This weekend was nothing short of magical. No I was not at Windsor (Britain or Kenya). It was another kind of magic. A little history.
I work for a digital Ad Agency as a copywriter and when I get the dates for this year’s BAKE awards I purpose to attend come rain or shine. I might need to mention that I am going through a tumultuous time financially so I cannot afford a ticket. I reach out to a friend and they promise to get me a ticket. Then the pressure to dress up checks in. My go to fashionista is my very own mother who secures some fabric for me and my tailor since childhood makes me three outfits to pick from. On the day, I drag my friend on Collins Kiarie and off we were, him rocking an amazing outfit topped with a stunning kimono and I in an outfit that I designed so everything is perfect.
We get there and impostor syndrome tags along. I do not feel worthy to be among the writers in the room. Only three months ago I discovered bikozulu.co.ke and subsequently magunga.co.ke . I read all their work up and until then and thought, ‘I can do this’. Meanwhile, I am still a brace face feeling lost in a room of brilliant minds so I do what I do best, sit at the back corner and people watch.
When curtains were drawn and it is time to head home, I stand at the door of the Radisson Blu ball room door and speak out t the universe, ‘The next time I attend these awards I will be a nominee”.
On this particular year things are really bad I followed the event on twitter feeling so bad but it gets better. Carry on
My baby has only began to sit and though she has many visitors she is yet to be stabilize her head. Then comes the call for nominations for BAKE awards 2018. I literally close it move on to the next thing because the last thing my laptop needs is another open tab. A week later I am going through my phone and I see an image of my prayer list of all the things I want to achieve this year. Among them, ‘win a BAKE award!’ My ambition baffles even me.
So I go on the BAKE awards site and begin to think of all the categories I could submit my baby. My blog. Best New Blog category takes the cup. Surely they will consider me. I have just spent half my savings on a web designer, branding details and hosting. A few days later I have a conversation with a friend and after her coffee checks in she asks;
” Why didn’t you submit under Creative? ”
“The Biko category?”
That is followed by self conscious laughter that’s cut short by my friend’s non-nonchalant stare.
“Just submit. What do you have to lose.”
Saturday morning I am in my room trying to catch up with sleep because my current gig is sapping all of my energy and I am not complaining as I really love it. As any other millennial I check my phone for updates. I am not quite sure what I hope to see every morning. All I find is updates on the Trump haterade and more money that has been fleeced from the economy. This day however I find about a hundred texts. This is not from whatsapp groups but personal texts. Listen I can be a bit boring in life so when I get more than ten messages I am either on the tabloids or my mother has gone ahead and killed one of the young men trying to get to me.
The first one is from a friend. Apparently I have been nominated and they are so happy for me and they hope I win. At this point, I am trying to mentally recall everything I have shared on social media that is not in favour with the government that could jeopardize an nomination to a position.
Nominated for what exactly?
A BAKE award
You are funny. Are you hangovered?
I open it and quickly scroll down to new blogs and my name is not there. My friend may not be drunk but they sure are high on something. I text back and tell them the next time they want to prank me they can serve me a cup cake and wait for me to power a parachute. At this point I can feel agitation as she types which explains the badly cropped screenshot she sends. Lo and behold I have been nominated in…the…Creative? Category? I burst out laughing and it turns into a cry then a wail, soon afterwards I am miming to my mother what has happened while pointing in my phone. Meanwhile she stares at me wondering why I am half naked in the kitchen. She does not like that at all.
I dance for what must be half an hour then I panic. What if no on votes? Who even reads my blog? May be I should bail. No one will notice my absence. Settled.
A day to the event it’s cancelled and while I felt bad, mostly it was relief.
The next week my producer, Priscah Aroko randomly asks me, what I am wearing. This was her way of asking whether my outfit will embarass the brand we are trying to build. She is always on me about that. My half whispered answer is non impressive and the next morning she shows up with a dress. That is soon followed by an order to fit it and every body in the room signs it off. I am still not going.
On the day I have a friends meet up scheduled and it runs well into the afternoon. If you are ever looking for a quiet place with good aura and food, try Pete’s Cafe at Highland Suites on Chania Avenue just behind Yaya Center. An hour before the event starts, Mildred Sakina my bestie asks what time I plan on going and in that moment I know what her response will be if I say I am not going.
We head on to her house and I say this with no flattery in it, Sakina and her sister Edwina put my outfit together. In this moment, sisterhood makes sense. Sakina and I head out and she alights on the way and finally I am alone with the Uber guy. It feels so surreal. The last few months have been. Still grappling with how grateful I am to God. The Uber guy through my phone conversation figures out where am headed. As I leave the taxi he says, ‘All the best and even if you don’t win you are already in the room’. Wisdom like this earns tips.
I walk to a team that is happy to receive me and as I cross the Crown Plaza lobby, it hits me. Two years ago I walked out of Radisson and made a confession and though it looked like it was not going to happen, I am here as a nominee. I have so much fun, have great conversation and learn so much from my fellow writers. One take away that I carry with me was from a winner who says, ‘Write about where you are.’ I do not win an award but I win my confidence back and the little victory of being in the room. As I leave I dare myself to dream again.