Mental. Spiritual. Physical

The voice on the other end of the line is gentle yet coaxing. I have reached her office. I am speaking to her personal assistant. I make my introduction and the PA asks me what my problem is. I explain it with the most sincerity and most pithy I can muster. She asks that she calls me back. I nod as I say, Sure thing. When she does, six minutes later, she tells me to turn up the following day at 3PM. “Don’t be late”, she said. A threat and a warning in one sentence, peachy. She gives me directions. It is one of those places you will not find if you are not looking. In fact, I had driven past its partially hidden gate countless times before and I had never noticed it.

The following day, I am seated at the reception at 2.30PM, waiting for her to arrive. My shrink. I am waiting for my shrink, I am waiting for my shrink. I rolled those words around in my tongue over and over, hopeful that the absurdity and foreignness they carried would wisp away before she arrived. I was dressed terribly: a pair of faded turn-up blue jeans, a stripped yellow and green Gypsy top which tells of its age from the way it hang loose and uneven around my hips, and a pair of Nike flip-flops. Car keys and cell phone stuffed into my pockets. I would later learn that this terrible dressing told of my initial attitude towards this whole shrinking hullabaloo. That first meeting would be the first and last time I dressed so flippantly.

She shows up at ten minutes to three. She is dressed in an oversize black leather jacket; it looks like the one Mzee Jomo Kenyatta wore when he returned from Lancaster House Conference in 1962. Her shoes are the pointy sling-back type we are advised against; it has an outrageously large toe-cleavage and short pointy heels. Orthopedically speaking, these shoes are wrong from whichever angle you look at it. And she smiles too often, too hard. A smile like that Briton actor’s, Russell Brand. I can tell it’s a real smile from the way her eyes crinkle at the sides then sparkle in return. In this moment, its authenticity irks me. Her skin: beautiful and dark. Flawless. I am tempted to rub the back of my hands over her round cheeks just to feel its softness beneath them.

She leads me to a room on the first floor. Its sparse furniture has been strewn across the room with thoughtful precision: three seats in a triangle, and a side table with a box of tissues on it. Pink tissue. Pale green drapes with a netting to match prevent the sunlight from pouring in. A clock with a moon face and Roman numerics lends this room the timeliness central to its occupants. One hour per session is all we get. One hour. One hour sessions, twice a week for four to six weeks, depending on how far we shall go. I tell her that my leave form reads four weeks only. She nods.

It would take us seven weeks instead, with the final and seventh week spaced out a month after the sixth week – for when I am back to the normalcy of life and its mosaic of routines.

My first session was in describing who I am. Crucial because each time she called me by name afterward, the ‘Florence’ that she had in mind was the description I had given her. I told her I was a self-acclaimed artist with a scientists’ stance. Tell me about being an artist, tell me about being a scientist, she said. I explained that my creativity and logic are intertwined like hair in a braid.

I cried in three of the sessions. Hot furious tears: the type that leave your face and eyes puffy, with a splitting headache to boot. The type that leave you in an emotional wrung-out mess. She told me I would one day talk about it without crying. It shall be nothing but a scar someday, she promised.

I appreciated why it is a cycle of grief, not just stages of grief. It is called a cycle of grief because you go through a stage more than once, over and over. When you get to the end of the cycle, you go back to the beginning and start the process all over again. Do you know what did not make sense to my scientist brain? That going back to the beginning of the cycle, after completing a stage, was progress. There is no logic in it, is there?

I always did my homework. After each session, she would give me this list of to-dos that were introspective yet fun. Writing letters. Or making a resolve on what to do with the clothes. Or identifying the emotions that threw me into an outburst.

I learnt how to say ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ without coming off like a spoilt bolshie teenager.

I would align my seat in-front of hers so that my eyes pierced directly into hers. At first, she never answered my questions. Much later when she did, I thanked her for her advice she would say that it was not advice. So, I would say ‘Thank you for your counsel’. She would smile.

I spent one session in the children’s drawing room; half an hour to draw and color ‘whatever comes to mind’, and half an hour to interpret the sketch. What if the drawing doesn’t make any sense? We will find the sense in it, she said.

I would wash my car every other day. Turned out that cleaning it inside and out was therapeutic. When I was done, I would sit behind the wheel and slide in the music CD from Freshly Ground’s Nomvula or my mix tape from that April. And then, I would sing along quietly.
On other days, I would spend the afternoon knitting. Knit and pearl. Knit and pearl. The neat square of the stitches coming together, one at a time, to create an odd knitting of nothing soothed my soul. On other afternoons, I would lie flat on my back, hands crossed underneath my head and legs folded at the ankle. Then I would stare at the ceiling listening to my mind quiet down.
On other days, I would drive down to this quiet spot where the trees hang low and the pathways were littered with leaves fallen from the trees. There, I would park my car, recline the driver’s seat, take off my shoes then stretch my legs out until my toes touched the glove compartment. And then, I would stare. Seeking the beatific escape only a still mind can give. I knew it was time to go back home when the street lights amidst the hanging trees would come on at 6.15PM.

In December, I delivered a Christmas card to her office. Tucked in-between the card was a hand-written note in black ink, ripped out from the pages of a spring-bound notebook. I had rambled on and on about her grace and patience with me. Something about her being God-given and timely, coping mechanism and whatnot. In the New Year that January, I sent her a diary and a desk calendar. I signed off with a post-it note that read, To a glorious 2012. She sent me a text message with a simple ‘Thank you’.

She unexpectedly called a few weeks later to check up on me. I jabbered as if I was her little sister.


Lifestyle pundits have made a career out of calling this the quarter-life crisis. 25. At this age, something life-changing happens. It doesn’t matter what it is but it will pull the rag from under your feet. It forces you to take-stock. To redefine and reprioritize your life’s ideals. To measure your life’s purposes without the pressure and pretense of society’s yardstick. To slow down all activities and beg for some bearing. For me, it was all that plus seeking professional assistance.

The purpose of seeing a shrink is not to solve the problem, or force you to forget the problem. No. The problem is a constant. Its purpose is to reinforce the Mental, Spiritual and Physical aspects of your life so that we are strengthened to take things in stride. Because, realistically, we cannot keep running to a shrink each time our pots break.

So for seven weeks, that is all I did: reinforcement.

Your pastime is to read and write? Good. Read more. Write more. Mental.

Pray. Then, pray more often. Then, pray more often with more faith, more earnest. Go to church and study the Word. Spiritual.

Run. Jog. Strut. For one hour, every other day. Stretch every morning. Swim on the weekends. Physical.


It has taken me years but she was right all along: it has become a scar. Nothing but a mere scar.

At the altar
Ricky Na Marafiki

Comments (14)

  1. artfullyContrived

    Good stuff.

    The article fills the blanks arising from the Saturday nation article.

    When you open up yourself to the readers we are bound to bond with you.

    You mention your car a lot in your writing. You should write about it/him/her someday.

      • fra

        Hehhe. Thomas. His name was Thomas. A post to him would read like a eulogy.

  2. Shekyn

    I wrote a post once, saying I wanted to see a shrink bad. I still haven’t. Thanks for writing so beautifully as always. I think I know you by the way! This world is a frigging dot.

  3. Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya)

    You make it so simple.. reading and writing, that I can get. Spiritually? It takes faith and what I (and most people) have is limited faith.

    I’m glad you worked out your quarter life crisis.. whatever gets you through. Currently I am in that age, but not in a crisis because I finally got my direction. It’s not clear, but it’s a direction all the same.

  4. Pez

    Well written Bett, indubitably realistic.
    I like how you end on a note of hope- that old wounds can heal, and that one way or another, the uneasy turmoil which bothers us all in the dead of the night may be soothed…

  5. MIMI

    Wow Wow;
    That was quite a reflective piece, which reminds me I’m turning 25 in 4 days time and I agree, something life-changing is bound to happen

  6. Evans T

    This must have taken you loads of courage to write and even more to post. Tracy says “writers are so troubled…” This seems to imply that writers are perpetually troubled which is not true. However, most great writers have had to deal with pain at one time or another during the course of their lives. Charles Dickens and C.S Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis) come to mind. Dickens had a troublesome childhood. Although he was affected greatly, this tumultuous period in his life fuelled some of his masterpieces such as Oliver Twist and David Copperfield (most agree that this was the most apt reflection of his childhood). Lewis lost his wife to bone cancer after only four years of marital bliss. His pain was compounded by the fact that he married late (58 years). Nonetheless, he lived through the pain and penned “A Grief Observed”, an unapologetic expository on the subject. Indeed, a writer’s world can be most lonely and painful. When that dark cloud hangs over your head, as it sometimes will, remember the writers of old. You will quickly realise that you are in good company, and that cloud shall soon depart.

    • fra

      Quite thoughtful and informative Evans T.
      Thanks a bunch.

  7. Getty

    I think writers are just more sensitive than the rest of us, not “troubled.” Bett Bett Bett……!Never in the 4 years we were in school together(and a few months of being desk mates with you and Terry) would I ever have fathomed that you had such a great and deep ability. I have read a few of ur pieces when I got the time and each time I mean to send a message but life’s busy schedule gets in the way. Keep on being true to your inner being, keep on being brave, keep on being sensitive to the things that many mortals aren’t sensitive to, KEEP ON WRITING! And I shall keep on being inspired by your writing.

    • fra

      Thank you Getty. I will keep on.
      Give a hug to the little lady for me.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our content

Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.