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Author: Onyango Otieno

Men’s Complicated Relationship with Loss

Men have a complicated relationship with loss. I was sharing space with a friend who visited yesterday for tea and conversation. We agreed that because of poor socialization for boys around emotions, they grow up to struggle dealing with difficult sensations that cause pain in their adulthood. Women tend to be attuned to loss from […]

Healing My Body

Dad was exceedingly brutal on my body, man. Sometimes the beatings were spread out, sometimes bundled in a week. He’d hoist my tiny body to the air and throw me to the wall, like a ball. Only I couldn’t bounce back. He’d stomp his feet on my head like he was eliminating a snake. He’d […]

Habits of Successful Relationships

Last night I stayed up watching TED Talks on relationships. Taking notes, gasping, laughing nervously and reflecting. It continues to astonish me how we’re barely taught emotional laws that explain our inner world and that of interpersonal dynamics, hence our over-reliance on our parents’ coupling styles. Not so many of us have had it good.  I […]

You Heal as Far as Your Awareness

In neuroscience there’s something called ‘neuroception’. This describes how our nervous systems distinguish whether situations or people are safe, dangerous, or life threatening. As a form of healing, social support like having safe and healthy relationships enable us to ‘co-regulate’. This is connecting to another safe nervous system that helps us rewire our brain to […]

Men Holding Hands

I bumped into this photo on twitter with the caption “kumbe pia wanaume mko na mabestie.”  Boys hold hands when they’re younger. Their friendships are authentic and intimate. But as they become adults, they’re robbed of intimacy with a world that expects them to be competing and not connecting.  This homophobic creed that men shouldn’t hold hands […]

The Laziness of “Not All Men”

We can’t dissociate ourselves from the shame of being idealised as perpetrators by women by retorting “not all men” each time women revolt against sexual and gender based violence. We’re not being honest about the systemic hatred for women indoctrinated upon us by our cultures, media, religions and political class – stiffly perpetuated by egocentric […]

You Can’t Change People

Here’s what I learned: You are never obligated to work on a relationship that keeps harming you; mentally, emotionally, physically. We’re socialized to grow through struggle without boundaries. If it’s a parent who caused your childhood trauma and they continue disposing their unresolved issues on you; if it’s a partner whose violence spirals in an […]

You Only Have One Life

You only have one life. Decide what to do with it.  You only have one life. Decide how you want to spend your days. Decide whom you shall cherish and cherish them indeed. Decide for yourself how freedom must feel. Decide what pain you will carry and which you shall not. You only have one life. Your […]

Pomp on a Yellow Sun Hue

The Sunday sun shone its smooth silky yellow hue through my windows that evening. We silently laid on the couch, our heads opposite from each other as you waved in and out of sleep. At a point you longingly proposed to sit on me. I was watching my game but I couldn’t say no. Your […]

To the Women Whose Bodies Were Vandalised

My love goes to all the women who’ve been sexually violated in their lives but have never caught the courage to open up to anyone about it. Those who were raped by their fathers, uncles, their brothers’ friends, neighbours, and strangers, doing life in painful secrecy with the fear of not being believed. I want […]