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‘The head that became neck’

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My first driving lesson was tutored by my mum. My mum taught me how to tie a neck tie and a belt around my waist. The knowledge I have about cars, houses, machines and splitting firewood is all my mother’s handwork.

My dad on the other hand, taught me how to cook, how to scream and not to raise my hands even on an abusive woman.

I still hear my Old man’s voice in my head. Many times I wish I could remember his voice in an inspirational father son talk on how to fix an engine, a bulb or treat a woman. However, all the time, his screams is all my brain lets in. More like the music you never want to listen to but its stacked somewhere in your playlist and you have to go through it before you get to your favorite jam. I know I can skip it, but I don’t want to, it’s the only memory I have of him.

It may be hard to admit but my father’s wife was abusive – physically and verbally. Nothing about my old man made her happy, no matter how much he tried. His food was always “as tasteless as he is”, every time he cleaned the house “he dropped some dirt from his stinking clothes”, according to my mum.

One time, when I was seven, he washed all her clothes, I helped him rinse and he put them out to dry. The following day, mum stormed back home angry saying her breasts are itchy and she suspects her “stupid, good for nothing” husband sprinkled something on her bras so other real men should not enjoy the fruits he is incapable of. “Hautawezana”, she said. That day, my father received a beating of his life.

With two front teeth gone and a raptured clavicle (collar bone), I watched for days as my father rubbed all kinds of stinking herbs on his shoulder, his left arm tied to a sisal thread because he was ashamed to go to the hospital. His pronunciation of some words and walking style changed from that day’s incident. He was helpless, but still expected to do all the house chores. If he never stepped up, literally the next beating would kill him. He had no choice.

In his previous job, he had been fired for not being effective and “sleeping on the job”. He was a security guard, after a demotion that had mum’s fingerprints all over it. Now a house husband (if that ever exists, or maybe it’s impossible so there was no need to even create the name). Mother used everything she had to make sure the Father of Her child had a  miserable life because he could no longer provide for the family. To date, I have never understood the source of my mum’s rage towards a man she met, fell in love with, wedded and vowed to stick together till death. Or maybe she actually meant it, “Till death”. I saw death in our house every day. In most of their fights, I could hear dad cry in pain and murmur, “I am the head of this family, this is unfair”, “The head that became neck”, mum would shout back in anger.

Being the only child of my parents, I had no elder sister to console, no young sibling to hug and tell everything was going to be okay when mum dies, which seemed to be the only solution at the time. Until “Afande”, a maasai guard of the next home mentioned something about getting a divorce to my father and I over heard. Later that evening I asked him why he is still hanging on to an abusive marriage and he said, “I love you so much to leave you alone with this Monster”.

My mum’s aggression continued, scaling up every single day, upgrading weapons in every scene of their fights. From sewing needles, to kitchen knives to anything she came across that she could lift and throw. That’s how she used an iron box on my father’s head on the night of 27th February, 2009, because she came home past 11:00PM and her food was cold. For thirteen days my dad was in hospital and if you ask me, that is the time I saw him the happiest my entire life. Physical body pain was to him worth much more than his wife’s presence. Even though he loved her so much to be that loyal, her fierce side was what he detested. Thirteen days, the longest time he ever was free. Free from insults, free from marital disgrace and what he thinks is disappointing to his only child and son.

On the morning of March 12th, 2009, 3:24 am, he rested – quite literally. He died from the concussion he had suffered from the iron box. Eight days later, March 20th, I remember standing before mourners and “friends” of the family reading my dad’s eulogy. My voice quivered as I read the part that said, “he slip off the stairs, rolled down eight steps and was rushed to the hospital”. The lie didn’t matter so much at the time, rather in a cocktail of emotions, I was happy my father was finally free, sad he was killed by what he vowed to love and to hold till death do them part, just because it was “Lawful” – Marriage. I admired the audacity of  whoever typed the last paragraph, “We loved you but God loved you more”. Made me wonder how bad God’s love could get, if what they had for my father in life was actually love.

So you can go ahead and talk about domestic violence with women on the receiving end and the glory of persevering in marriage. Tell me about the good side of dating an independent woman who can do without your financial input. All these are single sided stories. Stories that have thrived so much that when a man complains of physical abuse from the wife, its embarrassing and feminine. They got to be strong, fight their way through and where they can’t, bail out silently without sharing with anyone in their circles. If they don’t they die – like heroes doing it for the dignity of their entire generation. The weaker sex.

Marriage is not all glorious after all. Men need to be heard.

Until then, I listen to Chimamanda Ngozie’s TED Talk speech on the Dangers of single-sided stories and it always will remind me how strong-willed, loving and selfless my father was, that he had to stand an abusive woman until he bowed.

Peace.

Meet Fank TallB: The Guy Re-Spelling the Alphabet

Hi, my Parents called me Frank. Save the other details for my cheque. However, most of my friends prefer calling me TallB. Well, I made them call me that. It’s funny how I convinced their eyes that I am Tall, Slim and Dark. So, for that reason, everyday;

  1. I am avoiding short door posts.
  2. I hate junk protein.
  3. Arimis is my forever Loyal Body Application. Not even once have I trashed any of its letters asking me to keep my skin company and Dark.

My favorite food is something you will never have any feeling for (positive or negative). Who loves rice and cabbage? Without avocado? Definitely not you.

I text with one hand, that means just the thumb. My most used phrase in text messages is “Thank you, I get that a lot”. I know it doesn’t make sense until you know what text I receive most., Haha, but NO, I won’t say it.

Peer pressure is not one of my life’s shitty messes. That explains why I fear crowds. Laughing crowds are the worst. I walk with my head held high, not for confidence though. I care so much about what awaits me ahead than the short nothings under my knees. Pictures? Not so much. My photographer, yes I have one, and he has never captured my favorite strand of hair on my chin. Videos do better because it gives much more time to notice it. I think of myself as so easy to roll with, but I don’t give a Dam to rivers flowing with pride. My humility got me here and your ego won’t Edge God Out of my life.

You’ll get to love me more if you see me do spoken word poetry, read my articles and listen to me speak.

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14 Responses
  • Ronald rg
    June 20, 2021

    Brilliant ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Billy Osogo
      June 20, 2021

      Babito, brother, this is an excellent guest post. So timely on this Father’s Day.

      Even as we do all we can to protect our women from all forms of abuse, we must also remember the silent, countless men, who are victims of the same.

      This is a sobering post.

      Excellent work!

  • Clackson
    June 20, 2021

    Great piece. Very educative.

  • Billy
    June 20, 2021

    Great pieces guys

    • Mahalo
      June 22, 2021

      TallB. I’ve seen this name somewhere before, won’t mention where. Tbh, when I started reading the story I was quite indifferent towards it, I’m sure I speak for many. It’s hard for men to talk about domestic violence because first they’re ashamed, and two, no one believes them. Even if they do, the question is always ‘alipigwa na mwanamke?’

      So thank you for this story. I hope our perspective as a society will change.

  • Khasoha Samita
    June 20, 2021

    The danger of the one sided story.
    No additions needed.
    TallB’s choice of words is excellent, and this story is thought provoking.

  • Elkana
    June 20, 2021

    Great Great job @TallB
    The father’

  • Anonymous
    June 21, 2021

    This is so lit!! Honestly, it’s one of the best pieces I’ve read. I love how you use humour to talk about real issues., making the story come alive, quite literally.

    • Anonymous
      June 21, 2021

      Babito,this is quiet a read! So timely for this memorable Father’s day

    • Mahalo
      June 22, 2021

      TallB. I’ve seen this name somewhere before, won’t mention where. Tbh, when I started reading the story I was quite indifferent towards it, I’m sure I speak for many. It’s hard for men to talk about domestic violence because first they’re ashamed, and two, no one believes them. Even if they do, the question is always ‘alipigwa na mwanamke?’

      So thank you for this story. I hope our perspective as a society will change.

  • Kipsoi Sk
    June 21, 2021

    This got to me, good work man.

  • Qadeno
    June 21, 2021

    Great Message, No adds…Tall B…👊

  • Elvah
    June 22, 2021

    Nice piece, so touching and very educative
    Keep going Frank

  • Anonymous
    June 22, 2021

    Always nailing it, bravo👌👌

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