When Your Opinion is Too Loud

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

The Couple That Makes Everyone Uncomfortable

Chris and Logan

So…

There’s this couple on Season 27 of The Amazing Race that seems to rub everyone else the wrong way because of how much they argue. These people just aren’t “nice” to each other at all. At. All.

They are Chris and Logan. It doesn’t help that they are also The Paparazzi Couple so people don’t like what they do for a living and have to pretend not to hear their yelling fests. If you want to have a chance at winning a race, making it easy for people to leave your company may not be such a great strategy.

First up, there’s something about the way Logan talks that reminds me of an old friend of mine. They are nothing alike really (and far as I know, my friend is pleasant in her relationships) but there’s an underlying vibe there… and it really has nothing to do with my comparison so I’m hopping off this train now.

Anywho, the main problem for this couple is they generally can’t communicate to each other. Not effectively. They seem like pretty nice people on their own and I can even imagine them having quite pleasant down times together but throw in stress and they implode (with special effects). 

Now, I’m not a relationship expert but I couldn’t help watching them to try and figure out why they were the way they are because like I said, they don’t seem like nasty people.

From what I gather, things start to go downhill when Chris tries to do things and they end up ‘wrong’. Logan then loses her mind over it and he joins in the self-bashing tirade. That’s a pretty dangerous mix of actions because one person can’t always be wrong. Chris isn’t a saint but when things blow up, that generally seemed to be the normal chain of events and whether there was a valid “wrong” initiating action or not is up for debate but for them: He messes up, she gets frustrated with him and he gets frustrated with himself and they yell at each other.

I’ve been in close proximity to one of these yelling type of relationships and I hated being around it. Hated. Then I found myself spiralling into the same pattern and had to take a step back. In my case, that meant Singles Ville but I don’t believe that needs to be the case for this couple. Should they get help, absolutely. With a professional. There’s a root here with both of them that makes their deficiencies compatible but they can move from that to positive compatibility. Or they can just stick to the same cycle coz it’s a fit they know.

If you’ve ever been part of That Couple (or currently are) what makes all the drama worth the non-dramatic times?

O&O

She Wants to Get Out

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

So…

Recently I’ve found myself in scenarios where I’ve had to question what is truly important to me and I’m going to share them with you. Because I have work that needs doing but these thoughts are distracting me.

 The First incident occurred while the dude and I were watching “What If” (if you want to see Daniel Radcliffe as a love sick drop out who could teach Harry Potter a thing or two and are a fan of quippy dialogue and have at least one romantic bone in your body then you should definitely check it out). I hate the title and don’t think it does the movie any justice but anywho, while watching it I was rooting for the female lead to go to Taiwan very strongly. So strongly it was actually impairing my ability to simply enjoy the movie because I was pushing my own agenda. She had a choice between going to Taiwan to develop her career OR stay in Toronto and have a stagnant career but stay with the potential (but as yet uncertain) love of her life OR maybe (and this was a distant third) pursue a relationship with someone she has been with for eons and go to Dublin because his career had taken him there but start from scratch with no prospects.

The Second Incident was going to a corporate function where I had a chance to meet a rather senior female executive that should have inspired me to believe that my own career could end at CEO level of a multinational and not that I don’t think this could happen but I spotted someone I was on campus with. I can’t remember if she was in my year or earlier than me but she was significantly further in her career than I was and I remember being impressed by the fact that she gets to travel as part of a senior executive entourage and has an opinion that commands attention. I never confirmed if she was at university with me because we didn’t have much in common. I was aware of her but we weren’t friends and it would have been a waste of both our time to start a conversation that I couldn’t hold simply because I was feeling sorry for myself at not being “at her level”.

The Third Incident of discovery was hearing of a former colleague of mine who is being considered for a position that would catapult his career at least three shots ahead of where it is now (and by default ahead of me). I really do hope he makes the move because not only would he be an ace at the role but his mind is bored where it is and this could be a chance to wake up the parts of him that his current role has deadened.

Now, why did these three things cause me self introspection (other than the fact that I must be some mega self absorbed individual to make all these things about myself)? I really am not that self involved but I do think there are lessons all around us if we are willing to see them.

So, with the “What If” sitch, it’s for me to see what I sought in my own life. It is so easy for women to lose their identities in their relationships and then convince themselves that what their partner wants is what they want even when they know it isn’t. I am not yet at a point where I have lost my sense of self but I am fearful that it has dulled a bit and will continue to slowly dull till in a few years I wont recognise myself.

Now, like most people I wear multiple faces. The most basic of these are the “work” and “home” faces. At work, no one can contest that I am dedicated to my job and am more than just “fairly competent”. At home I am the dutiful daughter and responsible sister. Both these faces aren’t me though, somewhere behind being dedicated and responsible, is a girl who decided to go to Japan for two weeks because it was a dream that she didn’t want to lose. A girl who wants to sit in a welcoming office dissecting how minds work both by telling stories that answer my own questions and speaking to people to get to their own. On a daily basis I do things to feed the work and home faces but nothing to feed the girl and she is beginning to scratch at me (again), warn me that if I don’t feed her she will climb into a cave, roll a large rock behind her and refuse to ever come out. And I am not sure I want to lose her.

Here’s the thing with the campus-mate scenario. I hate public speaking… or rather I am so fearful of judgement/embarrassment/failure that even though I’ve been told I am not terrible at it I cannot enjoy it or see my good points. What I wanted out of this campus-mate’s life was to go somewhere where no one knows you and command attention firstly because the company you keep gives your presence weight and then when you open your mouth you can carry your own because you know your sh#*. I’m not the greatest “public” person either. I am terrible at small talk, suck at jokes and crowds irk me. I don’t think I have a disorder or a severe anxiety but I definitely have a “healthy fear of ridicule” but that doesn’t stop me wanting to have a certain gravitas in public situations.

The third scenario was a little trickier to sort out because not even I understood it at the time. When I was telling The Fella about this person’s potential career projection I said I didn’t want “that”. He asked what I meant and I didn’t have a ready answer and then something more interesting on Buzzfeed took our attention but later on I thought about it. What was the “that” that I didn’t want?

It came to me on coming out of a nightmare of a ghost of a woman who eats children by licking them (because she ate her own babies slowly while they were still alive… I’m pretty sure I fleshed that out on waking up but it’s a compelling idea that has nestled itself in the folds of my brain because I don’t know why she did it), anyway I digress. The “that” was me not wanting to lose myself in the pursuit of an external measure of success that wasn’t part of my personal goal. This person’s personal ambitions are very far removed from this opportunity and if he chooses to take it, it will be even harder to go back onto his personal path because material rewards can be VERY gratifying and his personal ambition doesn’t guarantee that. The promotion does.

I don’t want to lose myself to fulfilling the campus-mate recognition by ANY means, I want to do it by MY means. You know the saying, by hook or by crook? I want all hook baby! No crook here.

But that is at odds of what I ACTUALLY do. I know the girl is screaming to get out so I shove a cupcake in her face and go read a book, play the xbox or watch TV, heck I even delude myself that I am a gardener and prune a rose bush! I know she needs to feed but I am scared of indulging her because its easier to focus on other distractions and its nice not to feel like a failure. If I get promotions I cant be that bad career wise. If I’m getting married then its proof I am not such a deplorable person because someone wants to spend the rest of their lives with me. But these things do not make the me that I am left alone with on either side of my nightmares feel any better. These things are great but they aren’t enough. I ran away from NaNoWriMo this year because I’ve failed it both years I actively tried it out. I don’t “write” because I think my words are garbage but I entertain ideas and then tell myself everyone has them so I’m not a genius for dreaming things up. That isn’t hard, doing something about the dream is and I’m killing mine.

So, after that lengthy post, how are you starving that inner girl/boy and more importantly what are you doing about it? If you aren’t, tell me about how you’re doing it. I am shelving up a bunch of emotions for a huge ass ugly cry tonight for all my failures (real and hocus pocus) and then I am starting again from scratch. I’m not going to lay down my plan here right now (because I haven’t the foggiest what it is yet) but I need to figure things out.

And then actually do the work, which can suck balls.

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

Own Your Advantages

 Self love man!
Self love man!

 

So…

The other day I was checking out some Kpop videos (which usually happens when I feel like I might strangle someone at work and my Xbox is too far to kill something). The bright colours and weird wiggles tickle me, anywho… There I am checking these videos out and then this odd gem comes my way:  “Nice Body” by Hyomin.

Now… because I don’t want to be an ignoramus I try watch these videos with English subtitles (I don’t speak Korean) but I figured, there HAS to be a mistake because “what the frick?” but no… my (limited) search didn’t find any translation that changed the context of this video in any way at all!

Then I thought of this vid: “Yum Yum Yum” by Lip Service and I remember thinking “that’s a super fun catchy track and I am going to make my siblings ears bleed with it” but at no point did I have a negative response because I did not find it insulting or hurtful. Turns out though, that some people did (because they felt like it made fun of “fat Americans”) my response to it was simply, “girl… I am so with you! Dieting is the pits (even though I think my longest experience was doing the Atkins diet so I could eat more meat so I cant really feel your pain).” So I had to figure out why my response to “Nice Body” was “Hell nah!” and yet I had silly giggles to “Yum Yum Yum”.

One is an “I’m sexy and THAT is why you like me” and the other is kinda “It’s hard being a chick but we gotta laugh about it”. Obviously in my part of the world Hyomin’s body wouldn’t generally be considered sexy and that got me thinking about body shaming but I didn’t want to start a rant about how its easily we women hate on each other for being different (which would be pretty long coz we don’t even really need a reason), instead I wanted to find a way to turn my negativity into something positive. Like rainbows outta turd.

I didn’t really have to go far to do it too, so here’s my take. Thing with “I’m sexy and THAT is why you like me” messages is that they voice self acceptance, whether that feeling is honest in most cases is irrelevant. We’re all in a race for (and with) limited resources, be it that promotion at work or the dude who orders bran muffins from your favourite coffee shop. We want what is in little supply and we have to use what we have to get it but we have to own what got.

I know I am kind of skirting a murky line here but here is what I am not saying: Sleep your way to what/where you want. The reason why I am not saying this is because if you don’t believe that this is a choice you have actually made you are going to end up feeling pretty damn crappy afterwards and that’s just a bag of nuggets you don’t need. There’s a difference between using your looks because YOU know they are your added advantage and using them because “everyone else likes them”. The first comes from you. You have to validate yourself to be okay when other people’s validations are coming out their blowholes. Some people are literally rocket scientists and being that way gets what they want, other people have the shiniest, flowiest hair you have ever seen and teeth that look like God’s chiselled them. One is not better than the other, they simply have different advantages.

We just have to quit pulling others down so we can climb on top if them, especially over how they choose to use their assets. THAT is the key thing to take away here, as long as it is your choice work that. Be unapologetic for your advantages. Everyone has something they have that is working for them.

Accept it. Find Yours. Own It. And Work It.

O&O.

 

When You Are No Longer An Immigrant

Credit: Paramount Digital Entertainment and LXD Ventures
Credit: Paramount Digital Entertainment and LXD Ventures

A while ago I came across this video (Coming Out of Your Shell) and my heart did weird things in my chest (like it could do them anywhere else) because I GET IT! You should check it out. If only I had talent with the rest of my limbs and REAL co-ordination, I could create such beautiful visual things… *sigh*.

For a lot of my childhood, I was an immigrant in various places. And language has always been a “problem” for me. Apparently I used to speak Portuguese before “proper” school (lived in Mozambique at the time) but my mum would pinch me (or atleast I think that happened… but it may have been something I made up to make my loss of something so beautiful mean something) because she wanted me to speak English so I lost that right quick. I have an ear for languages but my tongue sits in my mouth like gum at the bottom of a shoe when I try and make it obey other linguistic rules. I cant even do slang properly. I am terrible at trying to sound “street”. Terrible… but I am running off the rails again. Lets get back to topic.

I have generally always had a good “command of English” and it made my mother proud but it didn’t really make me fit in (and what child trying to be normal, doesn’t want that.. or rather, that was the norm at the time, attempting to stand out didn’t really make you special). Among my own countrymen I couldn’t be a part of their private jokes and stories because I could not speak my own mother tongue or any other language from my home country (technically, English is my mother tongue because that’s what my mother used “on me” but “biologically”, my father is Tonga and my mother is Lala, both from Zambia) . My mother didn’t want my siblings and I to be “polluted” by the local languages we were bombarded with because that affected the sound of our English so we were a purely English household except when my parents wanted to share something between the two of them.

“Why didn’t you just teach yourself?” Might be a logical question and to that I would respond “Have you met other children?” They are brutal. Trying to speak a local language when you “look like it should be easy” but sound like a well meaning although ill mannered tourist is torturous and if you do not have the self esteem to ride through the bullying, you give up. Which is what happened to me, I gave up trying to learn my own languages and tried to ace “exotic” sexy languages like French and make sure no one else could “out-English” me, this was of course ridiculous.

I love the sounds of different languages and while I don’t have the same kind of negativity towards my parents languages, there is still too much residual failure in there for me to seek out teaching my tongue to move in that way at this point in my life. If its something my children want to learn in the future, I will not block them and will do everything I can to provide the tools necessary.

The problem with being an immigrant for so long is that even when you return home, it doesn’t quite settle on the bones in a way that truly fits. It may be comfortable but its not entirely “made to measure”. I know I found it easier being an immigrant when it was obvious that I didn’t belong than justifying why I didn’t belong because I looked just like everyone else.

I hope you find your own tongues and come out of your shells. You can only be the best version of you, you choose whether that best version is a watered down version of someone else’s expectations.

O&O