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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You Only Live

Some one close to me died today.

He was only 24.

When I read the news in a whatsapp message from my sister, all I though was ‘I am not surprised . At least he can stop running now’.

May his Soul Rest in Peace

SOCIAL CONTRACT: terms and conditions apply

What do you do when the world doesn’t make sense anymore?

Plus, you know the last rebel without a cause died in a car crash in 1955, which is like sixty years ago.

Well, you write a blog post.james-dean

There have been a lot of expectations in my life: from parents, grandparents, friends, society and let’s not forget my spiritual guides ( pastor and imam .. depending on the stage of my life and which parent had greater influence).

‘You should be a Doctor’, ‘You should start your own business’, ‘wear more dresses’, ‘I think you should apply for this’ and my personal favourite ‘you should get your masters’.

Expectations make me itchy, claustrophobic… the only expectation I expect people to expect from me is the unexpected.

James Dean died in a car crash, in his thirties, at the peak of his career (oh the tragedy!) but if that’s the destiny I have chosen for myself then, fine.

I mean ‘Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today’ speaks to me more that ‘don’t rock the boat’.Rebel-wallpapers-rebel-without-a-cause-13219350-1440-900So yes, sometimes I will wake up early, drive around aimlessly and get to work late. The boss can frown and caution about how ‘leaders should set the example’ but those forty minutes of going nowhere and observing the marvel that is life, something as simple as seeing a child brushing their teeth over a gutter, keeps me grounded.

I always say no one is born into the world, clutching the pen they will use to sign a social contract.

Also the first gift God gave to man is free will, the ability to choose. Which is why the tree of knowledge was not surrounded by an electric fence.

But I have a child now, so you know those terms and conditions that I threw away?maxresdefaultWell I am elbow deep in the trash, searching for the crumpled paper, desperately smoothing out scraps I find and cringing to myself when I tell her to ‘sit like a lady’ or asking her to edit comments of unvarnished truths.

Its no longer me against the world, a la Tupac Shakur.

My daughter needs an introduction to the world, and I must find a way of making sense of it all for her.

But then again….

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Keeping sane with drops of Jupiter

First off, I am really working against the clock to meet my mid-year resolution (that should totally be a thing!) of two blog posts a month.

Luckily for me this past week has been a roller-coaster of events (also known as inspiration) for blog posts.

I could talk about sens8 (brilliant new series by the Wachowskis of Matrix fame)

Or about 4 non-blondes…hearing whats up after decades of floating in the obscurity of memory was great … and yes it was on loop for about an hour …

Or I could talk about the avalanche of nostalgiac tunes it spawned (hello Avril, red hot chilli peppers and train…been a while!)

Also my daughter ‘graduated’ from pre-school … this is great inspiration for a post on the ridiculousness of the modern education system. How do you ‘graduate’ when technically you haven’t started school yet? (will def come back to this rant later)

But I decide to talk about convergence!

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Ah the drama! the sweat! the tears! the laughter! the heartache! And enough cliffhangers to make a telenovela writer green with envy.

Basically the future of broadcasting is in converging radio, print and online operations into one gigantic cross-platform multimedia approach.

That’s great …. technically… but my station is the first to try this in Ghana.

Translation: we are guinea pigs in a giant experiment … with no controls.

So we have the usual ego clashes (cue: you might be an editor at TV but know nothing about radio Jon Snow! Shadow the intern…), the geographic conundrums ( you now have to share your desk and computer with virtual stranger who treats your windows desktop as a landfill site …) and the leadership shuffles (follow me…no follow me…. no follow me instead… erm how about I just do whatever the hell I want? yeah? brilliant!)

So what do I think about convergence? Well the old African proverb does say a broom can bend but won’t break, but a broomstick snaps easily. Together we are stronger I know … but I have to give up my independence and be squeezed together with other sticks, bristles and all, not to talk about the choke-hold of the twine that binds us together.

In short… convergence is a bitch.

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

UN-BLOGGED

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

So given my absolute lack of discipline when it comes to writing, I came up with a brilliant idea on how to get over it and just write!

I got into a competition.

So I have a predominantly type A personality and of course, this comes with a side helping of ‘approval junkie’. So anything that involves challenges, first place and heart-pulsing pressure is right up my alley.

(To be fair, when I am making my best impression of Garfield on Saturday you would not believe a word of the aforementioned character assessment)

Anyway a group of fellow lackadaisical colleagues and friends in the newsroom came up with the mind-blowing idea of a blogging group.

I know! Really out there right?!

…Well we thought it will totally unnecessary to re-invent the wheel.

Simply this group of seven irreverent writers will pen their ideas on two topics each month. Post on their blogs. And we peer-review.

It will also help to un-block the writers block of bloggers! 🙂

So for this month of July we talking same-sex marriage and taking your spouse’s name…

Ahh well …lets see what we come up with.

You can follow the other un-blogged? un-bloggers? at :

http://www.niiakrofi.wordpress.com

http://www.ablasey.wordpress.com

http://www.adelaidearthur.blogspot.com

http://www.biscowusuyeboah.blogspot.com

http://www.jenneiferjayneasante.wordpress.com

http://www.jaysboudoir.wordpress.com

…With a spoon

Okay so its been a while since I wrote.

But as every writer knows, you can’t force inspiration… (plus being lazy feels really good…oh bed…you ARE the best)

Any way, last week I read a book called ‘Fine Boys’ by Eghosa Imasuen.images

He is a young Nigerian writer and if his book wasn’t published in 2011 then I would have totally thought that he was inspired by the post ‘eating from a calabash’.

It was such a pleasure to read an African book, set in Africa yet totally comfortable in referring to ‘Some Mother’s do have ’em’ with a protagonist who is well versed in the east coast-west coast beef typified by tupac and biggie.

Finally! Some one speaking my language!

Anyhow so that brings me to the spoon part of identifying as an Afropolitan.

I belong to a post- post- colonial generation of Africans.

Those who had childhood holidays with extended relatives in New York, London, Brussels or Paris.

Those who served as couriers for ‘illegal’ delicacies such as Kenkey (if travelling from Ghana) or Kong (smoked catfish from Gambia), camouflaged in hand laggage.

Those who speak English as a first language, and yes though we are ashamed to admit it, we are more comfortable with a metal spoon than the one God gave us.

Those doubly alienated… not fitting the African Ideal yet so far from the West.

This new generation of Africa. Locally gobal and globally local…mutually exclusive.

I interviewed Eghosan and he made a profound statement that put to rest my cultural identity crisis.

The new African doesn’t need to explain. We just are. Finally, we just are’

Eating from a calabash with a spoon.

The Hills, Lakely

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Today I went to Senchi for the first time in my life. If you are not Ghanaian then you might not get why this event is big enough to warrant a blog.

The Ghanaian economy is in tatters, the stock market is the third worst performing on the continent, the currency is the worst performing in the world and last month local producers witnessed an inflation rate of over 47%.

A couple of months ago (in May to be precise) about 400 hundred of the top brains in the country went to Senchi to look for solutions and the Senchi Consensus was born.

So Senchi is basically the Davos of Ghana.

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And I went there for the first time today. (are those excited ooos and ahhhhhs i hear?)

Yeah Senchi was green, hilly and kinda reminded me of the lake District in UK,,,only without the snow and mutant killer ducks (that’s a story for another day)

I had to meet with the local government boss there and once the meeting was over we had a leasurely drive through the town that borders Lake Volta.

Honestly the place is serene, postcard picture perfect!

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But we all have to go home sometime, and that is when I saw this…

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Never have a felt more like a JJC …. when I hemmed and hawwed and congratulated Peter for getting the shot, bouncing all over in the car with excitement at such an ‘exotic’ sight.

Only to have the news gently broken to me that it happens all the time….

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How do they get the sheep up there?

Oh they toss it in with the charcoal….

And it doesn’t fall off??? (then squeal in terror as the truck dips precariously into a giant pothole)

No its totally secure….You should see when the boys sit on it

(eyes wide in horror … jealousy …. or a disturbing mixture of both…still trying to define my feelings on this)

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So yes Senchi…. the hills were lush, the lake peaceful and the sheep were touching the skies!

 

ps…also saw this …they helpfully monitored oncoming traffic and indicated when it was safe for us to overtake..

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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) ….