My Beautiful Butterfly 2013

Haven’t I lessons learnt…I’ve seen myself grow from a caterpillar to a little butterfly, and yes, God has been kind to let me finish another year in good health. It’s the last day of December already. Days have flown jokingly. I can almost remember each day of this year poignantly. I love telling stories, and well, it would have been the easiest thing to summarize my last 12 months in a sentence. Afterall, I’m a poet. I command words to my feet at will. But then again, I always feel it is important to initiate conversations pertaining individual experiences since humans connect through their stories. You fathom that it is easier to relate to certain people because of the similarities of your lives, and even though you read some stories for the first time, you are served with the opportunity to learn something new about life, which to me, if approached with an open mind, is education.
When 2013 begun, I didn’t actually know how big it was going to be. It’s the year I learnt that there is so much I could do with poetry than simply performing it. Being made the Managing Director of Kenyan Poets Lounge opened my mind to a whole new spectrum of possibilities. I never thought that the Entrepreneurship course I offered in my A Level would ever come in handy in my life, but today, I thank my parents and those teachers for making me business minded. It is important to comprehend the entrepreneurial logistics of the market you are dealing with as an artist and as whoever you are in what you love doing. Talent pays, whatever it is, but it needs a sharp mind.  

”The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing

without work.”

                                                                  – Emile Zola

With the onset of #FatumasVoice, I had to rise up to the occasion that I am an events organizer. I’m still coming to terms with that though. Following the events that the poets lounge has carried out, my role has always been working with the artists. That is to mean that I am the one responsible for the sort of content being showcased on stage. It is a huge responsibility because when somebody does something stupid there, all eyes are on me. It has been beautiful meeting young poets and musicians who are enthusiastic about showing the world what they got. Showing them the way to attain mastery at their work and seeing them fly into sweet little butterflies has been an amazing experience. Makes me feel like a father of some sort.

The pressure that comes with it is equally engaging. Artists are complicated people. Seldom does anyone want to be the first performer in a show. All of them want to be in the middle of the programme. Sometimes I’ve had to be strict. Or you find that someone registered for performance and they don’t show up or they arrive late. Some don’t come, neither do they communicate. And some want to perform every week even when I advise them to take a break to avoid monotony. I have learnt to be more tolerant and patient, as a result. Doing a nerve racking event on a weekly basis is grossly challenging. You always have to be thinking how the next session is going to be better than the last one. It is not something I was ever prepared for, but we take each Friday at a time. Somehow things have worked for the last 5 months. God has been good to us. Now #FatumasVoice is going to be broadcasted on TV10 Kenya for the next three months running.

This is the year I tasted how it feels to work on radio. With my big friend and brother, Dj Mas, I co-hosted The Rave Up Show on SHINE FM 103.1 every Friday evening from January to May. We had so much fun. The sweet thing about radio is that you can do just about anything but only the people you’re with in the studio can see it. You can goof and dance around, talk off air, go to the washrooms and come back when a song is playing and so many other things. Radio is the sky. I learnt to work with my voice, better intonation and eloquence. It is live, so you have to be witty with your words.

This is also the year I received my first ever cheque with my name on it. You should have seen the adrenaline running through me as I queued to bank it. Eating the fruits of your own sweat is the sweetest thing to happen to fallen man. You get inspired to work harder, but only if you are happy and loving what you are doing, and that you are also improving the quality and service of your work.

I crossed ways with love, getting in and out of it. The emotional tides experienced as a result have been interesting…just interesting. At the end of it all, I am still searching for a place where my heart will really rest, but most importantly, I learnt that I must first be contented with having Christ, and seeking His Father’s Kingdom, then everything else will be clear in my eyes. I have learnt that you do not get into a relationship with unresolved things from your past life, lest they drag you into hurting someone even when you didn’t mean to. And it’s important to find yourself first before you spend sleepless nights working to better your other half while yours is in shambles. There is need to take your time. Love is never running to another planet. It will always be here. But to experience the most out of it, you have to be open minded, transparent, simple and true to yourself. It’s easy to say these things now. I learnt them the hard way. How I hope that it doesn’t have to be the same for everyone else. 

But I am in a better place now. I am more confident. I know what I want and where I’m going. No repeating previous mistakes. I pray that this is your resolution too. Many of us lack people who show us around life. But we don’t all have to go through the same things. We can learn from each other.

One more thing, I have learnt to be more resilient in what I do. You have to live vigorously. Yes, as though tomorrow is not coming. I have lost friends and family, people whose deaths left me perturbed and devastated. Life is just vapour. It can escape you before you start living it. So while you have it, grasp it tightly, and fly with it till the end of your time. Be passionate about serving God with all your heart and might. Live so hard that your grave will be burning inside when you have been buried and people have stopped mourning you. 

I will not forget to mention the friends I made. I met beautiful people who showed me kindness in its cutest form. A lot I shall work to keep as I look forward to expanding my social circle. If we met in the calendar of this year for the first time, either face to face or online, I appreciate you. Thank you for being my friend. 

I’ll leave you with a poem I penned yesterday that talks about coming out of the cocoons we create for ourselves called caves. I pray that as we move into the new year together, we shall be friendlier, more forgiving, more prayerful, and more truthful. Happy New Year!!!

I know a place
Where wings don’t fly
And honey flows in dreams
The sun is placed behind bars
Where darkness feels right
Comfort, the life
Dead comfort

There is a bird
That lives inside a cave
Oblivious of love
Or the flowers
That give colour to breath

She wants a life
In a desert with no sun
For caves are rid of clouds
And a sky
But alive with obese fright
Reeling with disquiet mutism

The place where love lives
Is beyond the clouds
Beyond trees and their leaves
Beyond lightning, above the sun

The place where life lives
Is not in caves
Nor caged egos
It is in flying wings
That break free from self doubt

”Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength

and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all

of a person.”

                                                                          – Albert Einstein

Post Author: Eric Onyango Otieno

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