Category Archives: songs

pressure to get married

I’m staring out at the sky, praying that he will walk in my life…

Where is the man of my dreams…I’ll wait forever how silly it seems

How does he laugh how does he cry, what’s the colour of his eyes;

Does he even realize I’m here…where is he…where is this beautiful guy…

Who is he…who’s gonna take me so high…”

These are the lyrics to Justin Roman and Natalie Soluna’s song, ‘Where is she’. When I was younger I used to sing it word for word, because I loved it (still do). Now it pops randomly as a reminder of what’s going on in my life.

See, when my two sisters and I turned 13 (at different times), dad automatically assumed we would give in to the raging hormones teenagers are usually said to suffer from at the onset of puberty. Therefore he always treated us like we were just sleeping around with boys. “I know they’ve done it…either in that bedroom, or that bedroom…”This, he would say during his drunken ramblings, pointing at the bedrooms while standing at the hallway.

As a result, we always avoided inviting guys over because we didn’t want to be judged. Even the ones who came over did so without our consent. Like this one evening my childhood sweetheart popped by on his way home from work. Needless to say, I had not invited him over. When mom got back from work, she found him there but since she knew him since he was a child, and was friends with his mom, she was generally happy to see him.

Only thing she was not privy to was that a couple of years ago he and I had been in a relationship. At the time we had already gone our separate ways and he had visited, hoping we would get back together. However, I had already moved on so that chapter had long been closed.

Then, 25 came and suddenly dating was the implied requirement…if one was not dating and introducing their partner to the family, people thought that person was slacking off. The pressure to get married started. Mom light-heartedly started saying she wanted to see her grandchildren before she turned 50.

One of my cousins got a baby at twenty and the entire family ganged up against her. No one wanted to be associated with her, and I couldn’t understand what the fuss was all about. I mean, at the least, she was above 18, if age was the issue. She stayed with us for a while and a couple of years later, everyone was doting on her little girl. Nowadays, in family get-togethers, the same people who had ostracised her refer to her daughter as her second degree, her first being her bachelor’s degree.

So question is, is it just in my family or that’s the norm? Where before one turns 25, dating is almost a felony…then after 25, there’s pressure piling from all corners for one to get hitched. Nowadays, all my dad’s drunken ramblings start and end with marriage; but in all honesty, I sort of understand why. Most of our cousins are getting married and having babies.

Dad yearns to be called a grandfather, like his elder brothers. However, he fails to realise marriage is an almost permanent situation, given that it’s usually intended to be, “Till death…” So the way I see it, it’s not a matter of having attained the suitable age for marriage, but about being prepared emotionally, financially…

I really do not want to end up in nuptials because I’m ‘ripe for marriage’. If marriage was merely about age, right now I’d be nursing my own children, and taking care of my husband. Nonetheless, I want to find a man I truly love…someone who completes me in every sense of the word; someone who understands me in all my ‘damagedness’…and that, in my opinion, should not be rushed. It’s not about whether dad and mom are ready to be grandparents, but whether I’m ready to start a family.

And the curse lives on…

unruly kids

I was watching this youtube video-sleep deprived parent parodies classic Carmina Burana song. The ode to sleep deprived parents and terrorizing toddlers song was written by Matthew Hodge, an Australian father of three who was inspired by his one-year old son, who he hopes to show the video when he turns 21. The revamped song was performed by Sydney’s Philharmonic choir.

The musical was just amazing, with all the different voices co-ordinating beautifully. Other than that, it was also very hilarious, as it is the cry of an exasperated parent, who feels their toddler is driving them up the wall. Here are the lyrics:

O’ you terror!

Get down from there!

Mummy’s getting cranky…

Put my phone down.

Where are your pants?

What have you done with my purse?

Don’t throw those blocks.

What is that smell?

Why do you look so happy?

What’s in your mouth?

Who ripped that book?

Why won’t you just stop moving?

He’s on the chair!

Just standing there!

Wobbling like a drunk man.

Where is my mug?

What was that crash?

Who let you in the kitchen?

You’ve got a knife!

Put it down now!

Don’t wave it near your sister!

Put my phone down!

Where are my apps!

Who dialled triple zero?

Why won’t you sleep?

Is it your teeth?

I need another coffee!

My head’s so sore!

Look at the floor!

Cleaning will take forever.

What’s wrong with you?

What did I do?

Why do you do this to me?

I hope when you…

Have some kids too…

They drive you crazy!

I don’t have kids yet, but as I listened to the song some things felt familiar as I have babysat some friends’ babies. Even so, the lyrics had me in stitches. Towards the end of the song, the last few words caught my attention:

What did I do?

Why do you do this to me?

I hope when you…

Have some kids too…

They drive you crazy!

I have heard them so many times before; from my own mom. She’s said them to my sisters, and to me on so many occasions, when she’s pissed. Nowadays she doesn’t say them much though. I guess it’s due to the fact that nowadays we’re trying to respect and understand each other.

Those last words got me thinking; ‘what did I do?’ Nothing actually. I guess the writer’s parent(s) told them the same thing when they were young, ‘I hope when you have some kids too they drive you crazy!’ I’m imagining at least every parent has said that to their kid(s) at one point in their lives.

So in my opinion, parents pass down the ‘curse’ from generation to generation, and that is why anyone who has a toddler, or a child for that matter feels so exasperated as those kids grow. Obviously toddlers are difficult to handle, given that they think everything within their reach is a play toy. But, what if parents were like, “I hope your kids, don’t do this to you.” That would be a really nice thing.

Maybe then those little people wouldn’t be so unruly. And to think they do most of this exasperating stuff with angelic smiles on their little faces… Kids!

 

 

Everyone’s singing naked

Is it just me or is everyone singing naked? And by everyone I mean a good majority of female artists. Last night I was watching this music show. When it started the first song that was played was Beyoncé’s partition, which is overtly sexualized. As in most of her recent releases, she was wearing well, close to nothing.

Beyonce-partition

And as I watched the rest of the partition video I almost vindicated Miley. She’s a young woman. Still trying to discover who she really is and we’re in the ‘sex sells’ era. How will she not do what she’s doing, when everyone else seems to be doing the same, only that she has taken her provocative performance a notch higher?

Rihanna’s pour it up was played next. Scantily dressed and twerking, I understood why poor Miley seems to think only provocative moves will win her the numbers; gain fame. Who wouldn’t anyway? Sex is really selling. Coincidentally, Miley Cyrus’ collabo with Mike Will made it, Whizz Khalifa and Juicy J., 23 was next. In the video she’s in a red Chicago bulls’ bikini; and this is Miley we’re talking about so it’s kinda obvious what her performance entails: infamous foam finger, signature tongue move…

Lady Gaga’s applause succeeded Miley’s. Of course, this being Lady Gaga, her outfits in the song were kept to a bare minimum. Shakira and Rihanna’s duet, can’t remember to forget you came right after. The two dance seductively, grinding, with Shakira dressed in a revealing red dress and Rihanna in a black; two hot colours in their sexy video. In the video still, the two are in black body suits and high heels, lying down, caressing each other, and in a different scene they appear to cuddle while naked.

can't remember to forget you-shakira and rihanna

With all that heaping bowl of nudity, Miley’s adore you was the cherry on top. God, I miss the days when she used to wear proper clothes; when her name wasn’t synonymous with nudity, twerking, and all that ugly stuff. I didn’t watch the show long enough to know what song would be played next. I’m thinking guys appreciate that stuff, but in my case, it felt too much.

The songs took me back in time, when people used to sing clothed. Growing up I loved destiny’s child. I loved how Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle co-ordinated their outfits. And while in my teens, I enjoyed listening to Rihanna’s pon de replay and if it’s loving that you want, which were her first songs. I started losing touch when she released her good girl gone bad album, with songs like disturbia.

Lady Gaga’s the only artist from the above list I don’t remember seeing fully dressed in her music videos. After releasing let’s dance and poker face, I heard rumours that she had said she preferred being scantily dressed because her grandmother, who is partially blind, sees her better when she’s naked. I don’t know how true that is.

Then there’s the Latina goddess, Shakira. I have a huge collection of her Spanish and English songs, which I consider sexy but still decent, compared to her latest collabo with Rihanna. And Miley, where do I begin? When I first listened to the climb, I instantly fell in love with it. I watched it after watching her movie, the last song, which I didn’t find so intriguing, but the song itself reeled me in. It was/still is a very uplifting song. Who would’ve thought some years down the line she would earn herself the title, ‘the controversial singer’ because of her risqué performances?

What happened to people actually dressing up? Not in thongs, bikinis, body suits or lingerie, but actual clothes. What became of those songs one wouldn’t cringe or fight the urge to run when they’re played in the presence of one’s parents, or underage kids? It’s true that sex sells, but at this point I feel this nudity thing has been blown out of all epic proportions. Funny thing is, all these are artists I really love (d).

Love your perfect imperfections: Part 2

I was elated; my friend had just complimented me; I looked amazing. Even though he was just a friend, his words seemed to impact my life greatly. And now that I had his validation I felt great. I was doing things right. That got me all psyched up; I maintained my low carbs diet and intense work outs. When I looked at myself in the mirror I loved what I saw. My curves were just how I wanted them. I was thrilled.

A few weeks after that night, mom sized me up as I set the table for dinner. “You’re slimming,” she remarked. I had noticed it but somehow I didn’t want to admit it to myself.

“No, it’s because I’m in baggy pants.”

“I know the pants don’t particularly fit but I’m telling you, you’ve lost weight,” she insisted. “It must be the intense work outs you’ve been doing lately.”

I didn’t want to argue with her. I just went to my bedroom and stood in front of the closet mirror. I tried outfit after outfit, to see if what mom had said was right. My clothes fit, but I could see there were some unfilled spaces that were once filled. But even as I looked into the mirror I didn’t want to admit what was right in front of me; I was slimming. Given that I was still petite, it meant that if I lost any extra weight I would appear unhealthy. I had just come out of a phase where I’d lost so much weight because I had been straining too much at a job I had, which had led me to quit after realizing I’d started feeling weak.

I couldn’t imagine dragging myself back to that phase consciously. Whenever I bumped into friends on the streets they would look at me like I was sick. I was too skinny. At the time I hadn’t met my skating buddies. We only met later after I had quit my job and had put on some pounds.

That night when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized mom was indeed right, I made a choice. I could opt to slim to please my friends, or I could just be my real curvy self. I opted for the latter. I would be myself. Whoever wanted to be in my life would have to accept me for me; with all my perfect imperfections.

Beauty is more than just the outside appearance. I learnt that ages ago when I was still a kid. I wasn’t about to let people I considered my friends dictate the life I lived. If they wanted to be my friends they would have to let me be the person I wanted to be, and slim wasn’t it.

Around that same time I found myself too busy with school work; I didn’t have much time for hanging out with my friends. When I was free they weren’t and when they were I was tied up with something. Sometimes though, I felt like I was deliberately avoiding them. Months later, last year, one of my skating buddies and his family moved. I was devastated, because somehow I liked him more. He appeared to be the head of the team, even though no one had officially appointed him. He was just cool like that. In my opinion he was the skater with the coolest moves.

That same day I found out they had moved, I called my other friend to check if he knew as he’d been out of town for the past few months. He didn’t seem to know. While we were talking I asked him if he’d be signing up for a skating competition that was being held in a few weeks’ time. He hadn’t heard about it so I sent him the link. Before we hang up he asked how I was doing and I told him I was great even though I was still feeling bereft after learning our friend had moved.

“I know you’ve put on weight,” he teased. I just gave him a mirthless laugh. I didn’t confirm or deny it. He said he would let me know when he was back home. When I hang up, my thoughts lingered on his words. ‘I know you’ve put on weight.’  I realized he was just a vain guy, fixated on my weight. I wasn’t going to live a miserable life trying to please someone who couldn’t see past my flesh. That day something inside of me died; the desire I had to be validated by my friends.

I decided I wouldn’t let them call the shots. It was my life, my rules. If they thought I wasn’t good enough to be their friend just because I wasn’t slim, then I had no business trying to force myself on them. I wouldn’t live a dejected life trying to live up to the expectations of men who had a twisted notion of the essence of true beauty; flawed men who thought they knew what true beauty was.

John Legend’s song stirred something deep inside of me.

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

If someone loves you for real, they will love you for you; with your perfect imperfections; without trying to change you into what/who they want you to be.

Love your perfect imperfections

Have you listened to John Legend’s song, All of me?

Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Loves your curves and all of your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I’m losing I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you.

The lyrics above are the chorus to his beautiful song. I’ve listened to the song a couple of times before, but last night as I listened to it, it took me back in time; to the year 2012.

It was a warm, sunny afternoon. I had called one of my skating buddies to come help me fix my skates. The wheels had worn off and I needed to get them replaced. It was a few weeks after the Christmas holiday. He had travelled; ergo we hadn’t been seeing much of each other for a while. As he unscrewed the old wheels off, replacing them with the new ones I just watched, listening to him give a detailed account of how he’d spent the holidays.

When all the eight wheels were in place he gave me the skates back so I could try them out. Gladly, I put them on and rolled on the spacious car pack outside my house. He hadn’t brought his skates so he just watched as I did my rounds. A short while later I went back and sat next to him, pulling them off. I asked if he wanted to ‘test’ them and he was only too glad.

“You’ve gained some weight,” he noted.

“Yeah,” I grinned.

“If you get bigger than that we’re ditching you,” he teased, referring to the other guys we skated with. I only laughed in response.  That day we didn’t skate much; we just talked, catching up on the days we’d spent apart.

After that day I became so cautious how I ate. I’d make sure the servings weren’t too large, just so I wouldn’t gain weight. Then I started working out more to ensure I burned any excess calories. One Saturday mom saw the food in my plate while having dinner and she commented on how little it was.

“My friends said they’d ditch me if I put on more weight,” I laughed. She laughed too because it sounded funny.

Days later, on a Sunday evening I bumped into that same guy while I was going to buy groceries and seeming awestruck he told me how great I looked. “But your stomach’s a bit big. Or you’ve just eaten?” He asked lightheartedly. The worst part is he always made his comments blithely, so I always took them as that, jokes; only that later, when I was alone the same words would come back to haunt me, making me feel like I needed to try harder to get their approval.

Everytime I ate, my friend’s words would ring in my head and that made me avoid large servings; I didn’t want to lose my friends because of something I could avoid. It all turned out fine. For a while at least.

One Saturday while out skating at night, we went to some nearby bar to get some beer. The guys were having a house party. We waited while two guys went in to purchase the drinks. As we waited outside at the parking, my friend rolled in his skates up to where I was standing and he went on and on about how good I looked. “Skating should be made mandatory for girls,” he said, “It’s the quickest way to slim.”

His compliments made me feel good and bad at the same time. Good because he acknowledged I looked amazing and bad because he made such a big deal out of my body size. It’s like my size would affect his life. Later, he escorted me back to my house. We sat on the front porch, talking, and since I was getting into the house I took the skates off. Normally, he’s not that taller than me but because he was in skates and I wasn’t, he appeared much taller that night.

When he stood to leave he grabbed my waist, pulling me to him. “You look amazing,” he told me. “Don’t change.” I flung my arms around his neck, in a goodbye embrace. His house was in the next court, which was just a few minutes away. He wasn’t my boyfriend really, it’s just that he was closer to me than the others; earlier, before we went to the bar we had sat down on a curb to catch our breath after speed skating for miles non-stop. He had asked why I refused to be his girlfriend when he proposed some months before but I didn’t tell him why. I didn’t think we were compatible as a couple. My female instincts told me we were better suited as friends.

I watched him roll away in his rollerblades and I carried mine to the house, my lips curved in a smile. It had been a lovely night.

MUSIC- THE UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE

music

I was just going through yesterday’s paper; my schedule was so tight I didn’t have time to read it, and since I like keeping myself updated on current matters, I had to make time today to read it. While reading it my small sis starts playing one of my favourite songs- fight the bad feeling- which is a Korean ballad.

The song is sang in Korean…I don’t understand the words, but when I first heard it almost three years ago, I googled the song’s translation. It’s a sad song. I don’t listen to it a lot, because it makes me melancholic; it takes me back to that painful moment when I broke up with a guy I thought I loved. At the time I would listen to the song, which-as the name suggests- is a nostalgic song, and at times I’d find myself sobbing into my pillow at night.

Regardless of it being a sad song, I related to it…it gave me the strength to overcome the misery that the breakup had inflicted on me. So now everytime I listen to it, the memories come flooding back.

When listening to that song a while ago, I remembered an article I read last Sunday, about Zahara, a South African songbird, who does her songs in Xhosa-her native language. She was giving her experience, how she broke down when performing live in front of an audience, who sang along to her songs even though they didn’t understand her language.

I don’t understand Xhosa either, but I love her songs; they are immensely soulful…

She said with songs, it’s not about the language; it’s about how one’s songs connect with people.

Music is a universal language. With songs, one doesn’t have to understand the words… or be conversant with the singer’s language. Personally, some of my favourite songs are sung in foreign languages, notably Spanish and Korean.

The good thing with the Spanish songs is that I have the basics on Spanish, but with Korean, I haven’t the slightest idea on the basics; I can’t tell A from B; that doesn’t deter me from listening to those songs nonetheless…

My favourite Korean genre is K-pop ballads…  One can feel the emotions in them; they’re almost tangible.

Then there are Spanish songs; sometimes I don’t understand the meaning, but I still love the songs to bits.

Lately I realized I’m falling in love with songs done in Rwandese… I love how the evident R’s roll out… it’s undoubtedly a beautiful language…