13 Reasons Why 


To many, Hannah Baker was just a fictional character first in a book then in a Netflix series that went viral. To many others who related, they saw Hannah Baker within themselves.
Many saw themselves walking beside her in the halls as whispers grew louder and couldn’t be silenced.
Other saw themselves in the relationships that went from best friends to looking at one another like strangers. And how having some good memories from the past can hurt.
Many saw themselves in loneliness when surrounded by so many. When you are in a sea of people yet you feel alone you just hope someone will understand.
Others saw themselves in the love story of being too afraid to say how you felt, out of fear the other person might not say it back. So silence broke hearts when words might have healed it. 
“I cost a girl her life because I was too afraid to love her.”
Many saw themselves in the rape scenes. Where fear and shock was very real to a point where you’re frozen just wanting it to stop. Then it does. And you change. And there is no way to undo what has happened to you, so you have to live with something you didn’t choose but was forced upon you. And it takes everything in you to not blame yourself.
Others saw themselves in how depressed Hannah was walking around trying to make sense of how complicated it is to feel things so deeply sometimes. Hiding behind a mask because it’s easier to pretend everything was okay, then admit you need help.
Many others and I think the hardest place people saw themselves was in the suicide. Whether you’ve attempted yourself or thought about it, the scene made me cringe. Not just because it was so graphic but because I know it’s so many people’s reality.

This is to you…

When suicide is the second leading cause of death for kids between the ages of 18-24, that’s more than a statistic. Those are lives that have been lost. Those are children, friends, students, peers. And way too many people who should still be here.
So to every person who isn’t a statistic…
I’m so proud of you.
I am so proud of you because I know how hard some days are.
I know how alone you feel.
I understand there’s this pain within you, you can’t shake.
I know you think ending your life is a solution. But it isn’t. All that happens when you end your pain is you pass along to someone else. Your death is something that happens to everyone else around you.

And I know you might feel empty or feel nothing at all. Maybe you have a plan already or a suicide note, written. When you know exactly how you are going to do it and when.
But I’m going to stop you there.
I’m going to ask you to stay because so many people need you here.
Because I know there is a little bit of hope left in you. I know you don’t want to end your life, you just want the pain you’re feeling to go away.
And I don’t know what is causing it for you, maybe it’s heartbreak or bullying or depression. Maybe you’re 17 too and you don’t see a future.
But these things you are feelings, these bad days you are having, are simply preparing you for all the good that has yet to come in your life.

Stay around to see those good days.

There are still so many people who have yet to meet you. So many lives you are going to change. Love stories that need you apart of them. Because as lost as you feel and as lonely as you feel, there is somebody looking for someone just like you. Do not deny them the chance of meeting you because you want to take your life.
I know, it kind of feels like you’re alone and no one understands. I know you might be stressed and overwhelmed, not just by school or work but about these heavy emotions consuming you and it’s taken a toll.
And you feel like a burden to people around you. You think their lives would be better if they didn’t have to worry about you so much. But they would rather worry than be weeping at your funeral blaming themselves for something they should have seen.
But people don’t see it. Because I know like Hannah, you’re really good at hiding how you feel. I know you’ve mastered the art of keeping your head down in silence when so many thoughts consume you, taking you to this dark negative place.
I know you feel both invisible and silent. Because you can’t even find the words to describe how you feel, you just know it’s not right.
I know how much it hurts. Even if you can’t describe what that “it” is. There’s a pain within your soul you can’t shake.

I’m going to tell you something you might not have heard in awhile you are so strong. The fact that you can feel these things so deeply and it can only be described as hell when your mind tries to drag you into darkness but you still find the light.
You become a light for others because you know what it’s like to be in that deep.
You weren’t here you simply end your life looking for the easy way out. Because nothing about that is easy. But you were here to prevent others from making a mistake that will cost them everything.
I need you to simply do one thing for me, get it tomorrow. And when you get there, get to the next day. And when you get there, get to the one after that. One day you are going to look back at this and realize how glad you are, things didn’t end when you wanted them to.
And when that day comes and you’re standing on your own two feet and those thoughts at night aren’t drowning you, the way I know they are right now, I want you to reach out to me and tell me you’ve made it.
Because I know you have the strength to get there.
A bad day is only 24 hours but the best day of your life could be tomorrow. 

Time Changes Everyone

I’m happy with the way things turned out. I’m happy with the path that my life took, with all of the twists and turns that lead me to the place where I am today.

But, even though I’m thankful for the location where I’m living and the people that are surrounding me, I still miss the way things used to be.

I miss the friends that I’ve grown apart from over the years. I miss the family that has moved away and lost touch with me. I miss the days when I could carry around a carefree attitude instead of worrying about when I have to pay my next bill and what time I have to wake up for work.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with where I am. I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I wouldn’t change any aspect of my life, even if I had the ability to do so.

One of the scariest, but most comforting things about life is that it’s forever changing. One moment we’re up, the next were down, and then suddenly we’re on the upswing again.

We don’t sit still. We’re never stuck. We won’t always feel this low. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you will be okay, because you will. I promise.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t miss the past. That I can’t relive the memories that mean the most to me.

In a perfect world, I could call up the friends that I miss and have a reunion with the family that I haven’t seen in years.

But the problem is that things change. I’m older now. I’m different now. Everyone around me is different, too. The people I remember from my memories aren’t the same people right now. They’re new, they’re fresh, they’re practical strangers.

Reconnecting with old friends might sound like the easy choice, but it isn’t always the right choice.

I can’t call up the exes I miss, because in my heart I know that we’re better off keeping our distance from each other. And I can’t go back to the job I miss, because I’ve outgrown it and am ready for bigger things.

I can’t just run back to the past when I’m feeling a little nostalgic, because I don’t belong there. I belong exactly where I am right now.

I’m already where I’m meant to be. I know I am. But I’m allowed to miss the past. I’m allowed to look back at old photographs and tell stories about how much fun my childhood friends were. I’m allowed to flip through yearbooks and social media stalk old crushes to see how they turned out.

I’m allowed to miss the past, but not want to go back to it. I’m allowed to think about how many amazing people I’ve met and places I’ve been, but be ready to move onto better things.

Sure, I miss the way things used to be and a part of me always will, a part of me will always love those old friends and cherish those old memories.

But, the truth is, I’m even happier now than I was back then. I’m an even better, stronger person than I ever was before. 

I do believe that everything happens for a reason, and I also  do believe that every choice we have made in the past has put us where we currently are in life. I do not believe that we would have ever worked — no matter how many do-overs we could’ve gotten — but I do believe that we both learned something from our time together that will serve us well in the future. #TBT

Being Comfortable With Uncertainty

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, Infinite Possibilities open up in your life.” – Eckhart Tolle
“If you want to know your past – look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future – look into your present actions,” states the Chinese Proverb.
Reality is filled with uncertainty. 
Seldom do we have an exact picture of the path ahead, so we accept what arises with determined courage.
It is natural to uphold a level of control, yet we need uncertainty to prevail since the seeds of opportunity lie in the unexpected.
At a deeper level, we fear uncertainty because we lack the life skills to navigate through it. Recognised as the mind’s negativity bias, we doubt our capacity to cope with the unexpected and exaggerate events to the detriment of our mental and emotional wellbeing.
With so much talk of stress these days, we need to know what the imminent future holds in store for us. Yet the security we crave for is but an illusion to lull us into a false sense of safety. 
Author David Rock states in Your Brain at Work, “The brain craves certainty. A sense of uncertainty about the future and feeling out of control both generate strong limbic system responses.”
As a result your brain looks to your external environment to reinforce a known sense of balance. In primitive times our ancestors had to contend with a variety of conditions to sustain life. The threat of wild animals, adjusting to climatic conditions, fear of attack from rival tribes and the outbreak of disease, were barriers to their survival.
Thankfully, life in the modern world is not as bleak, yet modern life is replete with its own stressors which pose a hazard to our wellbeing. Uncertainty for the modern man is contained within: intimate relationships, volatile economies, uncertain job security, weather fluctuations and health concerns.
Bruce Hood affirms in his book The Self Illusion, “…in situations where outcomes are important, we get stressed by uncertainty and feel the need to do something so that we can have the illusion that we can control events.”
To retain binding command of our lives is both a blessing and curse. In one way it affirms our sense of safety, knowing we need not contend with tentative conditions. On the other hand, its misleading bias is overstated by our limited control, if any.
It is no surprise that the mind is notorious for emphasising circumstances which appear less dramatic than they are. Known in psychology as catastrophizing, the inherent bias to perceive events within a negative context.
The fear of “not knowing” what lies ahead impedes our long term welfare. At a deeper level, fear of the future terrifies us because of the unfamiliar conditions which lie ahead. It interferes with attaining emotional freedom.
“Faith means living with uncertainty – feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark.” – Dan Millman
So how can we embrace the unexpected without the barrage of emotions which ensue?
To accept uncertainty in our lives requires a change in perspective. We yield to the intrinsic forces of life instead of oppose them. However uncomfortable it may seem, we surrender to the natural order of events by leaning in to our fears and insecurities.
You reason with your anxieties by perceiving them with a logical mind instead of becoming embroiled in them. Otherwise, we risk activating our fight or flight nervous system every time, which senses we are in imminent danger instead of being uncomfortable.
Remain present in your body when anxiety threatens your emotional wellbeing. Choose a proper time to examine the motivation for your anxiety. 
Have there been moments in the past which caused similar anxiety? 
If so, are you repeating those same feelings instead of facing them?
Fear is a confronting emotion, though we gain strength when we embrace it as a useful emotion. I often remind myself that fear is an illusion. I can reduce the volume of fear by being exposed to it moderately each time.
We rarely have all the answers, which means uncertainty is as much an inner declaration that everything will turn out well in due course. It strengthens our resolve and commitment to the natural cycles of life. Change in itself is terrifying, not the conditions themselves.
The key lesson is to be comfortable with uncertainty – why? Because it exists and we should avoid retreating in resignation wishing life were different. 
We evolve by being exposed to uncertainty and confronting our fears, otherwise they dominate our mental landscape and grow in intensity. To that extreme that which we oppose must be met head on. 
It was the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who declared, “If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

Find middle ground between living with uncertainty and maintaining a level of control, short of manipulating outcomes. Let go of tension, anxiety and fear by embracing the unknown. Consider uncertainty a worthwhile journey toward a daring future. 
Uncertainty allows us to re-evaluate the past and make new choices in light of what transpires. It presents opportunities to create a compelling future based on new information.

Am Changing My Story

​I’m trying to change my story. I’m trying to change my narrative. I’m trying to change the voices in my head.
I’m trying to tell the world another story about myself. I’m trying to make it a story of hope, faith and success rather than a story of struggle, despair and failure.
I’m trying not to paint myself as a victim anymore. I’m done blaming my parents, my school, my friends or my culture for all my setbacks. I’m working with what I’ve got. I’m finally figuring out the right path for me. I’m finally driving in the right direction. I’m finally learning that it doesn’t have to be a sad story with no destination. I’m finally learning that I can still change the ending. I can still make it a happy one.
I’m trying not to associate my age with everything.Why I’m not rich or why I haven’t traveled to all the places I wanted to visit. I’m changing my hopeless questions to one simple answer: faith. I’m changing my story from being hopeless to being faithful. I no longer think everything in my life was ‘delayed,’ everything was right on time, everything came exactly when it should have arrived — not sooner or later because now I have the wisdom to appreciate them, the strength to endure the obstacles on the way, the stamina to fight harder for what I believe in and the gratitude to be thankful for the whole journey.
I’m changing my story from loneliness and darkness to self-love and light. I’m changing the tone of negative self-talk, of feeling inadequate, of being afraid of missing out, of being too attached to the minor things in life, of being too concerned about what people think to simply letting go of perfection, of deadlines, of expiration dates and expectations.
I’m human. I’m still finding myself. I’m still trying to understand life. I’m still trying to define what happiness is. I’m still trying to understand what kind of love I’m looking for and I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself just because I don’t have all the answers.
I’m done trying to make my story all about answers, I just want to enjoy reading it, I just want to enjoy living it. I just want to try to make it a good one. Even if it means having more questions than answers, even if it means not getting everything I want.
I’m not going to change the essence of the story, I’m changing everything around it. I’m changing the way I tell it. I’m changing the way I write it. I’m changing my voice, my tone and my speech.
I’m taking my pain and heartbreak and turning them into something beautiful. I’m editing my story, sometimes we forget that it’s still a draft, not the final manuscript and we can always go back and change it. It’s not over yet

A Love Letter To The Non-Believer

Dear You,
I know what you’re thinking. I know you already have your guard up, your metaphorical blanket wrapped tight around your shoulders, your eyes a little squinted at the screen. I know you’re wondering who the hell I think I am writing to you—as if I know your life or what you’re going through, as if could even begin to understand the depths of your trials, or the aches in your heart.

I don’t. I’ll fully admit that.

But see, I’m not writing to you from a place of perfection. I’m not writing to you from a high horse, from a chair of confidence, from this all-knowing stance, or from any ground other than the one you’re standing on.

I’m not writing to you because I think I know who you are or where you’ve been, or because I think I could ‘fix you’ or that you’re even in need of fixing.

I’m writing to you in my brokenness, in my failure, in my fear and insecurity and sin and mistakes. I’m writing to you because I am you, in so many ways. I’m writing to you because I want you to know you’re not alone. You’re heard. You’re noticed. You’re loved.

See, there’s a big misconception about my faith—that we’re people who think we’re better, that we’re trying to ‘save’ people that need saving, as if you aren’t capable of helping yourselves. But that’s not what Christianity is about. It’s not about telling people that they’re damned and sinful. It’s not about trying to act like we’re better, just because we believe in the unseen.

I’m writing to you, not because I think you need help, or because I think I’m in a much better place, or because it’s some moral duty of mine—I’m writing to you because I care. I’m writing to you because I used to be you. The person who was fine on their own, or broken and alone, or just swimming through life, attempting to find my own direction.

And I want you to know you don’t have to be lost.

I want you to know that life is all ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll feel incredible. Sometimes you’ll wake up and know that you do this on your own. And sometimes you’ll be totally able to.

But then other mornings you’ll wakeup and stub your toe on the cabinet. You’ll be out of milk for the cereal you just poured. You’ll be late to work and have your new car rear-ended at the stoplight. You’ll strain your back lifting groceries from the trunk. Your significant other will break up with you. The list goes on—you know what I mean, don’t you?

Sometimes life just gets out of our control. One minute we’re fine, the next we’re flat on our faces on the concrete, wondering what the heck we slipped on. And that’s where faith comes in.

Faith is trusting in the unseen and knowing that there is a God, a God who loves you all the time. Not just when you’re ‘perfect’ or ‘good.’ But not just when you’re broken either.

Faith is knowing that this God gave His son, His everything for you. For me. For us. So that we don’t have to face this craziness alone. So that when we’re up, we can celebrate. So that when we’re down, we can hold onto Him to guide us through.

See, this is why I’m writing to you—because I want you to know that love, to feel that love soak into your pores, to understand that no matter what happens or where you wander or how many times you fall short, you are forgiven and loved.

I want you to know that even though you don’t believe in Him, God is here. He’s waiting for you, and He’s guiding your life. He’s sending you miracles and signs. He’s blessing you. He’s calling you to Him when nothing else in life is going according to your plan.

I hope you listen.

And I hope you understand that I’m writing this because I care, not because I want to shove my beliefs down your throat, not because I have biased intentions, not because I think you and your way of living is ‘wrong.’

But because I know my God is a good God, a wonderful God, an incredible God—and I want you to know Him.

So please, know that you are loved. Know that you are strong. Know that you are beautiful and wonderful and complex and made by a God who will never leave or forsake you, no matter how much you push Him away.

Know that you don’t have to face this world alone.

Know that someone is fighting for you.

Know that my God cares, and I care.

Know that it’s okay to be skeptical, it’s okay to be scared, it’s okay to wonder and ask questions and be angry. But know that the anger you feel in your chest can be released. Know that the pain pulled into a tight knot around your heart can be untied. Know that the bitterness can be let go of.

Know you can begin again in His love.

So I hope you let your guard down, just a little. I hope you read these words, and then re-read them, just to know His heart a bit more.

I hope you know my door is open to talk, as is any Christian’s. And I hope that if and when you’re ready, you’ll reach out—to us, to Him—and know that you’ll be welcomed with open arms.

All my love,

Cliff Ochomo . 

The Sadness That Lingers

I am lying in bed, contemplating my options or my excuses it is cold and raining in Nairobi. I could call in sick which would seem the most plausible to justify. I don’t look sick, not in the physical sense of the word.My sickness can’t be seen as cuts or wounds. It can’t be measured by a thermometer or felt by a hand to the forehead. My sickness lingers in my head or my heart or maybe even my soul. I don’t really know where but it lingers like a heavy overcast in the sky.

My alarm goes off again and I let it.I am too tired to shut it off. I  am unfathomed by its perpetual shrieks. It rings as background noise in comparison to my running thoughts. Thoughts of school, of work, of people and of life run rampant in my head, weighing me down into defeat.I just want to lay in bed, in the predictable warmth of sheets and blankets.

I will get up though, eventually because today is some irrelevant midweek day, not the weekend. I once knew the days of the week, when they were significant enough to be distinct from each other. Now, they just mesh into a single blur of existing and surviving. Life isn’t hard though, not in the ways the news tells you it could be about NYS ,Health scandals and many corruption scandals hashtags. I don’t have it that bad, I tell myself as I slowly get out of bed.My morning pep talks are more guilt driven than motivation.

I should be okay; I might even have everything whatever everything is. An objective outsider could analyze my life and conclude there is nothing wrong, but my feelings are in direct conflict and I loathe that.I agree with the objective outsider. I am well aware of how lucky I am.I am  have things that most of the world doesn’t. I should be happy, but  ain’t I.

My sickness is my sadness. There is no substantive reason for my sadness though, unlike others. I have never experienced anything traumatic, lost anyone significant or faced some other life-altering event. I am  just as average as they come with enough fortune to deem an acceptable good life.

I try to fight it.I count my blessings as the cliché dictates. I even start a gratitude journal and write listicles of my good life. But gratitude isn’t the antidote to sadness. People like me are immune to any of its remedying effects. I read the lists of blessings and only see more reasons to feel guilty, immersing back into the trap.
I might see a doctor and he’ll ask for my symptoms but I don’t really have any that match his list. I linger in bed sure, but I eventually get up.My thoughts are weighting but nothing equating to harm.I might be a bit reserved but I still have friends and family I see regularly. I ain’t the poster child of sadness and the doctor sees this. He’ll dismiss me in ignorance; tell me it’s nothing abnormal from the norm. If I insist, he might appease me with some prescriptions. I might try them initially but eventually throw them out too.

Maybe their side effects were too strong or my illness really wasn’t that severe medically. Regardless, I give up and my attempts to fix myself cease.

My sadness remains unexplained and that’s what makes me feel worse. It’s the morning dread that extends into an all day affair. It’s how my feet drag, how my head lays low and how my eyes avoid contact or stare into abyss. It’s listening to people talk but not understanding a word because my thoughts are louder. It’s the façade of being a yes person, accepting social invitations which I  always regret when I would rather be in bed. It’s the tiresome effort to keep up with life’s charade that eats at me slowly. It’s seeing irrelevancy in everything and everyone and never knowing emotions of the contrary.

If You Don’t Think You Deserve More, You’ll Always Accept Less.

It’s a general rule in life that if you don’t think you deserve more, you’ll always accept less and you’ll always settle.

Because people have a tendency to sell you short, they have a tendency to give you just enough to get by and they have a natural tendency to depreciate you.

It all starts with what you’re okay with, with what you let people get away with, with the way you let others treat you and how you respond to those who do you wrong.

If you don’t think you have the right to ask for a raise, you’ll always be overworked and underpaid.

If you don’t think you have the right to ask for what you want in a relationship, you’ll never get the respect and appreciation that you wish for.

If you don’t think you have the right to know where you stand with someone you’re dating, you’ll always be left in the grey area wondering and waiting.

The irony is that recently it seems that asking for more, asking for your right or just asking for answers is frowned upon especially if you’re right, especially if you’re strong, especially if you’re aware of your own value.

But here’s what I learned about settling and staying quiet when you should speak up, it doesn’t win you any more friends, it doesn’t make you a likable person and it doesn’t make you a cooler person, it only makes people take you for granted — it only makes people think it’s okay to hurt you because you don’t get mad and you don’t confront anyone.

It’s never a bad idea to ask for more, to know your worth, to stand up for yourself even if you secretly don’t think you deserve any of it, because your mind can trick you into thinking that this is what you truly deserve and that asking for more is greedy or wrong or selfish.

But it’s not.

It’s not selfish to ask for more when you’re working hard, it’s not selfish to ask for commitment when you’re loyal and it’s not selfish to try to know what you mean to someone when you’re in love with them.

What’s selfish is playing it safe so you don’t have to worry about the consequences, or settling because you’re afraid of losing someone when they’re not afraid of losing you and it’s selfish to have a strong voice and not use it.

Because the only thing that’s stopping you from getting what you want or what you deserve is you.