2015: Same Ndutu, Different Year

Well hi there! Good to see you! A recurring nightmare I had beginning this year was that reading my blog and arguing with me was going to be the bad habit that many of you dropped this year, with all that New Year Resolution nonsense. So, I’m super glad to see you. I can’t quit you all either.

Seriously. I thought about it.

During my retreat (if you want to call it that), I seriously considered never blogging again. I mean I’d had a good 2014, for a newbie. My blog got about 15 000 views (although I’m pretty certain at least half of those views were mine, before I finally figured out how to stop the thingie from counting my views, but still even 100 views is pretty sweet!). We got up to some good fun. Hopefully, we all found new way to think about things and be better all round human beings. But I was tired. I mean for one who rants as she breathes, 2014 sure served up a lot to rant about. I had rant fatigue. Unborn rants died inside of me because I just didn’t have the energy left to push them out. So yeah. I was ready to shut it all down and simply walk away.

But, who am I kidding. That old Cameroonian saying: If they shut her mouth she will speak through her... you know the one I mean. That saying was probably written with me in mind. A therapist friend of mine calls it external processing. She’s probably right, especially on the doom and gloom part. Writing, debating, reading, writing and debating some more is how I make sense of the world around me. So, I’m back to it and not a second too soon. There’s stuff to process out here folks. But I’d like to repeat a few disclaimers I made when I started blogging. I’ve updated them and I am emphasizing certain points so you know/remember what you’re dealing with (see in red). With one year of blogging under my belt, I can see that many of those promises were made too soon:

DISCLAIMERS (A.K.A Cover Your Ass)

> This is a space where I will attempt to engage women (and men), particularly African women (and men) in discourse and debate about the issues that affect us. The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. The are not representative of my family, any school I attend or place of employment, or anything else that I am affiliated to. 
> This blog has NO RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION. None whatsoever. ( I understand that many of my friends and readers are devoted Christians so if I will be posting about something they might construe as offensive I will put a disclaimer at the top.(I didn’t quite adhere to this last year, but will try harder this year so you can skip the post. Be warned, however, that if you choose to engage me, I will not hold back)
> I make a promise to be polite and respectful as much as is possible. Please do note, however, that I am given to ranting and I have been known to use profanity (some things NEED F-bombs, I’m sorry). Also, I will be discussing controversial issues and tempers are bound to rise. The blog is not called Find Palava Woman for nothing. I’ll only ask that we stay respectful of each others opinions.   I take that back. I ain’t about that life anymore. Some opinions are crap – in my opinion, of course – and if I think your opinion is crap, I will tell you so and why. There is too much foolery being circulated out there in the name of opinions. If you want to “uncrappen” your opinion, back it up with logic and fact, otherwise, exercise your right to stay silent.
> I will be speaking in a combination of French, English and Pidgin English. Might even throw in some local Cameroonian languages. I’ll translate.
> My posts are inspired by the world around me, the conversations I have and the things I see. This blog is basically your all access card into my head. Be warned. It’s a dark, dark place (…especially when the red river flows). That being said, some of you might recognize yourselves in things I write. I will be paranoid about privacy. I understand some of you do not care to share your business with the world, as I apparently do.
> Some things I say would easily be construed as me being judgmental. I will always try to examine things from both sides,but this blog is about MY take on these issues. I am not a perfect human being, but I don’t have to be perfect  to be able to speak critically about what I perceive to be problematic. Even Nelson Mandela had his issues.
Good?
Alright. I need coffee. When I return, we shall dive into the derp of the fuckery 2015 unleashed even before its blipping eyes opened.
Thank you all again for reading. Even at my crankiest, I recognize the privilege it is to have people willing to take time out of their day to read what I write.
back

On Marriage Again…

I’ve ranted before about people (both male and female) without even the simplest understanding of what it means to be feminist opining on the feminist agenda. Simply defined, a feminist is a person (male or female) who believes in and advocates for social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men. 
 
Take a moment to think about that.
 
If I were to break it down further, it means a person who believes in and is working for a world where “…because you are a woman/girl…” is no longer a reason for a woman or girl, who is aware of and willing to deal with the consequences, not to do/say/be whatever she wants.
 
This does not in anyway suggest that feminists hate men, even though because we refuse to pander to the male ego and are quite often outspoken about the dumbfoolery of men, people think we are. Also, this does not in any way suggest that feminists do not want to get married. This is another conclusion that many people jump to which I find  completely bewildering. 
 
A friend recently made a comment to me along the lines of “So…I’m guessing you’re not going to get married, since you’re a feminist.” Most people who know me well know that I am not a patient person. I am prone to sarcasm and snark so it was quite an effort on my part not to roll my eyes and respond accordingly.
 
This is a bit of a silly question. A silly question because it comes from the erroneous assumption that it is the natural state of women to want to get married (it isn’t), and be subservient and without any agency and as such, being feminist is a deviation from the norm. Also, it ignores the fact that women have not yet and for the last 2000 years at least, have not been given the option of living in a world where marriage for  the sake of sheer survival sometimes, wasn’t a necessity or a requirement from society, so it is hard to define the “natural state of women” where marriage is concerned. We do know that many men choose not to get married, with barely any repercussions or  condemnation from society, because they simply can.
 
So anyway, this is what I told her.
 

Marriage is not a goal I have set for myself. If I eventually meet a guy who I get along with well enough to make that commitment, a guy whose philosophy towards life aligns well enough with mine and with whom I feel confident that we will make a cohesive family unit and raise secure and balanced children, then sure. If that doesn’t happen, I will not consider myself to have failed at life because, again, getting married is not a goal I have set for myself. Do I date? Yes. Do I enjoy the company of men? Absolutely. My female parts are in perfect working order, thank you very much. Do I approach every relationship or friendship as the first step towards finding a husband? Nope. Will I die if I never get married? No. Will it get lonely? Yes. Will I like it? Not always. But will I marry just because that’s what is expected? Nope. 

 
Did this happen automatically? Nope. I grew up in Cameroon which like many other African countries is patriarchy central, and I cut my teeth on romance novels so up until my late teens, I rolled with the age old dream of having it all : education, job, man, babies and success was defined as having all those things. It is a process I am putting myself through, deliberately, to unlearn that way of thinking.
 
Why am I doing this?
 
It is a quintessentially African thing to see women who are brilliant and accomplished, beautiful human beings with a lot to offer the world, but who are depressed and convinced that they fail at life because they have not married and have no children. I have no intentions whatsoever of becoming one of those. My worth and usefulness as a human being is not ultimately tied to whether I bag a man and bear children.
 
This is a choice I am making for myself, a path I am choosing.
 
This is hard for some people to believe. 
 
I get told, “Oh you’re young, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Once you hit X age, your views will change.”
 
Or
 
“You’re going to get lonely…”
 
Etc Etc

 

 
Right. Which maybe is why I am starting now, at this young age of  mine, to condition myself out of that mind set and into the mind set of being able to live a life and be happy even if I am unmarried and childless at said X age – to create the life I want.
 
It is not to say marriage and children is a bad thing. It is beautiful. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t stalk the Nigerian Weddings Facebook page and fantasize. I still get in my feelings when I see two people who are so in love with each other it’s like an aura around them. I attended a friend’s wedding recently and watching them make those vows to each other was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. One of my supervisors at school just had a baby boy and seeing how she relates with her baby, the love, the devotion is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Do I want those things? Of course I do. But is achieving those things a parameter by which I will judge my worth as a human being, as a woman?
 
No.
 
Hell no.

Read my first thoughts  on marriage here
 
 

Here We Go!

Welcome!

 

 

 

Thank you for coming. I am grateful and even humbled that you consider my rants and rambles worth your time. Starting a blog is something I have thought about doing many times but I never really got around to it because despite having a lot I wanted to say, I felt like the words and how to say them were not yet fully formed. I did notice recently, though, that I was ranting and rambling more than usual on my Facebook, to the chagrin of many of my friends I am sure. I could not keep the words in any more. They were pouring out of me. So to protect the innocent from becoming collateral damage, I’m going to give this a go.

 

 

 

First, a few ground rules. This is a space where I will attempt to engage women, particularly African women in discourse and debate about the issues that affect us. The views expressed here are mine and mine alone. The are not representative of my family, any school I attend or place of employment, or anything else that I am affiliated to. 

 

 

This blog has no religious affiliation. None whatsoever. I understand that many of my friends and readers are devoted Christians so if I will be posting about something they might construe as offensive I will put a disclaimer at the top.

 

 

I make a promise to be polite and respectful as much as is possible. Please do note, however, that I am given to ranting and I have been known to use profanity (some things NEED F-bombs, I’m sorry). Also, I will be discussing controversial issues and tempers are bound to rise. The blog is not called Find Palava Woman for nothing. I’ll only ask that we stay respectful of each others opinions.
 

 

I will be speaking in a combination of French, English and Pidgin English. Might even throw in some local Cameroonian languages. I’ll translate.

 

 

My posts are inspired by the world around me, the conversations I have and the things I see. This blog is basically your all access card into my head. Be warned. It’s a dark, dark place (…especially when the red river flows). That being said, some of you might recognize yourselves in things I write. I will be paranoid about privacy. I understand some of you do not care to share your business with the world, as I apparently do.

 

 

Some things I say would easily be construed as me being judgmental. I will always try to examine things from both sides,but this blog is about my take on these issues. I am not a perfect human being, but I don’t have to be perfect  to be able to speak critically about what I perceive to be problematic. Even Nelson Mandela had his issues.

 

 

OK. Enough disclaimers. We’ll figure this out as we go along. I fervently hope this becomes a space where we can speak honestly as friends, sisters, mothers and daughters. A place where we can tell our stories, inspire each other, challenge each other to greatness and above all find the inner strength to carve our own destinies.

 

 

I’ll leave you with this beautiful poem, whose author wishes to remain unknown.

 

 

Hearing the whispers of the wind
Feeling it’s twists and turns
Wondering what path it will take next
I stand at the precipice of a time unknown
Inching closer, lifting my eyes
Catching a glimpse of its zenith
Embracing the dancing wind
Meandering, slippery, always flowing
Inhaling an aura of a time unknown
Sweet melodies, dainty caresses
Almost deciphering
Messages from the depths of that time
Walking from the wind
Into the sunny garden
Where the birds chirp 
Where the River flows
Where the wind still blows
But this time, sweet aromas to my face.