Like the many before me, when I received the email stating who I would be interviewing I was excited, but also a little terrified. Like many of you, I follow this wordsmith, and beautiful lady on almost every possible social media platform she is on.
While doing my “research” however, I fear I may have caused Kamota to raise her brows in curiosity as I liked and re-tweeted her posts. But, seeing all her posts as I scrolled down her instagram timeline made me want to do and be better, you know, in a “life-goals”, I wish I was this “cool Tumblr kid” kind of way. It made me curious, and quite truthfully, honoured to be able to ask all the questions that were now swimming around in my head.
But, first things first…
I’m a sucker for descriptions and a sucker for the comparative between our ideal self and our real self. Do you find that there is a great disparity between what you see yourself as ideally and what you would describe yourself as in reality? Could you give a description of ‘Kamota: the ideal’ and ‘Kamota: the real’ ?
Kamota: Is there a disparity between my ideal and who I am currently? Yes, I am constantly working at closing that gap. The ideal version of me is more settled, doesn’t drink fizzy drinks, eats no red meat, takes more risks, and doesn’t have her alarm set at 5 for 5:30 a.m in the morning…hahaha!
I occasionally feel a bit stressed out by how much I still have to do and accomplish and then there is my perfectionist tendencies…which can be problematic on days tasks need to be good and complete but I am there looking it over for the umpteenth time because, Kamota.
Closing the gap is me being more committed to realistic goal setting and timelines. Pushing myself out of comfort zones, accepting perfection is a matter of perspective and not being so obsessive about it .Also taking full responsibility of my life and decisions and actively pursuing change in areas I want to improve.
When asked describe yourself, the question always makes one a bit panicky…or maybe just me? There is this pressure to say something smart, possibly witty and oh so self knowing.
I will use some of my online bios. One of my social media accounts reads, “Word Lover. Shape Shifter. Energy in motion. Wannabe wine snob. Must love dogs. Quotes rappers. CFO – Chief Flourishing Officer. “
The other alludes to my attention to detail, stated by how i dot my ‘i’ and cross my ‘t’, and i further compare myself to a chocolate with a surprise centre. Pretty much sums me up! LOL
I would describe myself as a conduit through which art flows. I am a creative. It comes out in so many things about me. From my personal style, the pictures I take to how I absorb the world around me.
I have throughout my life sort of gone through phases of creative expression… drawing, creative writing, poetry…that sort of thing. My creative voice is loudest in my writing-easily my first love.
I love words. I constantly fall in love with sentences. I am passionate about reading and writing because it has done so much for me. Reading books opened my world and imagination up to endless possibilities.
I’ve heard people refer to you and often describe you as somewhat exotic (lol), rave about your beautiful melanin skin. I’ve often wondered, have you always been comfortable in your skin, even before the (much needed) melanin movement we see today. If not, when did that change for you?
Kamota: Beautiful melanin skin…nice!
This is me and my skin tone. I have insecurities like all people do but my skin was not top of the list growing up and much less NOW. Growing up, I sometimes got teased and referred to as kalya aka fita (the dark one). But really, at age six I was more bothered about my teeth- those were my issues.
I cannot say I was uncomfortable in my skin but I was just made aware of it. I am dark skinned. Every time an opportunity arose there would be a reminder of sorts about it, from family or strangers. How unnecessary!
I feel like with our society it’s a thing to comment on…conversation filler…small talk. Sadly it becomes normal that we almost don’t realize what perceptions we are planting in minds.
My mother (God bless her) is the type of woman to drill a certain type of confidence in you. I knew I was dark, darker than my sisters and most cousins but it never equated not beautiful to me. Maybe less preferred but not ugly. I had security in how my mother saw me.
I appreciate my skin tone more now because I don’t see it through my mother’s eyes but my own, and I love my skin.
We once had a conversation, on a bus to the south (Livingstone) about poetry/your writing and you spoke so passionately about it. You mentioned on the ride, writing about heartbreak and love, as a writer, do you ever feel overexposed?
More so, as a Zambian woman, do you ever fear the judgement, based on your often straightforward thoughts on matters pertaining to love and on a larger scale, society?
Kamota: That was a great conversation. Good listener and memory Sekayi.
Mmm, poetry is something I have not done for over four years or more now but I do have occasional four liners here and there when I am inspired.
Back then, I wrote a lot from my feelings .A particular poem, about heartbreak, ‘Earl Grey, Red Wine and Tears’ is to me poetically my best and rawest emotion of work yet.
Taking from that piece, being a writer in all forms is allowing strangers into your head and sometimes your heart.
Are you exposed? Yes.
Anything you put down on paper exposes you to some degree. How you reason, to how you feel and even whether you are good at it or not is evident in one’s writing. That is exposure.
OVER EXPOSURE on the other hand, only comes in form of what exactly you put out.
With my writing, I make sure I am comfortable with whatever I am sharing. I manage it. Sometimes you have to let your guard all the way down, people relate to people. It is important to have a reader on the other end relate to a human experience.
Women with opinions seem to intimidate some and also get one labeled as problematic. Not that I have been called that, not to my knowledge anyway. As a Zambian woman, the whole seen and not heard expectation is heavy. I am fairly conservative but on certain things I’d rather be heard…strongly.
I have things to say on several topics…love, tradition, education, language, sexism and sometimes it is not in line with the “norm” of what we have been told it is or should be. The older I get, making my own mind up is so important and I am more comfortable doing so. I have thoughts I will not apologise for. Question everything. Understand it. Make up your own mind.
Which brings me to the blog, how did Ink On My Cashmere come about? I’d really like to know what inspired the name and the creative direction? Have you always been drawn to speaking about health and lifestyle?
Kamota: I say blogging is gym for writers. I am improving my craft.
Ink On My Cashmere came about when I resurrected my pen (dramatic, I know). Years after quitting poetry and just feeling the need to write something, anything! I overcame procrastination, stopped using “I am too busy studying towards my accounting qualification” as an excuse and decided it is time…forget perfect, just start.
For years my friends would always said,” Kay, you totally should start a blog!”
So I did and picked a name, ‘Ink’ for my love for writing and ‘On My Cashmere’ because in my head I imagined a glorious sight of me fountain pen in my hand with a fine cashmere sweater on…with black ink spots here and there from a long afternoon of writing in a fancy writing room.
At the time it was going to be strictly a writing blog. My first post indicated as much. I did have a debate within myself about type of sharing and how much of my guard I was willing to let down. My first post was very personal. I took the direction more lifestyle afterwards. The blog is still a work in progress and finding a rhythm
I have not always been drawn to speak about lifestyle or health but it comes almost naturally because of who I am as a person and what my interests are.
Health is something I am passionate about. I have a fairly healthy lifestyle…few bad habits I need to kick but who doesn’t? I am that friend or relative who always recommends an oil, a mix of honey, ginger and whatever to help a cold or this or that to get rid of a rash. The blog gives me a wider audience to share.
I love to write and challenge myself. The health segment of my blog has been just that. It can be deemed boring, this particular topic but I want to find 700 words and keep the reader engaged in why I love moringa powder.
It’s all gym like I said. 🙂
Another thing that had me spazzing as I scrolled through your Instagram feed (as everyone reading this should do) is your head stands and flexes. Tell me more! When did you start, why did you start?
Kamota: I grew up surrounded by my Father’s yoga books around the house. I would imitate the poses in this one book.
I was that child who climbed the roof, walls, trees(this I still do) and would squeeze by body between the bars in the windows as a fun activity to see how I cleverly could twist and coil my way through them…that was me. I enjoy pushing the physical limits of my body.
I was on Instagram when I was blown away by a beautiful picture of a woman in a handstand. I went through her pictures and saw her in a headstand . I was like,I wonder if I can still do a headstand now? I inverted myself and was actually still able to do one after years.
What started as curiosity has peaked to more. I work out almost every day. I do some yoga, light weights and a lot of body weight training. I am working at building the strength to one day hold my own perfect handstand.
I found the yoga book from my childhood to help me, I am self taught. I follow several Instagram pages to inspire my road to handstands . I still cannot hold a handstand but the journey has led me down a wonderful path of discovery…of strength, will, patience and mental clarity.
Springing off of that, I often ask people I look up to – where do you go, physically or mentally, to find your centre? Where do you go to find your balance?
Kamota: I am spiritual and find a lot of balance by being in tune with my Creator and spirit being. I pray, fast, meditate, sing hymns in Lunda – my mother tongue and read scripture often to maintain equilibrium.
Working out also helps me a great deal, as does just taking some time out to enjoy silence and appreciate nature.
And my final question – what does it mean to FLOURISH? What does it mean to you?
Kamota: I joke about being a CFO-Chief Flourishing Officer because in life, I just want to flourish and I intend to do just that.
According to Urban Dictionary, to flourish it is to be on top of your game or to be winning in a current situation. I use the word often and it means just that to me. It is pretty much a call to go forth and be great!