Cry, if it helps
I have a Rasta neighbour. He’s a fresh Rasta, which you can tell by his tiny dreads; by the fact that he wears nothing that has no Ethiopian flag on it (even his kitchen window has a lion of Juddah for a drape) and by the many (Fresh Rasta, Fresh — man) friends he has over every night, who refer to him as “Negro” while talking loudly to eachother [in English] and listening to Bob Marley’s “No woman, No cry”.
I’m not familiar with just how bad the weeping Jamican woman’s situation was when the King of Raggae made that song. But I fancy neither his song, nor his notorious bed-hopping, nor the advent of time helped lessen her tears by a centimeter.
Why am talking shit about Bob all of a sudden?! Because of an email a reader sent me the other day that brought bitter tears to the abesheet eyes. This man is a philosopher. A deep thinker. He knows what he was talking about and how to best convey it. 14 pages went without the sister stopping for breath, when anything more than two paragraphs demanded of her the kind of will power that would let a nobler man say unto this mountain, “Remove hence to yonder place”. After complimenting the sister for disrobing herself of that heavy, skin-tight suit we all wear – False Pride, he said that he’d had the impression she was an Ideologue and asked if she was. A question that embrassed the sister in the same way her instructor calling her out and ordering her to sit in front of him (away from probbing eyes) on her Syntax exam Friday evening.
If only he knew, she mused..
(How she didn’t even know what Ideologue mean and that she’d leave 4 questions, worth 22/60 points, unanswered).
I wrote back saying he reminded me of what I could have become were I allowed and that perhaps one day I’d grow old enough to reply, in kind. Afterwards, ofcourse, I cried. With the same thirst that made me cry upon reading Zadie Smith’s first born. “How I wish I was born a man” I lamented “[Or in England]. Instead of a woman who sees all that’s wrong with the world, but is as good as paralyzed when it comes to lifting a finger to change it, or even calling it by it’s correct name?!”
It felt I was being punished for a sin I have no part in committing. Except the sin of being born a woman, in africa, – the classic!
Then I started fantasizing how wonderful it would have been if I could moonlight as a man. See how the other half (the better half) lives, so to say. The half that doesn’t need to be “choosen among women” to make the list & whose every word would count whether it knew what it was talking about or not. The half that doesn’t need to work harder and go the extra-mile to get where its opposite-sex compatriots did — all the while repressing, being patient & smiling more; all the while dealing with emotions, biological clocks, the ugly businesses of Menustral cramps & “periods” every 28 days, with pregnancy, giving birth, breast-feeding, stretch marks, raging menapusal hormones and other women (your mother, among them). That half that isn’t expected to weather all the problems and carry the burdens of it’s family on it’s back but takes the blame for everything that goes wrong in/with it. The half that always gets half the punishment when found erring, whose sins are forgiven and forgotten by either the viture of being a male or because there is always a mother/sister/girlfriend/fiancee or wife making excuses for him. The half who can say, be & live the way it saw fit without having to throw stones at vehicles passing by or going half naked. And still be thought the better for it.
Would be nice, I said wistuflly, sleeping in a bed with sheets, dealing with humans [for a change] and be “more equal” than others from time to time. Unless..
It was at this point of meditation that a knock came to my door, and the door-handle turned. It was one of my colleagues coming to give me the usual good morning kiss we [girls] exchange while inquiring after the sew, the keBt, the maSSa. A kiss that makes my dread coming to the office every morning more than the crap I gotta deal with while there. I got up .. smiling…
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