The hurt goes away in the end

There are two ways I could write this note.

Honestly or creatively.

Honestly speaking hurts a little too much

but a dose of imagination makes this bitter pill a little easier to swallow

to say i am selfish is an understatement

From the get go, I was all about me

People are the intruders, compeletly unwelcome

‘man is not an island’

but the mainland is full of chaos

unexplained sorrow

unreachable goals

all consuming hatred

and i realized too late that MY island had floated away

so i am here today

writing this note

to those who understand love, this is chance to learn to live with loss

the lesson is simple

when it gets too hard to hold one

when your fingernails are bleeding

and your heart keeps missing the beat

surrender

and just let go

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A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME?

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So the un-blogged challenge has been on for a while and I am falling behind the curve.

My five other colleagues have all posted their thoughts on whether or not a man should/would take a woman’s name.

The majority … quite predictably, say no for a few reasons:
*tradition
*legacy
*’I married you’ (the most annoying so far — as far as i know we both take vows…mtcheeew)
*my name is so unique women fall over themselves to acquire it (eye roll)

The Yes say so because
*my wife’s family name will die out so lets double barrel (dramatic much?)
*love …( hmmm…)

I think no.

I am a big fan of individuals…all 7 billion of us…

Mr Zoe Saldana has big balls but it will take a couple of millenia before this expression of counter culture will be considered normal.

To be honest, I don’t believe in the whole Mr and Mrs thing (refer to earlier comment on individualism)

I also believe that as none of us are born with our knuckles fisted over the pen we used to sign the indemnity clause, thereby we are free to choose how we live.

Getting twisted in tradition is foolish… after all, we make tradition and the human race is generally partial to foolishness.
(For those in Ghana look at how the road to Kukurantumi is being paved with chalk)

A rose by any other name will not smell any sweeter, but the rose must confidently rock its name: rose.

****

keep up with the pace
ignore society
live anti-culture
take her name
and damn the consequences

double edged blade
cuts both ways
without this name
will i cease to be me?

live with ridicule
whispers and confusion
what about the children
what will they be

fuck the fad
lets start a new one
each to his own
keep it as is

playlist: chicane-feat-moya-brennan-saltwater-326x326

Eating from a calabash …

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I have been very vociferous about my challenge of the stereotype of the educated African, as my colleagues in the newsroom will attest.

I went to school in both Ghana and Gambia and read African literature as part of comprehensive education.

I liked ‘Things fall apart’ as much as the next African child who has lived in an urban jungle all her life.

Talking about Okonkwo and exploring the themes of post-colonial Africa, not forgetting the rushing feeling of righteous indignation at those wicked white men, was all well and good.

‘Weep not child’ by Ngugi wa’Thiongo was also a favorite of mine….how I wished there was a struggle I could join and die in tragic circumstances, my red blood seeping into the red earth of my continent to nourish the next generation of brave warriors!

‘The dilemma of a ghost’ was the first play i produced in high school (yes i was an active member of the drama club, scrabble club, debate team, wrote for the school mag and instrumental in the formation of an informal wannabe programmer club but i digress….)

That American woman Eulalie! Hmm…she was just full of her self…how can she smoke and drink?! It is simply not done! No African woman will do that!

In short I had been weaned on a steady diet on what it meant to be African… a recipe of strife, turmoil and the constant struggle against the corrupting influence of the west.

I was comfortable, curled up the protective cocoon of my calabash.

UPDATE

Unfortunately I did not grow up in a time of struggle. The white men I knew were disappointingly normal. My History teacher, Mr Devaney (originally from Canada) was the only exception. He could make you suicidal with boredom.

I probably will have continued to ignore the lie of my life, my lack of authentic African experience if I continued to live the upper middle class bubble constructed by my parents.

Unfortunately I ended up in Northern England as a fresher when I was eighteen. That was when I started answering the awkward questions.

‘No I haven’t slept in a hut before’

‘Yes I saw a lion once, in the zoo’

‘The wierdest food I have eaten? Dunno…snail?’

‘Meaning of my name??!!! Uhhhhh….’

‘How do I say hello at home? I guess I just say hello….’

I wasn’t offended by the questions, I was humiliated. I felt like a fraud. I saw the chasm between my true African experience and the ideal I automatically identified myself with…I had not even heard a gong-gong beater before…it was bad.

My name was African, I grew up in Africa, but was cultured in some weird way that meant I knew more about Sesame Street and the Muppet babies than Kweku Ananse and his son (whose name i forget) ….

Don’t get it twisted….

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I have natural hair.

Have had it all my life (sic).

But seriously in the past two decades  i have spent more time with kinks than without.

I wear spectacles as well. So I have become used to the assumption that the whole ‘natural’ look is a salute at afrocentric feminism (if there is such a thing).

To be honest, it is not.

I went natural because first… I was lazy in high school and could not be bothered with the bi-monthly visits to the salon necessary to tame my wild hair.

Second, I was too broke in university (in UK getting a good salon for black hair meant paying and arm, leg and a couple of ovaries…or is it ovums???, for good measure)

And third I got comfortable with the whole natural hair thing having had it for almost a decade, by the time I needed to buckle down and get a job.

I straightened it when I started working in a bank (company policy) but it was a chore. When I finally got my dream job in a newsroom, I celebrated by cutting my hair off and throwing out all brown and grey suits in my wardrobe (not a good move … paid for this rash action with two month’s worth of my pitiful salary trying to restock said wardrobe).

It was good to be back in my comfort zone.

I do get bored with the twists every couple of years (and those dark&lovely ads are soooo seductive) that I straighten it. But I always go back to my roots (pun intended)

And when I am back in the twists, I nod sagely at philosophical musings on the African identity and the-strong-black-woman narrative, and push suspicions of being an impostor to the back of my mind.