Too many of us are so afraid of a different future that we insist on living in a past that no longer serves us.
- When you know it’s time to walk, you will know. Every single instinct in you will scream it at you.
- Make a plan, talk about it with people you trust and then action it; as amicably as you can.
Her marriage lasted five years before she and her husband decided to get a divorce. In the years that followed, a stirring in her heart made her recall her childhood dreams of working in the film industry. In August 2018, Mona Ombogo took a bold step to create a talk show and share lessons drawn from her life experiences.
Take us down memory lane, how was it growing up?
I grew up mostly in Swaziland, a little country in southern Africa. We were a big family, six children, me being the fifth. The thing about growing up in a foreign country is that you grow to love yours a lot.
Kenya was like the golden land to us, we were so proudly Kenyan, cherishing every holiday that we got to spend here with people who predominantly ‘looked like us’. In Swaziland, we knew we were different, sounded different, thought different even, but my parents always made us feel that being different was okay. I think that’s where my courage to follow my dreams came from, no matter how ‘odd’ they are.
I remember how my parents would watch me in amusement when I climbed on top of a table and pretended that I had just won an Oscar award for ‘Best Original Screenplay’; and I was talking to chairs and tables, who were my audience, and using a spoon as a microphone. If I was to thank my parents for one thing, it would be allowing me to let my imagination run wild without making me feel odd.
You have an online show, “Life with Mona”, that began around August 2018. Tell us a little bit more about the show?
“Life with Mona” is about tackling the difficult and often unspoken issues in life. The topics revolve around sex, relationships, spirituality and following your passion and purpose. The show aims at holding out the mirror to society, and encouraging us to think again on attitudes and belief systems that most of us follow, not necessarily because we think they are right, but simply because it’s what we have been taught.
The show has two parts: the “MonaLogues”, which is just me sharing my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned in my long 40 years. The other is a discussion with an expert expounding on the Monologue episode. For instance, I recently hosted Maurice Matheka on a discussion about ‘the other partner’.
One of the experiences you talk about on your show is going through a divorce. What led to the separation?
My ex-husband and I didn’t really know how to talk to each other in a way that we would pass across the correct message. This miscommunication stemmed from our different backgrounds. I grew up knowing that instead of yelling, you should discuss and fight for your points until you feel they had been made.
I did this a lot with my ex, and when he got angry, he would shout, which would make me retreat because I wasn’t used to this type of communication. I didn’t understand that he resorted to shouting because that’s how they talked in their home when he was growing up.
Our issues were never resolved. And as the issues piled up, we failed more and more to communicate with each other until it was just too late.
What would you say to a woman who feels that a divorce or separation is the only way out?
Do it. Don’t be afraid to admit that part of your life has served you up until now but it’s time to walk away. Too many of us are so afraid of a different future that we insist on living in a past that no longer serves us.