Hurry up and marry

The last time I visited Ghana, I volunteered in an orphanage for abandoned children. On my last day,  as I walked towards the taxi with the director of the orphanage, I felt a sense of pride and achievement, I had done something worthwhile. That self-fulfillment soon dissipated as his parting words to me were, ‘the next time I see you, I would like to see you married.’ Unfortunately, with two failed engagements in between, I was unable to fulfill his wish by the time I visited again.

I returned from a wedding in Ghana last month, it was stunning. I got talking to a woman much older than me, she took a liking to me (she was apparently married to a very wealthy man). She asked how old I was,  when I told her I was in my mid thirties, she tutted and said, ‘Oh, you should be married by now.’ She asked whether I had been praying about it, and I responded sarcastically, ‘clearly not enough.’ I played along with her and said, ‘I know, a girl my age should have had children by now.’… but I don’t, not even a potential husband. My mood was slightly dampened during this trip as all I could think about was my failure as a woman.

I should be married by now….. it’s not as if I hadn’t made efforts.

Should I have married the man who wasn’t mentally or financially ready to be a husband? Should I have married the man who was at the same time seeing another woman? Had I done something wrong?

Whereas I thanked God for not making me make the biggest mistakes of my life by marrying these un-marriable men, I now felt that I had failed, even though I was doing fairly well for myself.

I empathized with women who were constantly asked whether they were pregnant yet, some of whom have suffered miscarriages or are unable to have children.  I know these people are coming from a genuine place of love and concern and I am fully aware of the Ghanaian culture and tradition but these people are remiss of decorum.  After each failed engagement,, I beat myself up about rushing things, and now that I had come to a place where I wasn’t trying to take the reigns and order that which could not be ordered, I was met with distraction. Such conflict in culture, here in the UK, I am met with ‘don’t rush into any relationship, it will happen when it happens’ whereas in Africa, I am met with ‘hurry and find a man to marry you.’ I love both cultures, I am a part of both, I have more of a desire to have children than I do to marry.

From my experience, and I know this may cause offence, Ghanaian men are not the most faithful. With women like Moesha Boduong roaming the streets, it is easy for men to play the field and their wives accept it. I am not  so concerned about adultery as I am about being in a really unhappy relationship that is unfulfilling. Adultery is not the end (Yes, I know I left my ex because of it, but there were other factors involved, the adultery just highlighted the faults in the relationship)  I’ve learn’t that even in marriage, you do not control your partner, if they have a desire to cheat, they will, as Jada Pinkett Smith said, as long as he can look at himself in the mirror and feel fine about his decision. I have seen marriages crumble, I have seen wildly in love couples split or divorce, so I am not blown over by social displays of love and marriage. I feel as though I should be praying for a man, but my desire for it, is not strong enough.

 

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Mr Photographer

I’ve been through so much s*** over the years, now that I’m through the thick of it, the number one thing I desire most when I have leisurely time is to maximize happiness and minimize stress.

It’s been a while since I last posted. But I’m happy to share that I’ve had an epic summer, there have been sacred and special moments. I’ve spent it with people who I’ve become close to, but were not initially my closest of friends. I’ve found, the more I give, the better I feel about myself, the more I receive the more I have faith in humanity. The more I interact with people from different backgrounds the more I develop character.

This is a tale about two men, one whom I love and one who provides good company. Both these men have told me how chilled and relaxed I am and it’s only because I’m grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves to me.

There is something sacred about the relationship I have with the man whom I love, I’m unsure how to go about writing our experience, as words will never truly be able to express how I feel about him and the situation, but the man who provides good company, that I can share:

I lay on the hotel bed, hot, bothered and sexually frustrated.

‘How am I going to get rid of this feeling?’ I thought to myself.

My senses had been aroused from the events that had taken place just over an hour ago. I could feel his body heat, I could hear his light breathing and tried desperately not to disturb him. I promised myself I wouldn’t go there with him, besides he was my ex boss and I just wasn’t attracted to him.

I discreetly moved my arm under the covers following the path to pleasuring my warm moist throbbing region. I slid my lace flowery panties to the side and rubbed on my clitoris gently and with intent. I wanted so desperately to relieve myself of the tension. It wasn’t exciting, glorious or glamorous – it was burdensome.

‘Are you ok?’ He asked.

I stopped for a brief moment, my hands guarding my vagina, so as to not raise his suspicions about what I was actually doing. Silence gave ear to the few people down below us in the centre square enjoying the warm summer night.

How do I reply?

The problem was, if I told him how I truly felt, I would destroy the state of our relationship for good. This was my ex boss after all, the man that interviewed me for my first retail job 17 years ago.

‘I’m touching myself.’ I moaned.

I could feel the movement on the bed as he turned to face me. He mumbled something and steadily placed his hand over the hand that was guarding my vagina. I kept my hand in place guiding him around for a while before fully removing it and letting him take over.

As I lay on the bed, staring between the ceiling and the wardrobe, gyrating, verbally guiding him, I sensed that he was a novice.

I encouraged him.

‘Yeah, keep it there’…’keep doing that’…’that’s good’.

I was a pro, many nights with a vibrator will do that to you. I was sure of what I wanted and how to be pleased and he was attentive.

As good as it was to release the sexual tension , I was unsure about the situation. There was absolutely no chemistry between us, and he certainly wasn’t my type, but he was a nice guy and I didn’t want to hurt or disappoint him.

I played mental ping-pong.
Why can’t you form a platonic relationship with men?
Why did you allow it to come to this?
Don’t you have any respect for yourself?
What happens in the morning?
Is he going to want to cuddle after?
Would he like me to return the favour?
I was glad when I asked him he declined.

‘I’m not hard yet, I just want to make you cum’. I sensed he was more guarded about the size or state of his penis.

I came quicker than I anticipated and told him I would, and asked that we not discuss any of it in the morning. He asked whether I wanted him to continue to enable me to have multiple orgasms, but I declined. I just wanted to get rid of the initial feeling not enjoy a night of passion with a man I was not sexually attracted to.

We turned opposite ways and went to sleep, I closed my eyes but was fully awake. I felt as though I had overdosed on caffeine.

I tossed and turned for a bit before asking if he would mind me turning the TV on, he obliged. I got up and placed myself on the navy blue corduroy sofa couch, where it all began.

An hour before, I casually lay on the sofa wearing a grey vest top and shorts, watching European TV. I couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying but that was what made it all the more interesting. He, on the other hand, could understand and speak the language as it was his mother’s tongue. He asked me to repeat the sentences I heard on the TV and seeing that I was butchering the language we ended up in fits of laughter. He took my phone, hovered over me and took a number of artistic and creative photos of me laughing at my dire attempts.

His photography skills were certainly more impressive than my language skills. I praised him on a job well done. I felt inspired to place myself in other parts of the hotel room whilst he took photos of me. I was his muse.

I told him to wait whilst I slipped into something a little more pleasing to the eye. I grabbed my nylon yellow bikini and changed, facing away from him. I knew I was testing the boundaries. The only place left to be explored in our little apartment room was the bathroom.

I stood in the shower, it was the perfect lighting.
I presented him with a number of different poses and he directed my movements , shooting me from various angles, heights and lengths. I tried desperately hard to make my poses tasteful and not tacky. He occasionally asked me to relax as he could see I was over thinking at times.

As I stood in the shower, I felt a sense of empowerment. I felt naughty, as though I were in a blue movie, it was sultry it was spontaneous, it was dirty and I was here for it. I felt beautiful even without my makeup on. His words of encouragement also added to my bravery. I turned the shower on so he could get some varied pictures.

Filthy thoughts entered my head, I succumbed to them. I untied my bikini top and for the first time ever revealed my bare breast to him. He commented on how beautiful he thought my body was. He directed me further. I wanted to take it up a notch and asked his permission before removing my bikini bottoms, revealing my cleanly waxed Brazilian vagina. I was stark naked in front of my ex boss, warm water dripping down my body. Wow! He exclaimed. Clearly startled. He informed me that he had a hard-on but would continue to take me photos. We moved from the shower to the window sill, to the bed, to the sofa, to the chair. All the while he did not touch me once.

When we had finished, I lay on the bed besides him as we went through the pictures. He repeated again how beautiful he thought my body was. He asked me if he could touch my breast. I was surprised at how courteous he was, how could I refuse. I allowed him. I felt he wasn’t use to this unless he was just very overwhelmed by the whole situation. Rather than caress them, he played with them, like a child with plasticine. After a while, I got up put my clothes on. It was quite late and we had an early start in the morning. We had shared the same bed for 3 nights prior, nothing had happened between us. We’d spend nights together in bed platonically and days roaming the beautiful city, walking along cobblestone streets and looking up at medieval, Romanesque, gothic architecture.

Goodnight! I wished him as I turned over in the hope I could go to sleep, but I couldn’t, I was sexually aroused and desperately wanted to be touched. We were only supposed to provide each other with company.

Don’t give up the cookies – He said, She said

I sent him a message to confirm that I had arrived home safely and wished him a good morning. He responded casually mirroring my modest tone.

Later on that day, I did the unthinkable, the utterly regrettable, which upon reflection and advice, I shouldn’t have done. Easy mistake to make really.

I messaged him to say that I had changed my plans for the day and wished him a good day. A curve ball had been thrown. This was not something he was use to, a new phenomena had taken place. I had initiated conversation. The messages he tended to get from me were often cold and blasé responses to his questions or requests.

Him: How’s your day babe ? X
Me: cool, you ?

This did not deter him from trying till he succeeded or better yet conquered. Now that he had ‘succeeded’ I was left with a green message box, reminding me of my stupidity.

He did not reply to my message. I checked my phone a little later on in the day and there was still no reply. I decided to give him a time frame before I would firmly and without a second thought throw him in the bin of no return. He did not reply until 3am.

I was devastated. Dumfounded . Had I just been used, like a teenager? Did he get the cookie and leave? It would appear so.

The evening before, he called to ask me out as I had not been over enthusiastic about his advances. I was not into him and did not want a relationship as I still have a few side effects from the previous relationship. I’d shared this with him and he acted like the perfect gentleman and was even more apologetic about my situation than my ex was. Ironically, I texted him the same evening to say that I wasn’t so forth coming with my communication with him because I did not want to lead him on and ended up spending the night with him. Such poor timing. Such poor discernment.

The effects of my fickle nature came down on me like a tonne of bricks. I slept with him, not only because he invited me in but because the opportunity was there and as I lay on him, which was the initial plan the desire for physical intimacy crept in and it had been a mighty good while. The alcohol also played no small part.

To have gone from a man who went out of his way to get my number and plead to at least let him take me out, I was dumbfounded and dissappointed in his actions. All the rhetoric he shared with me about men, unfaithfulness and relationships was all a front because once he got the cookie he was ghost.

He gave the excuse that he was busy. So trite. All of sudden he was busy.

I replied succinctly and left it. He continued to ring my phone. I answered and told him simply that I was dissappointed in him and thanked him for at least offering an excuse. I knew it would be the last time I ever spoke to him. In the past, I never followed up a conversation, I never listened to their reason and I never really told them how I truly felt so I wanted to share my thoughts before terminating the friendship for good.

I felt sick to the stomach reading his grovelling messages. They reminded me of my ex, they were pathetic. I blocked him.

I feel used and stupid. Stupid that he mostly likely felt like he got me easy. Embarrassed that because I hadn’t planned to become intimate again (did not groom) I do not feel like he got the best of me. Maybe he thought I was lousy in bed.

I spoke to my brother and he said the joke was on me. I had most likely confused him by telling him that I was not interested then slept with him and contacted him the next day giving him mixed signals.

I explained that I didn’t want to play games and that I was just being courteous but he told me that a guy wouldn’t see it that way and a man’s perspective is always of value in these circumstances.

Im shocked that once again someone would outrightly lie to my face about who they are when I’ve been very upfront. That at this age when all he kept talking about was marriage and including me in his picture that he’d sleep with me and ghost.

I’m a bad judge of character for sure and feel decieved. Being in such a vulnerable place he’s definitely opened up some painful wounds.

Sunken place

Currently in a sunken place

Wish I could just escape

They call it an illness

When it’s just a wish

I don’t want to partake

I pray to God he takes my life

Sorry for the offence caused.

Wish I’d wake up and realise

Leaving my mistreated body behind

The spirit lifts.

And I look back at myself.

The rain falls at night following a day of sunshine

I made it through the day because I was occupied with things to do

I smiled, I laughed, they were none the wiser

I just want to leave but have no courage to act

Life is not for me

My family and friends will feel sad and that makes me feel bad but I’m mad.

Why am I like this?

The sun will shine again and act as though we’re best friend.

It’s just this night with the rain

Excruciating pain.

Tomorrow is another day

Sexual Favours

In a recent interview with CNN journalist- Christiane Amanpour, Moesha Bodoung, a 20 something year old Ghanaian model and actress, most notable for her voluptuous figure, afforded by cosmetic surgery, proffessed that the state of the Ghanaian economy meant that, ‘you need someone to take care of you’ and that care giver was older men.

When probed further she confirmed that this was in exchange for sexual favours.

As one can imagine, this revelation didn’t go down so well with the straight living citizens of Ghana who retorted that they were still able to make an honest and decent living despite the bleak state of the economy.

Ironically, the interview took place at a nail bar, a luxury treatment very few can afford. What viewers found most unpalatable about the discussion was the revelation that she was sleeping with a married man.

The interview highlighted an issue that seemed to be swept under the carpet. Young vulnerable women being dependent on older men.

The interview struck a nerve with me for a number of reasons. I wasn’t offended that she was sleeping with men for money ( indeed, my philosophy on this matter has changed over the years). I was most turned off by the fact that she had no remorse or guilt about sleeping with a married man. There were far too many negative factors for me to side with her.

If you’ve read my previous posts you would know about my angst whilst having an affair with a married man. Something I am not proud about but have written openly about. I believe that no self respecting woman ever feels good about sleeping with a married man.

Another thing that struck me was her naivety and simpleness. If she has any desire of getting married, this interview and many others she has given, where she presents herself as what can only be described as a prostitute, is sure to surface and bite her in her silicone butt.

Inability to defer gratification seems to be a trait with a few millennials and post 80s babies, a sweeping statement I know. Rather than live a humble life and strive to achieve the things she wants, Moesha rather is said to live in an affluent area in Tema, Ghana. She has no concept of building a foundation first. She rather has built on sinking sand. What if he one day refuses to pay her rent ?

The main reason why this post resonated with me was because the 48 year old man I was going to marry was having a relationship with a 22 year old woman. What this interview highlighted was the dark stark reality of the happenings in Africa and I’m sure other parts of the world. Whilst I thought the age gap between us was wide, the truth of the matter was that he was looking for a younger model and will continue to trade in women if ‘the econony’ stays as it is.

Entitled

‘It’s not right, if this were a relationship I would have left by now’. I sobbed.

I stood in the staff room kitchen, disorientated, soaked, and most likely smelling of decaffeinated coffee. Had my mind and actions been aligned I would have forseen the disaster that was ensuing .

My colleague tried desperately hard to cheer me up whilst handing me kitchen roll to dab at the wet patches on my top and trousers. It was in vain. Lucky for me I was wearing black so it was unnoticeable just olfactible.

Like me, she too knew and felt what I was going through. Her comforting words did not go unappreciated.

The coffee accident was not the problem it was rather the result of an unsettled mind.

I had only been in this job for 16 months. I was working flat out to raise the standards of my department, but I was burning the candle at both ends and had become exhausted and bitter about everything.

I gave so much of my time and effort to my form group, my students, parents, colleagues and other staff, I neglected the most important person – me.

I prided myself on the title.

What do you do ?
‘I’m a teacher.’ I would reply. Leaving the recipient to do and think what they will with the information. At the end of the day, I knew it was a suitable and respectable proffession with trust that I could co-sign an application form for anyone I could attestify to knowing. The reality was that in the 6 years that I had been teaching, I only signed one passport application.

A teacher!

The respect that this title bore was similar to being called a wife, with it came a mark of maturity and womanhood. However, underneath it all, I was painfully exhausted, frustrated, depressed and unfulfilled.

This was not what I came into teaching for. As a young looking black woman I was also up against a few more hurdles compared to my male or Caucasian counterparts.

With nothing else to feel proud about what would I then say when asked what I do. A thirty something year old with no progression in her career or life.

I searched for other jobs and came to the resolve that I could find another school to work at, but I knew the education system just like the health service or prison service, was insufferable. I had to leave completely and with that would come a pay cut and retraining.

I thought I had a calling to teach but there seems to be another calling… Unless I’m mistaken?

Life ….never goes as planned, 1 step forward, 5 steps back.

Roaming alone in Rome

This time last year, I believe it might have been today, I uncovered incriminating messages on my fiances phone that led our relationship towards a dead end. I left him and found my own way.

A year later, as I prepared for the Easter holiday, I knew I had to create new and positive memories for myself.

Following a particularly stressful day at work, I went home and on a whim, booked a trip to Rome for me, myself and I.

Although I had lived abroad some time ago, I really wanted to experience what it would be like as a lone traveller. My biggest fear was getting lost, being robbed or experiencing racism.

Neither happened although I’m certain I was refused service at McDonalds. Both employees conveniently left as I approached to make my order.

I purposefully booked a hotel that was central and hopped on and off the tourist bus daily

Break

The long journey home

‘I’m afraid I can’t make it tonight, something has come up.’
She re-reads her text message, making sure it’s convincing, void of error and pleasant. She glosses over the text one more time before pressing send. She tosses her phone back inside her bag and disconnects herself from the online community for the remainder of the day.
Nothing had come up, she just was not in the mood for social gatherings. The CBT course she completed that summer  advised her differently, it included elements of social anxiety and withdrawal. She was conscious that she was letting her feelings control her but she just wanted to be alone. She was aware of her reaction and knew what she should do (which was to go out and be with friends)  she just wasn’t at liberty to act, despondency had overburdened her.
She spent the previous week worrying about financial matters, her job, deadlines and expectations, but this Saturday afternoon, she just wanted to be. She had spent weeks before being uber social, but now she wanted some me time. Her only worry now was how she would be perceived by the three women who considered her to be their best friend, but by this point, if she lost them too (which she doubted) she would survive, after all she was more of a survivor than a woman living her best life.
She had sat through many social events with genuine happiness for her friends ‘updates and successes,’ but she couldn’t face another occasion congratulating a friend when her own world was crumbling. She didn’t have the enthusiasm to engage in idle chatter and laughter. She didn’t have the strength for affectation, she could only muster up enough energy to save herself from drowning, although they would throw her a life vest.
Guilt began to creep in, she felt as though she was being selfish, her friends could really do with the support, but she could also do with the support and understanding; the support to just be and understanding that her decision not to partake in the merriment was more about her than them.
Depression wasn’t something they frequently spoke about, especially hers, so there was a silent understanding that at times, she was just a bit low, to which, when she went quiet for an extended period of time, they would call a search party.
She switched on the engine, and drove home solemnly.
‘Why am I like this?’ she added to her thoughts. ‘I am not the only person going through difficulties, yet others manage to pick themselves up and continue,’ ‘I am not even experiencing anything detrimental… what is wrong with me?’ She drowned out her thoughts with the noise from the radio and continued her journey home.

BLACK PANTHER REVIEW

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s pretty hard to miss the fanfare that has surrounded the movie Black Panther.

I admit that I’m not a comic fanatic, and haven’t read a marvel comic in my life, but certainly came down with the F.O.M.O syndrome when it came to this one. I was interested to know what all the excitement was about. Why were people going to the cinema dressed in African attire? Why were Black celebrities all over this movie like a rash? I went to find out.

I bought my over priced popcorn, fumbled to find my assigned seat in the dark theater and watched the movie in hope.

Two hours later I left the cinema quite honestly – speechless.

I stood up ready to go as soon as the credits started to roll, but had to sit down to digest it all, good thing I did, as there was more to the movie after the credits. I’d had an out of body experience. What did I just watch? What is happening in these times? We’ve had a Black President. We have bi-racial woman about to enter the Royal Family? The president of Ghana tells French President Emmanuel Macron what it truly means to be independent from Western minds and practices. What a time to be alive.

All I kept on thinking about was that I wanted to be Black, and the funny thing is that I am Black, Black African to be precise.  I left the movie dwelling on the term ‘Black is beautiful,’ what it really means, what it stands for and what it can mean, if only Africans were able to liberate themselves from mental slavery and Whites stopped portraying Africa as in need, so as to fit  in with the grand narrative, i.e. the White Saviour rescues Africa. Black then would be beautiful.  It’s going to take more than a movie and hashtag for Black people to be liberated and able to reach their full potential. So I find it quite infantile when celebrities act as if this movie will deal with the politics and religion of Black oppression/suppression. The same for matters regarding sexism and harassment.

Back to the movie…

Black Panther was layered with meaning, overtones and undertones. A few themes included: Women Empowerment (Dora Milaje.), Tradition(Heart shaped herbs), Mordernity (technology), Tribalism, Enslavement, Colonisation.

The link between the fictional superhero figure Black Panther and the movement of the revolutionary socialist organization of the Black Panther party in America flowed seamlessly. As an African, I understood the displacement of the African American boy in Africa. He had every right to return to Wakanda, yet he didn’t fit in, he had a different mind set. He was indeed a Black Panther Revolutionary, compared to his brother who sought to maintain Wakanda’s traditions.

It was liberating, innovative and fresh to see African culture celebrated the way it was. There was an ample array of skin tones: from fair skin to dark skin all of which glistened under the African sun of Wakanda on camera, natural hair, dreadlocks, hair extensions, tribal marks and African attire. It did however  feel like breadth than depth of African culture but it could be argued that, that was what Wakanda was. The accents were also a bit weak at times, but as said, it could be argued that, that was what Wakanda was. I later learnt that the langauge they spoke was an authentic South African language.

Something as simple as pulling out your lips to show that you were from Wakanda struck me, it was so very effective, it worked. Just the act itself, seemed very tribalistic, I thought to myself, what else could they have done to get this point across?  If some tribes in Africa put plates in their mouth to show a coming of age, wouldn’t this be something an African tribe would do. (A job well done). The dance and music was also convincing, the array of African attire was exceptional. I had a silly thought, I thought about how much it probably cost to make some of the outfits, especially the outfit that was seen on the men and how much cheaper it would have been were a seamstress in a village in Africa were to make it (obviously unaware that it is for a westerner, let alone a Celebrity- and the the price really would be high)

Lupito is a beauty and gave a great performance, but Okoye stood out for me.  I liked her remark about wearing a wig, though she looked good in her European styled wig, she looked even greater as her true her authentic African self. Another favourite scene was when she fought in a red dress, her beautiful skin against the floaty red dress was sensational. The empowerment women had in this movie was inspiring, indeed some African cultures celebrate their women and respect them whilst some continue to oppress them, e.g. just look at the practice of FGM.

The plot was pretty simple, some may say weak, but to create a Black movie in this current climate, against the expectation of the Black community and scrutiny from those in the film industry, this movie was marvel-lous.

I do fear that this is a trend, great marketing, to keep Black people at bay,

“Here, take this money and make a movie for Black People, this way we can be seen to be doing something, ‘Girls Trip’ worked, let’s make another Block Buster”.

‘Imagine how empowering it would be for a young black child to see a black super hero’ I read on social media, how true.

 

The Race of Life: Loosing friends…

We descend to our knees, fingers just before the start line, we observe each other and smile, competitors we are not, friends we surely are.

We keep our thoughts in our head; cool, calm and collected. Determination runs through our veins like a river and ambition oozes out of our pores.. We trained together, we are ready…

We bow our heads awaiting the sound of a gun. I look up, there lies before us hurdles and obstacles, the previous runners completed the course,  some failed, miserably. We bear this in mind and try our best.

POW!

Smoke fills the air, I rise like a hawk, and slowly gain speed, the hurdle before me is positioned on the relationship line, I’m unsure about how I will get over it, but close my eyes, dip my head, inhale faith and  exhale fear. I manage to get over the first hurdle. I am proud of my achievement. I look up and my friends are positioned at different stops, how did this happen? One friend has leapt over the home ownership hurdle and I’ve just left the relationship hurdle. Is my achievement even valid?

I continue at a pace I am comfortable with.  In the distance, I see the marriage hurdle, we cheer each other on as a few take the leap, this is motivating.  Oh dear! One lies on the floor in pain, she struggles to get up, she is bandaged with divorce strips and appears to be getting help, I approach her and stop just before the marriage line, she is okay and continues the race.

The hurdles appear to be moving further and further away from me, why? Am I just running slower? Am I a failure?  I am tired. We started of together but they all seem to be ahead; property ownership, secure relationships, children. The next race has started and I’m still here, my friends regularly look back to see that I am still going, but they have gone and I run alone.