Are you sure you’re ready to settle down?
I did it. I was one of those who deleted everything. It took a while, and he was over us much earlier than I was, but when I made the decision to move on, I took heed to a friend’s words: ‘Afua, you do whatever you need to do to get over him’, and I deleted everything.
social media contact.
Until recently when I stumbled over something that somehow slipped through the gmail clean out.
So… I read it. *shrug* I concede that I was thoroughly amused at my younger self… not being able to resist smiling (and shrugging at my
stupidity naïveté) while reading the conversation, thinking to myself ‘…wow… I really did love this guy.’ Interestingly, there was no sadness, no regret or even anger anymore. Those ships have long sailed. I was just somehow thankful that I’d been able to go through an experience like that.
Now coming out on the other side, and even coming to terms with the fact that he never felt the same for me and was never the person I thought he was… I. don’t. feel. anymore. It’s funny cause someone slipped into my ear that he’s getting married soon, and I think it was probably the most liberating feeling to feel absolutely nothing about the information…
…because, now he’s just somebody that I used to know.
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RR, is there a ‘someone I used to know’ in your life? Are you ever amazed at how you were ‘so’ in love with someone one minute and so… … not, the next?
I just love flowers and rainbows and unicorns and romance and happy endings (not those… gutter mind much?)…
I love beautiful ‘how I met my partner’ stories and ‘how I almost let her get away but then I got my mind right’ stories…
I love ‘Love and Basketball’ because I secretly wish I knew someone most of my life and just woke up one day and realized they were the person I was meant to be with.
I am a hopeless romantic and I believe there is a love that can conquer anything.
I love love!
I also love love songs. Really pretty ballads with someone crooning on a track… giving us the
false sense that relationships are these collections of 5 minute moments of bliss, set over a beautiful piano composition with simple lyrics that you remember for a lifetime.
Recently, a friend of mine sent me a song he composed and sang. It is a beautiful ballad about being in love until eternity and— catch this— it is all in Twi, one of the popular languages spoken here in Ghana. So here’s the thing, if you understand the popular music scene here in Ghana, there is literally one mega genre into which all music sort of sits under. Whether you call it afro-beats or hiplife, the truth is, the Ghanaian sounds are usually these fast paced, repetitive dance tracks that will definitely tear up the club but may not push the envelope in musicality or content. Don’t get me wrong, Ghanaian music is definitely making waves internationally and there are people who are trying to do something different in the form of music or content, but they are definitely few and far between. Our award show categories don’t even include a plethora of music genres (ie. best ballad, best traditional, best dance etc.), its more or less categories of best types of musicians (ie. best new artist,
best artist with a name that starts with an S, best artist to release a track that became a jingle during a telecom commercial, etc.) So I was really grateful to hear a ballad sung in Twi with such soulful delivery.
Now this could definitely turn into a conversation about identity and music and the influence of the West and authenticity— but I am here to focus the conversation on how important it is to have this kind of music. Songs like this restore your faith in African men because a) an African man wrote it and you sort of want to believe (whether true or otherwise) that there are guys out there that love this beautifully and b) it puts the local language into a different light, allowing you to appreciate it beyond proverbs and general narrative conversation. African men definitely get a bad rep for being particularly unromantic— well Ghanaian men, I should say. Everyone knows that Senegalese and Nigerian men get the stereotype of being especially handy with words and compliments and romance
(but will be spitting the same great game to all the woman in the village). Ghanaian men get the stereotype of being timid and dutiful, though not particularly romantic, after all, taking care of you is the highest form of love really— so there’s that. But I like that this song, sung by a Ghanaian (even though he looks straight up Igbo— but I digress haha), is in a Ghanaian language and characterizing the principles of love and commitment— as opposed to the hiplife version of love where women are compared to food, and sex and love are used interchangeably.
Beyond just the song, the video is also beautifully done and super creative. It definitely transcends ethnicity, culture, race and location. Anyone can watch the video, and whether you understand the language or not, you can immediately relate to the themes. My favorite part is the glitter hands… because
glitter is my favorite color it’s such a beautiful way to represent the sanctity of marriage. I also just love the overall use of fingers, especially when the girl finger (whatever that means— talk about gender norms, lawd!) kicks her foot up… so cute!
In any case, I will stop gushing over the video, and let you all judge for yourself. Whether you understand what is being said or not, you can concede that the love brewed in this African pot is sweet
like aliguntugui— ok I am done with food references and love (HA!). Check out the video and let us know what you think!
Do you think there is a place for this type of love song in Ghana’s music scene? Sound off in the comments, we love hearing from you!
I have to admit, I was one of the skeptics when Afua said she wanted to publish that article. In my mind I was thinking, I just don’t even understand why men have to be solely implicated in the issues of toying with emotions and hurting people. It was not an attempt to play devils advocate or to even the tone of the conversation, but it was to say that no one gender has complete ownership over ‘collateral damage’. I will concede, in Ghana, men are given the pass way more than women. Especially with issues of infidelity. But Afua’s point was bigger than just this idea that people cheat, her point was that people use people, and it’s unfair that it’s largely women who suffer in the end. I think that the issue is really that hurt people, hurt people. And that there is a bigger conversation beyond just telling men to stop being emotional abusers. I think the conversation is about mothers and fathers and social leaders investing time and energy into developing the social intelligence of the generation to follow. I happen to think that this issue is about social accountability.
I will take myself as an example.
I have been in the situation where I have recently stopped seeing someone. In my haste to ‘move on’, I sort of rushed into something new. In my mind, I may have entered with good intentions. I may have thought, maybe that old adage is true… that the best way to get over someone is to get
under beside someone else. So here we are having fun, laughing, getting to know each other— building. Suddenly it dawns on me that a) I am not really even over my ex and b) I’ve been faking it up until this moment and it’s gotten extremely tiring.Here the person is, constantly talking about a future life together… about how much they love you and how they will marry you. How perfect you are and how wonderful it is to meet someone as lovely as you ( duh and duh!). And in my mind, all I can think about are deciding on the most sensitive and considerate ways to slowly break away from the relationship. In the time of my thinking about these things, I start to detach and get easily annoyed. It becomes clear that I am just not interested. I clearly needed to address some personal issues with regard to my past relationship. I also needed to be real with myself about what I wanted. And I feel this is fundamentally, the real issue. I don’t think people are out here purposely trying to hurt people. Even though I am of the mind that people are inherently evil and self seeking, I think that they are also preservationist— that is they want, as much as possible, to save face and at least put good into the world so they can also benefit from that good energy. I don’t think Ghanaian men, or African men in general, are hard wired to want to be deceitful. I just think our societies don’t foster the type of self- reflection necessary to enter into healthy relationships. I agree with Afua: “Sometimes the journey towards ‘…happily ever after’ or ‘…and the rest is just history’ does not leave you unscathed.” But this is true for everyone, male and female. Unfortunately, in Ghana, women carry the burden of emotional intelligence. There are conferences and books and preachings and seminars and speaker series and conventions and anointing oils— dedicated to ensuring women get to the status of Proverbs 31— not so for men. While Full Gospel Christian Business Mens groups exist en masse to encourage entrepreneurship and honest business practice, the same does not exist to spur on men to be honorable men, worthy of lifetime commitment. And yet, with all the Proverbs 31 messaging being thrown at women— neither men nor women are taught how to be emotionally intelligent. Preparing yourself to be a a wifable woman and developing your emotional intelligence have somehow been separated. So while yes, there are men— nay, people— who trample on the hearts of well meaning, good natured, loving partners en route to their happily ever after… it is not an epidemic that is wholly owned by men. It is the epidemic of not offering enough training, support and mentorship in growing our overall emotional intelligence (as evidenced by the messy, shady, crazy things women are also doing here in order to bait, keep or trick a man). As children of immigrants, we know too well the high standard of academic excellence placed on us, however the same is not necessarily the case for emotional intelligence. And while women are definitely exposed on how to develop themselves into ‘wifey material’… there is a general shortage of ‘how to deal effectively with your emotions such that you are not making your partner a causality in your sordid love affair” development opportunities. All in all, I will repeat hurt. people. hurt people. And the only real solution for all of us, is to get our emotional intelligence game up by seeking resources to help us grow… after all proper preparation prevents poor partner performance— eh?
What say you? Do you think it’s all one big male ploy to trample the hearts of unsuspecting woman of valor, or society overall has failed our generation in adequately preparing us to be good partners in relationships? #SoundOff
We’re switching things up a little… just a little. We’ve had a good time rambling about relationship topics, but there’s definitely more to our lives and the world at large than love and pursuit of martial bliss. And more generally, talking solely about love.dating.sex can get some way… there’s just so much more to our returnee experience that we think y’all are missing out on hearing about :) So we’re opening up the discussion to other topics! These will include, but not be limited to:
-working in Ghana as returnee women
-gender and race issues
-general hot topics and popular culture
Don’t worry, we won’t slack on the juicy relationship stuff though!
PS – If you want to guest post for us, please email us at: email@example.com
So… I was torn posting this, but I figured in the end I could post it and preface it *shrug*. I didn’t want to post this initially in fear of being labeled a bitter black women. However, many of the relationship things referenced in this post have been witnessed more-so than experienced (remember we have a new simple modus operandi of late). Thus, this post is channeling a lot of things I’ve seen- which is still incredibly frustrating– so that’s probably the tone you’re picking up on.
And after sending this out as a feeler to a couple guy friends, I do recognize that the struggle is real on both sides of the spectrum… Because no one, guy or girl, should feel like they’re being used or their time is being wasted.
Would love to hear your thoughts.
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Twitter just be giving us so much life recently… AND content for the blog!
You remember that phrase? I used it first when discussing the Art of Hedging, or when men in long term relationships be faking and using you for one last test run/ joy ride before clamping down on the inevitable.
Well this tweet in a way circles back around what I wrote, and it appears to be a view shared by many- judging from the number of re-tweets. I’ve always known that men and women aren’t equal in a number of aspects, but when it comes to relationship behavior, these differences couldn’t be more pronounced as I get older. AND I am not saying women don’t do their own playing, I’m just speaking from what I’ve seen and experienced.
For me, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want to be part of your sinful past on the way to redemption. I don’t want to be part of your try everything on for size stage or be a part of the starting five line up on your hedging team, before you say ‘I do’. Again… I know I’m generalizing on men here, but I can only speak from my perspective…
Folks just be tired of wasted time.
…which, hear me out people, is different from when we really like each other, date with direction and somehow it doesn’t work out.
Although I’m still quite weary of this type of behavior, I now honestly understand when some women want to know where things are headed shortly a man starts talking to them. Like I get it now. I get when some women want to (partially) give up and bury themselves in just work, family and friends. Sometimes the journey towards “…happily ever after” or “…and the rest is just history” does not leave you unscathed.
It’s funny cause a few guys I know (of) have recently gotten engaged or married and you look at their behavior prior to marriage like, ‘I hope you come to Jesus real soon, cause it’s only His blood that can wipe your past clean.’ #ikid #butonlyjustalittlebit lol
But on the real, dudes have run circles around Accra, Lagos, London, Johannesburg, Nairobi, NY, DC, [and add in any other big city where there is a mass of Africans]… they’ve been dating, sleeping around with, breaking hearts, cheating on their gfs right, left and center. And now they are walking down the aisle like all is forgiven. And according to society, all IS forgiven. Society tells us that, “he’s a man being a man, he was sowing his wild oats, having fun before having to commit to one person”; in essence, the slate gets wiped squeaky clean once he puts a ring on any (half decent) girl. The behavior gets chalked up to a typical young bachelor lifestyle, which he has now matured from [we thank God oh]. However, while folks outchea having amnesia about a guy’s past and while he’s moved on to dutiful wife and kid, the former women have to deal with the consequences of the situations they put themselves in. And I do put blame on women for putting themselves in these situations too- if you remember *THIS BLOG*.
It’s one of those hard truths that we need to stop pretending doesn’t exist, because we are the ones suffering for it… Things aren’t equal and one has to make sure you don’t end up being a casualty of a man’s ‘growing pains’, however that manifests itself (ie. Pregnancy… Your reputation jeopardized (cause his won’t be)… Or you’re just plainly heart broken).
Sometimes you have to just honestly protect yourself… and sleep soundly.
**Girls are tired (of relationship wahala)
If you missed out on the hastag #BeingFemaleinNigeria trending last week on twitter,
do you live under a rock? don’t worry we’ve round up a few of our favorites. It’s nice to know that we’re not out on an island by ourselves sometimes.
Let’s start with Amma’s top picks:
#BeingAWomanInNigeria You should never have a boyfriend, but be married once u graduate. Like man is d degree u earned.
— V C H E (@OFFICIALUCHEUBA) July 2, 2015
This one is hilarious because it reminds me of the side eye I sometimes get for wanting to go back to school. “So you want degrees but you don’t want children, eh”—ermmm I’ll take both please and thank you.
#BeingAWomanInNigeria means you have the priviledge and opportunity of raising a leader, one unlike all the ones we lament about.
— Ayomide Bada-Francis (@AyomideEedimoyA) July 1, 2015
This one I like because it is positive and it also represents something I am very passionate about. I think the privilege of getting to raise a boy child means bringing someone sensible that all the girls will swoon over because he will be all of the greatest sophisti-ratchet swagged philosophical things I wanted… you are welcome in advance to his wife.
— tjsmart (@tjsmart) July 1, 2015
A bit problematic given my tendencies towards guys younger than me… but ma sakyira.
For some miraculous reason, you are expected to have stronger control over your carnal desires. #BeingAWomanInNigeria
— Mustapha Garko (@Mr_garko) July 1, 2015
This I find HILARIOUS… because I was just talking to a friend about the erectile dysfunction commercials over the airwaves in Ghana and how it is VERY clear that women are not ashamed of their ‘carnal desires’. Here… it is obviously the men who are struggling to keep up. #viagrabeforeviagra #goingtojujumenforstrokegameupgrades #struggleisreal #beingaghanaianman
Here are my picks:
I had a few too many favs, so I have less to say about them and will just let you marinate in their truth instead.
#BeingFemaleInNigeria "Your husband cooked? And you opened your mouth and ate the food? What kind of woman are you?"
— Bibiire o se f'owora (@yew1e) June 30, 2015
#realtears** because I can actually see Ghanaian aunties and moms saying this in their accents.
Seminars everywhere teaching Girls how to be good Wives. Who's teaching the Boys how to be responsible Husbands too? #BeingFemaleInNigeria
— Toyosi Akerele. O. (@toyosirise) June 30, 2015
I’ve been saying this Over and Over and Over again. This emphasis on equipping women to be ‘good spouses’, and somehow thinking that men have this innate ability to know how to love, serve, protect, stay faithful to, be sensitive to and open up to their spouse is beyond me… but this will have to be saved for another time and blog post.
#beingfemaleinNigeria Me: Mom can I repaint my room? Mom: Marry and paint the one in your husband's House.
— Nneka Oyindamola ♥ (@nekkysugar) June 30, 2015
There's always someone feeling sorry for you and promising that "God will do it for you" #beingfemaleinnigeria and single
— Andie Okon (@Andiva) June 30, 2015
When the holidays roll by… when the family functions take place… hell, every damn Sunday.
#BeingFemaleinNigeria When someone says you're smart, 90% of the time it's not a compliment.
— S. (@saratu) June 30, 2015
Afua, you look [fill in the blank with any ordinarily-positive-compliment on brains, beauty and confidence… which somehow doesn’t quite come out as a compliment in the context it is given]
It’s that, or all your relatives will think ‘you’re not taking good care of your husband and home…’
#BeingfemaleinNigeria you're 30 years old? And you wanna leave your boyfriend for cheating? Ordinary cheating? I'm sorry for you. Wa le le.
— Kehinde Diggs (@kooloosaw) June 30, 2015
I had to add this for a friend… #butthat’snoneofmybusiness … chirp … chirp’
#BeingFemaleInNigeria You cant drive an expensive car before you get married, you will scare away men if you do,pretend you don't have money
— Abang! #OpenNASS (@AbangMercy) June 30, 2015
#BeingFemaleInNigeria You are a lady you cant be seen to be too smart, sometimes pretend not to know anything, men like submissive women.
— Abang! #OpenNASS (@AbangMercy) June 30, 2015
These last two I take to heart… because a guy friend politely informed me of the following when I told him I just want a regular guy to approach me, because I’m a regular ol’ gal: ‘afua, when a man sees you out and might want to approach, first he has to contend with the sea of too known repat friends you’re surrounded by, then he’ll be hit with the SERIOUSS slang, then he’ll find out your schooling and job, then he’ll see you driving some car wahh, the apartment and the places you like to frequent…. #massabegonewiththatdesire’
The culture of not seeing females as equals results in men with fragile egos. Always at risk of being 'emasculated' #beingfemaleinNigeria
— Amara Nwankpa (@bubusn) June 30, 2015
Women who are unhappily married trying to make you feel like a failure for being happily single #beingfemaleinNigeria
— Spectra Speaks (@spectraspeaks) June 30, 2015
Word to your mother… and your grandmother.
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** Real tears because I’m laughing so hard that I’m crying