A few things about me

Archive for February, 2007

Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith and me

The saga that was Anna Nicole Smith and the ongoing Britney Spears thing made me stop and think for a bit.

When I heard that Anna Nicole Smith had died, I felt inexplicably sad. I kept saying to myself “you hardly knew this woman, never saw her TV show, so why are you sad for her”. As the fight for ownership of her body continues and more fathers come forth claiming her little baby, the sadder I feel about the whole situation. The little I have seen of her is just heartbreaking. Stoned half the time, crazy life style, a very lost person.

Then Britney Spears started unravling. With shame I admit I was entertained to watch her falling apart then in the midst of it all I started feeling a lot of compassion for her and here is why.

(I am speculating on a whole lotta stuff and my source of info is simply the media so I may be totally off base here).

My compassion came about when I remembered my mental emotional state the first 4-5months of my life in Denmark. I was aTOTAL wreck. So I imagine that Britney is going through some shit right now and to make it worse infront of the media. In a town where people only know you when you have money. Yani I felt sorry for her. That whole cutting her hair thing.. I so did my share too.

So while her “issues” make for entertainment remember that she is a person going through some shit and hopefully she will make it through. And yes I do not think she is a complete vicitim, a lot of stuff we do in life is a consequence of our choices etc etc (Dr Phil stuff). But for anyone who has been down the tunnel that has no light, it don’t matter who you are its a shitty place to be.

Peace and Love to Britney and R.I.P Anna Nicole Smith.

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Expressions of Love & Affection

I have been thinking about this for some time and wanting to get “african perspectives” on the whole issue.. ….. all “world views” are welcome because I do not think the issue is limited only to Africans.

A few weeks ago, while in language class we got to discussing how love and affection are expressed in the home. I was the only african in class that day. (there are two of us, me and a lady from Cote D’ivore). So there I was busy chatting away saying that in my family the expression “I love you” in whatever form was never said and as far as i knew it is generally not said in African households or families. I continued to say that seeing your parents express affection to one another was such a rear thing that if it did happen, one would probably be embarassed.

One of my classmates from Portugal then said “what a cold culture”…. and I was like ” No no.. not at all”. Even though love and affection is “never” publicly displayed, people always know they are love and cared for (assumption being that one is from a loving home). I was then asked to tell how one knows they are loved and cared for and I was kind of stumped for words.

Growing up in my home there were no hugs and kissy kissy, mommy loves you, daddy loves you stuff. Yet I never doubted that I was loved and cared for (all other issues aside). I think the fact that we had food on the table, went to school, plently of laughter, extend family socialisation, mum and dad occassionally buying you gifts. Asking for stuff and getting it (not always), and my parents “being there”… you never questioned it. I do not recall ever once having the NEED to hear my folks and sister say “i love you”.

First time I heard “I love you” said to me was from Big Al and I remember thinking “ugh, yuck, mushy mushy stuff” But now with time it has grown on me and I can say it to him… (admittedly not as often as he would like hehehehe)

I know I have no problem cuddling little babies and kids but once they get to like 7 or 8 I think we as Africans tend to start being stingy with our hugs, cuddles and affectionate words. Why is that?

So I am wondering.. if you grew up in a typical african home, devoid of public displays/verbal articulation of affection and love, how did you know you were loved?

PS: literally counting down the days to the arrival of baby Mrembo 5 days to go!

USEFULLNESS

Yesterday I heard a statement from Mr. Baraka Obama, while he was being interviewed by Ms. Winfery. Mr. Obama was promoting his book “The Audacity of Hope” which I intend to amazon very soon. The question he posed was that every person should stop and look at thier lives and ask “am I useful”. To that I add a “is what I am doing useful”

I swear I had a eureka light bulb moment there and then. I even heard the “ping” go off in my head.

I realised that in my quest to find 100% contenment and happiness (whatever that is) I need to make my life useful. Part of my frustration and restlessness has come from feeling USELESS, a burden, non contributor to society, selfishly getting by, trying to amass more and more wealth (of which I do not even have any yet). A body just existing and not contributing. I fully believe that a level of contentment comes from being useful.

I look no further than my own family and think that my father is a very useful human being. His life has touched so many others around him and benefited them. So has my mothers’. Through thier work, thier help to family members etc etc.

My quest now is to be useful in my current capacity as partner and mother to be: But how
-Create a cozy, comfy home for the 2…soon to be 3 of us. (we are moving tomorrow)
-Be a supportive, loving partner to Big Al (he works his ass off to keep me in the the standard I am used to….hehehehe..I am serious though)
– Continue to learn the danish language (my passport to working life)
-Be the best mother I know how to be
-Lose the freaking weight I have gained (of course some frivolity has to factor in my contentment plan)
-Learn to be content in the here and now and not lose sight to the future to come.

Diasporan Dilemma!

The title says it all.

Talking to a handful of my friends who are all out here in the diaspora, USA included, I have come to realise that I am not alone in this circumstance. Let me draw the picture.

Little middle class african girl or boy, grows up in a home where education is sold as the way up to a better life. Little girl buys the whole story, focuses on education. Parents work hard, educate child and finally manage to ship child off to the disapora in hopes that child will attain the “DIASPORAN DREAM”.

The dream: Nice cushy office job in a blue chip company or medical doctor etc etc. We have all heard of “you know xyz’s son. He went to Harvard/Cambridge etc etc, before he finished, World Bank offered him a job, now he is working there, and head of xyz department” So your parents drum it in your head, if you work hard, that is you life and so you buy it.

Fast forward, not so little middle class african has finished education and joined the job market. The real world sets in. Well educated, fantastic grades etc etc, but it just ain’t happening. In order to survive various jobs are taken on, ranging from BBC jobs (aka british buttock cleaning aka nursing aid jobs) to small small clerical jobs.

The years go on, now the grown middle class african is frustrated as hell. Ambition burns, reality bites. The disaporan dream is further away. The toil continues as the years blend into one another. So we curse and rage but still we hang on.

Go back home (a tiny voice whispers)…to what?? (a louder one replies)To do what?? Meanwhile those peers you left at home.. heh, wacha tu. Dude is buying is 3rd plot in shags and is building his house in the outskats of Nairobi/Kampala and is manager of some blue chip company. You look around and wonder “where the fuck did I go wrong”.

You continue to toil..once in while you meet the african whose disaporan dream is a reality. They assure you “just work hard, keep on striving”. The urge to kick them in the nutz is overwhelming. What the hell do you think I have been doing.

Still we toil… the dream is just a sunset away…

That is the middle class african’s dilemma in the Disapora. Thing is no one ever talks about it, everyone pretends it does not happen, but there it is.

So to my fellow toilers…. keep on keeping on and hope for the best. They say luck is preparation meeting opportunity. I say luck is just that LUCK.

So good luck to us all!

INVENTIONS (anything new?)

Lack of sleep and pregnancy hormones had me in an irritable mood last night and I was looking for a fight. Big Al, being the wise man that he is (see I do know how to choose them) did not indulge me. I got even more irritated when he refused to agree whole heartedly with me on the following issue.

I put it to him that I did not think (purely subjective point of reasoning) that there were any BRAND NEW INVENTIONS since the 1970s. I continued that most of the inventions had been created between 1800s and 1970s and anything there after has simply been a refinement of an old invention. (bar developments in the medical field). The discovery/invention of electricity heralded most inventions and I am of the opinion that there is really not much left to invent. The time span stated earlier was the period of great human invention.

Big Al, simply smiled (in a manner that said he did not really agree with me, but was not going to argue with me given my mood!). I later told him that I could see he did not believe me, but because I am a far superior being, I chose not to labour the point and let him go on being dumb :-).

So here is my question ladies and gents. Have there been any new revolutionary inventions in the last 20 years. I think not. (I am taking a risk by displaying my ignorance, but at least I am willing to learn). For example, I think the last big invention was the DISC which has now replaced video and music tapes…what do you all think.

Are there any new inventions out there these days, or are most of them just refinements of previously existing things. For example, the Dyson Hoover machine is not an invention, it is simply a refinement of a technology. DVD is a refinement of Discs, the mach 5 gillet shaving blade is a refinement of the orginal single shaving blade, etc etc…..