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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Content Single Girl Love Musings: Love. Sex. Marriage. Babies. Part I

Stanford Reunion in Soton with one of my little ones Ahmed
So I start with Love. I believe that God: the energy that rules us all, what ultimately the universe is all about, and what creates (and destroys when at its most twisted), is Love. It is the ultimate ideal in life.  I am a hopeless romantic.  Which is why I am single.  I refuse to settle and all the men out there should be happy because I do not have that most exalted of feminine qualities: a high tolerance for bullshit because you know, he loves me, I know it and that's all that matters of course; no matter how dastardly he is and how abominably he treats me. How people see things is of no import because, in the end, you don't know what really goes on in a relationship unless you are in it.  Yes, I am being facetious. Seriously though, love is not suffering, though you will be tested repeatedly ad infinitum. Love is, at its core, at its most pure, and at its zenith, kind. So why is it set up to make women miserable by duping them into believing that the ultimate goal is to best express this most coveted of human virtues through marriage?! It then is extremely, and in many instances, unavoidably susceptible to metamorphosing into its opposite; the most detrimental of vices. That's how people get their hearts broken, lose their faith in people, in themselves, and in life. People devolve into vindictiveness, disillusionment, meaness and cray cray to misguidedly allay and assuage abysmally.

Recently, I read this article that talked about how married men and single women are the happiest with their situation.  I believe it. Love and marriage are two very different things.  You don't have to be in love to marry, or to make such a contract work. Many who are in love are miserable after they tie the knot and there are those who have spent a lifetime together adoring each other without needing paper to certify their union.  Don't get me wrong, I think the idea of marriage, or without the label: spending a lifetime building, evolving and caring for someone, is beautiful.  It's work though. Everyday. It's an infinite and limitless commitment. Love over a lifetime, whatever form it takes is hard. It's unglamarous. It's unconditional - which means compromise, empathy, humility, faith, tenacity, and evolution are key.  You need grit to keep laying the road to continue the journey, wherever it leads.  When romantic, it's not the wedding, which is a drop in the ocean of moments that you will live through. Neither is it the honeymoon, which is why they talk about the honeymoon period.

Like I eluded to a couple of thoughts ago, Love does not only lead to this contract either.  It is multifaceted and can be expressed in so many ways platonically. It is unlimited in its iterations. There is also beauty in it being finite. Not every Love requires a lifetime to be expressed.  Time is a social construct and a moment can have more meaning than years of perceived bliss. You can do and feel more in a love that has a beginning and an end that one that drags on forever.  See?! Hopelessly romantic.  And it is because of this fact that I am single and I'm sure why many look at me as too idealistic and if I just...but I will not settle. Life is far to short to waste time doing that. Why? Because I have and continue to experience infinitely better love, everyday, in the platonic sphere than I ever have in the romantic, to date.  I will add this is not entirely my or my ex-boyfriends' fault. Those poor men were only acting in a way that was normal and expected.  They followed the script and so did I.  It took me a long time to figure out society sets women up to fail to get what they deserve, because they are led to believe they want certain things.  Patriarchy is Love's anathema. I now have pretty informed ideas of what I want and need.  I have an understanding of how a romantic relationship fits into the tapestry of love already extant in my life,  just haven't gotten round to figuring out how to jumpstart that process because I am a workaholic and I have so many people to care for me. I am not susceptible to grabbing onto anything just so I can feel like I am adored once in a while. I thank the heavens for that.

I have blogged before about how my family and friends are my most treasured possession.  I will above and beyond for them and vice versa.  These are the people I can lean on when times are rough, who do not judge me (or if they do it's from a positive, constructive, loving place).  Even if they disagree with facets of my life or my actions, they agree with me as a package by respecting my choices and allowing for the inherently flawed nature all we humans are burdened with. The male species I tend to attract try to surreptitiously trick me into becoming some sort of trophy.  They try to attack the very core of who I am, the things I am most proud of about myself and what I have achieved, in order to create the idea of me they think I should be. (The more conservative of my family try that tack too. Without tact. Ehk! But I can easily deal with that nonsense.)  There is nothing more painful than the realisation that this person, whom by the very nature of your relationship holds a special place in your social circle, turns out to be your number one enemy.  Whether its not deliberate or insidiously by design, it is heartbreaking. Even though I can see how and why you have acted this way, I am not forgiving because you can choose to rise above it and act authentically lovingly. The long and short of it  is that you actually really don't like me if you are trying so hard to break me and turn me into something else.  Please go and find that person, as that person is clearly not me.  And that is okay.  Why are you trying to force me to be that person and suffer your cruelty even if it is not your intention?! This dynamic is beyond me but anyhoo...

I love me, what I do and how I do it.  The people around the world who care for me already love all of that too.  In knowing this I am pretty confident of this much: romantic Love will never be enough for me to give that all up.  I am not going to be that special someone's everything and leave my friends, my career, my intelligence and my joie de vivre behind. And I don't want to be their everything either. That is an unnecessary and unrealistic set up.  Humans are viscerally social.  Confining them to being social with just one person is just a set up for disaster.  This is when people act up. At the core of it, they are looking to fill the voids that their partner cannot. Whatever the configuration, monogamous or not, heterosexual or otherwise, (I do not judge, do what works for you OPENLY please), it is important to communicate what this Love is and what function it has in your life in relation to all the other Love from family and friends, as well as to the things you like to do and experience.  There is so much in the world: so many people, places, activities, opportunities for growth, stimuli to create, innovate and enjoy in Love. Why we should aspire to reduce the only way to interact with these gifts and experiences through one relationship is ludicrous.  It's creepy too as that is what leads people to do psycho and underhanded things under the banner of romance in the pursuit and name of Love!

I believe that the person you decide to spend a lifetime with should slot in to your network to fulfill a specific, indispensable purpose, not to take over everything and vice versa.  And the reason that married men tend to be happier is they get everything they want, armed with societal norms and pressure, particularly emotionally.  Too many have not  been brought up well and callously disregard the other side in their relationships.  Which is why they even get jealous of their own children taking up their wives' time.  You are going to compete with a helpless baby and get your knickers in bunch, throw tantrums and hissy fits because you aren't always the centre of attention and I'm supposed to respect you?! What kind of Oedipal crazy are women duped into?! You partner ends up being your first child and you are supposed to sleep with him and leave him to head the household as men are more logical, and intelligent and unemotional. WTF?! Society has done a disservice to men by not allowing them to develop into human beings that understand themselves and others emotional needs and has led then to believe they act with logic when they don't. Society has done a disservice to women by saying that bearing the cross is the feminine ideal. That managing male stunted growth makes us martyrs.  That love is suffering and being able to take and shovel poop is our lot in life. I refuse to subscribe to that.

I'd rather enjoy the fact that I am well taken care of by those that I already love.  Most recently that has manifested primarily in: the Beb Gails (baby girls in a Zambian accent) being rocks I can lean on so I can stand tall. Continuing to live with my mother so we can watch over each other and not let our workaholic ways get the better of us. Travelling to the UK to spend Christmas with my younger sister, the love of my life and my number one cheerleader.  Working on self love and treating myself to good food, travel and new clothes. Workationing in Ghana and having an African Stanford reunions with everyone using their skills to build me back up as I do the same for them.  I am about to go to Naija and do the same. I have been housed, fed, loved, pampered, spoilt silly while being challenged, admonished and checked before I wreck myself too.  These people see the best in me and where, and when I can be and do better, they have let me know and are helping me get there.  And they value what I do for them too.  The reason I picked Ahmed to embody this visually is because he travelled for 5 hours from London to Southampton on Christmas Eve to see me for one hour. We hadn't seen each other in seven and a half years.  He then squeezed in another hour by meeting me at Heathrow before my flight.  This is typical of my friends, regardless of gender.  If we are travelling and we can find a way to meet, we do, because we spend many years and even decades between meets and so we make the most of every second.  I have never experienced that kind of dedication from a romantic partner consistently, over a long period of time, to work on and continually cultivate our relationship. Ever. I have been expected to bend over backwards and not get the same in return because I am the problem. They have never understood how my life works or how I operate and express love.  I have been punished for having grown up on 3 continents and lived a great life.  That is not Love. That's some twisted ish I do not want to know about.

So I am happy and content as a single girl, being a problem, around the world, with people who love me unconditionally. I am having a ball unapologetically!  Like I, said I believe God is Love. So I think that it is important to have Love underpin anything and everything that you do in order to honour your faith. I even sleep lovingly and everyone knows how I love my slumber and naperoos.  I don't have to wait for "the One" to do that.  That is just one of the many ways available to humanity to express ourselves and the blessing of life.  The possibility of being able to use that avenue excites me, and because I respect that union, I do not take bonding with someone in that way lightly no matter how fleeting or how long that Love is expressed. Though it troubles many in my life that there isn't a someone special like that in my life, I say to them: it will be when it will be.  In the meantime, I continue to be open to the possibility for that person to join the party so as to manifest Love romantically in a way that I cannot in platonic relationships, while acing it with the amazing people: friends and family I am privileged to have in my life, and sharing love through the work that I do.

I wish you the all the permutations of Love you deserve and I hope that you honour life by sharing the caring everyday, however and whenever you can xo!

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