for it is your mind. Getting your mind right. Knowing that it’s a problem, it’s going to be a struggle, when you need help and resisting it.

I still wake up everyday hankering for a smoke, find myself holding a pen as I would a cigarette but I’m grateful that I’m not back to it. It only takes one step to go down a dark road. It’s an active struggle, I usually say that I’m taking it one day at a time, but in some days, it’s a minute at a time, an hour at a time, occupying myself to keep myself away from it.

Staying away is not just for my own good, it’s also for those who look up to me and for my family.

Do you have an addiction that you are seeking help to overcome? There are people who understand what you’re going through and are willing to help you out. There are great facilities available for you. Two of them are

CITAM ministries have a great counselling service check out their website at http://www.citam.org

Amani Counselling Center also has an amazing team of counsellors who are willing to walk with you in your journey. Check out their website https://www.amanicentre.org

Helping Me

I believe that the human mind might have some default settings that tend to have us selfish and lack compassion. That’s why we look at ourselves and the mistakes that we make more favourably than the mistakes of others. If it happens to us, we’re victims but if it happens to another, maybe they deserved it?

If it happens to us, we’re victims but if it happens to another, maybe they deserved it?

We lack that compassion, consider more about what’s happening around us if it directly affects us. A guy on the streets begging is just a bum, “why can’t he just work, he has two feet and two hands, hata kazi ya mjengo ni kazi” you ask yourself or your friends as you walk round him to avoid the out stretched arm and shift your gaze to anything other than his eyes, eyes that betray the pain and hurt he has gone through, how broken he is. If he was someone you knew, probably from school or a relative you’d not only give him change but also care to know how he got this way and try to help him out.

We tend to forget that this life hits us all hard and though we might be lucky to get back up, not everyone is able to do the same. For some people all they need is someone to reach out and to help them up but we’re too busy with our lives to bother. Too focused on what directly affects us.

We tell people how we worked hard to get where we are, how we used to do casual labour, walk 10 kilometres every day from that tin shack you started living in when you got to the city to that factory for that minimum wage job that you state gave you character but really just hated. How you saved up to go to school or did such a good job that they decided to promote you, that you worked really hard to grow yourself, forgetting that in every step of your journey there we’re some critical people who took your hand and helped you to the next step. Now you expect others to lift themselves up while you were lifted to your feet.

We help out only when there’s something in it for us, that’s why we have to post it on social media,

“just bought a beggar lunch. #BlessedToGive #SharingMyBlessings #WhateversTrending”

because we know we just love that attention that we get from that. It’s not about helping others, it’s about helping me.

We steal from the companies we work for, steal their time, steal pens, paper, staplers, flash disk etcetera etcetera but when your house help steals a kilogram of sugar and takes it to her family we get so worked up and even fire her without giving her a chance to say anything. If it we’re us who’d been caught we’d expect to be given a chance to explain ourselves right? Because we’re better than that househelps, our lives matter more, yeah?

That’s why we have politicians who overlap on the streets, pushing you off the road in their four wheel drive cars rushing to the office for another day of looting the public coffers, who only remember the electorate every 5 years when they’re seeking re-election but we’ll still vote them in. Why? Because just before elections they tarmacked our road, or brought electricity in our village, or maybe even gave us 500/= each. Or my personal favourite “he’s our man, comes from our village/tribe/county blah blah blah blah blah” Your tribesman, your village mate, that person who comes from your county is concerned about one thing only, his interests. S/he’s seeking power not to serve you as the electorate, but to serve his/her interests and maybe those of his/her family. It takes so much more than these qualities to vote in a leader.

Just try to find out, are they out for their own interests or the interests of the electorate?

A girl’s story

Breaking Moulds

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was given a heart to call her own. It was the prettiest thing she had ever seen: large and bright and made of something like glass. She was very happy and she had lots of adventures, and with each adventure her heart sparkled brighter.

One day, the girl met a boy. They were very happy when they were together, and they went on lots of adventures. The girl realized her heart sparkled more than ever before whenever it was near the boy, and so she decided to give it to him to take care of. And the boy promised to share his heart with the girl as well. They got married and moved overseas for their grandest adventure yet.

But about halfway through their time overseas, the boy had an injury…

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6

It had been 11 months together, 11 of the best months of his life and he was enjoying every minute that he had with her. He had not known such happiness in a very long time. Actually, he racked his brain but couldn’t remember the last time he had been so happy.

She was 6 months pregnant, he remembered the day that she told him the news, he had been so excited that this time, he actually whooped for joy, gave her a great big hug, lifting her up and spinning her around laughing and crying at the same time.

They had moved in together a month of her getting pregnant and every day he’d rush home to see her and their unborn child, he made sure that she would lack nothing. Even when she woke him up in the middle of the night asking for pork ribs from her favourite restaurant, although she knew that they closed at 11pm, he would oblige. He had a system for this though, he would pass by the restaurant, order the ribs and store them away in the back of the fridge when he came home and when she’d ask for the ribs, he’d take them out and pop them into the oven, take a quick run through the streets, come back and serve the ribs to her and most times he’d end up eating them because on most nights, between the asking of the food and the presentation of the same she would have lost her appetite.

He didn’t mind the mood-swings either, she was carrying his baby, she had the liberty to pretty much put him through hell. He was committed to supporting her in any way she needed him to.

His phone buzzed, it was his secretary reminding him of his 3pm meeting. He dreaded those afternoon management meetings, most times they dragged on for ages and nothing constructive was agreed on. He usually looked for a way to avoid them but today he had no excuse. He walked to the boardroom hoping that the meeting would not take 3 hours like it did last time. Arthur, the CEO had regaled them with a story of how he got a hole in one when he played golf with the board. It was a good story, apart from the fact that it was made up and they had heard the story 1000 times over. Everyone in the company had heard the story, they were tired of hearing it.

He had left his cell phone with his secretary, he didn’t like distractions when he was in meeting but she was under instructions to inform him immediately if Janet called.

The meeting, it seemed, went on for ages, he was tired of discussing the same old things getting to the same conclusions and Arthur overruling them all and doing whatever he thought was best at the end of the day. He kept looking at the clock, doodled on his notepad and wished that he had come for the meeting with his phone, at least that way he would have checked in on Janet. She had a doctors appointment that afternoon and he wanted to know what the doctor had said. He was sure she and the baby were ok but still felt nervous about it.

He rushed back to his office, hoping to pick his bag and phone and rush out of the office before anyone decided they needed him to sigh this or approve that. He just wanted to hear her voice, find out how the doctors appointment went and cuddle on the couch watching a movie, or rather he’d watch the movie and she’d ask questions about the movie after every 20 minutes.

He found guys crowded around the TV in the reception, quiet, all staring at the TV, “….there have been no demands that have been given at this time..” squeaked the voice on the TV.

“what’s going on?” he asked the guy closest to him

“armed men have taken over Saving Grace hospital” the guy responded

“Janet is there” he shouted as he grabbed the reception phone and dialled out her number he held on to the receiver tightly listening to it ring on the other side, praying that she picks up.

The phone rang for way too long, he couldn’t just stand there and wait for the phone to be picked, he rushed to his office, picked up his car keys and phone and rushed out. he got into his car and squealed out of the parking lot, driving like a mad man, dialling her number with one hand as he tried his best to manoeuvre his way through the traffic praying all the way that she was ok.

Dear Daughters: Sorry about #BernieBros. And, you know…the world.

Barb Taub

Open Letter to My Daughters and Nieces:

I owe you all an apology. When you were babies, we told you that you could grow up to be anything you wanted. When Daughter #3 said she wanted to be a Zamboni driver, I assured her that she could be the greatest one ever. I just didn’t mention to her that the odds are good she’d be driving that Zamboni unpaid 133 days per year—to make up for making only about 2/3 of the pay of the average man doing a similar job.

Back when my generation tooled up to University on our dinosaurs, we had it all figured out. We had the vote, so we controlled our political future. We had the Pill and Roe V Wade, so we controlled our reproductive rights. We’d never heard of Aids, nobody marched for breast cancer, and penicillin cured STDs, so we would live forever. We were going to…

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(4) Milady

That Saturday could not have gone any slower, the day just seemed to drag on and on. He had tried to keep himself occupied, he set out an outfit that seemed perfect for the evening he had planned out, he cleaned the car, twice, responded to some emails, cleaned the car one more time and called the restaurant to confirm his booking.

At 5 he went to pick her up, still nervous. He really wanted to make a good impression. He walked up to her door holding a bouquet of lilies and rang the door bell. He heard her shout “just a minute” from somewhere behind the door and a short while later she opened the door and he couldn’t help but draw in a sharp breath. She was looking radiant in a blue strapless A-line dress and a white scarf tied loosely around her neck, her hair falling over her shoulders. He suddenly got self conscious of how he was dressed and felt like he should rush back home and change into something more, what’s the word, exciting. but it was too late.

She squealed when she saw the lilies and planted a kiss on his cheek as she ushered him into her apartment. “I have to get these into water before we leave, thanks so much for the flowers, they are beautiful” she said as she took them from him and walked to the kitchen.

He looked around her house, her sitting room was roomy, with a large cream sofa to one side and a single chair at the corner, close to the large windows looking over the street. next to the chair was an antique table. a lamp with a pink shade was seated on the table and couple of books next to it. one of her walls had a well stocked bookshelf and he could see everything from textbooks to fiction to historical books. On the bookshelf there was a small Bose CD player and a couple of disks stacked up next to it.

“I love your home, it looks amazing”

“Thanks, I got it from my father actually, he bought it when he was in the city and rented it out when we were born, said he wanted us to grow up in the country, where we could play outside and explore freely. ”

“Ah, nice” he responded, looking for something witty to say but failing. “Shall we leave then, we have reservations at 6”

She locked the door behind them and they walked down the stairs in silence, him trying to think of something to break the silence. Say something you idiot, anything! His brain shouted at him.

“Your chariot awaits Milady” he blurted as he opened the passenger door for her as he kicked himself, Your chariot awaits Milady? Really? That’s the best you could come up with?

“Aww, such a gentleman” she responded as she skipped into the car, flashing him a big smile as he gently closed the car door behind her.

Not bad, he told himself, but you’ll have to do so much better than that during dinner.