Tag Archives: Women

Red flags? Run, baby run… Part 2

In reality, when one loves for real, they lack the willpower to pull the plug on a relationship that already feels dead. One keeps holding on, tolerating all the pain, in the hope that the relationship will work out somehow. If experience has taught me anything, it’s that a failed relationship is just that; a failed relationship. Most of the time our instincts warn us, but we choose to ignore them.

I’ll keep saying it over and over again; sometimes it’s better to walk out than hold on to a relationship that’s already dead. The consequences are just not worth it. For instance, the friend of my friend’s sister is only twenty six years old. That’s too young to be going through marital hell. She knows her husband cheats on her but she doesn’t seem to find that an issue, and why you ask? Because she loves him.

These past few days alone, I’ve witnessed mom going through untold hell. Dad’s only getting meaner with each passing day. He’s already said he won’t be paying my sister’s school fee and mine. He doesn’t seem to care that I’ve only two semesters of law school to go. So now I’m putting all my faith in God. Only He knows why all things are happening this way.

One of my greatest consolations is that my big sister finished her masters degree and she managed to do it without dad’s help. So maybe after all, we won’t need his help either. I live for the day we’ll be freed from his imposed dominance. For instance, I’m unable to point out when he errs because he holds my school fee over my head, so if I openly disagree with him he threatens to cut me off.

Nowadays I avoid him like a plague because I won’t feel the need to lash back if I don’t hear or see him doing irksome things; and as it is, that’s who he is. Unfortunately, he still gets under my skin because he treats everyone else with utter disregard for their well-being. I’m pretty sure I hate him, but I’m constantly asking God to grant me the grace not let hate corrupt my soul.

My sister tried talking to him the other day after he publicly threatened to call some young men to beat mom up, and that was after he’d almost run her over. I knew he has a dark soul, but deep down I hoped he had changed. This wouldn’t be the first time he hit her in public, but the last time that happened was about a decade ago. My small sister is still traumatised by the events of that day.

One thing I’m pretty sure of is that if mom could go back in time, she’d make different choices. Lately she’s been saying constantly that there were red flags all around her when she and dad started going out; but she was a young naïve woman, who actually believed love conquers all. Apparently, it doesn’t always. In my humble opinion, love only triumphs when both parties in the relationship are willing to fight for their love.

Yesterday when we were leaving for church in the morning, dad was getting home after spending the night out drinking. He even had the audacity to ridicule us. According to him, God’s punishing us while He’s blessing Him. On a bad day, that might have crushed my spirits; because on the face of it, that’s how I’d interpret this dreadful situation we’re in.

Dad’s getting meaner by the day, yet he doesn’t seem to be suffering in any way. On the other hand, every day my mom, sisters and I feel like God has given up on us. But deep down I know He hasn’t. He acts in time, so we just need to continue hoping in Him.

The things dad said when we were leaving for church had me thinking he’s become the devil incarnate. Worse still, when we came back from church we found he’d locked the door from inside and had left the key in the keyhole. We panicked. I rang the doorbell a couple of times, hoping he would be kind enough to open. But he didn’t.

My small sis tried pushing the key out with another key but she failed. My big sis, who had gone to sit on the steps in anguish, afraid we would stay outside until dad decided to show mercy on us just rose, deciding to try her luck.

After a few attempts she finally managed. I just can’t explain how overjoyed we were. That felt like a major triumph. The possibility that dad might have fallen into deep slumber, given his inebriated state had us terrified. Worst part is my big sis had locked the door herself when she was leaving but dad – in an unnecessary show of might- opened the door and locked it from inside, so that had us reading malice into the whole thing.

When we walked into the house, mom obviously went straight to their bedroom and lo, and behold! Dad was just standing at the window, casually looking outside. Meaning he had seen us walking to the house, and even heard the doorbell ringing, but he chose not to open the door. Where I am right now, I feel like we’re living with the enemy.

Financial dependence is incapacitating. I can only think of one reason why my sisters and I are still living with dad. But where I’m at, I’m so convinced that when I move out I don’t want to remember I have a father. So in my humble opinion, one should run if the relationship they’re in feels dead. There’s no need waiting up to a point where everything just comes crumbling.

Advertisements

Red flags? Run, baby run… Part 1

You’re in a relationship, and there are red flags flying all around; alarms are just ringing… when is the best time to run? If you’ve been asking yourself that question, now might be the time to run. Don’t wait till it’s too late. A few weeks ago I was walking from class with a friend, and I was asking how she’d been the previous day since I hadn’t seen her. She went on to tell me how she had visited her sister and how she witnessed her sister’s friend, who was also visiting, go into labour.

She said it so casually so I just figured it was no biggie. It was just another case of an expectant woman realizing time had come for their bundle of joy to come into the world. At first I thought the lady’s labour pains were just a false alarm, until it hit me that she was actually going into labour. Only difference is, she hadn’t been rushed to hospital yet because she had rung her husband and was waiting for him to come drive her to the hospital.

My sister’s friend was nursing an infant herself and therefore couldn’t drive her friend to hospital. It took them a while to realise the dad-to-be, wasn’t going to be arriving soon. The lady obviously started panicking, afraid that her baby would die if she didn’t get to hospital soon. She had lost triplets before, so naturally she was afraid the same fate would befall this unborn baby.

Two hours later, on realizing that the friend’s husband had bailed, my  friend’s sister called a cab. About an hour later, the dad-to-be showed up, just when the cab was also arriving. Disappointingly, he was drunk. I had trouble understanding why the guy was acting so slothfully when the matter at hand sounded like it required urgent attention. If they hadn’t lost three babies already I just might have understood him, but realising what was at stake made me judge him harshly.

I’ve seen guys who are excited about the thought of being dads. It’s usually that excitement, coupled with the love they feel for their wives/baby mamas,. This particular dad-to-be however, couldn’t have seemed far from interested. He didn’t seem remotely concerned about the grief his wife would be subjected to if she lost a fourth child. My heart bled for the lady.

At first one would imagine the guy was just nervous about how this delivery was going to turn out; and in such a case, that would be perfectly understandable. However, what I gathered is that the man’s a philanderer. He’s always getting involved with younger girls because apparently he feels he’s very hot so in his opinion they find him irresistible.

“He must be on top of some woman, when his wife is here waiting for him,” my sister’s friend had speculated when she saw the panicky state her friend was in. Thankfully, the lady got to hospital safe but delivered through C-section as she’d taken too long to get to hospital since she went into labour. She had a bouncing baby girl. That was a miracle if you ask me.

It’s only been two years since lady got married to this guy. In my books, they should still be in their honeymoon stage, where they are still madly in love with each other. In other words, the marriage is still too fresh for the lady to have started living her unhappily ever after.

“Why is she still with him?” I asked my friend. “Does she depend on him in any way?”

“She recently took a loan to buy him a car,” my friend answered.

“So she’s financially independent. She can walk away now when it’s still early,” I replied.

“She loves him terribly. She doesn’t feel like she could live without him.”

I pitied the lady. She’s madly in love with a guy who doesn’t even seem to remember she exists. “That’s one-sided love,” I said. “At some point that marriage is bound to fail. Problem is, when that separation happens, it’s going to leave a very bitter and scarred woman in its wake. If that woman knew half of my mom’s story, or even the life my sisters and I have lived, she would take to her heels.”

Who’s more important?

Who’s more important? One’s sibling or a partner/spouse? A child or a spouse? A child or a sibling? One’s child or parent? This is a question so many would shrug off, but in a way, it’s a quagmire people find themselves in more often than not. No one will blatantly put someone in such a situation where they have to pick between loved ones, except in few cases where some people have the guts to go issuing such ultimatums.

Earlier today, my sisters and I were talking about the different relationships we humans are privileged to have. Filial relations between one and their parents, fraternal relations between siblings, parental relations between one and their children, romantic relations between one and their lover… of these, one can’t be asked which of those relations is most important because as it, each one is unique; different from the other.

For instance, I know the emotional satisfaction I derive from bonding with my sisters is so different from what I feel when I bond with my parents… and what I feel for a guy I’m involved with is a whole different story. So in my humble opinion, it would be inhuman to make one pick who they love most.

In a funny twist of events, mom came home in the evening and was telling us about a troubling conversation she had with a friend. As it turns out, the friend took her sister’s child in because she (the sister) got married to another guy, who said he wasn’t going to take care of another man’s child. Subsequently, the sister left her baby girl with her biological dad.

abandoned-child

Unfortunately, the girl’s dad died shortly after and life took a turn for the worst for her as she wasn’t getting proper treatment from the dad’s family. Moved by the girl’s predicament, mom’s friend (the girl’s aunt) took her in and now she is her legal guardian.

Since the girl wasn’t taken to school until recently when her aunt took custody of her, she’s around fifteen but only has the wits of a nine year old. It will be roughly five years before she joins high school; and that is, if she’s brave enough to stand disparaging remarks from her relatively younger classmates.

That story had me thinking; if I had a child with a guy, and then after breaking up with him, I got into another relationship where the guy insists that if I want to be with him I would have to abandon my child, would I submit to such a misguided ultimatum?

Not so far from home, I have a cousin who got a baby when she was only fifteen. Given that she was very young then, her parents helped her take care of her daughter. Unfortunately, a few years down the line, she met another guy, fell in love with him…

However, when they decided to move in together, she couldn’t take her child with her.  Her baby girl, who’s a teenager now, has been living with her grandparents all through. Her mom got another child with her new man… This was also the case with mom’s friend’s niece; her mom got more children with the new husband. They even relocated to another country so she has never met her siblings; worse still, there’s a very high possibility she doesn’t remember her own mother.

Such scenarios make me wonder, what does that imply for the children who are left behind by their parents as they forge new paths with other partners? My cousin’s daughter for instance; she has a sister whom she doesn’t interact much with and a mother she barely sees, all because her mom got into another relationship with a man who wasn’t her dad.

I’m cognisant of the fact that to some extent, this could be to the girl’s advantage. For instance, this might shield her from any form of abuse from the mom’s husband, who could maltreat her because she’s not his biological daughter. However, I can’t also ignore that a child who’s separated from his/her parent for such inadmissible reasons may have a very difficult life because they will always try to comprehend why their parent chose to abandon them.

The way I see it, no one should be made to choose between people they love. It’s unfair to ask a mother to ‘trade in’ her child for a new lover. This could be psychologically traumatising for both mother and child. Furthermore, I am of the opinion that anyone who claims to love someone will accept them and their children.

Personally, I wouldn’t believe a guy who said they loved me to the moon and back, but couldn’t accept my child because he/she is another man’s child. How does one reject my own flesh and blood, and still purport to love me? That doesn’t make any sense if you ask me. It’s unfair to say the least, to the innocent child.

In all fairness, where I’m at, I can’t pretend to know what parents who have encountered such mind-boggling issues go through; however, I can say with certainty, that people who give their partners such unfair ultimatums are driven by their own egoistic desires. They refuse to empathise with a blameless child, who will be unfairly separated from their family, and a mother (or father), who has to come to terms with abandoning their child.

Love presents itself in various forms, and each type is different from the other. We shouldn’t make anyone choose. It just ain’t right, in my humble opinion.

Female Genital Mutilation vs Cosmetic surgery

Mutilation is a word used commonly to describe girl’s circumcision. Most of us call it Female Genital Mutilation. In a recent jurisprudence class, the lecturer posed some questions to the class, “Was the word mutilation used properly to describe the procedure? Isn’t it extreme? How does one approach the topic objectively, if the term itself is already subjective?” He made it clear that naturally he is opposed to the whole idea of female circumcision, so he wasn’t trying to defend it in any way and that his was just a general question.

However, he pointed out that in his opinion, the instant reference to the procedure as mutilation makes one subjective so one doesn’t look at it with an open mind. Unable to hold my opinion back, I told him I felt the word was used properly. Because, how can one begin to describe positively what is actually done to girls in the name of circumcision? Based on the limited knowledge I have of what usually happens, I would say using a word other than ‘Female genital mutilation’, would be sugar coating it.

For starters, how does one justify the pain girls from various cultures are subjected to when their genitalia, the clitoris to be precise is ‘tampered with’, for purely non-medical reasons? In some cases there’s removal of the clitoral hood and clitoral glans, removal of the inner and outer labia and closure of the vulva. In the latter process, also referred to as infibulation, only a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual fluid. Later the vagina is opened further for intercourse and child birth.

Just from reading that basic definition, what part of it doesn’t sound like mutilation? Personally, I think it’s excruciatingly painful and the worst part is that it’s said to be done solely to control a woman’s sexuality. That reminds me of a related practice I came across, known as Chinese foot-binding. Both of these practices are done for the man’s benefit, yet they’re agonizing on the woman’s part.

fgm

The clitoris as it is, plays an integral part in a woman’s enjoyment of sex. That fact alone makes me wonder what happens when a woman loses part of, or all of it. I have tried understanding why older women in cultures where this is practiced encourage it; growing up, they were taught it’s a source of honour for the girl, so in the event one refuses to undergo the same, they lose their social standing. I know I would hate to be ‘ostracised’ by my own people so to some extent I understand them.

This however, doesn’t justify this procedure, which I personally consider very unnecessary and demeaning to a woman. I have read of stories where circumcised women have had trouble being in intimate relations with men from cultures different from theirs, as those men consider the whole issue of female circumcision an impediment to fulfilling whatever sexual fantasies they may have, especially where the woman is ‘unresponsive’.

In light of this, wouldn’t referring to this practice as anything other than mutilation be sugar coating it? I’m of the opinion that the term ‘mutilation’, extreme as it sounds is just, as the old adage goes, ‘calling a spade a spade’.

After my brief debate with the lecturer, he asked what the difference was between FGM and nip/tuck (cosmetic surgery), where a woman goes through what others might term, ‘unnecessary pain’ just so they can look beautiful. Personally I had more than enough reasons why those two types of procedures couldn’t be put on the same scale.

cosmetic-surgery

For instance, in FGM consent is usually not sought but in most cases at least, a woman chooses whether they want their boobs enlarged, etc. Additionally, during cosmetic surgery a person is sedated where the procedure could be painful. With FGM, however, the procedure is carried out by non-medical practitioners and there’s no anaesthesia used, so a girl/woman is conscious the entire time, and this is taking into consideration that very crude tools are used, say shards of glasses. Furthermore, one knife/razor could be used on very many girls without sterilizing it.

In some cases, girls die from over bleeding during the circumcision, and others contract recurrent infections and/or develop complications later in life, which in some cases lead to death. Simply put, there are no known health benefits of FGM.

I, therefore, find the two procedures different and shouldn’t be compared. In other words, I wouldn’t think of cosmetic surgery as a form of mutilation because in essence, that is used to enhance a person’s physical beauty. FGM on the other hand has even been outlawed in many countries because of the serious health risks it carries, and for the simple fact that it’s demeaning to women.

A lady in my class said she felt the term mutilation was used inaccurately in an attempt to scare people off from the practice. The lecturer added that words usually impact how we view different things and that I agree with. Still, I felt describing the practice as mutilation was apt, since that’s what it is anyway. That’s just the way I see it anyway.

What do you think? Can cosmetic surgery be referred to as mutilation? And is the word Female Genital mutilation used subjectively to instil some sought of fear in people, or it’s a perfect definition of the practice?

Jekyll and Hyde

The first time I came across the phrase ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ was in the Oxford dictionary; and the images that first sprung to mind were the people who had split personalities that I had watched in various movies and telenovelas; people, whose personalities shifted from saintly to villainous in varying circumstances. The thought was very intriguing, mainly because it was incomprehensible, how one person could have two personalities that were as patently distinct from each other as night and day.

The most recent case I have come across on TV is in vampire diaries, where Aleric Saltzman, a mere mortal, dies; but with the help of a magical ring he comes back to life. He’s killed one too many times in the show that at some point his constant encounter with the underworld has him transforming into a hard-nosed hunter. Apparently, a spirit in the other world (who we later find out is the mother of the originals) was grooming him to become a hunter of the supernatural beings. Due to that, his personality keeps shifting from the good to the evil Aleric, who slays unremorsefully.

That’s just a TV show. Now back to the real world. I recently discovered a real life Jekyll and Hyde; my very own father. He could give the real McCoy a run for his own money. Now I’m not just imagining it, or watching it from a scripted show. I’m watching a real life version of the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde and one thing I can say for sure is that it sucks big time.

I tried comprehending how one person could have two distinct personalities and until now it beats me. I know for some people it’s a clinical matter but in this case, I would say dad’s is totally a personal choice; to be good and alternately evil.

I would love to say his is an involuntary thing, but based on my deductions, he has full knowledge of his actions and how they affect us. I would attribute his behaviour to alcoholism and receiving wrong advice from ill-wishers, starting with his mom and siblings.

For starters, the other day mom asked him if he knew the things he does are wrong and karma would catch up with him at some point. It may sound hard to believe, but he said he did, with absolutely zilch remorse. That’s the easiest way to tell when someone’s actions are bordering on evil; when the person does them consciously and worst of all impenitently.

One Wednesday, for instance, only days after mom had closed down her business, dad came home unannounced. His office is located away from the city so he only visits during the weekend. He didn’t say why he’d come. In any case he said he didn’t want anyone asking him why he was home.

A week later, he was still around, making our lives miserable as hell. He would get home from the bar in the early morning when everyone was asleep and despite the fact that he has his own keys, he’d just ring the doorbell incessantly, just so everyone could wake up. One would be tempted to think it was a child who was greatly fascinated by the chiming of the bell.

If somehow we ignored him and he let himself in, he would go to the living room, turn the music on, playing it so loud and if anyone requested that he turned it down, he would maliciously turn it up. So now that we know that we never ask him. We just shut our bedroom doors and pray that God will intervene somehow.

Before mom closed down her business, she had asked dad to help with the house expenses but he had refused. Instead he’d callously scoff at her, saying he’d given her permission to use other means to make money; and that was him alluding to mom whoring. I couldn’t have been more offended by his words, because I felt he was scorning her faithfulness; he knows she’s been nothing but faithful to him.

silently, I thought if only he knew how many men hit on her; but she, like the conscientious wife, turns their advances down; not because she’s afraid of him, but because she values the sanctity of the sacrament of matrimony.

On New Year’s day, he said he was coming with us for Mass. Happy that we were all going to start the new year together in the presence of God, we didn’t question his motives. Mass was starting at eight and as the church is just a twenty minutes walking distance, we knew we would be there before it began.

At 7.50 am we got into the car, strapped our seat belts on and waited for him to step on it. Twenty minutes later we were still at the parking, waiting for him to record the mileage, even though I usually find the whole exercise pointless. Patiently, we waited as we didn’t want to set him off. At some point I offered to help him out as he didn’t have his glasses on, but he just pinned me with a withering glare.

My small sister got out of the car, deciding she was going to walk. We all regretted why we’d agreed to let him drive us. Luckily mom had already left as she had finished preparing before us. When my sis left, dad started complaining how he was being forced to go to church. Putting away the sheet he’d been filling, he pulled out of the parking.

“Your sister thinks she knows too much,” he carped. “We’ll see who gets there first.”

Christians, are we? Part 2

This far I’ve come, I’ve tried according dad’s mother all the respect I could master, but apparently it’s been all for naught; she refused to look at my sisters and I as her son’s daughters. Instead, she covered us with the same tainted cloth she did my mother. She extended the hatred she feels for my mother to us, refusing to see beyond the poverty mom came from.

Her favourite in-laws are the wealthiest ones, and as my mom is not, she remains her least favourite; her worst rather, yet she’s always thumping her chest saying, “I’m saved.” If I wasn’t a Christian already and I met her, I would hate everything Christianity stood for; thankfully, I know better. At this point it may seem like I’m haranguing out of anger but in the next post I will give an account of that blasted meeting we had, and I will let you be the judge of it.

The underlying point I’m trying to put across is that many of us claim to be saved, yet we perpetuate everything Jesus would stand against. For instance, I would like for dad’s mother to tell me what the Bible preaches about marriage. I would quote very many verses, e.g. man leaving his parents and starting a life with his wife, where the two shall live as one (Ephesians 5: 31) … what God has joined together let no man put asunder (Mark 10:9)…

The above verses refer to married couples. Astonishingly, thirty years after my parents met, dad’s mother is still trying to break them apart as she feels mom is still not the right woman for her son. Looking at it from her perspective, I would say yes, mom is poor, because she’s not as loaded as the rest of the daughter-in-laws; but what authority does she have, to try and split them up?

Dad’s siblings have failed miserably, relationship-wise and in my opinion it can all be attributed to their mother’s injudicious counsel; but I stand corrected. My deductions are primarily based on the fact that up until now she hasn’t acknowledged the wonderful woman dad married. Since she’s known mom she’s been too busy fault-finding, that I feel it will be too late when she realizes she lost out on a gem like the humble woman my mother is when she was too occupied collecting ordinary stones.

If it wasn’t for the respect I accord my elders, I would give her a detailed account of the agony dad has put mom through, then I would want her to tell me who of the two doesn’t deserve the other. In her case, apparently, age didn’t impart wisdom, because she still judges relationships and family ties based on the individuals’ pecuniary value. I pray to God I never get tired of saying this, but money is not everything; there are things that are far more precious.

Ironically, that same Sunday was still the anniversary of my maternal grams death. It’s been two years since she passed on and her memory is still fresh in our minds. I imagine if she were still alive, she would give dad’s mom a few words of wisdom.

For starters, dad’s mom hates mom because she’s not rich; not because she’s ever offended her in any way. On the other hand, when my maternal grams was alive, dad disrespected her in ways so unimaginable, yet she found it in her kind heart to forgive him. So how can dad’s mother claim to be a Christian, yet she manifestly perpetuates hatred and segregation?

 

Christians, are we? Part 1

Last Sunday but one during mass the priest gave a homily that had me thinking an awful lot. It was about people who are forever saying, “I’m saved”. You ask them what that means and they’ll be like, “I was a sinner but Jesus saved me.” So first of all, what comes to mind is, man is inherently a sinner. No one is sin-free on this earth, and that’s why Jesus died to save us from eternal damnation. So when someone says they were once sinners but are now saved, one imagines they are no longer sinners.

However, there’s another way of looking at it. One was leading a life of sin, but they let Jesus into their hearts, thus choosing to turn over a new leaf; abandoning their sinful ways. This means that one acknowledges the fact that they are sinners, but they chose to let God into their hearts, meaning everyday they get out of bed they strive to live a life that’s principally pleasing to God.

The Priest went on to say that some of these people treat everyone else like sinners because they consider themselves sinless. If you asked them they would tell you they no longer live on this earth but on some realm that exists between Heaven and Earth –wherever that is.

Now from what I gathered, the Priest’s qualms was that during the day these saved ones will be pretending to lead saintly lives but in the dark, they will drop those façades, indulging in the most despicable of ways. Additionally, if one gets a chance to snoop into their bags they will find all sorts of charms; you ask them what those are, and they will flagrantly tell you, “That’s my protection”.

So the million dollar question is, “What kind of Christians are those?” That is if they’re Christians to begin with.

As the priest delivered the homily, my mind drifted to one woman; my father’s mother. Up until two weeks ago, I used to call her granny, not because she revelled in the respectful title, but because, unlike my dad and his siblings, I couldn’t bear to call the woman who birthed my father by her actual name. The thought of it is just preposterous. It reeks of disrespect to say the least. So even though she detests it, my sisters and I insisted on calling her granny.

However, about three weeks ago, she visited and what ensued had me, in my God-given wisdom, deciding I wouldn’t call her granny again; and this time round it had nothing to do with her refusing the title. My sisters and I figured, a woman who acted as she did didn’t deserve such a respectful name.

I realized that all this while we’ve been according her so much respect, yet all we are to her are just impecunious daughters of a daughter-in-law she loathes to the core, simply because she (mom) came from a very humble background.

I tried comprehending how a woman of her age would act in such a manner; and the only feasible explanation, or the mere semblance of it that came to mind was the embodiment of wickedness. As I can’t call her by her name, I’ll just stick to calling her ‘dad’s mother’, because the name ‘granny/grams’…etc. bespeaks love, and affection; none of which I feel for that woman.