March 20, 2012 § 3 Comments
Someone complained that I wasn’t who she thought I was and wished I was a bit different. A few hours later, she called to gush about how much she loved who I was and that I should never change for anyone. <rolls eyes>
How honest are we about who we really are to ourselves and to those around us? I am who I am. There are parts of me that could always use some improvement, but after lying to myself for the longest time, I realize, on the whole that I could never change. My being, experiences and environment have made me who I am- good and bad. I’d say, if you really want to know me, see me with my kids, but that’s easier said than done with them being 5000 miles away. But every bit of me comes out whenever the kids are around.
Marilyn Monroe once said “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
So, I’ll try to help you out a bit since there’s only so much on the “about me” link… about me.
– I am very private. I’m surprisingly open as well. But I have this way of giving many the impression they know so much about me (from what I tell them), but they’d be hard-pressed to mention anything personal about me.
– I am cocky (another one of your words; I prefer very confident.). We encourage our kids to be confident and believe in themselves. When they’re adults, we say it’s improper to think or say anything good about oneself.
– I am mean. That’s what my boy used to say about me, but then I’d be the first and only person he’d come to if he wanted to do something fun.
– I love kids and very family oriented. I sometimes fantasize about taking home the first child and not having the out of returning him/her to a mother. The first few times I babysat my oldest nephew alone, the boy would poop and I’d have to change his diaper, and we’d have some of the funniest conversations even though he was still at baby talk phase(who knew wiping a baby’s butt would be such a bonding experience). On the occasion wipes couldn’t pass the smell test, I’d give him a shower, and he seemed to enjoy those so much, I began to wonder if the boy was saving his poop time for when I’d babysit him.
– That said, I also enjoy my independence and solitude from everyone every once in a while.
– I can live with a person for months and not say more than five words to him or her…and that’s ok with me. It doesn’t mean I don’t like ’em. I can naturally be quiet like that. The only exception is with people who always excite me.
– I can be very patient; flights canceled/delayed…stuck in heavy traffic…you name it, and I’ll bear it with the coolest head.
– I can be very impatient. I hate waiting when there’s no reason to wait.
– I HATE conscientious stupidity. There’s a lifetime of it in Ghana every second!
– I HATE willful ignorance. If you have these two characteristics, you’ll never enjoy my company.
– I like smartness. Ghanaians think of ‘smart’ as how sharply-dressed you look. I think of how I don’t have to explain things to you or how I don’t have to dumb down myself, or how I feel so enriched after spending a few moments with you. I’d been on average a top 5 student since age 7, and just about every one of those people who were smart, influenced me along the way. It’s almost impossible to shift myself away from that world.
– I am someone who is mostly impressed by what that spongy/fatty mass inside your skull can do. I once met a cute girl at Legon and she was a solid 8…until she opened her mouth…then she fell to a 2.
– I am a non-conformist. Look at my friends list on facebook (if you can). There are no more than 3 or 4 similar personalities amongst them. You can only better yourself when you step outside your comfort zone and allow yourself to learn from the new experiences that you find outside that bubble.
– I’m rarely impressed by most people I meet. Let’s explain this a bit. If you do something I expect you to do or be able to do, I won’t be impressed by you. You raised your kids; you fed them; you stayed out of jail; did well in school, etc…you won’t get any awards from me. Also, if you do something I can do, have done, you won’t get any merit badges from me. Now, if you do something I know I can’t do, never did and know how difficult it can be to attain that end (e.g. getting a PhD in Chemistry knowing how orgo kicked my ass), I’ll be very impressed.
– I am a softie. I’ll cry to some Sarah McLaughlin songs. I can’t watch past certain scenes of Rudy, Braveheart, Atonement, Schindler’s List, and a few other films because I know they’ll make me cry.
– I am also, Saddam, Temugin, Attila-the-Hun, and pretty much every mean s.o.b. you’ve ever read about or met put together when you cross me. It’s my protective side, and I imagine we all have one. It’s just I picture breaking someone’s neck for merely breathing on my kids. But that’s as far as my craziness goes.
– I am a very good cook and find cooking to be a very relaxing exercise. I didn’t learn from anyone. In fact, I don’t think I ever made any conscious effort to watch how people close to me cooked. But somehow, I realized I managed to learn a lot about cooking from my two older sisters and mom.
– I am not a neat freak, but I like organizing things, and as far as a house goes, I know exactly what I want in it. Chalk that up to my having been around white people a lil’ bit too long.
– I’m also a bit feminine. Too many men out there are complete idiots when it comes to taking care of a house without their wives/girlfriends around (think of Ray from Everybody Loves Raymond). I’m the total opposite. You can thank my sisters and mother mostly for that, too. A girlfriend once complained that she didn’t know where she fit in our relationship and worried about the future. My aunt also recently joked that whenever I got married, my wife will suffer a bit, and that (just as the ex explained): I can cook, take care of a home, and could easily take care of kids of any age, and that my wife wouldn’t know what to do. But that shouldn’t scare any woman, right?
– I dislike weakness and being a push-over. I used to bother the boy because he could be such a softie. But I guess sometimes that it’s a cool attribute to have.
– I am also domineering. I’m not a control freak, nor would I ever be. I like feeling someone is/can be my true equal. BUT if you allow, knowing full well that I can do, have done, that I’m quick learner, and don’t like to rely on others for anything, I will run all over you if you present that demure, meek, and weak damsel in distress. It works and most men find it attractive. I’ll start to tire of it in weeks. If you leave me to make decisions for us, I’ll make them and make those you thought were naturally reserved for you- and even in ways better than yours!
– Whenever I read of someone dying young, I worry about my own health issues.
I’ll pause here for now.
A bit candid, ain’t it? Can you be comfy enough to be that blunt about yourself to others and not for a second care to worry what they may think of you? I think we spend too much of our lives marching to the drumbeats of others, or what pace or purpose we imagine others would accept as normal decorum. But is really there any such thing as normal? Who gets to decide what qualifies as normal? Look at how women and even men dressed or saw as normal 1-2 centuries ago. How about every century or perhaps the few millennia before the 20th century? Yet too many call themselves traditionalists and frown on anything they deem inappropriate. If you wanna be a traditionalist, you might as well walk around totally naked because that’s what I’d imagine as the foreground of what it should mean to be ‘traditional.’
I know I’m veering a bit off my point here, but at what point do we accept that normality start and ends with the comfort within oneself. A few days ago, I was in line waiting for my tro-tro to get home, in the midst of a heated friendly conversation amongst these big, tough middle-aged men, this burly Ga station manager rose and barked at a mate in one of the empty tro-tros: “Who told you to turn off that radio?! Turn it back on! Can’t you see that we’re listening to the song?” He turned it back on and Avril Lavigne’s strong voice emerged. I couldn’t hide my very audible laughter. They probably thought I was laughing at the boy. I was just enjoying the fact that my black men don’t mind a good tune, even when they don’t know a single lyric of it- or wherever it came from, and needn’t pretend they disliked it to look tough for anyone.
“Won’t you…take me by the hand, take me somewhere new. I don’t know who you are…but I… I’m with youuuuu…!”