The Anti Valentine’s Perspective

wpid-img_20150215_074809.jpg

So… My take on why love doesn’t need to be proven by Valentine’s celebrations.

I’m not known for being emotional or affectionate. This may have something to do with me leaning the wrong way on a particular psychopath scale but I believe I’m still relatively ‘normal’, granted I’ve never officially been tested but I digress… VALENTINE’S! The day when love is declared in swirls of chocolate, hues of red and drowned in copious amounts of alcoholic beverages. Single or not.

My “problem” with Valentine’s isn’t anything ‘new’ or unique I don’t think. Its the fact that love can ‘only‘ be declared publicly and preferably expensively. A day may come when I will celebrate this day not for what it means to my heart but for what it means to my wallet.

Here’s the thing, I LOVE love. I love being able to sit in a living room with a laundry basket overflowing and it not mattering because the company I’m with makes it not matter that I haven’t achieved perfect cleanliness. I love the fact that because I am terrible in the morning, the person I share my bed with gets up to ‘start life’ and I join him.

Love (for me) isn’t about what other people see. Its about how you feel when no one is looking. So often, we idolize couples that lavishly brandish their affections and it hangs in the air like a cheap cologne choking the rest of us, and while we scramble for air, we forget that love isn’t about what people see, its about how we feel.

I could talk about how you can boost your romantic feelings with less than 5 steps in a specific order but there are way more expert resources on that than I can count. I’d like to talk about Valentine’s friends.

When you were younger, did you have a (totally platonic, possible even same sex) friend you shared Valentine’s with because they ‘got you’ and no one else did. I’ve had a pretty decent run of friends I’ve ‘gotten’ and ‘got’ me back but the older I get, I find I’m losing the ability to hold on to those with quite the same depth. I get more impatient and convinced that I’m just a filler in their lives.

I haven’t had a truck load of friends even though I’ve had the opportunity to amass an eye watering number of connections on any social platform. I normally have 3 – 5 really good friends and never enough drama to piss anyone off enough to actually make them an enemy but the problem is that small pool seems to have been contaminated by life somehow. Some of the people that I thought ‘got’ me seem to be speaking in a tongue I don’t have a dictionary for and they make me feel like I’m smaller than I believe myself to be. And friends who love you should never actually do that.

Which reminds me of Valentine’s when I wanted to receive those aforementioned chocolate, red stuff and pretty bubbly drinks but never did because well… my face just didn’t call for it.

Love comes in many forms but the feels remain the same. Those that love you should leave you feeling bigger or at least somehow better than you felt without them. Once they start to make you feel smaller, you need to evaluate whether having them around fits some kind of external validation but doesn’t feed your feels and whether its worth it.

I hope I make those that I love feel bigger and if I cant then better, in whatever form that comes in. But those that make me feel less. I’ve taken a step back and know I need to cull them from my life but still have brief flashes of ‘That’e the you I love and have missed’ but then we revert back to me somehow feeling smaller and that feeling sucks.

Here’s to catching and keeping those feels that build us up and obliterating the feels that diminish us.

Happy Valentine’s Day for those that celebrate it and for those that don’t. May the love still tickle your skirts.

O&O.

On Being Honest

 The story isn't at the beginning
The story isn’t at the beginning

So…

I’ve been asking myself what is important to me. What do I want out of life? What makes me happy?

Truth is many things make me happy, some even surprise me. Flowers for one. I am not a flowers person (or thought I wasnt) but there was this vibrant rose bush in front of my old flat and pruning that little bush calmed me (oh, the many ways that could be twisted). Yoga, frees my mind… or rather, unclutters it and then I wonder why I allow myself to stop doing it. My cats. My mother in law gave me two kittens and while I seem to love one more than the other, those wee creatures settle me too (and I’ve always thought of myself as a dog person).

Those are the new things. Things I have always known sit well with me involve creating new worlds, solving problems and having a “safe” amount in the bank. I haven’t found the bravery to make the first two feed the last one and that’s what I want to do. Make my own income that doesn’t depend on a direct payslip from someone else (other than the people I need to convince to buy my work, not daunting at all!). I am still too afraid of things I know and things I don’t which is not a great place to be in for change to happen.

Within all this self discovery, I’m not sure what direction this blog should take. I know I am keeping it but I don’t know how I can make it helpful to both other people and keep it relevant to my own desires.

This should be a testament to my own self improvement and personal growth and mostly I see my own failure which sucks balls.

Therefore I need to figure s&*$ out…STILL.

I’M 30 YEARS OLD AND DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.

I am happier than I have been in the past (which makes me think I am missing something to be miserable over so I fall into the doldrums for no good reason) and while its frustrating not having answers, I am enjoying figuring things out, some of the time.

No questions today.

Have a wonderful day!

 O&O.

Assume No

So…

 Struggle Snuggle Tee
Struggle Snuggle Tee

We glamourise our celebrities. Justified or not, they demand our adoration because they have attained what we all want, fortune and fame. And it doesn’t matter where we are in the world, its all the same.

Question is, what do we do when those celebrities fall off the pedestals we raise for them?

A few years ago, a local singer got into trouble over defiling a minor. His defence was she didn’t look like she was underage and a lot of people rallied behind him with that defence, he then went on to release a track in poor taste while the case was still in court and was found guilty. I won’t link to the song but in the age of the internet, these things don’t die.

Recently The President pardoned him. I don’t know if our president has a pro reformation of convicts agenda but this isn’t his first pardon. That’s not where this redemption song fails to strike the right note.

Oh no, this fellow goes on to (allegedly) beat up his third wife upon his release for… um… not fulfilling her marital duties. And the dialogue I’ve heard from my “fellow man on the street” is:

1) How do we know these are recent pictures, maybe he didn’t do this recently?
2) This is propaganda to make our current president look bad but all those other prisoners haven’t made the news when they were let out.
3) He was actually innocent this whole time because the underage girl he (allegedly) raped has a child.

I have gone back and forth over these arguments and some of them have left me doubting that the society I live in is one I want to raise children in. But these problems aren’t exclusive to my side of the border. Women are generally shamed in most sexually crimes and questions of whether “she asked for it” always gurgle to the surface.

As for this being an attack on our Commander In Chief’s (always wanted to use that phrase) skills, I never saw a criteria list for the other 280 (I believe that is the correct number but I stand to be corrected) and I don’t know what basis was made for releasing General Kanene. There may have been a publicised justification that I missed but I’m not aware of missing anything.

My only plea is that we quit victim shaming and look at the source of the violence. That we spend more time teaching our sons to speak than to throw their fists, that we hone their tongues as much as we stroke their muscles.

It is a far fetched dream but I do hope one day the norm of what a man is will be someone who doesn’t need to threaten violence to command, because in our glass towers and corner offices, we don’t need to be boxed around the head to know that “the man is the head of the house” and we don’t need to infer that because a woman has slept with one man that she is open to another, or even the same one…

Assume no till a yes is granted.

That’s my dream.

O&O

A Poem!

 ...

Pitch

She stuck a pin in the anchor of her dreams

It made a ping and on a flight of fancy

She tucked it beneath her skin and tweed

It rolled and twisted, sunk deeper and died silent

 

She held a hand out to the Prince on the pier

He sniffed the air in her direction

Looked away and blew a kiss she’d never hear

The wind giggled too loudly so she tied it beneath her chin

 

The sun refused to blind her

When she stuck her face in it’s bowels

There was no room for her whims

On the back of the Devil’s right palm

 

On an oar she hung her wishes

Wrapped in dried tears and smoked in walrus bone

There’s no room under a roof for a pocket with no coin

The moon wrapped her in a blanket of light and a kiss that sounded like home

 

She’ll never wake in the morning, noon or dawn thereafter

The aftertaste of the moon’s kiss tastes of the hereafter

The girl dared to dream but leaped from a cliff too high

There’s no one to catch her and so tonight,

 

She’ll die.

 

*************************************************************************************************

So…

I have no idea what that is about or even where it came from but it teaced itself out so there you have it.

O&O

Being Young Sadly Doesn’t Make You Free

My emotions are doing things... {don't know the source of this adorable oddity}
My emotions are doing things… {don’t know the source of this adorable oddity}

So…

Kids make silly choices. That stating the obvious but its a natural side effect of not knowing any better and consequences being a far notion in relation to present gratification. I came across a story about kids sharing a blow job selfie (why, oh why? and also there were other people watching!?!) but it makes me think of a local Zambian case where a “well known” musician Bobby East and his partner in crime Ruth Mukanga made a “sex” tape (that is in quotes because there is debate on whether there is actual insertion which incidentally led to brief spate of BobbyEasting being a thing) . While my consumption of Zambian music is low, I am generally aware of artists even if I cannot identify their music but the only time I heard of Bobby East was due to his “mishap”.

 First, a step back. Pornography is illegal in Zambia. Making of it (either for personal or commercial use) is considered “corrupting public morals” and obscene plus you can face jail time.

Bobby and Ruth decided they would record their “activities” on his phone. I obviously cannot provide a link to the video but they are both apparently clearly identifiable. The video somehow started getting shared around and lots of people were talking about… I kid you not, police on TV and in the papers were talking about it, the cell phone and internet regulator/authority (ZICTA – Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority) even made statements on how they can track that video being transferred which they later retracted.

Anywho, their defence is they made it for their own personal use and only after his phone got stolen did it get shared around. Unfortunately the theft wasn’t reported and the couple have since been convicted of corrupting public morals and await sentencing later today. Now, he is 25 and she is 21 (I stand to be corrected) and that is still young enough to believe life is so long you can outrun your own foolishness. Life still has a rosy tinge (unless you’ve led a harder life than most) but generally, you believe you own the world at that age. Life is good! Its in those Life is Good moments that sadly, being silly can cripple you.

This isn’t the first porn “scandal” that’s made waves here but it is the first that I am aware of that has resulted in a conviction. Now, Zambia prides itself as a moderate conservative society. We are slowly getting used to the idea that women wearing minis doesn’t mean that she is a harlot, and while you may go to a funeral wearing all black, you are inappropriately dressed if you aren’t wrapped in a chitenge (even if it is loud or garishly printed).

We recently celebrated 50 years of independence and my own observation is that it would be more meaningful if we had an actual self identity to celebrate (among other things but that is the seed to it all). That may seem like I am running away from the topic but there’s a method to my madness. See, that moderate conservatism is slightly out of touch with the growth that society is generally going through. In urban areas, young children spend more time exposed to ideals that do not match with the morals their parents grew up with and may want to fling at them when they are present. But parents are also so busy working to attain the same “material standing” that these “perverted ideals” present as an elevation from what moderate conservatism supports.

Does that make sense? Let me try again. What I mean is you have parents that want to live lifestyles that generally idealise not only how much money you spend but how “full” your life is with experiences at odds with conservatism. For example, working for a major commercial that supports family values on paper would probably come with networking at functions where alcohol consumption is high and illicit affairs the norm. So you spend your time schmoozing and schtupping other people while your kids stay at home watching unrestricted channels on DSTv or going to other people’s houses where they have access to that. You’re never home because you have to work and chances are its both mum and dad working because who can afford having a stay at home parent in this day and age?

So adults are going through that change, teens are watching it and children are living it. What we actually glorify is the “glam life” but we still want to hold on to that conservatism tag because of religious purposes and this case is “proof” that we are still a moderate society and youthful sexual exuberance should be quashed.

Is what Ruth and Booby did wrong? I don’t think so, they were simply stupid. Recording your exploits is risky business even in places where pornography is illegal (iCloud anyone?), so doing it in a country where it in fact illegal is quite risky. Do I think the law has better uses than policing porn, absolutely.

Kids do foolish things all the time, sometimes there’s malice. Blowjob selfies with an audience doesn’t seem like an action with love in mind even if it is puppy love. Private sex tapes that people make because they think it’ll be “fun to do” is simply silly. Jail time wont correct their morals. There are worse crimes than foolishness.

O&O.

Not Where I Meant to End Up

 

I cant remember the source but tis inspiration for an abandoned project
What I hope my “genius face” looks like. Let me know if you know the source.

So…

A friend of mine is trying to have a baby and it’s gotten me thinking about my own (eventual) quest to motherhood. I’m not the most “affectionate” of people, not because I have been denied hugs and kisses as a baby although… one of my sisters believes the differentiation in size in the part of the brain in psychopaths that reflects their inability to properly process emotion may be present in me but just not at levels of murderous deviation levels, so that isn’t inspiring.

My parents are your a-typical traditional “African” model. “Study hard so you can get a good job, get married, have kids, buy a house, retire and farm till your maker summons you”. The only thing they were really strict about is the getting married before having kids which is interesting now because none of my siblings have any children yet and the parents are craving some young ‘uns to spoil to oblivion. Hearing them drop hints about how one having children matures them is interesting when technically none of us are “allowed” to right now without being married.

Now… I lost my thread, where was I going..? Ah yes, affection or rather parenting. I have found myself asking what kind of mother I want to be. I have had this introspection before but now the question seems closer because of the pending wedding and this very close friend of mine taking the plunge. The question then got me thinking about how it is women “change” once they are married but men get away with staying the “fun guy”. Even when children fear their fathers, it more due to size than it is to do with rule setting… Dad’s enforce what Mum’s lay down. This assumes a “normal” household of course, no abuse and average emotional functions for all concerned.

So, why do mothers lose their “fun” streak once that ring is on their finger? From this point on, I am looking at this from a Zambian point of view because that is the data I have right at my fingertips (see what I did there, no? alright then…). On my little patch of earth, two people simply do not meet, decide to get married and live happily ever after (don’t even get me started on *gasp* co-habiting!). Oh no… over here, first your parents need to advise Elders. These Elders then get a group of people together that decide your value as a bride and the fella also has his own Elders that meet and negotiate the price tag and how much the fella will cough up before a marriage can take place (if he’s lucky maybe family members will pitch in but its really his tab). After this has been agreed, now the woman’s Elders decide what kind of “lessons” should take place to prepare this (usually young) woman for marriage. 

In summary, these lessons cover “How to be a Good Wife”, which is admirable but what makes me bristle is the lack of dialogue that SHOULD happen between the two people ACTUALLY getting married. I haven’t undergone this particular tutelage but I understand not only will it cover what food I should cook so my husband eats well (which is valuable foundation to family nutrition but I don’t understand why his preferences are so predominant and why some woman who has never met him should TELL me that) but also what I need to do in the bedroom. What causes me unending bafflement is why this is not a dialogue WITH THE ACTUAL fella. I’m supposed to go off to some hut (where no one can hear me scream *insert evil maniacal laughter here*), learn THEIR version of what being a “good wife” is and then I am not supposed to talk about it with my partner! That not talking about it is truly what does my head in… how am I supposed to lay the foundation of my marriage with beliefs that I may not have had till right before my parents decided to throw out “western” education in exchange for secret traditions I didn’t even know existed? Those “Western” beliefs that may in fact actually have led me to pick the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.

I think I have to back track a bit. So, when I said that my parents were A-Typical African, that should be taken into account with their generational experiences. They both had a foundation growing up in rural settings (although my Dad more than my Mum) and were determined to have a successful urban future and they succeeded in that. They also made sure that their children knew where they came from. I’ve been to the village my father grew up in and have an appreciation for the life I live and how it really could have been VERY different, not in a bad way but my experiences would just have been entirely different. But one thing they didn’t really do was talk, my parents “did”. So you led by their example and what they showed you was important. I didn’t go to the village very often but I never missed a day of school and not simply due to logistics. I have some fond memories of family Tekken battles and my Dad helping my youngest sister cheat at Monopoly. What I have no recollection of is why after years of being told I need to be a self sufficient human being, I now need to “submit” to teachings no one can talk to me about because its all a secret but will define my value as a wife that exceeds any worth I may have accrued as a person on my own.

I’m sure this isn’t the last post I will have on marriage and expectations wives have and because I have meandered so far away from what I actually wanted to say I need to wrap this up and save us both from my rant. So… what the kind of parent I want to be is present… and communicative… no I’m not going to answer this in this post. Maybe y’all can tell me what kind of parents you would like to be if you aren’t yet, hope you are, if that’s where you are already or even why answering this question is a waste of time for you…

My, I have botched this… Sorry about that.

 O&O

Dreaming of a White Christmas

I want what I want
I want what I want

So…

When I read that headline I thought, “Have we completely run out of news” and “Guess The Post is officially a tabloid now”. After reading Diary of a Frustrated Brotha’s take, I figured I would add my own spin on this. Oh, and I will respect this woman’s choices even if I don’t agree with them.

On Friday 12th September, one of our national papers (arguably the most popular one) decided to go with this headline: “I am a virgin and my dream is to marry a white man”. Now I’d just roll my eyes and move on but on reading the article I discovered a few “inconsistencies” with this young woman’s aspirations.

Firstly, attraction is its own beast. You like what you like and its based on some gut instinct you have no control over mixed in with a heavy dose of life experience. This is a 21 year old’s dream, and most 21 year olds are heady with youthful optimism and not enough life experience to know any better… unless life hasnt been particularly kind in which case that’s a different story. But her experiences are the dreams she believes will come true and teen boys affections.

Last year I think I had a conversation with a friend from South Africa and she asked me why Zambian women are “so into white guys”, and I have had a few conversations with Zambian women (and men) on why this apparent attraction exists and I’m not sure its about liking white guys but about what those white dudes represent.

Historically, Zambian society was segregated along racial lines (as with most African populations) and white societies lived better and had better experiences than indigenous ones which is in line with most African countries in general but where the Zambian experience deviates from, for example, the South African scenario is that there was not enough blood shed to want us to “own” our own wealth. We migrated from a society of servants to a society of envy but without enough “muster” to make it work for ourselves.

Of course there are exceptions of Zambian owned business and Zambian execs that defy this general mentality but in general, while most Zambians may aspire for more they lack the tools to believe they are capable of attaining more unless it is given to them and I think that is our greatest societal flaw. You cant “earn” something, it has to be “given” and I think that foundation could be “guiding” this woman’s views.

I am not a historian or psychologist and do not know why we have the belief sets we do but our response to independence was to become more “English” (former British colony). So we aspired to live in “white” houses and have children that sounded “educated”… read spoke with an accent. Perhaps the dream was if we sounded “white” we could have white lives? But here’s the thing, on the whole, we did not sit around and talk about what life was like for indigenous Zambians pre independence and actually make plans to empower the indigenous population to attain a better quality of life unless they were involved in politics. The white populations remained so small and localised around their economic interests that segregation continued after independence and we continued to romanticise what “living white” was like.

When my family moved to South Africa (in 2000 I think), I remember my mum telling me not to get a black South African boyfriend because “they can kill you”… I haven’t reminded her of that in light of the Pistorious trial but our experiences cloud how we experience life and when we were moving, headlines were about jealous boyfriend kidnappings and killings and baby rapes and murders.

When you grow up in one society and lack exposure to how other societies REALLY live, hearsay and romanticisation colours any judgements you may make. As a 21 year old, chances are the guys she is surrounded by are not mentally mature and that goes across all races but the stories she is exposed to in her society aren’t about love or guys with interests that dont involve alcohol or sex. Dudes can be a shallow lot, cant they? However, this speaks more to the kind of society we are that in and the experiences our young people have than anything else. Interstingly, the only (other) published response to this article was:

“Editor,
I totally agree with Buumba, the virgin in search of a white man to marry.
Most zambian men are not only violent and difficult to ‘manage’ but also promiscuous and unreliable. I however advise her to be cautious in her search. There are many whites out there involved in human trafficking and she could end up regretting for the rest of her life.

Concerened”(sp)

What this girl wants is the kind of love she sees in the movies, romantic, sweeping sacrificing love and she thinks black men are incapable of it because sadly Zambian society does not value loving marriages that highly. Marriage seems to be a transaction, woman gets “shelter”, man gets a maid with bangable benefits. Or its a marriage that “fixes” an unplanned pregnancy… but we have no love stories of our own. Fidelity is not guaranteed from a husband and if you find that he has been “wandering” then you have to forgive because you are better off married than not and “all men do it”.

Plus our society is still segregated enough that unless you happen to be in “affluent” areas, you can go ages without seeing a non-person of colour (or is it person of non colour?) and if they are coming into a non affluent section of society then its either a backpacker, an NGO worker or someone involved in some kind of missionary work… all of these attest to a better life somewhere else.

So, I refuse to judge this young woman who doesn’t know any better but choose to question our society as a whole, we have problems on what we choose to glorify and that needs way more attention than one girl who thinks the worst a white fellow will do to her is traffic her.

There is no question in today’s post but should you have an experience or insight you’d like to share, comments down below!

O&O

Getting Distracted by Shiny “Newness”

The Voodoo Snowman
The Voodoo Snowman Lives!

So…

Ever since I was a little girl I have glamourised new places, not really “things” because they didn’t stay new for very long and I had to share which I didn’t find fun at all. There was always something very private about discovering new corners knowing only I could see them in the way I was. I created stories for people and things with less to go on than stereotypical movie quips (South Africa was nothing like Sarafina when I moved there but in my head it was but in a happy way, like The Sound of Music in Brown Skin (in my head)). Beginnings give me hope that what I have had is not the best I will ever experience and fascinate me more than endings. This can be a problem when you are trying to be a writer because your stories need to end at some point or in some way. So how do you give endings to things when you are enamoured with starting new ones? Haven’t the foggiest but I need to figure it out soon because beginnings don’t really help me if that’s all they remain.

For as long as I can remember I have been in LOVE with Japan, not enough to learn the language (I have a concrete tongue that cant grasp the tones that my ears can) but I have wanted to “go” there and even declared that once I saw Japan I could die because there would simply be nothing else to live for… I may have been 13 or 23. I can’t remember. I planned on moving there to teach English after graduating but my graduating took longer than planned and by then I was a ‘responsible adult’ and that was nothing more than a longing of a little girl that didn’t exist anymore. Or so I thought.

A little before my 28th birthday, however, I took the plunge. Work was frustrating and draining me, I felt unaccomplished and miserable in my personal life and couldn’t appreciate the good I had because I felt I was swirling in miseries. The good moments seemed so few and far between that they became a punishment of their own. So, I convinced a friend of mine (from university) to go with me to a country neither of us could communicate in for an adventure that only we could share and since it wasn’t going to be cheap, we should do it in winter. Now… as the headline above says. I am an African… I had never crossed an ocean before and I get goosebumps at temperatures below 24 degrees centigrade and here I was saying we should frolic in below freezing weather because I needed a beginning (and my loon of a friend was cheering me on!). I needed something that said that what I had wasn’t the best I was ever going to have but I also wanted to know if Japan could still be the escape I had romanticised in my naïveté. I needed a whisper saying there was more to life than my daily toll.

Plus I needed to learn to give myself permission to give birth to schemes that defied my own personal logic. Responsible girls didn’t do such things and I was very responsible.

Again, as an African, I do not have the luxury of ‘getting up and leaving’ when the mood strikes me, it starts with the visa requirements and then the cost of the plane tickets (Oh my word! They should sooooo put better seats on planes for what they charge for long hauls), plus the whole not knowing anyone or the language made the whole thing rather daunting. But mostly I had to look at my own finances. A few of my previous posts point to me being somewhat of a people pleaser, so selfish trips that gave me no ‘direct benefit’ definitely are not the norm. My father was a civil servant and my mother was a teacher, they are retired now and have a very productive farm that keeps their greys at bay and when I told my father, he did not understand why I would spend my hard earned money on a trip ‘with no purpose’ when there were more responsible things to do with it and he was right. There is always something I could do that would benefit the family more than it would help me but that obligation was adding to me need for some kind of ‘fresh air’. But my Dad is awesome and didn’t try to stop me, and my mum quietly said I should do what I could because eventually I would not be able to, not in a miserable way but I am still young and there is nothing stopping me was more her line of thought.

Those two weeks in Japan were the best two weeks. Ever. On divulging my crazy plan to another friend, she gave me details of some of her friends and they were gracious enough to spend some time with me (and helped my friend and I birth that atrocious snowman in the picture above). I will be forever grateful to everyone who helped me out with that trip and I have tried to hold on to the memories of it because I want them to remain safe, inside me and pure, not tainted by life. That trip to Japan is my personal Patronus Charm, it defeats my personal dementers. It also helped me answer a very important question. Could I still move away if I wanted to? If I decided I wanted to live in Japan, could I settle there? Or atleast stay there long enough to study something while deciding. The answer was an un-resounding ‘YES’. I once had a Chinese maths teacher who felt I must have been Chinese in a past life and I can safely say she was wrong. Its more likely I was Japanese (oooh, or maybe I was a Chinese spy in Japan…that’s an interesting premise for a story… and African-Japanese spy on the Chinese mainland with a time warp element… ooooh! I like! See? Beginnings).

I cant ignore that after that trip, my savings were not the same but I do not regret it. Not the getting lost and wandering for hours looking for a sight we just could not see, or accidentally wandering into a ‘naughty’ store or heaving our baggage in the piddling rain not knowing where our apartment was because I read the map wrong (my friend did not know what she was signing up for when she agreed to go with me). Those experiences showed me that as restrained and sensible as I am, my imagination needs fuel and perhaps I don’t need to fly to the other side of the globe (but that’s immense fun) but when you know that doing something allows you to be the best version of you there is, why not dive in?.

If you don’t feed who YOU are, YOU will starve, you will wither away. I sat on trains in Tokyo watching people around me and gave them stories and imagined histories, saw a hot fella with a guitar on a platform in Kyoto and cursed my luck for being on the wrong platform (everyone knows that all musicians have stories and I was after stories, you pervs!), I watched families in museums in Osaka and wondered which kid was the favourite or what was the last argument between the parents about. I walked always looking up to take in as much as possible, its probably the tallest I have walked in a while. I ate way more than I should have of ‘cheap’ food that tasted divine. My relationship with God is not very solid at the moment but I felt at peace at the temples (except this one time, another guy took a picture with a ginormous camera so I thought it was allowed and whipped mine out, only to be finger stabbed but a very stern guard/policeman in a very smart white coat) and in those streets in general. I don’t know how much of that trip I will share, because it didn’t last very long and my friend is extremely private and may not approve me blabbing about our odd happenings but I am making a few of my own personal discoveries offline and I guess I should share them here. The fella in my life gives me odd looks when I mention the joy you get from being immersed somewhere new and he thinks I romanticise adventure; if you said there was free accommodation somewhere and all I needed to do was ‘be there’, you’d hear me knocking, he is a ‘purpose traveller’ my fella. I probably do romanticise it and I hope the next time I am planning a Japanese escape I lug him along and will refrain from reading maps as that served with incredibly negative results.

I hope you take the time to feed your inner cogs because if you don’t grease them, you cant do or be you.

O&O!

Imaginary Tea with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ms Adichie knows something...
Ms Adichie knows something…

So…

The video I would like to share is here;

First confession: I love Ms Adichie (I feel so cosmopolitan using Ms).

Second confession: I haven’t read any of her books (yet).

Now, seeing as I love her why wouldn’t I devour her books? After all, her art is an extension of herself and I love reading her interviews and watching her speak. (Laying on the excuses now). Well, I did come to her party late. One of my younger sister’s is into stories that have a “deeper” moral compass and if they have an African Or African-American theme even better. I bought this sister Half of a Yellow Sun as a birthday present one year and I didn’t have any intention of reading it because it was not “my thing”. I preferred either pure escapism through fantasy or history that was culturally different to my own. I found solace in gasping at the horrors other societies inflicted and didn’t want to learn any more about how African’s did it.

But the truth is, I was escaping her work because I thought it was another example of how African writers should write. Insert village, un-pronouncable (I decree that a word) names and then make the story about a struggle that usually cannot be wholly felt by most contemporary Africans. I believe we are more than that and I wanted more examples of contemporary African story telling, which I could not get anyway because I shunned stories written by African sounding names, which is terrible I know.

I stayed in my father’s village as a child one holiday (I have never had so many nosebleeds in my life but learned holding your head over burning sunflower seeds cauterizes your nostrils and stops bleeding for a few years at least), and I cannot base all my work on that one interaction when it isnt ingrained in who I am, yet any time I came across successful African writers, that is what I found. You needed it to be rural and lay it on thick. But those rural locales are where my family stems from and is a part of me but not the part that comes to mind immediately when I define myself. But this post isnt about my identity.

I feared that if I read her work, I would try and make my writing more “African” to be successful. That is not the content of the video (and you should really see it, if you haven’t), it is what I would talk to Chimamanda about if I were to share a cup of tea with her. Identity.

The video is about being a feminist. I believe generally society holds women a lot morally upright than they actually are. This post will end up being a lot longer if I keep going, and I did promise these would be short, but I will say that when the time comes for me to be a mother. I hope I do not forget that I want my sons to be as self reliant as my daughters and my daughters to be as practical as my sons. We shouldn’t continue to hold our daughters as mass nurturing mammary glands because not all women want or should be having children. I hope when my daughters are of an acceptable child bearing age that I do not suddenly expect grandbabies to fall from their wombs at the risk of their dreams. May my sons know value above financial success and most of all, may my children have a sense of humour, because they will probably need it to survive having me as their mother.

Check out her new book Americanah. I will be reading this one soon…just need to borrow it from the sister.

Over and Out!