So… I’m all about everyone having a right to their opinion but on occasion I come across some thoughts that make me want to strangle the liberal part of my brain and then flay it with a pregnant cactus. I came across the post below on Twitter and ignored it at the time because, you know, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Then I heard it being talked about on the radio and I thought, ‘that was the opinion of someone with influence?!? In that case opinion requires some defence.’ So I went off to read up about him to make sense of what he was trying to say. Note: I’m only addressing the merits of his arguements because I do not know about his personal situation and can’t intellectually engage that so…Here’s the post: Here were my main takeaway points from this ‘nugget of wisdom’ above. 1) Zambian men are focused on marrying only Zambian women. 2) Zambian women are (all) physically attractive but mentally unfit. 3) 95% of Zambian women have no drive, ambition, purpose or ‘grind’. 4) (All) Zambian men are fighting for the ‘sane 5%’. 5) In order for a Zambian man to get ‘bigger, better things’, he must leave behind Zambian women and marry ‘from outside’. You may have others but these 5 ‘statements’ are what I’d like to understand. 1) I’m going to tackle this with a horrible metaphor: If a blue fish lives in a green pond with black rocks, said fish will think all ponds are green and all rocks are blue (or they live in the only pond in the world). Now, let’s say this fish gets caught by an industrious little girl, who places this lucky fish in an aquarium perched on her bedroom window on the second storey of her house. From his view, he can see white rocks lining the driveway below him. He sadly cannot go outside and play with those rocks because well… He’s a fish. I told you it’d be terrible but hang in there. I have two issues with his first statement is 1) our physical boundaries define the world in which we live and 2) Even when we discover that other possibilities exist, this does not make them ‘available’ to us. If I go to a school with all Zambians, start working and continue to be surrounded by only other Zambians, that’s most likely my dating pool. Even when considering online dating, chances are I’ll start out with what’s familiar and broach out from there. I haven’t done any actual research to back this opinion but I wouldn’t be surprised if more Americans are married to other Americans than non-Americans… And if this were true for just about every other nationality… In fact here’s an interesting article from Japan about trans national marriages and Japan has loads of ‘the internet’ to indulge in international relationships. That doesn’t mean that I’m not aware of international unions, we date where our pools are. If I have access to non-locals and a romantic opportunity presents itself I will rise to the occasion. If I don’t, then I won’t. Sometimes I’ll even have a preference with no actual basis I can agree with. 2) This one is the easiest to get riled up about because it sounds like a buried insult or a back handed slap thrown by a palm wrapped in silk. “You’re all idiots but you look good in all your idiotic finery, so here’s a pat on the back for that.” That’s what I ‘heard’ when I read that. It could be a phrasing problem but… Until he says otherwise. 3) My response to this stat (95%) is that he really must change his friends. Even the ‘unemployed’ women I know have at least one hustle going on. In fact, one woman is busier now as an unemployed person than she was as an employee! My question here is, what is the definition of your lack of drive/ambition/purpose/grind? If I’m posting pictures of the weaves or clothes I sell, that’s my grind. If I post about all the places I want to see, that’s my ambition. We shouldn’t mistake our own ignorance for someone else’s deficiencies. 4) Again, this guy really needs new friends. I really can’t think of anything else to say here, these stats are based on who this person chooses to surround himself by, this is a problem is that’s the world he has chosen to exist in. But for arguement’s sake… If all men wanted this 5% and this guy later claims there are lots of desperate women seeking marriage, why aren’t there more ‘pretender’ women ‘advertising’ themselves as what the market wants. Either 95% of these females are knowingly fanning themselves at uninterested parties or that 5% isn’t after what he’s claiming. 5) It’s great that he offers a solution but it makes me scratch my head in glorious ignorant wonder. If the problem is the ‘quality’ of women, why can’t this quality be upgraded instead of completely disregarded? I don’t know why the women in his test sample lack these ‘preferable’ qualities but he hasn’t tried to address why that is even a problem. If Zambian men can be ‘woke’ enough to know to aspire for more, why can’t the women? Why is the solution to take this ‘wokeness’ to merge and multiply elsewhere? Here’s my problem with a motivational speaker providing such a post and even using #TheLegendaryMan. We live in a world where men generally have more opportunities than women. Women still have to straddle the ‘bitch’/nice girl tightrope when climbing the corporate ladder while a man can be as ‘aggressive’ as he likes and get rewarded for it. You cannot be posting a motivational post that brings down half of tge population (your potential clientbase actually) by stating their limitation is their biological apparatus that (in our environment) they cannot do anything about. If the aim of this was simply to highlight that there are other types of women out there, it missed the mark because all I read was an article on why a certain type of woman isn’t ‘good enough’ and there is already way too much noise that screams this. This post did not motivate or challenge me to be a better version of myself and that’s what I believe a motivational speaker should do. How they do this differs, of course, but this… Isn’t the way. If you want Zambian men to know that foreign brides can stoke their ambitions better than local ones, show them how. Do not tell them simply that a local one isn’t good enough. Wouldn’t hurt if this rationale also applied to women but because this is assuming women aren’t capable due to their ‘mental limitations’ it’d be too much to ask. Be a part of the solution! O&O
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.
Two of my friends got married recently in what could be considered “whirlwind romances” and while I vehemently deny having any romantic stirrings, there are a lot of books in my Kindle that suggest my fantasies involve being whisked away in a large poofy dress with layers of frills by a fellow with excellent horsemanship.
Here’s the thing, romance requires certain logic to go out the window. Logic I am VERY attached to even if I have minor flights of fancy. Romance and Marriage don’t often go hand in hand and when they do I suspect there is some fakery. But that doesnt mean I think one is bad or better than the other, they are just different.
Marriage is like fruit cake. Pop a piece in your mouth and your tongue has to deal with all those textures and if you’re lucky, its moist and rich. If not, its bland and dry. But all those ingredients are there, you just have to hope you had a baker that knew what they were doing.
Romance is like meringue, rush of sugar that tkes over your whole mouth. If you pick a bad batch there’s an eggy smell and could make your gums bleed. If you are lucky though…. ehrmagahd! All that sugary crunch and soft and I am lost in the dream right now.
Now, why are my friend’s nuptials worth talking about? Because my opinion about them DOES NOT MATTER. It really shouldn’t.
Marriage is a promise two people make, those two people have (hopefully) common goals and dreams THEY want to achieve. Everyone else is background noise.
So, as Valentine’s Day rears its round red head, try and find that balance between the dream of romance and the comfort of old love.
I’m not going to ask any question today but simply, love and be loved. Nestle into the euphoria Valentine’s can give and then don’t wait till next year to maintain that balance.
Love and be loved. Then repeat.
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.
*I have been having some technical issues so this post is slightly late but enjoy!*
First up: Often I can hold multiple opinions about something at the same time, my mind is fluid like that.
Second: No one but the people within the relationship know what’s REALLY going on and even then, chances are just one person knows and the other is winging it.
Now, originally I wanted to ignore the story, I saw a comment about it somewhere, thought “Yeah…there’s nothing positive I can add here” and I walked away from it, then I found this video by The Young Turks and I thought, “Wait… what?” So went over to the 300 Sandwiches site here (I love bread and potatoes but may have a slight intolerance for them but that doesn’t stop me eating them because my intolerance wont kill me). I like the look of the blog and the sandwiches actually generally look good so on a food front alone, its gorge and I like me my yums.
But I am struggling with the idea that this was tongue in cheek humour and yet the pursuit of the wedding band is still on…Or maybe I am having a translation problem. Here’s why, (sadly) it doesn’t matter how successful you become as a woman, you are still judged “harshly” if you haven’t chosen to get married and have babies. And its unfair that that is the case, but it is. And when a woman chooses to do that there are even more things she must now give up in order to still be viewed as successful, cut her working hours, be there for the children. I don’t follow “Giuliana and Bill” but I saw the hate that Guiliana garnered for not being as visibly involved with her son (Duke) as Bill was and putting her appearance ahead of her health. As I didn’t actually follow that particular story I wont put up any links for that. But other than celebs, in my “real life” women set targets for themselves to be married by, date for not more than five years, if he hasn’t proposed by then, “make him”. This can come from having a “my eggs are shriveling and I want to know if your swimmers are going to be available soon” kind of conversations or “trap” him by making sure you are negligent enough for his swimmers to actually do some “damage”.
Thing is, all relationships are about give and take, the knee jerk reaction to this is: “You mean that’s what I have to do to get a ring?” I have been told on numerous occasions that women cannot feel for something without personalising it, that it is wired into our heads. I need to be “in” whatever it is that I am liking or see myself being “hurt” by what offends me. The person may have been referring to me alone because I have basket case tendencies on occasion and it may be “safe” to generalise but he had a point (of course it was a guy who said it).
On principle, this idea that women need to convince a guy that she is worth marrying and he is in a way doing her a favour of providing marriage is disturbing. I am in a long term relationship and have been for a while and my mind sometimes chaffs against the idea that doing certain things makes me more “marry-able”, because I think, if you want to marry me, you will. If my single sandwich makes you think you could eat 300 more (or 299 more), that’s awesome, but I shouldn’t need to prove I can supply those 300 for you to ACTUALLY decide you want to marry me. Plus I make lunches for us almost everyday, mostly because I am an awful person when I am hungry (no seriously, I don’t get PMS or mood swings, I get hunger pangs that go to my brain and drain me of all rational thought. Its terrible!) and I need to eat and he’s generally free at the same time so we eat together. Then Saturday is his day to cook or we cook together, as long as that “exchange” happens, I don’t feel like I am being taken advantage of. So what is she getting out of the exchange to not feel taken advantage of? He cooks regularly according to her and I think that’s grand! You cant just turn your relationship to a chore pursuit for that ring, its about the journey and I really hope they get that.
So while this may have been tongue in cheek, I really do hope that she enjoys the process, and this guy is worth it if it isn’t in her to naturally make sandwiches three times a week for someone else. But at the end of the day, they know what goes on behind closed doors and if the two of them are both on the same page, great! We all want to be happy after all, and if this is her choice then there is no problem here.
We live in an age of choice and people should be allowed to do what they want to do to meet whatever goals they aim to achieve. Marriage by 300 Sammies! Do it! If he proposes before 300, I hope she enjoys the process enough to keep going!
Over and Out!
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!
The part of the world I am from family is a big deal and I mean knowing your cousin’s cousins and their neighbour’s nephews, which wouldn’t be a problem if there weren’t so many siblings to begin with. For example, my Dad is the middle child of five children and my Mum is the eldest of eight, most of their siblings married at least once and had children… I tried to make a family tree when I was about twelve but ran out of motivation when I realised I didn’t actually know as many members of my family as I thought I did and asking my grandmother for information filled me with fear.
I am 28 years old, not married and don’t have any children. My parents line has no fresh blood in it and my Dad is getting antsy for some young ‘uns to fold into the Muchindu fabric. Being the oldest child alive it is up to me set an example (not sure I want or need to be setting examples on making babies but let’s not dwell on that). My older sister died a few years ago without any children of her own. None of my younger siblings have children and aren’t rushing towards the altar.
During my last visit to my parents farm, the subject of marriage came up (as it is prone to when your parents think you are wilting your eggs on purpose to spurn them their rightfully earned joy), and I got to really thinking about what marriage means for me. I know what I would like it to be: a partnership, a team moving in one direction towards a common goal (whatever that is, is up to the two people in the relationship because people get married for different reasons and it isn’t our place to judge them, even though judgements are a reflex reaction and will happen anyway). But I digress… Very rarely do I see examples of couples getting married because they are on the same page on what they want out of their future together. Sidenote: I attended a lovely wedding this past weekend with a bride who actually cried with joy and I have never seen that before but the couple seemed united before the wedding day and the wedding day itself didnt seem like the end of grueling planning but rather a beginning of a life together which is what I think weddings should be.I would like to wish them a long and full life ahead together.
Marriage usually happens because it is “the right time” more often than not. Either through a child that wasn’t entirely planned or the couple have been dating so long they may as well be married and decide to officiate it. Both of those scenarios don’t often have happy endings.
I realise my definition isnt romantic and makes marriage sound like work but the truth is, it is, work. It is work you choose to get into with a tag team partner you will be “stuck with” for the rest of your life, and sadly we are so focused on the wedding day we forget about what happens afterwards. The problem with that is on a balance of equations there are too many unhappily married people giving the institution of marriage a terrible name. Random question of the day: Why do women in the movies when proposed to not react until they have seen the ring? There is rarely any evidence that the poor fellow proposing gets on his knees (in public) yet there will be zero “joy” till that box opens or is produced.
One day, I hope to get married and build plans around and with another person (as different as his opinions of those plans sometimes are), I believe in the weight of vows and the promise of eternal fidelity but its become almost “too easy” to leave a marriage than to work at making it what you want it to be.What I disagree with is the expectation that who I am needs to change because I am now a wife. I fight with that idea very strongly. Pretending to be something else shouldn’t happen with your life partner because they have more of you than anyone else. Its easy to pretend with parents because you need to keep them proud of you, or with your siblings because you want them happy or with colleagues because you dont want to get fired but with the person you want to spend forever with? Everyone else has a shift schedule with you, they really don’t.
I hate confrontation and will avoid it like its an STD infested keyboard (let that fester a minute) but when you share your life with someone, confrontation is bound to happen. Apparently, the trick is not to let it evolve into something else. Let the conversation about discarded socks in the kitchen floor be about that and ONLY THAT not about his desire to spend less time with you or his new “odd” bedroom requests (although I can see how one thing could lead to the other). You need to “nip things in the bud”, is what I am constantly advised but sadly its easy to let little things slide, because why should you sweat the small stuff or worse, nag? Unfortunately, if you wait till patterns have developed, switching out of those patterns appears like a rejection of the person you are with.
What I hope to remember the day after my wedding is, I picked the person I am now waking up next to and as wonderful as he is most of the time, there will be moments I would prefer to club him on the back of his head than talk. That’s not a problem, it makes me normal, I should just talk to him about it and not actually club him, no matter how tempting that would be. Maybe that will be my chance of a happy ending, I will still be me, he will still be him and we will now just live together and make babies.
Over and Out!