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
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