This is the face of a woman who is almost 30 years. As a single woman still living with conservative African parents, it means that every weekend or free time I get with my parents, I have to listen to their lectures on how hard is to get hitched when a woman gets to her thirties. It always ends with them pleading with me to find a supportive husband.

Like many other women around the world, I grew up with a vision to be rich, marry and have children. I guess like other children, I took it for granted that getting married and having children would be a piece of cake; the getting rich aspect looked less attainable.

Somehow, in my first years of college, I came to a conclusion that I would count myself lucky if I got married. To prevent future heartache, I stopped thinking about marriage altogether. In my last years of college, my leadership lecturer asked us to submit an essay about our future plans. When I got my essay back, among other comments , there was one asking me about marriage. That is when I realized that I had got to a point where I had totally ruled out marriage. Marriage at any point meant that I would have to change my life plan. My parents would have been so horrified to know this!!!

Some weeks ago, it occurred to me that I pray for a lot of things; long life, peace, money, job success, academic success, health but I have never prayed for a spouse. It was pretty surprising to me even. I decided to change. I am going back to being that little girl who hoped to conquer the world and did not see any limitations. When I remember to, I pray to the Almighty to guide me towards and bless me with a good spouse. I hope these baby steps will lead to a good end. We’ll see how the future goes.:-)

I’m Alive Today; Yay!

The other day during my bath, I felt a pain below my knee and noticed about four depressions there. I thought and thought about how and where I got hurt but I could not think of any place or reason. Finally, I somehow concluded that the marks were snake bites judging by how they had been arranged. This is how it played out in my mind:I was walking in a dark place and did not see a snake but I must have alarmed it causing it to bite me.
The idea was ludicrous to me even but it was the only thing that put me at ease or so. The depressions felt extraordinarily painful at the time and left me worried thinking about all the possibilities. Could it be a harmless snake bite? Was it a poisonous snake bite that was going to work its way slowly through my body until it reached my heart and stopped it? Was I going to experience one of those unexplained causes of death? I was scared for such a time but apparently not so scared because I don’t recall thinking of the “snake bite” when I was going to bed and many days after.
I just recalled this incident and realized whatever I thought the worst was going to be, I have survived it and I am happy to be alive. Hip Hip Hurrah!

…and the button popped

Today as I was hurriedly exiting the house for work, I heard a pop sound and saw a button from my trouser outfit rolling on the floor.It was the only one button above the fly.

My God! What do I do now when I’m almost late for work? That was my immediate thought. I frantically sought a thread and needle to sew the button but was not successful.

Finally, I gave up and zipped up my fly. I brought the waist belt together and realized that the trouser even felt more comfortable and that my fear that the trouser would fall was needless. I wore the trouser like that to work and never once felt it would betray me.Now the question that is bugging me is if I really want to sew the button back onto the trouser.

Lesson: Sometimes, things you feel in life are necessities are actually needless.

Dear Young Lady,

dear

Dear Young Lady,

My greatest shock probably in this life was discovering that the heart is not love-shaped as they make it seem everywhere . I remember that day the teacher told us in class and I wanted him to be wrong so badly but I looked around me and realized that it was really true. I don’t believe I have gotten over that shock till date. A couple of other revelations as I grew up showed me that things are not always the way they tell you they are. Did they tell you to be humble and forgiving always? Did they tell you that lazy people suffer in life? Did they tell you to keep your virginity until marriage? Did they tell you about karma? Were you told that following these and other formulae will guarantee you success? Well, like me you’ll come to realize that no one really has the right formula. Sorry!

That thing about being humble always and keeping your anger in check, please, do not follow it literally. You’ll be surprised by how far rage will take you in life. You’ll need rage to keep the government on its toes, to tell your group members to stop playing around and participate equally in your projects; you’ll need it to show at work so people take you seriously. Rage is not always about shouting but fire in your eyes so people know you mean business and are not taking matters lightly. You should be humble and learn from other people; it’s not just respecting your elders and looking the other way when superiors are wrong. You’ll have to be bold and confident in life. In Ghanaian settings, it will most likely be considered as arrogance but it will take you really far. Trust me, not being bold and confident cost me a lot in life.

You’ll be surprised that so-called lazy people are the ones getting on fast in life because they’re always up thinking about how to do things easier and are therefore always more creative.  You have to work smart in life because forward-thinking people and people who are executors are always hot-cake. Prepare yourself to be heart-broken if you think staying up late, starting early and putting all your energy into work is enough to take you to all the places you want to be.  It will only lead you faster into your grave. In this fast-paced world, creativity really  is key. Always do well to take a break and spend time on yourself and family or friends to reflect and release stress.

You’ll discover that finding a partner  or friends who know and accept you for what you are is one of the greatest fulfilments that you’ll ever have in life. You may think Amina is promiscuous but you’ll see her with a man and you’ll be amazed at how brightly their love shines because love does not care. How refreshing is it to know you have people you’re so comfortable with because you do not have to pretend to be someone else!  Please , do not go around shaming people because you think they’re having premarital sex or whatever. No one cares the older you grow, trust me. Please appreciate people who always have your back, are not afraid to tell when you’re wrong and you’re not afraid to face them when you are at your lowest points.

Don’t be surprised to see people getting passed over by karma. You have control over your life so don’t stress over people not getting what they deserve but about you and making the most of life. One thing you’ll learn is that you may be the good guy in your story but in another’s, you are the villain. No one is The Almighty, so please allow Allah  to handle rewards and punishment. Yes, that player settled down with a nice spouse and that lazy person got promoted so quickly. Please, do not worry about those things and have constant heart-aches, you have control over your life so focus on it and let Allah do his work.

Essentially, like me, you’ll have to break down some of the misconceptions you had while growing up. Things are not always the way you’re socialized to believe. All I know and cannot say enough is that there is nothing better than being yourself. Do not be afraid to do you because nobody can play your role better than you. The only constant thing and sure thing in this life is change and whether you like it or not, you’ll have to embrace it.

 

Yours truly,

Niena

ADIOS, SOAP OPERAS!

I can’t stand television soap operas!

Correction – I can’t stand soap operas anymore.

SOAP OPERA

There was a time when I used to anticipate watching these television shows. I watched all of them as long as they were showing and I had the time; Mexican, Filipino, Venezuelan, Brazilian or Korean. I always had the patience for them. Now, I am unable to watch them. The plots have become too familiar and too boring.

This is the most common female protagonist profile; Poor sweet religious woman who is so quick to forgive and so innocent . She is so humble and even at times when she really needs it the most, she will refuse money when she can really swallow her pride and have events turn out for the better. Really? Who turns away from money when it can really solve your problems?

These shows like  fairy tales fill the heads of viewers with illusions when reality can be so different. I have reached a point in my life where I am prepared to pay in order to not watch ads. Wow! Where is the old me who used to live for freebies? Essentially, I feel like I have so little time so every time I spend on something should be making me a better person; I should be unlearning and learning new things. I don’t want to be stuck in a world full of misogyny , emotional blackmail, legal incorrectness, medical inconsistencies and more.

Many times, after a rough day, all I want  to do is relax . I do not deserve to be tortured by these shows again .I am tired! If time is money and money is time, then Soap Operas, you will no longer take my time and therefore my money, I’m gonna use that money to buy me some ice cream.

I Am A Citizen And Not A Spectator

This blog post takes reference from my previous blog post where I lamented my situation of never partaking in major social events-always feeling more like a spectator.

I am happy to say that I have taken one step in the right direction by attending Chale Wote Street Art Festival 2019.

I am finally a citizen. Hurrah! Hurrah!! Hurrah!!!

To Be A Citizen And Not A Spectator

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Three years ago, Nana Akuffo Addo, the president of Ghana received a lot of backlash for plagiarizing the speeches of Clinton and Bush, both past presidents of America. Essentially he was asking Ghanaians to be citizens, not spectators or subjects but responsible citizens helping to build our communities and the nation. Plagiarized or not, the message was clear- citizens should participate in the nation-building process.

Over the past year, the speech has been running through my mind a great many times, not necessarily about nation-building but entertainment and other social events. Accra is such a small city and every time, I watch all these entertainment shows that highlight all these happenings in it and think to myself,” That looks like fun.”

When I was younger, I was always too underage for these programmes or too broke to attend them. Now, I see some social media posts my friends share at these events and they don’t seem so unattainable anymore. So these people who go to these programmes, how many heads do they have? Is it not the same one head that I also carry on my shoulders? Why do I feel like I am a spectator and not someone meant to be part of the main show?

A look at some of the events I missed in 2018

Chale-Wote festival came in August – I did not go, then there were many other events in that month.

December, the month of many shows- there seemed to be a widely publicized social event everyday but somehow I missed them all. The ones I remember;

Promiseland was happening in East Legon, twenty minutes from my house; didn’t attend.

Girl Talk by Efya happened; I admired the posters and dodged it.

Manifest had a show with Simi (two of my favourite artists) which I thought about greatly; missed it.

Afrochella- swerved it!

December 2 Remember- I forgot to remember that I could equally attend it.

The list could be longer but the message is clear; I missed all these programmes for what; spectator syndrome or whatever this sickness or antisocialism is called? Well, the good news is I feel that I am overcoming it. 2019 is going to end differently. I may not go for all the events but I intend to break the cycle and be present at one event at least. Me too I am a person no bi.

INSTAGRAM TROTRO

The other day after work, I was going through my instagram posts in a trotro while seated a row in front of a man with a very loud radio. All of us passengers had no choice in the bus but to listen to the preaching coming from the radio which this man had against his ear. So, I was scrolling scrolling down my feeds when I felt a tap. It was Radio Passenger. He told me, “Sister, please can you scroll back up?” He was interested in a fashion ad that had popped up on my screen. I granted him his favour.

#LessonOfLife – There’s no such thing as privacy on public transport.