10 December 2009

Not waving but drowning...

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart
gave way,
They said.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Ever feel like you're just going through the motions? This Stevie Smith poem has always been one of my all-time favourites because it speaks to me on a different level. Sometimes I feel as though my life is one big show. "All the world's a stage" and all that. But lately I find myself wondering just how much longer this can all go on? I act like I'm fine because that's what I'm supposed to do. I'm over The Musician because I'm supposed to be by now. Do my masters in IR next because I'm supposed to. Looking to get married because I'm supposed to. You get the picture. 

From a distance it's easy to see the fun-loving girl who's perhaps a little too prone to moodswings, however I feel like I'm drowning, not waving. There seems to be no focus in my life at all and I'm pretty much clueless as to what I'm doing. I've been waiting for my one great passion to hit me for years and I'm pretty much fed up of waiting. Is there such thing as a "one great passion" anyway? I feel as though I'm interested in too many disparate things and this has led to some kind of fragmentation and a general lack of concentration. Since I loved books, I figured I'd look for a career involving books, hence my interest in publishing. But it gets pretty damn frustrating when people keep saying you need experience, yet nobody wants to be the one to give it to you. It may be completely irrational but I feel as though I have a ticking clock as a constant companion. Time to get it all together. Tick, tock, tick, tock

I honestly don't know what to do anymore. I feel as though I'm wasting the vestiges of my youth by being too wishy-washy in my outlook on life. What sucks is that I know I'm capable of great things. I just don't know how to get started. The one person I really want to talk to about this (my father) doesn't seem to be talking to me because of an issue of entirely my own doing. These are the things I do know:

 1. I want to do a masters because I love to learn. That's the only reason. However, I'm thinking of applying for IR purely out of duty. In my perfect world, I'd be doing the Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies MSc at the LSE.

2. I want my Daddy. Maybe I need to quit whining about this one and just sort it out....

3. At this point in time, I'll take any reasonably paid job and take it from there.

You know the feeling where you're surrounded by a million people yet feel so alone? Yours truly is slap bang in the middle of that. I feel as though I'm in the murky sea and I'm trying to avoid being dragged down by the undertow. I'm not waving but slowly drowning.


9 December 2009

I'm baaaaaaaaaack!

Wow it's been a minute hasn't it? I don't even have a good excuse for this prolonged absence. I've just been blogging more over on Life... And Living It. Do you ever feel you have so much to write about but then end up writing nothing at all? That's been my dilemma. I've also found myself self-censoring on this blog, which is in direct opposition of the reason I started this blog to begin with so I'm going to do my level best to combat this.

So on the life front: I'm still looking for a job. It's just getting annoying now especially now that funds are almost non-existent. I'm slowly making friends and I've met a bunch of really cool people from the Ghana blogosphere. I've been dating here and there, which has been wonderful in my quest to erase The Musician from my mind. I'm still loving Ghana, which is surprising for somebody who so easily gets bored. I've also been contemplating postponing my Masters for another year but nothing's been decided yet. So that's it in a nutshell!

I'll blog about the dating escapades a little later. I've just realised that a lot of Ghanaian men are special.

So, as usual, here's some things I've been thinking about lately:

1. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. This guy is an I.D.I.O.T. I'm not even talking about the cheating part. The cynic in me refuses to act like this is shocking. However, the man is too damn rich to get busted like that. Dude, you're a flippin billionaire how do you not have people to handle your shit for you? Especially if it's up to 10 women like they say. Shoot, if I was that rich, you'd never be able to trace anything back to me. Leaving voicemails? Are you dumb? Having them in your house? Not using protection with two of them? If you're gonna have side-chicks, at least make sure they can keep their mouths shut to the press. He deserves every ounce of this crap based on stupidity alone. SMDH. (But who knew boring, staid, Tiger was a freak like that? Lol)

2. Here in Ghana, if somebody calls you and you don't pick up, 9 out of 10 times they will keep calling you until you do. I had 8 missed calls in 15 minutes from an individual who just wanted to say "hi". Again, SMDH.

3. I used to love snails when I was a little girl in Kof-Town. I've now discovered they generally make me want to throw up....

4. Is the Ghanaian currency represented as GHC or GHS? They seem to be interchangeable and I don't understand why.

5. I've felt a distinct lack of Christmas spirit in Accra apart from a few sad Christmas lights here and there. However, my aunt and I decided to "Christmas-fy" our apartment yesterday and we didn't do too badly if I may say so myself!:

I love our little black Angel. I've decided to name her "Ama". She looks like an "Ama":

Currently listening to: Cool Temper- J. Martins

31 October 2009

Music as the ultimate painkiller?

Songs are the most powerful memory triggers for me and the song "Ex" by little-known UK artist Dele just came on my iPod shuffle. It's slightly spooky because it's almost a year to the day I first heard this song and I will forever associate it with the Musician.

Turn the clock back one year and it's about 3 o'clock in the morning. I'm lying on my bed in floods of tears contemplating whether it'll be stupid to take myself to the hospital. I don't want to call any of my friends because I know they're all fast asleep by now. The toothache I've been ignoring for the last week is now making me feel like jumping out of my (1st floor) window. The trip to the emergency dentist I took earlier that day is looking pointless right about now. All the stupid woman did was tut about how she understood I must be in great pain but I should just take these antibiotics and a couple of ibuprofen and I should be okay in a couple of days. I can't remember the last time I cried because of physical pain and I've reached the end of my tether. I suddenly remember that the guy I met on the bus only 3 weeks before, and who I've been consequently "talking" to, is working late today so maybe he'll still be awake. He lives in the flat next to mine and without any regard for him thinking I'm weird,  I call him and he picks up before the 3rd ring. All my efforts to mask the fact that I've been crying are in vain as I break down as soon as he asks me "what's wrong?" I tell him I haven't slept for the last two days because the pain keeps me awake. I've taken so many painkillers that I'm afraid I might need to get my stomach pumped.

A few minutes later, with me still sobbing on the phone, he tells me to come downstairs because he's standing outside my flat. He gives me a hug and a packet of industrial-strength painkillers he has left over from an operation he had last year. At this point, I'm beyond caring about what I'm ingesting into my body. I'm at the stage where all I want to do is not feel. Blissfully, I manage to sleep for 3 hours before the pain announces itself again. At the break of dawn, I get a call from him telling me to get dressed because he's driving me to A&E. As we make our way to King's College Hospital, he's trying to cheer me up by playing music he knows I like. He lies through his teeth that my face isn't that swollen but I saw him visibly flinch when I first entered his car. Still, I appreciate the sentiment.

Two hours later, I've been given some codeine and other unpronounceable painkillers while I wait so I no longer feel like slamming my hand in a door in order for that pain to distract me from the pain in my tooth. He, of the notoriously short attention span, is getting fidgety but still he waits with me. He gives me his iPod to listen to and says I should listen to this song because the guy is Nigerian and it's rare to find male R&B singers nowadays with some bass in their voice. As the music flows from the earphones, everything suddenly seems just that little bit better.

I have no idea why this song came up on my shuffle today but it made me realise just how easy it is for one terrible act to wipe out dozens of goods. I usually love this song but tonight, it's just succeeded in making me feel sad.

(I ended up having 4 teeth taken out under anaesthetic and stitches put in my mouth, so I wasn't playing about the pain...)

30 October 2009

Of myths and legends

There's a junction in the "37" area of Accra where I heard the most god-awful unholy sound a couple of days ago. I was chilling in the car, craning my neck to catch the faintest whiff of a breeze when I heard a sound like cats being drowned mixed with that horrible "crying" sound London foxes make at night. My head snapped back so quick and when I made the mistake of looking up, I saw horrible, black, winged creatures swooping in and out of some large trees. Bats creep me the hell out. I find them as truly disgusting creatures. A lot of people know that I'm generally not a fan of things that fly but when you add teeth, claws, and fur to winged creatures, you have a living embodiment of my worst nightmare.

While hastily rolling up my window, the woman driving me told me that there are also a lot of bats in Kwahu and according to legend, a Kwahu chief became sick one day and had to be transported to the military hospital in "37". The bats accompanied him on his journey to Accra where he unfortunately died. However, since the bats never saw him leave, still they remain waiting to accompany the chief back to Kwahu. Apparently everything has been done in an attempt to get these bats to leave but alas, to no avail.

I happily believed this until I tried to google some more info on this supposed "fact". I saw that fellow bloggers Abena and Holli had also blogged on this topic substituting the Kwahu chief with chiefs from other regions! Nevertheless, it's a good myth and one I thought I'd share.

Now a few  things I've been ruminating about in the last few days:

1. Why is "37" called "37"? I must have asked about 7 people and nobody's been able to give me an answer. Not even a guess. So can anybody help satisfy my curious mind?

2. I think I've seen enough penises this week to last a lifetime. Seriously the amount of men I've seen flapping in the wind as they relieve their bladders beggars belief. Not everybody will do you the favour of facing a wall even. Oh no. "Check me out!" they seem to scream as you're visually assaulted by tubes of flesh

3. Judging by the strange consistency it seems to be turning, I don't think you're supposed to put milk into Hausa koko....

Currently listening to: Sweet thing- Rufus and Chaka Khan

25 October 2009

Random musings

1. How does one react to unwanted advances from the opposite sex? Seriously this one has been taxing me for the last few days. When I was younger (around 13/14) my friends and I would always do the really cruel "um I don't think so" with the requisite disgusted look spiel. This all changed one summer afternoon outside Peckham library (under the umbrella- you know that was the spot!) when I messed with the wrong guy. I was chilling with my freshly gelled-down hair and baubles when a tall Jamaican dude asks me for my number in a rather forceful and disrespectful manner. Out came the faux-ghetto London slang: "Do I know you doe? Why do you think you can stalk me doe? Do you know how old I am? Watch I don't get my man and his bredren dem to come box you!"  Everyone knows Peckham boys are no joke and this one was no exception. I was quick to change my tune when old boy pulls out a knife! I felt like I had been touched by holy ghost fire and within seconds I was scrambling for a pen to write down whatever number he wanted! Although that experience is funny to me now, it made me re-evaluate the way I responded to men trying to approach me. I went far into the opposite direction and tried to be as nice as I possibly could when I said "no". However, this would often lead to stalkers who refused to take no for an answer. Say what you like about London men but they are persistent! I soon adopted the truthful approach as in "sure you can have my number but I probably won't pick up when you call." This has been working for me but I think it sometimes comes across as mean when that isn't my intention. So again back to the question- how does one react to unwanted advances from the opposite sex?

2. This week, when I've been asked what my name is, at least 3 people have asked me what my "other" name is. Initially I was like "huh"? They would then elaborate that they wished to know what my English name was. Am I missing something here? Is is mandatory for a Ghanaian to have an English name? I'm not English so I don't understand why it's so strange not to have an English name. I'm not throwing any shade at those Ghanaians who do have English names but I'm proud of my name. So there!

3. I went to the hairdresser a few days ago and as the lady was washing my hair, I heard her telling a colleague to look at my ears. (She clearly didn't realise I understood twi and I wasn't inclined to correct her lol!) I have quite a lot of piercings in my ears and now I'm wondering whether piercings in Ghana are a big deal. I wanted to tell her that I've even done well by removing 3 of my 10 piercings.

I have 4 of the ones pictured above, and no, I'm not a punk! Lol!

4. Is it just me or do Ghanaians have no regard for personal space? I've been touched more times than I care to remember this week by complete strangers. For somebody who is the antithesis of a "touchy-feely" person, this is going to take some getting used to....

(I have to give some love to my Liverpool boys. 2-0 to the Liverpool! You'll never walk alone indeed! Sorry to all the Man. U fans out there. Or not! OK, I'm done now lol)

Also, my friend Nsoromma joined the personal blogging brigade so show her some love over at "Baring Testament"

Image source

Currently listening to: The Seed (2.0)- Cody Chesnutt ft. The Roots

22 October 2009

Some first impressions

I'm staying in Airport, a mere stone's throw away from the famous Accra Mall so that's where I decided to venture. Man, I thought I was a pro at crossing the road basa basa but Accra roads have put the fear of God in my heart! I swear I saw cars going in different directions on the same half of the road. I don't think I've quite recovered yet...

As for Accra Mall? It's cool I guess but I really hated feeling like I was on a catwalk due to all the stares up and down I received as I meandered my way around the shops. I really hate being stared at so I don't know how I'm going to cope. I wasn't dressed up or anything, especially compared to all the girls I saw in their raving gear and weavalicious glory, so why the staring? This staring not be small either. Thorough appraisal is the order of the day. From the soles of your feet to the tips of your hair and back again. I felt like asking one woman if I had passed her test! The prices are a serious piss-take though. I saw the newest Dan Brown book in a bookstore there for 50GHC. Are you having a laugh? I really hope there's a cheaper place to buy books somewhere in Accra (somebody help a sister out). My brain must be prevented from turning into mush. I had a pure geeky moment though when I saw my Dad's books and excitedly called to tell him. He was underwhelmed, to say the least :-p

 I must also have a FRESH MEAT sign lit up in neon colours over my head because talk about being a target for the con artists extraordinaire. I may not yet know the ins and outs of Accra but one thing I absolutely detest is being ripped off and for that reason alone, the (little) money I have is staying firmly in my pocket.

It's strange hardly knowing anybody my age)here and oddly ironic since I usually spend my time hiding from people I know (no offence!). I hope to attend my very first Ghana Blogging meeting next week so I'll hopefully begin to remedy this situation. All in all, I've had absolutely no worries so far, although I'm sure that will change, and I'm enjoying my joblessness for the meantime. I'm eager to see the "real" Accra (if there's any such thing) because I'm well aware that I'm being extremely pampered where I am. Not that I mind....

Currently listening to: In the morning- Ledisi

21 October 2009

Welcome to Accra!

Wow I guess I can no longer complain when my friends refer to me as "lastminute.com". I bought a ticket to Accra only 5 days ago and this morning I finally landed at Kotoka International! I've been talking for a good 5 years about how I need to go back to Ghana and since it's been over 10 years since I last set foot on our lovely shores, I think it's long overdue. I left London like a ninja so apologies to all the people I couldn't say a proper goodbye to but you'll see me soon enough. I'm here for at least 3 months and I hope to extend this if I can find a job. I was too busy to be excited in the days leading up to this trip but as soon as I landed this morning, I could barely contain myself. I'm equal parts scared shitless and excited for the possibilities. I'm not 100% sure on what exactly I aim to achieve on this trip but I'm excited to find out.

I don't miss London quite yet but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. I'm itching to go and explore my little corner of Accra on foot, but I'm not sure how wise that is. Oh screw it, I guess there's only one way to find out! Will write a proper post later about first impressions if I make it back in one piece lol.

12 October 2009

Happy birthday to me!

Another year older today and I feel good! I usually have pretty crappy birthdays due to too much self-reflection and general "verklempt-ness" but forget that this year. Some people went to bed last night and never woke up again so I'm going to cherish every moment of this day. I also refuse to feel scared about growing older because as my Dad says "If you don't grow older, you die!" I'm happy to be alive and I thank the Almighty God for reaching another milestone. This past year may have had more downs than ups but I look to the future today. So here's to many more years for me!

Currently listening to: Temperature Rising- Les Nubians

6 October 2009

No sex please, we're Ghanaian!

I was reading fellow blogger Esi's post on 'Why do Ghanaian men lie about sex?' and it got me thinking about the lies we tell about sex in general. I've been exposed to distinctly different groups of people in my lifetime and everybody, apart from Ghanaians, seems to be relatively open about sex. Fair enough you have the people who insist on over-sharing all the minutiae of their sex lives with you, leading you to wish you could clean out your ears with some strong bleach, but this is most definitely not the case in Ghanaian circles. I feel that although Ghanaians outside Ghana claim to be a little more liberal, we're still very much bound by our "Ghanaianess" when it comes to sex. So why do we make it so difficult to talk about sex?

For me, I think this all stems from religion. Ghanaians, in general, are a pretty religious bunch and our good Lord tells us that sex before marriage is wrong. I'm not disputing this but why pretend that we all follow this rule? People will happily put up their hands and admit to other sins but as for sex? We've become amazingly adept at adopting the "What you talking 'bout Willis?" stance whenever the topic comes up.

If it's to be believed, Ghana is the only country that can claim that all her unmarried women are virgins! A "fallen woman" (haaaaaaate that term) is apparently not far removed from robbers, rapists, and others making up the dregs of society. However, is it too much to accept being religious without being a complete hypocrite? We're expected to sit at weddings where everybody (including the pastor) will pretend that he is marrying two virgins who will now go forth and multiply (in a sanctified manner of course!). Everybody can happily know about the time the couple broke up because the groom slept with her (now former) best friend, about the time she got drunk and kissed his brother, etc. etc. but we will still expect her to don the whitest of white gowns and everybody will happily go along with the charade. Now I ask you, what kind of fuckeries is that?!

Aside from the people straight up lying that they're virgins, you get the "everything but" people. These are the ones that will still claim they're virgins when they've done everything in each and every way aside from actual vaginal penetration. Now does that truly qualify one to claim the "virgin" tag? And it always seems to be these very same people that will jump up and claim that so and so has has slept with this and that person. These same ones that judge other people about what they like to pretend they're not doing.

Now I'm a firm believer in the whole "what you do is your business" spiel but why lie about sex and then proceed to judge other people for it? I felt this keenly when reading Nana Darkoa's blog Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women. African (particularly Ghanaian) women are just as interested in sex as anybody else but why don't we seem to talk about it beyond the relative anonymity of the computer screen. I think I can be somewhat guilty of this because even though I can be pretty open with certain friends about sex, I have other close friendships that happily perpetuate the pretense of "No sex please, we're Ghanaian"! Whether or not we're having sex, the topic will be happily glossed over and everybody remains content in the belief that as long as we don't talk about it, we can pretend it doesn't exist. However, this could all just be in my experience but I strongly suspect that this is not the case. So what say you? Why do Ghanaian women pretend that they're not having sex? And if they are, they damn well better not be enjoying it too! The cheek....

Image source

3 October 2009

The NOISEttes

I feel like I've been missing in action for a little bit but will remedy that soon, I promise! In the meantime I thought I'd share some music by The Noisettes. They're an English band headed by my secret girl-crush Shingai Shoniwa (I think I would be willing to consider murder for her hair...). Great singer and equally fantastic bass player. Hope you enjoy!

22 September 2009

The Musician

So I called the "ex" today. (He will henceforth be known as "the musician ex" to distinguish him from anyone else.) I don't know why I did but I woke up this morning thinking of him as usual and just decided to call him. Didn't think twice, just did it. I hadn't spoken to him since I found out about his child and it was strange, to say the least. He was surprised to hear from me and he apologised again for the way I found out, the way he treated me, etc. I think I actually believed him this time.

The worst part was hearing his voice because it felt like coming home. Frankly, I was horrified. This is somebody I'm supposedly getting over and the sound of his voice alone made me happy. Keep in mind I hadn't even escaped fully from his voice because I kept hearing his song everywhere I went. Barbecue? They'd play his damn song. On the bus? Some obnoxious teenager would be blasting it through her mobile speakers. Walking down the road? I'd hear somebody playing it in their car. You get the picture. This damn song that decided to blow up all of a sudden just to punish me!

I think part of me decided to call him because I'd rather have him in my life and have it take longer to get over him, than not have him in my life (even though it shortens the mourning period). I don't know if I'm making any kind of sense. I mean I'm willing to put up with the punishment of being around him even though I'm not with him than be apart from him completely. He was my friend and I don't want to lose that friend along with the person I was dating (I refuse to use the word boyfriend). I know people insist that you can't be friends with your ex but I've managed to stay cool with every man I've dated before (although some took a lot longer than others).

I've missed him immensely and now he wants to see me. I don't know if I'm ready for that quite yet. We'll see. I'm scared to set myself up for another fall. I guess we'll see how this "friendship" thing goes. I guess I really am a glutton for punishment. Pray for me!

14 September 2009

I won't complain...

I've had some good days
I've had some hills to climb
I've had some weary days
And some sleepless nights
But when I look around
And I think things over
All of my good days
Outweigh my bad days
I won't complain

These last couple of days have been rough in more ways than one. A job I thought I had fell through and therefore the job hunt continues. I also realised that I'm not doing as well getting over my last relationship as I thought I was. It's just basically been one of those weeks where everything that could go wrong, has and it's been difficult to stay positive and not succumb to depression. However, I remembered that I made a promise to myself a couple of months ago that I would count my blessings and allow God to take control. So "I won't complain" will be my theme this week (and beyond). Hope it can help somebody too.

Currently listening to: I won't complain- Rev. Paul Jones

9 September 2009

I wanna hear a poem...

One of my all time favourite poems. This was at the height of my 'Def Poetry' obsession and the line 
'I wanna hear a poem where ideas kiss similes so deeply that metaphors get jealous'
kills me every time. Hope you enjoy it too... 

8 September 2009

You have such a pretty face...

I don't really know why I'm choosing to blog about this topic but it's something that has steadily pressing on my soul for at least five years now. Haha I guess there's my reason right there! Growing up I never really thought of myself as pretty. Don't get it twisted I didn't think I was ugly either, just not "pretty". I was always described as the smart one but never the pretty one. This was the way it was all the way through primary school and most of secondary school too. I put on a lot of weight when I was about 11 or 12 and that weight hasn't ever come off. I think I've just learnt to live with and truthfully it's not something I think about  everyday. It's not as as if I never received any male attention either. Truthfully the only requirements to get chirpsed in London (especially by our beloved persistent Nigerian men) is to possess a vagina, so I didn't really "count" them if you catch my drift. However, in my late teens, when I first went to uni in America, I began to receive a different kind of male attention. More genuine shall we say. I mean guys would tell me they thought I was pretty or whatever and even though I knew that was what they believed, I still didn't quite believe them. Then I began to be accused of being arrogant and some kind of faker. I still remember one of the first guys I ever hooked up with in the states (let's call him Kojo) telling me I was pretty in an almost insulting way. When I expressed surprise, he said to me "Why are you fishing for compliments? You know you're pretty" with a mildly disgusted look on his face. "Excuse me but I don't know anything" was what was going through my mind.

Because of the whole weight thing, I'd always felt I had to play my role as the smiley, clever one and not step on any of the "fly girls"'s toes. However, I guess with the progression of age comes a burgeoning sense of maturity. I knew from a reasonably young age that I couldn't stand insecure people. I went to a boarding school, which meant that living in such close proximity for an extended period of time with other teenage girls was a recipe for disaster. Of all the girls in my year, I know for a fact that only one other girl apart from myself was above a UK size 12/14 with the majority being 6s and 8s- I kid you not. Still we endlessly had the daily script played out for us with the whole "Oh my God I feel so faaaaaat. Look at my belly!" as a shiny toothed girl flaunted her washboard abs at you, lower lip pushed out in an oh-so-charming pout. Yes we had our share of bulimics galore. I would get so bored (still do) of people talking about their various body hang ups all the time. Seriously, for a school that was supposed to consist of some of the elite minds of the country conversations rarely ventured beyond boys, clothes, the latest "cool" band and drugs (rich people with too much time on their hands). Forgive us for we were but children hehe! I guess my point is I began to find people complaining about their bodies the most irritating thing  and I vowed NEVER to whine about my body issues. I still believe that moaning about something is only going to draw attention to it. Plus it's boring.
 I basically began to fake confidence and in the course of this charade, a genuine sense of confidence somehow emerged. I'd always tell myself "you may be fat, but at least you're not ugly" (ugly is a very strong word imho).

Now going back to my experience as a late teen in the states. Whilst I didn't think I was ugly, I wasn't exactly used to hearing guys telling me I pretty either. So this was a pretty steep learning curve for me. I always thought the way I dressed was what got me so much attention (basically not letting the Midwestern winters reduce me to a pair of eyes hidden in a bomber jacket, hat that covered 3/4 of my face, and boots that made it hard to lift your leg, let alone walk- what can I say? I'm vain!). However, as my confidence grew, so occured the exponential growth of people (particularly females) telling me I had a pretty face. Now WTF was that supposed to mean? So devoid of all my extremities and my torso I could be considered an aesthetically pleasing member of society? I guess I should thank God that I have my face to save me from utter irrelevance eh? ;-) My own mother even tells me this on a regular basis, in addition to "you're lucky you're tall or you'd seem even fatter than you are". Rarely do I ever hear "you're pretty Sankofa". It's always "Sankofa, you have a pretty face". I know it may seem a strange thing to complain about for those of you not familiar with this phenomenon bit it's so unbelievably jarring! It only gets more so when you get it with the "you're big but pretty" line. First of all, I'm not big, I'm what most would consider fat. Let's just tell it like it is and quit with all the euphemisms. I'm not one of those fatties that blames everyone and their mama for being the way they are. I got fat because I ate too much when I was younger and now I'm just too lazy to get the weight off. End of. Fullstop. Finis. We'll save that story for another day.

Now let's fast forward a few years to  just a year ago and a so-called "friend" (now former friend, thank God). This chick and I used to go raving together a few times and she also loved to have house parties. She's an average-looking chick with a pretty nice figure who thinks that her big behind alone entitles her to receive the attention of any guy she fancies. Now we were at one of these house parties and I'd been steadily getting dagger-eyes all night beacause I'd spent the majority of the party talking to a guy (let's call him Francois) who I'd been flirting with for months who she also happened to like. Now, in my head, flirting with Francois was no biggie because 1. It's not as if he was expressing great interest in her and I stole him or whatever and 2. Francois is a huuuuge male slut and is therefore everybody's first choice to flirt with (added emphasis on the flirt). So I'm getting tired of the"looks" so when I get a chance alone with her I ask her if she's cool. She feigns complete innocence as to what I'm talking about but then as she is reapplying her make-up, she casually comments that she's always wondered how I always have so many guys interested in me since I'm so fat and all. My neck snap would have done the chick from the exorcist proud. You'd be proud to know that I didn't say any of the vile things that were going through my mind and eventually, just as nonchalantly, said "Oh you know. Guys like different types of girls and it's not as if I'm ugly". I think I can pinpoint the exact moment in time when our "friendship" began to die lol.

To make matter more interesting, at this same party some chick who I'd peeped watching me at various times during the night decides to approach me a few minutes later and says "Please don't think I'm weird but I think you're really really pretty." I mumble some embarrassed, shocked, thanks in her direction and she hits me with the kicker. "Not being rude, but you know you're quite big, yet you carry yourself so well". Ah, knew there had to be more coming!

I've just always felt that just because I was fatter than all my friends, it didn't mean I had to look worse. Yes I still rock my skinnies, my harems, my jeggings (or treggings as some of you call them). I just make sure it suits (and fits) my body because we all know there's nothing worse than a size 20 squeezed into some size 16s. Hey give me a pair of SPANX and I'm good to go! We all know that I'm already disadvantaged in this western world due to the mere fact that I'm a woman, and a black woman at that. Yes  I may be fat, but going around feeling embarrassed for it will only be one more strike against me. For that alone I can happily walk with my head held high. Confidence is the great eraser for it disguises a multitude of flaws. Still is that reason enough to be reduced to a mere face? I guess the whole point of this convoluted (and long) post is do you feel I'm justified in my annoyance? Am I just being a sore taker-of-compliments? I feel like about this issue the same way I feel about the "you're so pretty even though you're dark-skinned" line. True stories, I've had those statements as well, but we'll also save that for another time.I've always wondered if I was making too much of this issue and I want to know what you guys think. Go on, hit me with your best shot. I'm a big girl, I can take it! (pun intended....)

Currently listening to: Fire Alie- Chipmunk

6 September 2009

You fit into me

You fit into me
like a hook into an eye

a fish hook
an open eye

Margaret Atwood, Power Politics, 1971

13 August 2009

Where are you from?

Where are you from? Seems like a simple question right? However, when I was growing up this was the question I most dreaded. I was born in our wonderful country of Ghana (Koforidua represent!) and left for London when I was 7, almost 8. In those first years in England I still felt as Ghanaian as ever, being raised in a Ghanaian household and all. Even in the face of all the 'African booty scratcher' and 'Go climb a tree taunts' in primary school, I never wavered in my loyalty to Ghana. (Can't say the same for all those who pretended to be Jamaican, strong African accent and all!) However, after a few years I began to feel slightly different. I didn't feel British, per se, but most definitely a LONDONER. I still do. Love or hate London, it stays with you. It's in the blood man. Going to a boarding school just outside London only strengthened this bond for me. I've lost count of the so-called dentist and optician appointments I used as a means of escape to be with my London man dem. Still, I resolutely considered myself a Ghanaian even when I got the oh-so-irritating "Where are you from originally?" questions.

Then I moved to the States when I was 18 for about 3 years and here's where all hell broke loose! The Ghanaians I met there insisted I was not really Ghanaian and made it abundantly clear that I would always be considered an outsider. Sidebar: I wonder if these same people feel any less Ghanaian now that they have been living in the States for 7+ years? Anyway, I also had random Americans insisting I was British because I had a 'British' accent and a British passport. I eventually grew tired of correcting people that I had a London accent and there was no such thing as a 'British' accent and I was still Ghanaian, as my British passport clearly reminded my everyday by stating that I was born in Koforidua. I soon figured I was fighting a losing battle and merely gritted my teeth when yet another person deigned to tell me what I was. I moved back to London eventually and then had to contend with insistations that I had become Americanised! This girl couldn't win for trying! What makes this even more depressing is that each of my 3 siblings was born in a different country- Ghana, the U.K. and the U.S.A respectively. The youngest two, who were born in the U.K. and the U.S. don't consider themselves in any way Ghanaian! To add insult to injury, my youngest brother calls it "Africa" and states the only "African" food he'll eat is jollof. It's enough to drive me to drink. Now that I'm seriously trying to get my act together and go to Ghana for an extended period, I've been wondering how I'll be received. So here's a question for you guys, how do you answer the question 'where are you from'? Do you go by where you live? Your passport? Where your parents are from? etc. I still maintain that I am 100% a Ghanaian Londoner no matter what you tell me. So there!

Currently listening to:Koforidua Flowers-Kofi B. ft. Ofori Amponsah

Picture above was sent to me so source unknown. Let me know if you own it so I can credit you!

Cheaters never prosper?

I read something today that really pissed me off and has even left me somewhat depressed. I was reading a popular African blogger's site and the topic of the day was a famous Nigerian actress who had recently divorced her husband on the grounds of infidelity. This blogger basically expressed the view that infidelity alone was not grounds for divorce. She asserted that as long as the husband expressed his regret and did not flaunt his affair/s in your face, then it was advisable to stay in the marriage; especially if you had invested time and/ or children in the union. Am I wrong in thinking that this is the reason why there is so much infidelity in Ghanaian marriages? I know that this was in regards to a Nigerian marriage but I've met many Ghanaians who also seem to share this sentiment and this makes me in equal measure angry and sad.

I know marriage is no joke and to walk out of a marriage would mean there was no solution to the problems in the marriage but how can people not see cheating as a "good enough" reason to leave a marriage? Aren't relationships based on trust? If I can't trust you to be faithful to me after we have pledged to spend our lives together how can I trust you in anything at all?
"Physical infidelity is the
signal, the notice given,
that all fidelities are undermined." - Katherine Anne Porte

This quotation pretty much sums up the point I'm trying to make. I have quite a few guy friends and I think this has given me some kind of insight into the way guys think. If we women allow them to get away with anything, they will continue to do it! We provide some men with so many ready-made excuses when we say things like "oh that's how men are" etc. I know for a fact that some women struggle with fidelity just as much as men are purported to but women are held to a much harsher standard than men. I'm not even talking about a mere boyfriend/ girlfriend thing here but MARRIAGE. If you don't believe you can be faithful to the person you claim to want to spend the rest of your life with, then why put them through this humiliation and heartache. Don't marry them! I am so tired of seeing so many Ghanaian marriages around me become infested with the disease of infidelity and the expectation that women are to look the other way. I think what pissed me off most about the blogger's post was her view that as long as the infidelity was not flaunted in your face, then it was cool to stay in the marriage. What?! Whether or not it's being flaunted in my face, the very real danger of somebody infecting me with some kind of STD concerns me. If you don't respect me enough to care about my health (both physical and emotional) how does you not flaunting your affairs in my face help me? I know I'm ranting but I really wish some women will let go of the "men will be men" argument. A real man sticks to his word and a real woman will not allow herself to be humiliated in such a manner. There are good men out there (I know several) and I believe that it's up to us women to destroy the belief that as long as we're well-taken care of in all other aspects, we will put up with a little bit of infidelity here and there. I love myself far too much to adhere to this, quite frankly insulting, notion. What do you think? Am I fighting a lost cause?

Currently listening to:All this love I'm giving- Gwen McRae

29 July 2009


I haven't been able to write a word for the past few days and I've even been debating whether or not to write about this issue but honesty was my aim when I started this blog and I figure that it might just be therapeutic. I feel completely heartbroken and have felt this way for the last three days. For the second time in a year and a half somebody I thought I was dating has become a new father. And this time, I had to find out through facebook! "I didn't know how to tell you" just does not cut it as an excuse. Disbelief is not even the word right here. It's always the ones you don't expect isn't it? I really don't think I'm naive when it comes to relationships and I've often been accused of being a cynical b***h but wow I so did not see this one coming. I'm beginning to think there's something wrong with me because how can this happen twice to the same person in such a short amount of time. Maybe God is trying to tell me something but I wish I knew what that message was. I don't use the word heartbroken easily but it's the only way I can think of to describe how I'm feeling right now. More tears have been shed in the last few days than I think I have shed in a lifetime. What sucks the most is I still miss him desperately. I'm patiently waiting for the anger phase to kick in but until then, can anybody say anything to make me feel better?

Currently listening to: Fool of Me- Meshell Ndegeocello

21 July 2009

On marriage... and weddings

As I previously mentioned, I'm 25 now and I've been getting the "when are you getting married?" question for at least 3-4 years now. I have many issues with the pressure people (especially Africans) put on young women to enter into the matrimonial state. Ever since I was little, I have been surrounded by people, myself included, wallowing in tales of their "dream" wedding and what their colour theme will be, how many bridesmaids will be present etc. etc. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this but I feel that weddings have become increasingly highlighted to the detriment of marriage as a lifelong journey. As I've become older, my views on weddings and marriage have altered dramatically:

1. According to CNN even in a recession, the average cost of an American wedding is over $20,000, whilst that amount is almost the same in the UK except in POUNDS! You may disagree with me, but unless you're making serious paper this amount is all kinds of crazy. I am by NO means thrifty but how can I justify spending that much on ONE day, with the majority of it funded by credit? I absolutely refuse to start my marriage in that kind of debt. That kind of money can put a down payment on a house. Why spend this much money just to impress people who most likely don't even like you anyway?

2. I don't understand the insistence on having both extravagant traditional engagements and western weddings. Can't you choose one or the other? In Ghanaian culture, a traditional engagement is essentially a "marriage". The prevalence of white, western, weddings is just that- western. As the daughter of a pastor I know I'm expected to have a big church wedding with all members of the congregation (who secretly don't like me) accounted for. Personally, I'd rather have the full works of a traditional engagement than a huge white wedding. As long as my union has been blessed in the eyes of God, I don't see the need to feed 300-odd extraneous people.

3. I plan on being happy in my marriage and contrary to the insistence of several well-meaning "aunties", this happiness will not necessarily come about by me rushing into marriage with the first handsome doctor or engineer to come my way. I'm not going to sit here and pretend that money will not matter in my marriage, we all know that money talks. However, who wants to marry some 'Dadaba' who has never had to work a day in his life? I respect ambition in both men and women and I insist that my husband possess this quality in addition to honesty and caring. Being rich and successful has its benefits but the way you treat me behind closed doors is far more important and I have met far too many two-faced wonders to be swayed by money and power.

4. Just as I demand certain qualities from the future Mr. Sankofa I know that much will also be expected from me as a wife. To be frank- I'm just not there yet. I can be honest about that. I think I would make a terrible wife at this moment in time. I'm working on my inherent laziness and fierce independence. I can be extremely opinionated and the fragile egos of men sometimes can't handle that. Hey, nobody is perfect and at least I'm perfectly aware of what my flaws are. Pray for me!

5. All my life I've been surrounded by messed-up marriages. People who are married but might as well be living in different houses; husbands who have second families hidden away somewhere, only to be discovered after their deaths; marriages clearly suffering form domestic violence etc. etc. However, the marriage closest to me- that of my parents- has never displayed any of these qualities. I can honestly say that I have never seen my parents disrespect each other and they are truly each other's best friends. This has solidified my belief that a strong and happy marriage is entirely possible as long as one marries the right person and is willing to truly work on their marriage. In my somewhat extensive dating experiences, I can honestly say that I haven't met anybody who I can imagine in this type of marriage. I have met plenty of Mr. Rights but I'm still patiently waiting on 'Mr. Right for me'. Until then, I guess I have to keep a lid on my rage when the "so when are you getting married?" question comes.

Hello world! (again...)

This is my nth foray back into the world of personal blogging and I actually have high hopes this time around (fingers crossed). I actually have another blog with three of my friends but I don't count that because there's always somebody else to pick up the slack when you just can't be bothered. So I won't promise to blog every day because I like to keep my promises, but I will try to at least blog every week.

I wanted to use this blog as some kind of outlet for the somewhat random thoughts that rattle around in my brain. I've always held a little back previously because I was scared that somebody I knew would take umbrage at something I wrote and decide to report me to my parents. But guess what? I am 25 years old now and I think it's about time I stopped living for other people. So honesty is my aim and in the process, I hope I do not offend any people. However, if I do, well the 'x' on the top right hand corner of this page can be clicked easily.

So I think a little introduction is in order:

I am a 25 year old recent graduate looking for something to do before applying for her master's degree. The name of my blog 'Altius Tendo' means 'I reach higher' in Latin and that is my aim. I feel as though I am the product of different cultures as I have lived in 3 different countries in my life- Ghana, England, and America. Despite this, I consider myself 100% Ghanaian and would not change this fact for the world. I love books and anything literature related and I have an extemely complicated/ uncomplicated love life. There's no middle ground. It's either one or the other. According to my friends, I apparently attract drama even though I believe I do everything in my power to avoid it. I was born in Ghana (Koforidua represent!) but I have lived in London for most of my life. I also lived in America for a few years where my immediate family now live.

I think I've covered the basics and I hope to share more of myself on this journey. I hope to blog about whatever comes to mind and I believe I am in equal parts both shallow and deep so don't judge me lol! So wish me happy blogging!

Currently listening to: Pretty Wings- Maxwell
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