Young Love

Male Guest Post: Treat Her Like A Lady, Part II. Whoop Whoop!

guest-blogger

We beg, we plead, and y’all treat us like chopped liver. But one guy loves us! :) Well really he loves one of us a lot more than the other, however I can get past this given that he’s provided us with a guest post! I’m a little too excited that Amma’s (other) dearest has written a response to my post on chivalry. If you recall, my dinner with him starred in the piece, so when I sent him the post to read he replied to me with the following (and said I could post it on RR). I believe God will richly bless him for this, hehe :) So calling on all other men who want God’s rich blessings (and Afua and Amma’s unwavering love)… we would really like for you to write for us. As much as we like to hear ourselves ramble, if you can’t tell by now we are also about learning! Honest. And if for nothing else, we our readers want to know what men think too.

In any case, here’s our male perspective.

.   .   .

Well, that was swanky darling… and not that this is totally a response to what you wrote, but it made me think of the following…

I actually think I take issue with this the “African way” or “American way” when it comes to simple chivalry (chivalry of course being the code by which any gentleman lives by). It’s almost like how you are explaining this quasi-struggle of being a lady, there is too a quasi-struggle going on in the malesphere as well. Both these struggles have men confused about how to treat a lady.

I was genuinely confused when you asked me about the check, not really insulted because you didn’t know who I was or anything, but two things happened: one, you made it seem like American men weren’t up to par of the gentleman and two, that I didn’t know how to be one. Again, you didn’t much know me, but it was odd nonetheless. But chale it no be your fault at all. Men don’t even know themselves what it means to be a man, let alone a gentleman. I’m not exactly sure what happened or how things got like this, but if I had to guess, one thing could be that with the advent of the “witty feminist leaning- 21st century”, men became confused about their responsibilities. Some are perhaps nervous about being chauvinistic and assuming they would/should automatically pick up the check.

e44ebe8adc571f199e566dad68ac77b5To be honest, I cannot feign to tell you about what it means to be a lady. I do know that I am a bit confused about how it is you all want to be perceived and frankly this is a sort of “societal correction” that is long overdue, I’ll let you handle that. Though I would say, why do y’all see fit to have your cake and eat it too? This is neither here nor there, my main thing is this: I would say [to you] do not let you being a lady get in the way of us being gentlemen. I would then say to us, not to let you being a lady get in the way of us being gentlemen. Naturally, people like Ammy Amma would ask, “Well what does it even really mean to be a gentlemen?” To which I’d respond, “Ah, my dearest Ammy, I’m so glad you asked…”

It matters not where you are from nor what tribe you belong to, what religion you ascribe to, it matters not your party affiliation or how you put on your pants. The individual man has been vastly diminished and thinks now that simply growing up without any principles, values or guidance is enough for one to be called a man. The lore is gone. Men have forgotten decorum and conduct. We’ve forgotten that the last stop in our evolution is not to be merely a man, we forgot that we are to evolve into the gentleman/chevalier.

Point blank, one is a gentlemen by conduct. It isn’t some mystic right that belonged solely to King Arthurs and French nobility. It is Being-a-gentlemanlearned. The decline is so persistent because, well, we know little about how to be gentleman anymore. It isn’t rocket science sef. Be gentle, seek to know, be helpful, have a calm disposition and be slow to excitement. Take care of yourself and your belongings. This will in turn help you to take care of a lady and perhaps one day your dog and family. Have manners, and give up foul language. Behave when outside of the bedroom (and sometimes the bathroom). Though this is not all it comes down to, remember to always, absolutely always, do what you can (even if they provoke you, which they will do and do as much as they can) to always make a woman feel like a lady. It was a woman who reared you into this world. To every woman you owe some semblance of courtesy. You might even say that the gentleman is the only one that can make a women feel like a lady.

.  .  .

So I’ll end by saying a few things. First, Amma’s he’s a keeper.. yes. lol – but she already knows how i feel. So moving along to some quotables and my responses:

  • “You made it seem like American men weren’t up to par of the gentleman and two that I didn’t know how to be one.” – I humbly apologize to you, friend and all American men who I’ve unintentionally insulted by assuming you don’t know how to be a gentleman. I never saw things this way at all.
  • “I would say [to you] do not let you being a lady get in the way of us being gentlemen. I would then say to us, not to let you being a lady get in the way of us being gentlemen. – So in essence, I should go on being a lady regardless of a man’s actions? Not sure how this works to be honest though…
  • Point blank, one is a gentlemen by conduct. It isn’t some mystic right that belonged solely to King Arthurs and French nobility. It is learned. – So does that mean a lady can teach a man in his adult years?
  • It isn’t rocket science sef. Be gentle, seek to know, be helpful, have a calm disposition and be slow to excitement. Take care of yourself and your belongings. This will in turn help you to take care of a lady and perhaps one day your dog and family. Have manners, and give up foul language. Behave when outside of the bedroom (and sometimes the bathroom). -Noted.
  • To every woman you owe some semblance of courtesy. - I love this.
  • You might even say that the gentleman is the only one that can make a women feel like a lady.< THIS. RIGHT. CHERE. So, to be a lady a woman has to be treated like one, and it is not any man who knows how to do that (it is a gentleman that does). Interesting. I’ll say, when a man treats me like a lady, I do feel more like one… if that makes sense

Thanks for the male perspective, friend!

Reactions, RR?

Hedging: Play Now, Pay Later

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“To protect (one’s investment or an investor) against loss by making balancing or compensating contracts or transactions.”

According to my Mac Spotlight dictionary.

A coward who’s scared to make a permanent decision on a woman.

According to Afua’s dictionary.

.

Let’s get into this a little, because it’s one of the most annoying things known to a Woman. So… you meet a guy, he’s chill… hence why y’all start Chilling. And then in some distant, not-so distant future you find out: he’s definitely wifed up. And NOT in the sense that he’s actually said the I-do’s, but that he is near-married, near-engaged, near-co-habitating… near-COMMITTED (however you want to package it). So then the questions start flying, “Why in God’s name was he hanging out with me, with no mention of his “wifey”? ” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Hedging. 

The art of protecting your prized asset (your arse heart) from an investment you’re not 100% sure will produce the future returns you once calculated thought. The art of diversifying your portfolio to see whether higher returns can be made elsewhere… because any half brain could tell you that going all in on something you’re not 100% sure of is just plain stupid, right?. . . Have you heard of counting your chickens before they hatch? (Usually in reference to a woman eagerly awaiting a proposal, which may or may not ever come). Well hedging is in essence not counting anything… at all.

I’ve heard enough stories of hedging now to know it like better than the back of my hand:

  • boy meets girl (or girls), who he is attracted to. Girl(s) could be new, girl(s) could be old, it’s equal opportunity.
  • boy begins to implicitly or explicitly, or both-ly (?), make moves. ie. inappropriate behavior for someone in a “committed” relationship. This can vary in degree, from acting oblivious or nonchalant about his current relationship’s future… to making propositions such as, “hey, how come you’ve never thought about us being together; we’d make a good pair.” … to outright physical cheating. Note: in all this, boy can disclose or conceal his current relationship, this is also equal opportunity.
  • boy then comes to his senses. And… full stop.

A rather predictable fable, no?

So what makes hedging different from cheating? I’m glad you asked. The important distinction between hedging and mere cheating is that we’re not talking about people who have been dating some few months to maybe a year or two. We’re talking about people who are going on damn near 10yrs (lol naw, but more like anything over 2-3yrs). When generally it’s time to start making moves towards a forever-type situation. For hedging to take place, it must be preceded by movement towards a deeper level of commitment.

girls abr3

GIrls are tired of relationship wahala

Interestingly, (as noted in my neatly bulleted synopsis) what I’ve seen from men who engage in hedging is that they end up marrying wifey anyways. Therefore, it all becomes just a lot of wahala to make them feel more confident in the decision their actions have basically already made- – please ask yourself, what have the last 5years been about then? If that 20% of her that you’re not sure of really makes you want to step out, but that 80% kept you in for 6yrs… chale chale girls abr3 paa**. This thing is just a waste of everyone involved’s time.

I’m guessing another question on your mind is: what happens on wifey’s end? …Welt, let’s first make the assumption that wifey actually knows hedging is upon her (sadly, for some women this is a big assumption… And understandably – I’ve been with you for five years, why wouldn’t I be secure in what we have?). So assuming she actually knows, then perhaps she weathers the storm and banks on the fact that her asset can keep the investor committed, or at the very least fend off other attractive investments long enough for the investor to surrender to come to his senses. Or perhaps she does some hedging herself, to hedge against the hedging… <?> dear God, my head actually hurts thinking about this. Really, I just don’t get it. After a said amount of time, haven’t y’all made a decision? You’re telling me in year 3, year 4… year 8 maybe, y’all didn’t stop to think ‘wait, why are we doing this again?’ Whatever happened to road maps before a journey begins? Or a compass even? *sigh*

I think my frustration lies in the fact that I’ve seen a few too many hedging situations of late. Maybe it’s always been there, and now I’m just at the age where those around me are the one’s actually involved in it. I know life blogger-image--1298430667is complicated- obviously it’s not a small task to have to pick someone to spend the rest of your life with, however to me… I think we get too hung up on the picking part sometimes. When the foundational things are solidified and you’ve picked (judging by your actions of being with this person for 10yrs already), then it shouldn’t be much to take that leap to the next level, no? Perhaps if we were less worried about the picking part, about getting someone who ticks more boxes than the last, about hedging against the hedging, then we could work on the stuff that actually matters… you know, the real hard work that comes afterwards (which will happen regardless of who the woman is). That daily grind of sacrificing oneself for another individual, which will still take place whether it’s Jackie from school or Abena from the next cubicle. I mean at some point you just pick. No hedging, no temporary backing out, and for God’s sake no hedging against the hedging. You just make a decision, and stick with it. *shrug*

**Girls are tired (of relationship wahala)

Engaged.

photo (3)

aaa ya, not me. I know that’s what you were thinking, given my silence for the last few months. But no, the title refers to my friend’s ex.

You know that‘ ex, the one you always thought may would come back. That one that you can’t really put your finger on why ya’ll didn’t get your act together (simultaneously). The one that captured your heart and then went on to capture and permanently lock down another’s. Ya that one. He got engaged not too long ago and I had the privilege of producing the evidence.

. . .

“Afua, you up?”

{…I was, because somehow the wee hours of the morning are my friends}

“Si.”

“I just found out that XXXX is engaged. Can you stalk his Facebook page for me? I unfriended him.”

1342684918960_8511812

{…hmmm… It’s in moments like these that one must assess your level of love for your friend. On one hand, you’re her ride or die… doing anything she would have need of you to do; on the other hand, you’re. her. ride. or. die., which calls for making tough decisions about things that could possibly bring her more harm than good}.

“Hun, you sure about this? I mean there is a reason you unfriended him, right?”

“I know, I just want to see what folks are saying and what the ring looks like.”

{Now that just sounds like cruel and unusual punishment to me, but let’s be honest… i get it. I’ll most likely be in the exact same position within a year or so, and I know the fight of wanting to not want to know is a losing battle. Given the question of how I would want a friend to handle the situation for me, the answer was very simple…}

“Fine, here you go.”

What followed next was a flurry of screenshots of congratulatory messages; twin statuses professing love for ‘the only being in the world to fully understand me and love me like I deserve’, and him liking it so much that he “put a ring on it”…paired with a gazillion nods of approval. You know the drill.

“I hope it rains on their wedding day.”

My reaction on the other end, a childish smile marred by a cloud of silence… Some things just don’t need a response.

.

 

.

 

.

“You okay?”

“…ya, I think.”

“I mean I knew it was coming, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t just a slight bit hurt. I just thought…  “

. . .

She didn’t need to finish the thought, because I knew.

I think what’s worse than not being with an ex anymore, is seeing them (seemingly) happily moved on while you haven’t quite yet. When no amounts of “You’re amazingIt’s his lossYou’ll find anotherThere’s a reason for everythingHe wasn’t the one for you” can mask the pain of flat out rejection. He didn’t pick you. Even if it was a blessing in disguise (even if you don’t want him anymore). It. still. sucks. that. he. didn’t. pick. you.

If you can remember this post some time back, specifically the article All the Single Ladies. There’s a story the author retells about her ex, which used to send shock waves to my system:

“After the worst of our breakup, we eventually found our way to a friendship so deep and sustaining that several years ago, when he got engaged, his fiancée suggested that I help him buy his wedding suit. As he and I toured through Manhattan’s men’s-wear ateliers, we enjoyed explaining to the confused tailors and salesclerks that no, no, we weren’t getting married. Isn’t life funny that way?

Wedding shopping? Really? Hmm… so how can one get from praying for rain to that Things_Finger_Pointing_UP?

Perhaps I’ll discuss that in another blog at a later date… But for now, I’ll say this- I know my friend well, and I know she’ll be fine. There will be a time when the hurt is gone hurts less and the ‘what ifs’ subside. The key is getting to a place where you recognize that even being single trumps being with someone that you’re not supposed to be with. And if there are regrets, it’s about accepting things (because sometimes you’ll never really know if you chose the right path), and learning from the situation and moving forward… in any way you can (even if that means deleting him from social media).

- – -

Just in case you were wondering- Regarding my last post: I never called. He did, eventually. Just not in time for my interest to still be intact.

She No Want Ferrari: Impact of Forex on Love and Dating

occupyBefore I begin this post, and especially because it deals with the economy, I want to give a major shout out to the #OccupyFlagstaffHouse team that worked in collaboration with Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance and other citizen groups. Whether you were there in presence or in spirit, the fact that so many people were talking about it shows that there is definitely appetite for this sort of activism. The entire protest was organized in under 5 days, and there was a lot of (healthy) back and forth about demands, expectations and next steps. If you visit the facebook page, you will find a full copy of the petition but I also pretty much summed up the demands in 5 simple points on my own development and policy blog (ahem.shameless.plug.ahem). In any case, we are awaiting a response but in the interim, do make sure to sign the petition, agitate MP’s however you can (I’d say use twitter and direct it to Hanna Tetteh), and keep abreast of what’s happening (Constitution is under review, and there is plenty wahala around it, did you know? chale… ) so that the next march (should it come to that) will be even greater. The onus is not on those ‘protester types’, the onus is on us ALL! (you see what I did there… I should be a rapper, ha!)

At any rate, on to the post…


photo (1)

Cause e want e my love o She no want designer She no want ferrari She say na my love o You belong to me And i belong to her o

Prolific words sung by Davido… Unfortunately… these words have not been said in Ghana since… well… the cedi rate was 1 to 1! I was having a very interesting conversation with my taxi driver the other day. He was telling me how difficult the economic situation was for him. I really felt bad. The truth is, when trotro’s raise fares, they do so in unison and there is standardization more or less so everyone must oblige. But with (car) dropping, people will sort of haggle at the same old price, as if the cedi isn’t deep diving into oblivion… and if the taxi driver won’t take them, they just wait for someone who will.

Sucks.

But then he went on this diatribe about how he has had to adjust his lifestyle… most specifically, his ability to date. I found this fascinating. According to him, because he is not able to give a girl chop money, and pay for her to get her hair done, or to buy transport or even credit, he feels unfit to enter a monogamous relationship. He was explaining to me how painful it is to ‘invest’ so much in a woman, only for her to tell you she doesn’t want to marry you but would rather be with someone else. I said, ‘oh ho… but what about the investment of love… I mean it was at least worth it then, no?” He looked at me… laughed… and then said, “Well.. I would have been better off buying land”

Ouch.

Land over love, eh? But I get his point. One point the driver kept making that really resonated with me was about how dating/courtship looks so much like marriage these days… that there is almost no point in getting married at all. He was saying, ‘If my money is your money and our bodies are at each others disposal.. then what are we really rushing to the altar for?’ He even talked about how he recently took a vow of celibacy and was mocked by his ex-girlfriend for being less than a man for wanting to wait…

wonders.

never.

cease.

So how is the forex rate impacting dating and love? For one, its quantifying it. Instead of looking at a mutually beneficial relationship that is about building a life and leaving a legacy… it sounds, more or less, like a contractual relationship based on barter and quid pro quo. Tres unfortunate for a romanticist like myself. I want rainbow and unicorns and flowers and all the warm fuzzies that love is supposed to bring. But the economy is intimidating folks out of pursuing relationships, and it’s jading men who automatically assume that I am impressed by a Porsche Cayenne.

Ladies be like "umm... can you pay my bills, can you pay my automobiles"

Ladies be like “umm… can you pay my bills, can you pay my automobiles”

Look. I no want Ferrari (yet.) I no want designer (right now.)… whatever happened to building something together? And the thing is… if you read many of our posts, you will see that there is a lot of joking and banter about this ‘ideal, made man’. But last weeks post talks about how that can sometimes actually be the compromise for us. And in all honesty, Afua and I aren’t that deluded. All of the wives that we admire, including our mothers, made grave sacrifices for their relationships. In seeing those examples, we definitely know that there is no progress without struggle. We are so here for that… We are down like the economy. Yet, even in this knowledge, we can’t entirely be annoyed at the women jading these men and making them feel like if they are not willing to pay for all your bills, he’s not worthwhile. No really. It’s not their fault.

readytogooutIn a conversation I had recently with a close friend, she was telling me about the difficulty she was having in just saving money. That lately she wasn’t able to go out much, hang out with friends… you know… enjoy her days as a single, beautiful, independent (but not in that annoying, too known, in your face way) woman. It’s unfortunate too… because Ghanaian men are missing out on this great opportunity to interact with her because she has to think twice about using the fuel in her car and about whether she wants to get her hair done, eyebrows done, buy makeup and pay for that mani- pedi to be in top stellar position for such an outing. If a woman has to decide between being social and being broke, well that’s really problematic, don’t you think? And yes, for all you party poopers, we recognize there are deeper issues than being able to afford Marc Jacobs perfume so you can be wined and dined, but focus… this is a representational issue… the point is… we can’t actually afford love anymore. And that’s sad.

All in all, the declining cedi isn’t just a matter of the economy, in this super macro, higher level sense… it’s also a matter of the heart. It has implications on the way we interact and socialize. We are already restructuring our relationships, quantifying their value, weighing them against… say… investing in land. That’s a problem. If the economic sitch doesn’t switch up… no one will get married. ever. Ok… maybe that’s a bit dramatic but you get the point… So here’s some advice for the next protest… if, perhaps, rising fuel costs, erratic electricity, inconsistent supply of water and devaluing currency aren’t enough for you to take the streets. If disappearing money, lying politicians and financial scandal don’t compel you to stand up for your rights… Well be like R. Kelly and… do it for love!

 

banksylove

 

Everything I Asked For, Nothing I Wanted

photo (1)So…

I have been out on a couple of dates of late.

And I mean actual dates, as in food and conversation… Not whatever contrived version of dating people have in their minds.

And you know what?

 

Dating is very much like online shopping.

In fact, it is exactly like online shopping.

Imagine this:

You have been in desperate need of the perfect-est LBD (Little Black Dress for the less privy). You have been scouring the internets trying to find something that can be upgraded with a great statement piece but is generally versatile and fits your body like a glove. You are going to show off, obviously, and this dress needs to make every man, woman and boy jealous of your everything. I mean, there is a general return policy if it doesn’t work out, but you want something that will be more or less a life time commitment. Something classic, and you are really willing to splurge to make sure you get exactly what you want.

How I feel when I find the perfect dress!

How I feel when I find the perfect dress!

Then—- BOOM!

You find the most adorable knee length, backless number that looks like it will be the best purchase of your life. You read all the reviews (because you are a pro at online shopping and you know never to just judge a dress by its picture). For the most part, everyone agrees the dress is cut small so you have to buy one size above what you would normally buy. Otherwise, most past users love the dress and have even recommended great ways to jazz it up with jewelry and shoes.

You. Are. Elated.

After searching for what feels like centuries, you have finally found the perfect dress.

And then it arrives, and you realize…

This is everything I asked for and NOTHING I wanted.

online-shopping_o_769815

Now back to reality. I am sure you are already seeing all of the ways in which this analogy fits perfectly well into the discussion on dating. You spend what feels like forever, looking everywhere (or rather placing yourself in the right settings to be… looked for, lol!)… you have followed all the advice that has been given. And when you finally meet the guy who loves Jesus, is about 6 foot 4 in., has at least 2 degrees, makes at least double what you have earned in your lifetime, is kind and funny— even gets a hip hop reference from time to time … and happens to be a mean chef, you realize, this actually doesn’t fit. This is everything I put on my well-crafted list and yet… I am so bored. I mean… is it me?

So here are the three ways in which dating can be a bit like online shopping— gone wrong.

1. Fit

The number one reason for returning clothing purchased online is fit (I think… I made up this statistic, but I said it with authority,

True. Say. Had to learn the hard way.

True. Say. Had to learn the hard way.

so you probably believed it. bruhahahaa). Same with dating. I met this guy, he was all the things that I thought were important in building a strong relationship. Educated. Financially Stable-ish (I mean we are twenty somethings… how stable is stable reallly at this age, unless I am going for children of oil money— which I am wildly unopposed to… but I digress). Interested in Jesus (I mean, not exactly on the deacon board but willing to come to all four of my weekly church services— that’s basically love, right?). Worldly (in the… I have travelled and read books and listen to the news sort of way— not, like… secular, hedonist psycho sort of way, lol!). Understood my hashtagging and hip hop references.  Down to earth.

I was attracted to him and we could laugh, though not the kind of best friend- belly laughter… but fun nonetheless. And yet.

He didn’t fit.

All the ways in which I thought this could probably be a great relationship were suddenly turned upside down. I mean, he was really nice and polite. And yet I fear… I was bored. Hmpf.

So here I was, having spent my time and now I was going to have to return the dress— I mean, dead the situation. I think it was mutually agreeable (shut up Afua.) No feelings were hurt (shuttup Afua.) But like… how sad is that? Plus now I am thinking, maybe I don’t actually know what I want at all… which is horrifying really, don’t you think?

2. Misrepresentation

The thing is, when the dresses are on the websites and on these mannequins and the form and body is just right… and everything falls so perfectly, it makes you feel like you will look exactly the same way. And I mean, you think, ‘I am going to lose like 5 pounds next week anyway, so then all of my back fat will vanish and this backless number will look like something out of a Vogue magazine.’ I’ll baaasically look like Lupita, but lighter… and longer hair… and wider… but yeah, basically exactly the same.

Then you try it on and whatIthoughtyou are like, how could they have misrepresented the dress that way?! Why don’t they ever have ‘real’ models who are ‘real’ sizes like the rest of us on planet Earth?!

Maybe I am a little bitter. whatever.

But yeah, with dating… time reveals all manner of things. And you realize that what was glittering about a person is actually just the glass on his watch and not his actual personality. Social media does that though… people seem so much smarter and wiser and knowledgeable on their facebook profiles. It’s crazy how reality can sort of shatter everything about a person. Nothing like spending 45 minutes over a meal with someone and realizing you have spent the entire time thinking about what you will wear to work the next day (you know you gotta turn up for traditional friday’s!…)

Plus… maybe what looked right on another girl’s arm or in a Hollywood romance, isn’t actually what’s right for you. I guess you don’t know until you know… but Sanaa Lathan seemed to have it all in Love and Basketball… that’s all anyone really wants ever right? Hmpf…

3. Lowered Expectations

So now… all you want to do is run to your closet… with your old dresses and just find something you know is tried and true and

Start to hate all the advice about going back.. suddenly the ex seems like McDreamy!

Start to hate all the advice about going back.. suddenly the ex seems like McDreamy!

may have a few kinks but is generally gonna work out for the purpose for which you intended. And here… we are talking about exes.

Nothing like meeting someone new and playing the compare and contrast game. “Okay, he does this better than Elikem… but omg, Elikem definitely got this right”. But there’s an Akan proverb that says (essentially), “There’s no need to go deeper into water once you realize it’s coming up to eye level. You should just go back and stand where you are comfortable and where you have been already.”— ok, that was a lot of imagery, but … it’s true though… the devil you know is better than the angel that doesn’t fit.

I know I am not alone in this realization. There is nothing worse than wanting something really badly, and then getting it and being disappointed. I used to joke that, if I knew I liked strawberry ice cream and it tasted like heaven, there was really no point in sampling all the other flavors like strawberry choco champagne with macademia nuts and sprinkles— who needs all that in their icecream anyway? Monsters! I have always been of the mind that ‘dating’ isn’t about meeting people so you can figure out what you want, but rather making really good friends and deciding whether any one of them are particularly useful for the type of long term affair that marriage requires. But then… this experience, and the comparison to online shopping, makes it quite apparent that if you are not out there experimenting… you may actually jump into something that makes you look fat and lopsided with a second belly button…

Tell me, have any of you found in your experiences that you’ve finally met someone who seems to check all the proverbial boxes, but somehow doesn’t excite you in anyway? Did you have a quarter life, medium term crisis and wonder whether you had spent your whole life chasing the wrong things  moment of reflection? Do tell! (and by do tell, don’t like whatsapp us or send us messages but share in the comments so everyone can see ya’ll.. #sharingiscaring)

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: Vulnerability is a Learned Behavior.

photo (3)I’ve generally been a late adopter of things… I was probably the last of my friends to switch from a flip phone to a blackberry, likewise one of the last to get an iPhone. I’m only now jumping into the yoga phenomenon, and I just decided to give this natural hair thing a real try (yay for transition period… I think lol :) ). Thus, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s taken me this long to fully embrace vulnerability.

Over the last year or so, I can proudly say that I’ve been working on my ability to be vulnerable with people that I care about. It’s been a rocky road, but I’ve thankfully seen concrete progress. It hasn’t always felt good, but it’s definitely been good for me.

I used to have a real issue with being vulnerable. If you recall I wrote about this briefly HERE as a response to one of my favorite guest pieces on the blog, by Eli Tetteh (HERE). I know that fundamentally the issue stood with me seeing it as a sign of weakness. Let’s pause for a sec, because there might be some questions as to the relevance of this post to our generally fun happy-go-lucky dating stories. Welt, 1. I think the topic is important- because, just like it was for me, a lack of vulnerability can lead to the downfall of some of our most intimate relationships. And 2. It’s my blog and I get to write whatever I want this is somewhat therapeutic for me.

unnamed (1)In any case, over the last year, I’ve made a conscious effort to come clean to myself, my God, my close friends and other relationships more than I have ever done so in the past. This has included opening up about my fears, insecurities, and failures to close friends; telling someone that I loved them for a long time although I knew he never shared the same feelings for me (and knowing the admission meant closure of a chapter in my life); and yes, even becoming way more open on this little ol’ platform right chere through pieces like this, thisthis, and who could forget this. The consequences of doing these things, I will tell you have not always been as I would have liked, BUT I’ve learned a lot more about myself in how I love others and how others love me… more than if I had never opened up. I’ve learned that there is no intimacy without risk (intimacy… … into me see… … see into me). There’s no seeing into me, all of me, without risk. I’ve learned that we tend to fear vulnerability, not realizing that without it our hearts aren’t able to fully love… For if we cannot open ourselves up, we can’t appreciate the wonders of what is inside (BOTH good and bad). And this also has ripple effects on our relationships.

Be your authentic self, and trust that those that are supposed to be with you will be drawn to you, and will stay.

I’ve also learned a lot about the power of vulnerability to take relationships to a new level, and to also sift out relationships that are not meant for you. I’ve learned that people need to earn the right for me to be vulnerable with them (spiritually, emotionally, and physically)… because any time you give up power, you have to trust the person you’re giving power to. I’ve also learned that just because someone earns that right for me to be vulnerable with them, doesn’t mean they are necessarily able to handle the weight of my vulnerability.

I know I am saying ‘learned’ for all these things, but the truth is that I am still ‘learning’.

So again, why am I writing this? It’s mostly because I know I’m not alone. And I want to pass on the message… Being scared of rejection and failure because of vulnerability is in essence being scared of love. True love. You cannot separate the two. I’ve included below a Ted talk on the Power of Vulnerability by Brenin Brown (BB). It’s a really powerful video on how to have a correct view on vulnerability and how being vulnerable is the only way to fully love and be loved for your authentic self. If you’re on any kind of journey of self development or exploring why certain relationships aren’t working, I’d encourage you to watch the vid.

I jotted some notes while watching the video (for those that do not have time to watch):

  • It takes courage to show your imperfections.
  • Authenticity produces connection.
  • When BB observed people in her study who were vulnerable, she saw that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful  (which is sometimes contrary to what we tell ourselves: “what makes me vulnerable makes me ‘ugly’ “)
  • Vulnerability is at the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness (to be loved), but it’s also the birth place of joy, creativity, belonging and love.
  • You can’t selectively numb the ‘bad emotions’, without numbing the good emotions… Letting yourself experience emotions such as fear, shame, vulnerability allows you to better experience emotions such as joy, peace, love.
  • Lastly, and this isn’t directly from the vid, but my big takeaway this year is:

Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s a sign of strength.

Amma? Readers? Thoughts? What’d you think of the video and how does it relate to your personal life?

Not All Women Want to get Married – – and Other Half Truths.

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Soooooo… we didn’t win. Tear. If you recall, we were nominated for Best Blog for Ghana’s 2014 Social Media Awards, but unfortunately we didn’t win. I know you’re wondering who on earth could have possibly beaten us…? We are too. But it was the lovely ladies over at AdventuresFrom (the bedrooms of African women). We have nothing but love and mad respect for our big sisters in the blogosphere, so we say a HUGE CONGRATS to them!!!! Y’all have stepped up the game in (female) African blogging, and give a great platform for women to openly share whats on their hearts and minds regarding sex and sexual health.

 

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The Social Media Awards Ceremony was held at the end of Ghana’s Blog Camp event held a couple weeks ago in Accra . Despite not winning, we did have a blast leading the Blogging 101 breakout session and interviewing people for Google’s youtube corner. I’ve included some pics below of the event, and a highlight video at the end of the blog.

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Main session

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Afua and Social Media Extraordinaire, MacJordan

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Amma and Afua leading breakout session on Blogging 101

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Ok. It’s time for a short blog now.

 When we started RR, I made the decision that whenever Amma and I engaged in a back and forth, I wouldn’t respond to Amma’s reply if I had started the discussion… trust me, this has been no small task, especially when Amma likes to bust out diagrams of the highest inaccuracy. BUT I’m going to break my rule today, and say a few words in relation to something she said in her last post:

Who says we all want to get married in the first place?

Sigh… I love my feminists, I do. In most circles, I am considered one of their strongest advocates, allies, and yes even, leaders…. so my next few statements might actually come as a shock to some. I’m sorry in advance. :)

The feminist movement is not old enough for people to be tooting around that ‘not all a critical mass of women want to get married’. This seems to have become a default response in the never ending discussion of what women should do (career v. family) and when they should do it; it’s become a defense mechanism of sorts… from what?, only God knows I do not quite know. But it’s as if the admission of wanting to be committed to someone (gasp, someone with 1 Y and 1 X chromosome) is some sign of weakness… or contrary to the movement. In any case, as it stands now what we’re seeing is a delay of marriage rather than an outright abolishment of it. Delaying marriage to do other things such as make a name for yourself in your career, do you as a single person for a while or whore around make like you’re a man with no emotional attachment to sex, is not a complete abolishment of marriage. Until data proves otherwise, you won’t be able to convince me that the majority of single, never been married women at 45 wouldn’t prefer to be a long term committed partnership, you just can’t**. You can’t because as much as some in the movement want to yell, kick and scream… there is biology/ human nature at play here… something one cannot fight (regardless of whether you believe in Adam and Eve or evolution). For the majority of feminists screaming this message of ‘we all don’t want to get married’, these women are a. still young enough to be able to eventually say yes to a lifetime partnership if they choose marriage(ie. in their mid to late 30’s) b. screaming these statements as hypotheticals with one or two examples of ‘people they know who are happily single and never been married at 45, c. jaded about marriage because of what they’ve seen in the media and in their own lives, d. think ‘feminists’ wanting marriage have been somehow brain washed by religion or society, or e. just plain outliers.

I feel a little passionate about the above, because I’ve seen a trend of some feminists demonizing the desire of would be fellow feminists to get married (particularly before a certain age). But to me, feminism and marriage are not mutually exclusive. More so, the choice to get married (and whenever you want to) is fully in line with the spirit of feminism: the ability to choose (and do) what is best for you without hindrance due to your gender (even if that means cutting short your promising Fortune 500 CFO path to have … babies).

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There will always be women (scabs, as Amma puts it) stopping female collusion from being great. They, in all their awesomeness and glory, will never be thinking about nobody’s desire to get married as they try to get theirs by sleeping around, and feigning saying that their end goal is never to be married. However, my question is, ‘are these women singing the same song at 40, 45, 50?’ How many heterosexual 40/50 year old single, never been married (or in a long term partnership) women do you know that are happy as a clam saying they’re glad they never got married or into a long term partnership?

And that’s my point. Thus far, the majority of women eventually come around to the idea of ‘settling down’.

Alright, I’m done.

 

…sorta.

I must conclude by saying that I do recognize that a lot of people have a very messed up view of marriage, either from their own parents or others; I’m not going to sit and pretend that the baby boomer generation didn’t systematically suck at being able to choose one person to be with for their adult life, to love, sacrifice for, cherish, and be faithful to for better or worse in sickness and in health, BUT that doesn’t mean the fundamentals of being committed to one individual should be thrown out with the bathwater. I know I’m probably not the best person to speak to this because I have a great view of marriage – my parents have been happily married for 30 yrs, and I can’t think of many divorces in my extended family- yet still, removing me from the equation as the messenger, just because people suck at marriage doesn’t mean the institution in and of itself sucks. And neither does the fundamental idea of loving one person for life, and longing for companionship and partnership with them.

**so we’re clear: notice I said, “never been.” Those who have, and no longer want to be again are a different story. And even for these, let’s also make a distinction between regret of being committed to the wrong person versus saying you wish you never entered into marriage or a long term partnership (and don’t want to engage that type of relationship again).

 

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Highlights from the #BlogCamp14 event, our session made a cameo @ 4:10-4:47