A reason why I like writing

Sometimes, I get distressed after watching a drama or reading a book which was awesome. This is because I am often interested in the lives of supporting characters and also how life continued after the end of the story.

I have always wondered what happened to the seven dwarfs while Snow White was enjoying her happily-ever- after. What dialogues did the townspeople of Hamelin have after the Piped Piper left with their children? Did Rhett Butler and Scarlett from Gone With The Wind ever get back together? Well, I could speculate and imagine my own ending, maybe even go as far as writing one myself but it would never be the same.
And maybe that is the reason that I like writing. It is something about the ability to create something that belongs to the writer; readers may try to reconstruct the story in their own ways but in the end, we know that it can never be a creation of the writer.

Writing is a source of power!

Growth

My first car crash happened in August  2021. I was just three weeks into learning to drive( My turns were still  bad).It wrecked my car and messed with me emotionally and mentally .
It happened when I was joining a main road . There was a car parked close to the junction so I had to drive further onto the main road and closer to the other lane . Everything happened so fast. One moment, there was a dispatch rider approaching in the middle of the road which was unexpected and I mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal with the force with which I intended to step on the brakes.I flew over a gutter and into a wall fortunately or unfortunately because the wall stopped the car.
I look back many times than I want to and try to think of things  I could have done differently at the time .
In many days and some months after, I felt like the luckiest unlucky driver; lucky because if I had not driven into the wall, I would have caused a lot of wreckage on the road which would have made news headlines; lucky because I could have killed the dispatch rider because the speed at which I flew would have killed any human on impact;lucky because I was alive and  the only real damages were to the wall and car which could be fixed.I felt so unlucky because I had used all my savings to buy the car and I felt that this accident meant to tell me that buying the car was a very wrong decision. I felt so unlucky because I could not figure out how to do turns(I was such a scaredy-cat on the road) and that  maybe driving was just not meant for me. The way I wrecked the car, nobody would have been surprised if I had quit driving.Maybe I would have but the circumstances at the time meant that I was stuck with the car for another four years. Driving again was scary. I kept having flashes of the accident and at the beginning,  I thought I should have just given up driving. Somehow, it all worked out for me because I am a good driver now.
Now, the main reason for this post is that I have realised increasingly that my family members always have a comment or two to make when I am chauffeuring them.
You turned too close to the gutter or the curb.”
“You turn  like a new driver.”
” You should not have allowed that driver to join because you have more right of way.”
“Don’t park here, park there .”
These comments really got to me and I used to ask myself if I am just a bad driver.  What I realised along the way while also being driven around is that I am just like other drivers on the  road. There is nothing wrong. We all make mistakes here and there and there is no perfect way  as long one  drives defensively, stays in his lane,obeys traffic rules and does not end up hitting a curb or falling into a gutter.
I also realised that no matter how far I have come, the people who know my driving story and have seen my journey as a driver may never appreciate how much better I have become . To them , I will always be that driver who always has problems with her turns. Only people who do not understand my story will really value my driving skills.

This scenario happens a lot in other areas of life . For example ,at work, one’s colleagues or employer may not be able to tell how much someone has grown because they were part or saw the growth process. The lesson here is that one must always not allow himself to be stuck at the same place because one may not be acknowledged as much as elsewhere. That is the reason people keep switching jobs even if the previous workplace conditions are awesome.

It is just that one needs to step out to be respected .

New York:-)

Photo credit: yellowkorner.com

New York has many impressions on my mind. I always think of Alicia Keys’ description of it as a vibrant city in which dreams come true. I think of ballet and theatre when New York comes to mind because a lot of the books I read about theatre are focused on New York. From acquaintances that have been there, New York is a Metropolitan city where you always meet someone from your country who shares your local dialect and where you can always find a street named after a popular city in a foreign country or named after a country like Chinatown. On social media, I see New York as this bustling city full of bougie people and quaint expensive apartments and designer shops.
Lately, I have gotten another impression of New York from a movie  called “A Rainy Day in New York.” I enjoyed this movie greatly, more than  I had thought I would . It appeals to an esoteric crowd, people one would call romantics. At the beginning of the story,  we meet the protagonist, Gatsby who also happens to be the narrator in a voice-over. We get the impression that he is this bougie smart kid who would rather not be in school if he can help it and then, we finally see his face.
He describes his successful escapades playing poker and reveals that he has made $20,000 overnight.  He does not fail to strongly indicate that his mind would be better put to use out of school even though he is super smart. He describes his girlfriend ,Ashleigh who also happens to be super rich and very beautiful . We are then introduced to this blond beauty who is really doing well on the school paper on screen. After the account he has has given of himself, I admit I was a little shocked when Gatsby admits that he is in love with Ashleigh.
Ashleigh excitedly announces that she has been given the rare opportunity of interviewing  a famous film director, Rolland Pollard. Gatsby is happy for her and immediately plans an exciting romantic weekend for them while avoiding his parents and also the weekend charity event his mother has planned which he has lied his way out of. He goes ahead to book a hotel called the Pierre with a Central  Park view. He would have preferred The Carlyle, another hotel but decides against it because of the proximity to his parents’ home. Instead, the love birds will have dinner at the Carlyle, visit the bar and enjoy the murals. On the ride to New York, Gatsby reveals the itinerary;  they will have dinner at the Daniels and also an ice splurge. When they get to the hotel, Ashleigh who is impressed suggests they take a carriage ride if it does not rain but Gatsby believes the rain will not spoil the ride but make it more romantic.
The interview with Pollard is supposed to last an hour after which Gatsby and Ashleigh will indulge in the romantic activities .I don’t want to drop spoilers here but the long and short of the story is that Ashleigh’s interview takes more time than planned and has her going on her own adventures to the dismay of Gatsby. He walks around New York City and tries getting in touch with Ashleigh at the appointed time for any  activity but she keeps blowing him off until he becomes insecure about her fidelity under the influence of the artistic men she has come into contact with in the course of the Pollard interview.
To pass time, Gatsby decides to check on an acquaintance  who is filming a movie as a project in film school. He is convinced to get into a kissing scene with the little sister of an ex-girlfriend, Chan. She teases him by mocking his choice of girlfriend that is a blond rich country girl which looks so cliché.  As he keeps getting blown off, Gatsby ends up following Chan around the city even though she continues to mock him and make him feel more insecure about his girlfriend. He is surprised to learn that his ex-girlfriend, Chan’s sister  and her family did not appreciate Gatsby’s  idea of romance which included going on dates in the rain and making love in the open. Chan finally reveals she thought Gatsby’s eccentric date ideas were really appealing to her and avows that she had a crush on him. At this time , Chan and Gatsby have broken down their walls and are becoming more appreciative of each other.  Chan is impressed when Gatsby plays and sings an old song,  “Everything Happens To Me ” on her family’s piano. Chan in one of their intercourses reveals that she can picture Gatsby with a lifestyle playing risky sports like poker and playing the piano. I believe it is at this point that Gatsby may have realized that for the first time , he meets someone who really gets him.
Through some unfortunate events,  Gatsby ends up going to the charity event where he surprisingly has a good time and bonds with his overbearing mother. Finally,  Ashleigh shows up for the last romantic event of the day to a downcast Gatsby playing piano. Before Ashleigh and Gatsby leave New York , he treats her to the last romantic plan for the trip which is  horse-riding in the park. It starts to drizzle and Ashleigh complains about the rain. Gatsby has an epiphany and realizes somehow that he belongs at  New York and Ashleigh is wrong for him. He jumps of the carriage indicating to Ashleigh to go ahead back to school and that he may not be returning.
He runs to Central Park and stands before the Delacorte clock at it strikes 6:00 clock. This scenario is one he has imagined sharing with a lover. He stands for a while looking at his watch while the clock continues to strike. Just when we think he may be wasting his time, Chan appears and they kiss indicating to the world that though they have different views, they share similar tastes when it comes to creating romance.

Now,  this version of New York I saw through the movie as this romantic place even made more beautiful by rain is a novel experience for me. I enjoyed the soft music that played throughout the movie. It transported me to the 50s and at the same time I was in the 21st century. From where I come from, Ghana, we all run home when it rains. The rain dampens any enthusiasm for going out because you have a lot of places getting flooded, potholes getting deeper and mud-water splashing everywhere. For a film to romanticize rain, that was a first for me. Well, if ever I find myself in New York , I ‘m going to take some time to walk around the city and experience this romantic side the way this movie portrayed it .I loved this movie and will totally recommend it to anyone looking for a romcom.

Couple Hanging Out

By Niena Alhassan from sometime bi before 2011

I happened to find this picture in my scrapbook from many years ago.It’s a couple at a bar.It was really more about practising how to draw men and my fascination with bar setups especially the stools at the time.

I rather enjoyed creating the female character more than anything; she is a strong independent woman not afraid of people’s opinion of her. See how she was popping bubbles with the gum in her mouth!😆She’s also bold and creative . I mean, just look at the colours she matched with her outfit.

Every once in a while, she doesn’t mind being treated to a nice drink and a wonderful conversation.Who can relate to this woman?

A Visitor From The Past

Today, I found my childhood scrapbook. I had left it untouched for so many years. As I flipped through the pages, it reminded me of all the dreams I had nurtured. I thought I was going to be an editor or writer for a magazine . There was always dressmaking in the picture too. Right now, I am not so sure about those dreams materializing but the constant is that I always want(ed) to be rich(hehe).

I was pretty impressed by the writing and the handwriting (my handwriting was no neat back in the day) and so I have decided to make it my mission in the next few months to digitize the scrapbook. I am optimistic that I am going to have an exciting journey. I foresee that I am going to be motivated and that I will find a middle ground between the person I wanted to be and the person I am now. At this point in my life, I feel that I am better resourced to follow any path I want. As a child, I always had school to finish and nobody thought I could be trusted to make the best decisions in my life. Now, those barriers are removed.

Someone once wrote on twitter that the Ghanaian dream is to build a two-bedroom house and buy an Hyundai Elantra. I think I am on the right path towards that dream and then it’s freedom and more freedom to be more daring!!!!!

Almost 30 with many more years to go!

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