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Saturn

Every day, three times a day, I will get an email update from LinkedIn announcing that one of my connections has endorsed me. It isn’t the update that irks me. Or the fact that my connections have continued to blindly endorse me for skills they know I have right now little need for.

What irks me most is the subject line. Specifically, the exclamation mark at the end of the subject line.

Young writers, we are advised against the exclamation mark. The exclamation mark is a sign of the weak writer with even weaker sentences. Sentences unable to stand on their own feet. Sentences which can’t exclaim on their own. So you festoon it with an exclamation mark hopeful that it will act as a crutch for your weak sentences. Nay, your weaknesses.

It’s like one of those fake moles women of Nairobi like to wear – a precise and artificial beauty that lacks the sophistication of ragged imperfection. It’s controlled. It’s imposed. It’s incurious. It’s inelegant because it’s incurious, imposed and controlled. The appeal of beauty stems partly from its choicelessness, don’t you agree?

I don’t know why I wrote that piffle.

Anyway, I celebrated my birthday late last week. I turned 29. I am in a gap year. Gap years ask for many things but fake moles or exclamation marks aren’t one of them. Read on.

***

I borrowed the idea of Saturn from a local bridal magazine. The magazine built a theme around Saturn and the twenty-nine years it takes to complete its orbit around the Sun. That got me thinking about the woman I am today and begged for introspection: what have I become in the time that my Saturn has been orbiting the Sun?

Granted, I may not have reached self-actualisation but I am wiser now, more certain and more secure. Beyond this, lies the clarity of the things that define me and that shall continue to add to this wisdom, certainty and security.

I embrace simplicity. That he if loves me, he shall say it. That when I wrong, or have been wronged, forgiveness follows. In failure, I dust myself off, get up and try again. That if it rains today, then the sun shall come out tomorrow. The most powerful belief is that if I close one door, then another one shall open. Always, and when I need it to open most.

I have less clutter in my life; my circles are tighter, my wardrobe smaller, and my worriers fewer. Friends who whine about situations that they have the power to change are let go of. My lady-bag holds fewer items: tissues, tampons, handkerchief and wet wipes; all other things I liked to carry around – safety pins, toothpicks, band aids, razor blade and shaver – are clutter. I ruthlessly toss out make-up that is past its six-month recommended period. I no longer ask the fashion gods to multiply that pair of jeans that makes my hips and thighs feel like a million bucks; instead I wear them out (pun intended) realizing that the next pair shall be found when I am ready to look for them. The attachment that once I held for people and possessions is shedding off. This means that I don’t miss things anymore; if I do, then there is a problem.

My texts are shorter and my emails more thoughtful. I am more aware of how each word in my sentences is potent.

As a woman, the definition of an ideal suitor boil down to what Steve Harvey preached as one who shall protect, provide and profess. Any man who does not measure up against these three P’s is not worth a second chance.

Excuses and reasons that I came up with to explain reckless behaviour is dismissed as the naivety of youth. I am more cautious now; I do as I please, when I please because I give thought to the consequences of all my actions. Moreover, I realise that the best time to get things done is now; I strike now when my iron is still hot.

I listen to my heart and to my spirit often. The desires of my heart are to take on everything that come my way with passion; it is either one or zero, black or white. The thought of doing anything with one foot out the door is foreign and forbidden. When passion lacks, my spirit is punished to carry a burden that is far too great for it to bear. It is in such times when I understand that all I have to do is surrender. Letting go, and letting God, does not point at my own weaknesses as a woman or as a person. It merely means that I realise the point at which my back shall break fighting battles that are no longer my own.

Each day that my Saturn gets closer to completing its first journey, I too get closer to becoming the woman that I want to be. Unlike Saturn, who shall simply continue with its march on as if nothing momentous just happened, I would like something out of the ordinary to celebrate my successful orbit. Who knows, I may not be around for when my Saturn completes its journey next.

April 2013

 

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Americanah
Stuff of yellow post-its

Comments (12)

  1. Savvy

    Happy birthday! Here’s to the next cycle of orbiting :)

  2. Juma Bahati Ali

    Happy birthday Fra

  3. Francis Nzau

    Happy birthday Florence. May you live long to see not only your Saturn complete the next journey but also your great great grand children

  4. artfullyContrived

    Nice!

    Stimulating yet soothing. Informative yet entertaining.

    The words, the sentences are beautiful yet that’s not the best thing about the article.

    I have however read the phrase “That he if loves me, he shall say it.” 47 times but still . . .

    • fra

      Thanks Artfully.
      47 times? But still…?

  5. Ciiku

    Nice..looking forward to my Saturn

  6. Eve

    Wow…. I don’t like reading blogs, but for this one, I shall make an exception. Not once, not twice, but as many times as I would count the stars. Very inspiring, captivating and thought provoking. And from now henceforth, I shall stop endorsing you for your past skills that you have little use for, and endorse your future. Keep it up girl. A woman of passion indeed

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@_craftit
Florence Bett-Kinyatti

@_craftit

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,
Me

#craftit
  • 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!

Anyway.

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. 

Ha-ha.

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.

Ha!

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.)

(Ahem.)

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
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