“Next to Normal” is a True Reflection of Modern-day Families

“Next to Normal” is a True Reflection of Modern-day Families

Watch Next to Normal Musical Online

Next to Normal is a rock musical that I came across last weekend during my YouTube rounds and decided to settle in and watch what would turn out to be a fantastic musical.

Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey music from the beginning of the musical sets the music for what turns out to be a fantastic show full of emotions and themes that identify with our everyday interactions. Boasting of an amazing cast, an awesome score, insightful lyrics and an unlikely but brilliantly engaging story about a family that is struggling with depression and bipolar disorder, the show sets itself apart from the beginning keeping viewers at the edge of their seats.

With its amazing cast of 6 main members, the Musical would have been fit to be an operetta but still, it was captivating enough to win a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for drama in its illustration of American life. The musical primarily focuses on the pain that paralyses the members of a suburb family with such intensity that it gets the viewer fully involved in the anguish and suffering that shutters the core of the lives of members of this family. In essence, “Next to Normal” is not a feel-good musical that the American theatre lovers might have been accustomed to. The show’s central figure is a manic-depressive mother who loves the people around her and still damages them to an extent that as a viewer, you would consider doing something about it to save the people from the suffering. Through the show, viewers get to not only discover what really hurts most in family relationships but also get to know where it hurts most. Listening to the musical’s theme song, lines such as “I don’t need a life that’s normal, that’s way too far away. But something next to normal, that would be okay” quickly brings the kind of suffering that the Goodman’s family is undergoing in a bid to cope with wife and mother Diana’s mental illness.

In the musical, Diana Goodman is the tenuous mother who struggles to lead an ordinary life for herself, her husband who is called Dan and her daughter called Natalie. Her son’s death 16 years ago caused her a lot of trauma and she always hallucinates about him. Through Diana’s struggle with the bipolar disorder, the audience gets to appreciate the losses that occur when injured people are put under anesthesia. The musical does goes deeper to reveal the different kinds of metaphorical anesthesia that wounded people are subjected to and some they subject to themselves. Diana is provided by pharmaceutical and medical treatments; however, as if that was not enough, she starts using recreational drugs, alcohol and everyone can see she is struggling to put a smile on her face even as she incessantly denies that she is sad and depressed. This clearly reflects the modern-day society that would do anything to hide their vulnerabilities from the public eye.

When Diana visits a physician and she is given a lot of medication that disgusts her, she is encouraged through hallucinations by her dead son to dispose them secretly. When her hallucinations become worse to a point of her trying to commit suicide, she is subjected to Electroconvulsive Therapy treatment to lessen the progression of her mental illness. This treatment renders unable to perform her parental duties as normal as she would love to and takes a toll on her daughter Natalie who resorts to drinking and drugs. According to Natalie, she was invisible to her parents who were concerned so much about the recovery of her mother. She also considered herself mentally ill in a way. This illustrates the kind of effect parental health may have on the growth and development of their children. Families with mental health patients often concentrate so much on the patient that they make the children feel unappreciated. This feeling may drive the children into indulging in activities that are harmful to their health.

Diana’s husband, Dan, seems to be the only sane person in the whole family. Throughout the Musical, he works industriously to remain sane and optimistic in the eyes of his family but he is truly struggling inside. While he shows hope for a better tomorrow, there is no doubt that at times he wonders in his mind whether that tomorrow will really come for his family. Through Dan Goodman’s character, we can appreciate the vital role a man plays as the head of a family – especially one that is on the brink of collapse.

Next to Normal perfectly explores the theme of mental illness and bipolar disorder while paying homage to the various groups of people that are directly linked to the patient. With one of the doctors admitting that he actually had no idea of what Diana was ailing from, the Musical presents a delicate subject on the need for medical practitioners to stay updated with the latest medical practices and the progression of diseases. Rock music that is used in the musical was artistically composed and paid homage to the rock society in America linking the music with a very emotive health issue that is on the rise within the society.

In conclusion, Next to Normal has a lesson for every American family. From the lives of the Goodman’s family, we can all appreciate that there is no real “normal” in life and the moment we start recognizing that fact, we will without a doubt start finding a balancing point and comfort in our occasionally messy lives. The musical also leaves us with an invaluable lesson on the power of pure, selfless love.


But I Still Love Her

But I Still Love Her

I had been seeing her being caressed and appreciated by other people and my blood boiled with anger until 2012 when I finally nailed her. She meant everything to me. Nothing I asked of her was hard for her to deliver. In fact, I became the envy of my clique when they noticed me fondling her in my hands most of the time…all the time. She was my sweetheart and I was going to make good use of her to at least earn some man points if not money.

Today I might call her an idiot because of the new girls in the hood. I can call her a reckless good for nothing idiot because my heart is being conquered by another but I will not stop loving her. I might not like the way she ‘stands out’ every time I put her in my pocket making people stare at me but I still adore her for the good memories we shared. Looking at how far I’ve come with her, I can only but wish her all the best in her life – though she technically has none now that she had her last fall at the hands of Baby Blessing the other day. She meant a lot to me and she still does only that my needs have increased with time while her performance has dwindled at an even faster rate and now is very close to zero. As a result, she can no longer meet my insatiable need of using her.

She introduced me to Twitter and the world of blogging and Denshispeaks was born courtesy of her then fast and unmatched ability to access the internet. I made my first shilling courtesy of her unwavering support of my love for blogging. She knew I could not write unless she lets me and hence thought she was indispensable. She helped me land my first contact and hence led me to my first salary. Little did she know that would be the beginning of the end for her.

I fell in love with a Lenovo B590 but my Idiot did not get jealous because she knew too well that there are some things only her could do for me. She was the only one who could moan every time somebody wanted to have an ear-to-ear conversation with me. She was the only one who could run an errand for me in the name of an SMS and most importantly, she was the only one I could sleep with in bed. She was technically part of me. I loved her for her inconvenience. She was literally with me everywhere and never complained even when I stuffed her in my pocket with my handkerchief during those days flue visited me.

Even though my B590 took over the blogging role from her, she smiled and allowed Lenovo to continue with the job. Her tiredness must have started kicking in.

When my first born daughter came in 2014, she knew that the two years we had been together was enough for her to be a good mother. She could sooth Baby Blessing to sleep at the age of two months with sweet music and wake her up every time someone wanted an ear-to-ear conversation with me. She was her toy and never complained when Blessing tossed her around the house.

Little did we know that Blessing would be the end of her. She endured the tossing and throwing around over the days until she could take no more. I started leaving her with Blessing more and more just to avoid the tantrums of the little girl. My Ideos started feeling neglected by me, her man. She complained but I was too busy to understand her. She cried for my care but Blessing was all I thought of. I only noticed her presence when people called to ask this or that or when I needed to call, text or Whatsapp somebody.

I had been seeing her being caressed and appreciated by other people and my blood boiled with anger until 2012 when I finally nailed her. She meant everything to me. Nothing I asked of her was hard for her to deliver.

I had been seeing her being caressed and appreciated by other people and my blood boiled with anger until 2012 when I finally nailed her. She meant everything to me. Nothing I asked of her was hard for her to deliver.

Then came the question of age. She was aging faster than me. While I was adapting to the technological trends, she seemed old fashioned and I started feeling ashamed to flash her around. While in a crowd, I preferred for the world to end before fulfilling my dreams to her ringing. She was becoming clumsy and a nuisance to me. My Ideos was now stressing me more than anything in the world would. She could hang the whole day without bothering to think about my feelings. She discharged faster than she charged.

My all time companion during a long journey could no longer keep me company for more than one hour before her battery run low. I was getting fed up but I still loved her. I realized why polygamy is necessary in this life. I realized why Solomon had over 300 side chicks and still appeared in the Bible. I realized why he is still the wisest man to ever walk this earth. I had to hatch a plan to get this Ideos a co-wife.

As I bid her goodbye, It would be disrespectful to end this relationship without honoring her on this blog. The love we shared was the real deal. It is the kind of love that leaves you satisfied of your accomplishments together when it ends. I will forever remember her as one of the special gadgets that introduced me to my new line of work. Without her, i wonder where and what I would be doing right now. Such love is rare.

As I start my journey with my new found love, things are never going to be the same. My new catch must be secretly a model, otherwise I know not how to describe her slim body. She allows me to cheat on Safaricom with any other person I damn wish without feeling any guilt. When my mind is dirty, she allows me to watch YouTube clips that always ask me about my age before watching. To keep all my attention to herself, she has allowed me to download and install a lot of apps on her. She can handle them, she assures me every time.

It’s a sin of Biblical proportion to forget your first love. I will never forget you my dear Ideos even as I embrace my new love. Adios!!

A Moment With Abscondittah


One look at her and one would think that she had her life all wrapped around her finger. She exuded the aura of an independent lady who stopped depending on anybody including their parent in their sweet sixteens. As a result, they have learned and matured through life in the most natural ways possible. At first glance, she was Sharon Mundia, Caroline Mutoko and Martha Karua. All bundled up in one body mass of a human being.

In fact within the first thirty minutes of conversing with her, I could tell that the three ladies were her role models. Sharon Mundia bringing in her fashion sense, Mutoko strutting into her life with her independence gospel with Karua surfacing on her face as the iron lady she is. Abscondittah.

The name, however, brought in a different picture altogether. Who calls their child Abscondittah unless she was a product of a burst condom or desperate sex! It’s like her birth reminded her mum of some bad past experience in her life that would rather be kept in an archived human being. When she tells you her name several questions run through your head like the endless River Nile. But you haven’t seen River Nile yet so you cut the thoughts short and move on the Kenyan style.

Listen to her story and you will realize that Abscondittah doesn’t need your pity. Her mother doesn’t either because Abscondittah is a name she was given out of love. The love of parents she still enjoys up to today in spite of her rather tough look. The kind of love that spoils kids and make them think that they own the world yet even the pantyhose they brag about in were bought for them by their parents on their girl’s 22nd birthday.

In fact, Absondittah here was just 22.

Why the tough look for a twenty-two-year-old who has everything thanks to her parents? You ask, yourself, not her. You can’t risk the lecture – especially if you are a man, a thirsty man looking for a relationship or an easy lay or both. She has everything but lacks the most important thing in her life. At 22, she is worried that age is not just a number but an evil spirit that seems to be creeping up on her from the shadows. Shadows she can’t see past. Because if she did, she would strangle the 22 to death and replace it with 16 and a hymen.

ABC-park-benchAbscondittah has had her fair share with men. Apparently, the tough look is bone out of the numerous heartbreaks in her life. Sitting on a famous bench where most campus love sprout, we are conversing but her thoughts are in wonderland.. Trying to find answers to whether I am gonna be another jerk that jerked, and jerked, and jerked in her life before leaving her heart in tatters.

I love the beautiful soul before me, hell, I love the Caroline Mutoko independence and the toughness of Karua. Those can at least supplement the name. In fact, to forget the rather mouthful name, I’m doing the ‘sweetheart’ nonsense. At least that is taking my mind off the name. For the moment.

She is looking for love, true love that they say leads to marriage. According to her, at her age, marriage is the next stop. She’s looking for somebody willing to lose their Bachelors Degree just to give her a Masters Degree. She has everything a man needs but that is the problem. Men have an ego. Men want to own the air and everything else around their lady. Men are animals, not dogs, but lions in this case. They want to own the jungle and every grass in it even if they only feed on meat.

Here is a lady with a history of 6 heartbreaks that I don’t want to find out in this limited time on the bench. She’s interviewing me for the position of the conqueror of her heart. All I want is a moment with her but I can’t tell her because she will run away never to look back. She will classify me into the men are all the same list that is already full with six names already.  That list where we all belong until we prove otherwise. I was here to prove otherwise.

“If you want to be number 7 in my life, promise that I won’t need a number 8.”

“I promise”.


Ladies, when we promise, you don’t need to ask that ‘sure’ question because we start doubting ourselves. Let the conversation end at “I Promise” if there’s nothing else to say.

“You know I have love before and was really broken. I just want you to be sure that you want me forever before anything.”

“Of course I do Abscondittah.” I shudder at the name. Where are my manners? I had just promised to call her dear.

In her final year of study and six boyfriends down the line, Abscondittah would do anything to be in a stable relationship. The kind that doesn’t end with the semester because when this semester ends, she’s not gonna have the opportunity to meet and fall in love with a campus student without being branded a cougar. She was going fast but I understood her desperation. Her desperation was protruding like a six months pregnancy but she was trying to cover it all up with her toughness.

He world was crumbling, fast. And I seemed to her like the only  Recce Squad available to get the job done.

I was afraid. Afraid of letting my guard down. Afraid of losing my Bachelors Degree to a jungle that I will not enjoy the full lion status. Afraid of the fact that the six chaps that preceded me must have had a reason to chuck. Afraid of finding out the exact reasons. All I needed with her was a moment. Maybe that way, I would decide whether she’s the kind of meat I would want to eat daily in my jungle, our jungle.

One Year in a Hell Hole


After spending a year in a place where everyone’s identity was in a crisis, I finally knew that I was in the right place. My previous school had seen me go through different experiences that I can only but liken to what used to happen in Sodom and Gomorrah during Abrahamic days. Those activities that saw God literally make it rain fire and brimstone to the people of the city and changed Lot’s wife into a salt stone for looking back.

Oh how ladies never learn. Even after somebody being turned into a salt stone for looking into history by God Himself, you still get a lady today looking into the history of his man and judging him based on that. May God rain brimstone on you. 🙂 Chapter closed.

gayyyBack to this hell hole that made me discover that actually men can still admire fellow men in a sexual way. Wait a minute, but how that is even possible, please don’t ask me. You could not tell John from Jane at this place during the day because everyone was busy manning up and trying to acquire knowledge. But with every strike of darkness, it seemed like hell was let loose and men had had to allocate themselves roles in the sexual world with some accepting the roles of women to be shagged night long.

A pathetic place to send your son to acquire knowledge if you asked me. But we still do. How many of such places exist in Kenya is a question I might only ask on this blog in this post. No one would want to imagine that probably, that prestigious school your son is in as all the characteristics of Sodom that even an angel cannot survive a day. I will not dare talk about girls schools because that’s a different case all together whose stakes are even higher with candles, test tubes and bansen burners in play. A riskier place if you asked me.

How I landed in this hell hole still beats me. I had all the manly characters  – head to toe  – that anyone can imagine. Hell, I’m not sure if I was still a virgin, thanks to my being a man because apparently somebody decided that no man is a virgin. But I was here and I was expected to behave. To fit in. To take up a role and act it to the end of the nights, which in fact seemed to last an eternity.

A little background check and I discovered that I was coming from this Christina family from where everything is done according to the Book. This was different, rules of the book were being bend right before my eyes and in the presence of the angel from Sodom and Gomorrah who seemed to lark in the darkness that engulfed the hostels at night.

My understanding of monolization changed immediately. It was like my brothers and sisters had not understood the term well during their days and had thus transferred the wrong knowledge of what monolization really is to me. I had to reboot my systems and now understand that monolization does not only include brushing a finalist’s shoes and spreading their beds but also bending while at it naked and warming their beds with a shaft in you. No, this was not going to happen. Not to me.

Garang had just been assassinated but we had our own Garang. A man of stature and principles. He was the second in command and the disciplinarian. Take to him any problem and consider it solved. But by the look on his eyes, this was a different kind of demon altogether. He hadn’t seen anything of this sort in his miserable years of handing teenagers. Even his pay cheque could not handle the bowlful of problem I was taking to him that Monday morning, a month after my joining his hell hole.

You guessed that right. He didn’t believe it. I was being hysterical. I was just looking for an excuse to go back home. I was just like thousands of other new comers he had seen since his career started who use outrageous excuses to drop out of anything good that requires their hard work.  I was looking for an excuse to disappoint my parents who had done so much to get me there. One of the best that there was to offer to a looser like me. He was right about one thing, I was looking for all reasons available to escape from that hell hole. I couldn’t allow my butt to be drilled. Not even by God himself.

At this point I am better than some ladies I bet. Those who are neither virgins in their front door nor their back doors. Both pass. But I won’t say that. This was soo 2005 and we are in 2015. Things have changed, no?

Just as Garang’s plane was taken down in the assassination without a warning, our Garang’s sense of self assurance was unceremoniously brought down when other fresh members of the hell hole came forward and declared that they would rather quit than get drilled.

No one was going to know what happened here. I bet no one, except those affected actually knew what was happening. It was bad for business. It was bad for the image of those concerned. It was bad for the school and hence the best way to hand it was ‘in-house.’ It was to be dealt with ‘with finality‘. I’m not sure how final the finality was.

For me it was final. I was not going back. I was going somewhere else. I was going to a place where men are made out of boys. I was not going to spend another year into this hell hole that made women out of men. No. I was not being homophobic, but I was just making a decision. I was sure of what I wanted to become in life. I was created to be a man and not somebody’s woman. That’s a decision everyone has to take. Every man.

When I look back I can’t help but wonder what became of those we left there.