To feminist or yes…

It’s Saturday night and my husband is treating me to a rare night out 💃💃💃
This means he’ll be checking football results on his mobile for most of the night (world cup going on) and I’ll spend it drinking Copious amounts of wine and taking selfies for Instagram with the hashtag #datenight. Yes , I am cliche. Leave me alone.
So, anyway…as I’m getting dressed my husband walks in ,takes a look at what I’m wearing and says ” that skirt is too short, boss”
I change to jeans. I’m muttering something about how he’s not the boss of me and I’m a grown a*s woman who shouldn’t have to listen to a man on how I should dress..but I change!
One of the reasons I change out of my (very cute) skirt is that he used the “Tone” . He has this tone he uses when he says something that also says “we are not going to discuss this but this is also not going to turn into a fight ”
The most important reason I’ve changed out of my skirt however, is that over 6 years ago I made a vow before God, ” to love and to obey” this man that I’m married to. There is no option to leave out the “obey” part of the vow as is currently popular(not for me anyway) because God, my God  requires it. The only way to get round this is to give up my beliefs and I’m not about to do that.
Am I saying that I’m that model wife who is always obedient and submissive?
I wish I was . I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no Small trial to my very patient husband.  I’m only human and sometimes (most times) I fall short mostly because I like getting my own way (who doesn’t)
Lately though, I feel like I have to keep defending myself against women with extremist feminist views.  The way these women go on iye ! It’s clear they feel that you’ve sold out even  by just choosing to get married.
I happened to mention, in the presence of one such woman, how my husband would never allow me to wear a certain style of swimwear…and SHE WAS LIVID yoh!
She went on about how ANYONE shouldn’t have to ALLOW me to do anything , and how my  husband was no doubt going out to look  for other women wearing such swimwear. She basically called me a gullible idiot .
In my head I was asking her, “you know for a fact that MY husband goes out specifically to look for OTHER women in that particular swimwear, how sis????
Outwardly though, I gave her the self indulgent smile I give my 4year old when he’s being ridiculous.
I have always had strong feminist views myself but I’m  always aware that I’m under obligation to obey or even submit to my husband. I knew before we got married what his views were/ are, if I’d had problem with them , I’d have chosen not to get married to him.
He also knew that I was no walk over  , infact my dad warned him that I was “particularly bossy” but he still went ahead and married me. I don’t believe being an obedient and submissive wife means that I have to be a doormat or put up with being mistreated in anyway. I expect my husband to respect my right to an opinion too.
And , speaking of allowing, I could write a long list of the many things my husband isn’t allowed to wear or do . He is under no obligation to do as I wish but he does it because it’s also about representation.
we all want to be well represented and I don’t  ALLOW him to dress or act in any way that misrepresents me.
Suppose he were to show up at work in dirty jeans or  has bad breath… just because he’s married, people won’t say that HE is dirty . They will say that I Am dirty or ask ” where was his wife” instead. And when he’s clean , guess who gets the credit 🙋🙋🙋
I’ve always said once you get married, you have an obligation to stop doing certain things just because it reflects badly on your partner. Married people are under obligation to be their partners best representative.
Also, I don’t think a woman loses anything by being under her husband ( especially not literally 🙈🙈🙈 because your mind went there too!)
If that makes me a bad feminist well, so be it.

Love and peace

Mothering conflicts

Mothering a boy feels different. I am still processing whether or not it’s a good different or a bad one, but I am learning that the strength of my responses and emotions in regards to my daughter and my son feels different.
With my daughter, I tend to worry a lot. I worry about how she is perceived, I worry about her weight, I worry when she can only fit clothes in a size not labelled for her age and I worry when she climbs tables.
With my son, I find myself wondering why he cannot just get a move on and start climbing the tables already.
I feel more protective of my daughter than of my son, even if she is older. I can sense that this frustrates her because she just wants to be let loose to play and be free, but I constantly hover over her and then worry that I am damaging her in some way.
I enjoy mothering my daughter, just looking at her causes a burst of happiness, much like how fireworks might erupt. With my son, I feel a peaceful, calm happiness. Like how a beautiful bouquet of flowers would make you feel.
I love them both truly, madly, deeply. Just differently.
Maybe it is because they are so different and yet so similar.
I like to think of my daughter as a force of nature, like a hurricane that comes into your life and changes it forever. She has presence my girl. You cannot ignore her, she demands attention. She inspires happy moments, full of laughter.
My baby boy is calm, like a still lake at midnight. Serene and smiling. Creating warm fuzzy feelings by sheer toothless smile power.
Then I read articles about little boys being defiled and little girls being sold into slavery and I fear for them both. I read about how we must teach our boys not to rape and our girls to be mindful of their safety and it hits me that I have been given a solemn responsibility.
In this world of political correctness, how can I nurture my boy to grow up to be a strong, loving, capable and responsible man, without creating an identity crisis within him? How can I nurture my girl to also be strong and capable, but also full of sugar, spice and everything nice? Does she even need to be that?
Will I be able to equip them to survive in a world that has conflicting expectations of who they should be? Will my love be enough?
It used to be straight forward, but today we have gender fluidity. Apparently, it’s a thing to experiment until you figure out what gender you are, if any. Yep. You can be genderless in today’s world. I feel ill equipped to prepare them for a world that advocates for equality for all, but rejects the right of more conservative people to maintain their beliefs and keep it black and white, with a few shades of grey and not necessarily embrace a whole rainbow. Ever wondered why the “woke” people are only open minded when it comes to what they believe but lack tolerance for anybody that thinks differently?
I can barely navigate this world. I pray I can figure it out soon so that maybe, I can finally resolve my internal mothering conflicts.

Wine, women…and no boys!!!

I’ve always had male friends. I’m ashamed to admit that I thought this made me a better more enlightened female. I thought I was “woke” as kids are calling it nowadays. It’s no surprise then that there’s a guy among the 3 people I’ve called “best friend”.
Zebe and I met years ago when he walked up to me and Introduced himself. The way he conducted the whole introduction made me take a long hard look at myself in the mirror when I got home. I wondered at the nerve of this guy who ACTUALLY talked to me like a human and walked away without ever checking me out! Elo ninshi I’d gone to the whole trouble of forming a perfectly witty set down the moment I’d seen him approach smh
We were instant friends (albeit that shaky start to my ego) He was such a huge part of my life and my whole family (read my dad) knew and liked him. Infact I don’t know if the hubs and I would have started talking if it weren’t for him (they were Roomies at Uni)
We were so close that when I die he’s the person you’ll have to go and ask where I buried all the dead bodies ( I’m not so cruel that I buried them alive)
I’ve been asked before why I’m not with him since I always speak so well of him…
Well…Zebe is what is known as a “metro man” aka not my type.
Dude’s the type that takes care of hisself! He looks after his skin and always smells nice. Eh ,he dresses better than I do!!!
Also, a quick look at his dating history and it’s clear I am not HIS type.
No, I don’t mean he’s gay. He’s definitely not gay because he really likes Girls (a lot) and surpringly😂😂😂 girls really like him too ( a lot)
My dad was mildly amused at all the male friends I collected over the years but, as I got older he cautioned me and said men (generally) are incapable of having women who are just friends.
My husband shares my dad’s sentiments on platonic relationships. He made it clear when we started dating that Zebe and I couldn’t be too close. He says a man can’t just be friends with a woman. Either he has an ulterior motive or something is wrong with him 🤷🤷🤷
At first I found it easy to limit my association with Zebe because soon after I got married ,he went out to further his studies and when he returned he settled in Lusaka so we’re not close any more.
However, a few years ago I went through what I now refer to as my “quarter life crisis”
I needed someone with whom I could talk it out and he was the first person I could think of. He’s always been the person I call when I needed to offload, so I started calling him frequently.
One day my friend Kay pointed out to me that talking to Zebe was a kind of betrayal to my husband since he had made it clear he didnt like our relationship. She was right of course . My husband may not be the type to beat his chest in “you will obey me ,woman!” fashion but he had sat me down and stated in his calm reasonable manner why he felt uncomfortable with this particular relationship. Also why couldn’t I talk to my girlfriends instead? Kay and I are childhood friends and she was still a part of my life. who better to talk to, confide in..?
I had to take some time to do some serious introspection and ask myself why I have always chosen my male friends over my female friends. I’d told myself that it’s because women are such drama Queens, they are Petty, they gossip too much… Newsflash, men do all that too and actually so do I!
A friend once suggested that I may have “Daddy issues” and was looking for validation from men lol
I’ve had 2 strong father figures in my life so no, that’s not it! I think the truth is that I’ve never really had a female friend consistently over a long period . Didn’t really fit in ‘cos I was a bit of a tomboy when I was younger then I was a late bloomer physically so Girls my age shunned me (not that I blame them . They were blossoming and I was still skinny, flat chested and still liked climbing trees) as circumstance would have it, all my dad’s friends kids were guys so that made it easier for to be friends with them.. or them me. Also for a very long time, I found women intimidating…
Looking back , I realized that I may have had a lot of male friends but if I’m being honest with myself, none of them had ever really worked out. I’ve lost several relationships because it always gets complicated after a time. My first crush was on a boy I’d been friends with for many years.This scared me so much, I started hiding from him. He came to complain to my grandfather that I’d stopped talking to him for no reason 😂😂😂.
For some time I was the only female among a group of guys (3 guys) but after some I realised that I wasn’t really one of the boys. I was never THEIR friend and equal because there were conversations they felt they couldn’t have when I was around.They also let me win all the arguments, they never let me pick up the bill after a night out and they were overly protective. Like, they’d introduce their Girlfriends to me all the time but they wouldn’t let any guy buy me a drink or even just look at me!!!
There was a brief period, soon after Zebe and I became friends, when I really “liked” him but I told myself that we weren’t meant to be anything other than just friends. I wasn’t going to ruin our relationship for something as fickle as a crush…
The point I’m trying to make is that I understand now why people are skeptical of platonic relationships. They’re unnecessarily complicated. This is ironic because isn’t the idea of platonic meant to uncomplicate relationships. spending any considerable amount of time with anyone of the opposite sex leads to certain feelings and emotions wanted or unwanted. I don’t know how I’m only now discovering this when it seems everyone else discovers it by default before they’re ‘teen years old !!!
Not only that, this kind of friendship is exhausting. You find yourself constantly having to explain and defend your relationship!!! Eh ,awe mayo! It really shouldn’t be this hard mwe.
My soul search made me realise 2 things:
-I needed to put an end to my relationship with Zebe,for both our sakes. I didn’t tell him , I just stopped calling him and slowly drifted away because I also didn’t want to hurt him. I hear he’s getting married now so hopefully it will help him understand why we can’t be friends anyway.
-I also needed to cultivate and invest in my female friendships. This has actually helped me overcome my fear of women. I love women! ( no homo) Women are awesome! Yes ,they get hysterical. Yes, they’re overly dramatic. Yes they’re Petty…just like me! They’re also beautifully complex creatures…just like me!
These days, I make a point of saying hi or just smilling at fellow women, It’s my own small way of recognising the sisterhood. Of course I don’t always have great experiences with them, some women can be downright horrible ,just like some men. I just make sure to steer clear of such.
So Maybe platonic relationships are possible but they haven’t really worked out for me. I’m now enjoying discovering the beauty of female relationships. No more trying to be one of the boys for me. Not that I could ever be mistaken for one of the boys ,what with my childbearing hips and considerable bossom…

Love and peace

Just don’t attend, dammit!

I came across a Facebook post that is almost acquiring viral status. It’s basically a rant about weddings. Zambian weddings to be specific.

The author of the post has complained about everything from the new style of invitation cards to the dance moves of the bridal party and everything else in between. They seemed to be particularly pained about wedding committees. You, know those groupings that are essentially fundraising ventures to pay for the wedding? Yeah, those….

There are a lot of pertinent points raised in the post and maybe the post is going viral because it has hit a little too close to home for a lot of people, but what I seem to have picked out of the comments in response to that particular post, is that people find other peoples weddings irritating.

The interesting thing is this. Most of my friends that shared this post, had weddings similar to the ones they are condemning. They had the weird invitation cards. They had the large bridal party, complete with several changes of attire. They even had the whole dance routine thing going on as if they were contestants in, “So you think you can dance?”

Before my husband and I got married, a group of his friends that were also, “Shibwingas” in waiting came up with a brilliant idea. I imagine its begun with, “Guys, tuleupa, let’s have a revolving fund that will help us meet wedding expenses.”

Sweet guy that The Hubbs is, he faithfully contributed to all his friends’ weddings, even serving as a chauffeur and general dogs-body, just to make sure the events went well. Fast forward to our wedding, “Ma guys” were suddenly unable to help. Well, most except those rare, all weather people. Those friends who you can’t get rid of even if you wanted to, those friends that will show up with nothing, but lots of muscle and heart and will make darn sure your event succeeds. I digress.

My point is this. Why is it that when its other peoples’ weddings, we suddenly can’t stand the very things we solicited and championed for when it was us getting married? I have stared in open mouthed shock at friends who benefited from committee contributions, flat out refuse to donate even K1 towards the events of others. How are you made? Mwapanga shani? They even have the cheek to say, “We can’t be financing other peoples’ weddings?” Ala, we just financed yours, your silly cow and you made us endure a whole day of your late coming, and general dis-organization. As if that wasn’t enough, that attempt by your line up to dance to, Uptown Funk was a disgrace to all things funky. Mmmmch.

I never wanted to inconvenience people, so we never had a Kitchen party, we focused all our money on the wedding reception and even had change for honeymoon, paid for by ourselves. We kept it simple and debt free and I have a fully stocked kitchen as if I had a kitchen party, so I am in no way encouraging people to exhibit the bad manners that have been bemoaned in the said Facebook post. I just want to make a suggestion. When you are invited to committees, refuse. When they show up late, walk out. In short, don’t suffer and complain forever and ever amen, when you may have been guilty of the same atrocities. If you know better, teach others to do better.

Can’t we all just get along and live and let live? If you cannot stand to watch a two-hour re-production of the latest and hottest music videos, be like me, just don’t attend, dammit!

 

Rumblings

I haven’t been able to post anything because well… life has been happening. Baby has been teething and is irritable. Was busy getting 4+ yr old into a different school because the husband and I thought it would help to ready him for big school next year . Then the long weekend happened and guess whose long weekend was even longer…
I still have to find time to finish the 3 articles I’ve already started, read 3 books (I belong to 3 Book clubs because I join book clubs the same way some people join whatsapp groups)
I have to organise a small Brunch and cocktails event while still dealing with the chaos of mummying and wifeying that is my life. I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew but, this is what I live for. I thrive in such situations.
I was wondering what I could write in the half hour or so that I have to spare , and decided on something that is close to my heart and is my  favorite topic; Me!
So here are some random facts about yours truly:
* Officially, I use my mother’s maiden name as my surname.
*My granddad is my favoritest human to have ever lived.
*I was raised by my single step dad who adopted me when my mother died.
*I’ve never met my biological father but Im told he named me after his mother ( so did my granddad and my dad)
*I love dogs and baby animals
* I love sunflowers and wild Roses
*I’ve never doubted God’s existence but I have sometimes doubted his love, not just for me but for humankind in general
*Iam a Jehovah’s witness
*I’ve given up all my male friends, not because I’m married but because I’ve discovered that platonic relationships are actually more complicated than any other relationship ( This is the topic of my next blog post)
*I don’t fight with other women. Not verbally not physically. I try to make peace or I walk away . All bets are off  if you mess with my boys though, I will punch you, I will literally punch you!
*My boys are my life. I call them the 3 three musketeers and I’m D’artgnan ‘cos I run this erm…* little word that rhymes with witch*
*My closest friends at the moment are Kay and Shay
*I love the smell of books
* My favorite perfume is English Rose by Yardley,
*I only ever use white lux soap
* Iam distrustful of people with a ka accent 😂😂😂 y’know like those who enunciate the R in OR, or have an American or British accent but spent only a few hours at the airport or worse still they’ve never actually been to the states or the UK. Hmmm where did you pick up that accent muntu wandi?
* I have knock knees
*I love jeans and sweaters but I can wear the heck out of a dress too💃💃💃 ,
*I Usually wear my hair tied on top of my head. I like make up but very rarely wear any
* I don’t wear weaves (anymore), acrylic nails or eye lashes

* I don’t hold grudges

* I drink my beer straight from the bottle
* I’m either shy and reserved or I’m a scream and the life of the party. No one can decide and even I don’t know which one I am!
*I love brunch and sleeping in on Sundays
*I want to live on a farm
*I love the travel channel and BBC lifestyle ( House hunters international and come dine with me)

Till next time,

Love and peace ✌️

Good talk to myself

I was a fat baby, a fat toddler, a fat teenager and now I am a fat adult.

I grew up being told it was genetic, that I cannot fight nature because my ancestors were fat. I was told to embrace my body and to love it. My people are pretty progressive come to think of it. They preached self-love to me, long before it was popular to do so.

I am all for self-love and body confidence but I still want a Beyoncé body. If only I could overcome my love for all things chocolate.

In trying to fight my biggest craving, I watched a show on TV that was attempting to teach the public how to swap the so called bad foods for super foods. Ten minutes into the show, as the instructor elaborated on how a banana or dates could be considered as snacks instead of chocolate bars, when the urge hits, I was like, “Chocolate is chocolate baba. It is special.”

That was the end of that. I truly believe there is a skinny girl trying to come out, but she also likes chocolate so she will not cooperate.

My best friend and I are probably enabling each other with our mutual love of red velvet and chocolate cake. Don’t get me started on caramel popcorn. In the same breath with which we talk about diets and exercise, we talk about ordering KFC or Hungry Lion buckets. We are good for a month, then we get back to our chocolate chomping ways.

Somebody told me I don’t want the skinny body badly enough, otherwise I would have attained it years ago. I hate to admit it, but they are right.

When you want something badly enough, you will do whatever it takes to get it. You will make it a priority. No cold weather or boring chicken salad shall prosper against your goal to exercise and eat healthily.

It’s all about priorities. When something is important, you are able to find time for it. You will call that friend, you will visit that aunty, you will play with your kids, you will go to school and you will read a book or do whatever else it is that will enrich your life, if only you can realize that time waits for no one and beach bodies are made in winter.

Good talk sane and sensible me. Now, I wonder if Pick and Pay still has those chocolate Easter Eggs on special…….

Because I can…

Here’s something that happens quite often. I’ll be out with either Shay or Kay having wine. We’ll meet another woman and usually I’ll start a conversation with her (because I’m the nice one👼👼👼)
Before long, the so-what-do-you-do-for-a-living question pops up.
Now I don’t particularly mind this question, I’m quite happy to answer it. I AM a housewife!
However, people seem to think I should be ashamed of this admission. They usually follow it up with the question “have you thought of going to school?”!!!!
Guys, it’s  2018 for chrissakes. Your first thought after I say that I am a housewife is that I lack an education???!!!! Exsay, do you know just how many letters come after my 10 names!!! (erm actually , I was just dying to find an excuse to use this line he he)*
The implication behind that question is, “you’ve no choice but to stay home and play house. Why don’t you go to school and better your lot instead?
Actually, I have been to school. So no, the reason I’m a stay at home mom/ wife is not because  I lack an education.
Sometimes people try to explain my decision as a lack of ambition. Others  think I’m just plain Lazy.
First of all, I AM ambitious, really ambitious like..you never met a mother like me 😜 I just have a different ambition from most women of my generation.
It’s true that we were raised differently to previous generations of women. Like Most of the women of my generation, not only did I have a mother who went out to work, I was also expected to work hard at school and get good results so that I could go to uni and eventually have a career and go out to work. I did well at school (most of the time) But that was not my dream.
Unlike most women of my generation , my only ambition was to have a big family. I dreamed of having lots of kids and the chaos that comes with it. I dreamed of big hearty home cooked meals and loud conversation  around the dinner table. I dreamed of riding bicycles and making kites with my son’s ( As I always wanted sons, It’s a good thing I have only sons )
Being a stay at home mom means I get to do  all  that and more. It means my 4yo (and my husband) comes back to a home cooked meal (most days), it means I don’t have to worry about getting permission from anyone to stay home and monitor my son who is teething, I get to make that pasta sauce from scratch, I get to bake , make Chili’s, grow a garden ( organic). It means I have the time to go out and kick a ball with my son or just sit and chill because he wants to “hang out”
This is in Stark contrast to my own upbringing. Apart from the time I was at my Gran’s, I usually came home to an empty house, lived mostly on Bovril and cold meat sandwiches and the only hot home cooked meal was this watery overcooked beef stew my ol Man made on Sundays. ( You’d be wrong in assuming I was either unhappy or lonely. I’ve always enjoyed my own company even as a child but, I digress)
Of course there are many women who have  a career ,are killing it in  board rooms , catching flights (not feelings) that still go home to do all this. And there are some women who don’t have a choice but to go out to work because they have to provide for their families because of different circumstances and still have a home cooked meal by dinner time. Salute ladies 👏👏👏
But the worst thing about our generation is the pressure  to be this superwoman who does it all and the judgment of those who can’t. Guys, let me be the first to admit this; I can’t do both. It’s  one OR the other for me. Which is why I am grateful every day that my husband works hard so that I can have the OPTION to not go out to work. It’s a lot of responsibility to put pamwana wabene but I’m sure he’s equal to the task 😸
Being a stay-at-home is not easy and dealing with people who think I chose the lazy option isn’t even the hard part because quite frankly, staying at home is the most work you’ll ever have as a  woman. If you think this statement is false then please let me know  which part of the Galaxy from whence you hail ( or is that Hale 🤔)
There are (many) times I’ve considered going back to work, like when I just want to get away from the boys and let nanny look after them, times when I see the need for a second income especially when I can’t have that sweater from Edgar’s ( it was a beautiful sweater 😔😔😔)  ,  or when I’d like to treat my girls to a nice dinner and some pricey wine that only Shay can pronounce or y’know just having that “eff you” money. Now that’s some empowering feeling!  Also ,as an only child I am fiercely independent so as you can imagine, it’s the hardest thing for me to have to ask the husband for money.
Apart from that, I miss the feeling of just having a job. You know that getting ready for work, wearing them nice clothes and heels, wearing that nice scent… as opposed to the whole day in my jammies with vikuti in my natural  hair and just showering for bed 🙈🙈🙈
Most days I’m ready to just throw in the towel and go out to get a job like a normal person but who would even have me??? Iam still in my night dress as I write this, I have 6months on my shoulder taking his second nap of the day and I can’t lay him down because he can only sleep if he feels me near him. My back is sore and and I have 4 days back debt of sleep because he hasn’t been sleeping due to pure existential angst, I suppose 🤷🤷🤷 and 4 yo also hasn’t been sleeping because he’s been feeling a little insecure since baby brother is all of sudden demanding a big chunk of my time that used to be his!!! Sigh “you wanted this”  I remind myself ”  this is the potion that YOU chose”
Infact, I did give up once 3 years ago. I just got fed up of the whole mother bit, and you know nobody tells you how lonely it gets sometimes. So, I went out and had the first job I could get, as a cashier. Even though the company later  gave me a different position befitting the  letters at the end of my name.. I worked for  only 6 months then I realized I was missing time with my son.He was being raised by a nanny when I had the option to stay home and raise him my self, and the added frustration of working long hours… I just woke up one day and went and told my boss to take his job and shove it! Well, maybe not in those exact words …

Love and peace

*See previous blog post👇

Thank you, Boss Ladies…….

I prefer a woman boss.

Now, to some ears, that might be a radical statement, but I say it sincerely.

In my work experience, I have had almost an equal number of both male and female bosses and hands down, the ladies provided a better experience for me overall.

Now, this is not to say we always got along like a house on fire, in fact, I am only friends with one of them. What made them stand out for me was their respect for me. Respect for my education, respect for my aspirations, respect for my person, period.

A woman boss just wants your respect and not to be sabotaged by her fellow woman. A male boss wants to be hero worshipped. Don’t you dare outshine him, he really can’t take it. With a woman boss, once she realizes that she can depend on you, she can actually become your greatest ally in the workplace.

The thing is this, most women that have risen or are on their way to the top, understand the challenges you are facing as a woman, far better than you give them credit for. They know that when a man fails, that failure is attributed to him alone, but when a woman fails, the failure becomes the collective failure of all women that are aspiring to that higher position. This is why it is important for women in the workplace to support other women and make sure that when one of us rises, she succeeds. Her success opens the way for many more women after her.

Most women bosses appear to be harsh because they have to deal with being patronized, being sabotaged and disrespected almost on a daily basis. Sadly, their fellow women tend to be in the forefront of undermining them. This needs to stop. As women, our challenges are common, but we like to mock women who seem, well, less than enough. So what if she is the boss but isn’t rocking a Gucci bag? What of that oily skin? So what if she doesn’t know what Mac Powder is? You may think she is careless, but she could be dealing with a bigger issue than you can imagine, like building her own house, so that she never ever has to be vulnerable because she has no shelter. Empathy bane. And how about just good old fashioned minding your own business?

I recently had a negative experience with my new male boss. He assigned me to ensure that filing was done. This was just one event in a series of subtle but negative actions he had taken against me, that made me start to feel he was trying to present me as an incompetent person who can only manage to do filing. I wanted to tell him, dude, do you know how many letters I have after my already long name?

This experience gave me a new respect and understanding of my former female bosses. It gave me clarity about something one of them had said to me before. She told me, “When you seem to be excelling, the men will come after you and may even use other women to bring you down. They will attack you with sexist remarks, patronizing behavior and in extreme cases, they can attack you physically. When this happens, never lose your dignity, stand your ground and be careful.”

At the time I was like, “Drama Queen Alert!”, but as I slowly start to climb the corporate ladder, her words and the actions of all those women that have mentored me, supervised me and basically pulled me up, start to ring in my head.

So today, in my pensive mood, I just want to say thank you to the women that have gone before me and the women that started chipping away at the glass ceiling. It may still be an old boys club, but I can hear the click of heels, smell the waft of Red Door, listen to the high pitched voices speaking sense and feel hope that I too can blaze a trail and do it my way. Thank you, boss ladies.

Carorine mwaice wakwa Gile

Growing up, I was always told that it’s bad form to mispronounce a persons name. I was told it’s as bad as forgetting, that It implies disdain. Which is why, whenever possible, I try to ask a person how they say  their name and I’ll say it that way too. This is not always practical because, for example when I first knew Caroline, she had serious Ero-Ala syndrome, she introduced herself as “Carorine”  ????!!!!
Carol may (sometimes) mispronounce her own name but, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t notice when others do it on purpose to make fun of her. She doesn’t like it.  Even I only started calling her “Carorine”after she and I became friends, at which point I could get away with it. She knows I mean it as a term of endearment (kinda) because for me, how I’m addressed and how I address others shows what our relationship is and how intimate.
My father in law calls me “maama” as my grandfather did. This is chibemba for grandmother. I think it speaks to the kind of relationship we have that he calls me by a term that is both an endearment and a tittle of respect.
My husband on the other hand, calls babe or (baby)mama and lately he’s taken to calling me “Boss” ( I think he’s finally come to recognize whose the real guv’nor around here 😂😂😂)
But, as I did my dad, I dread hearing the hubs call me Karen because that’s usually an indication that I’ve done something that has REALLY pissed him off.
I , myself like to be addressed by either my middle name or maiden name or even as Bana…. I don’t mind being addressed as Mrs_, although I do find it a tad formal. As Carorine would say “prease prease, Mrs_  is my mother_ in_ raw” 😂😂😂
Thing is, It’s a common practice the world over to reassign, remix or shorten the name of a loved one and as Zambians we have wholeheartedlely embraced this culture. Most of us have at one time or another known a Precious who is called pule or a Grace called Gile. To this day I call my friend Gertrude “Getu” . Also, my Sheila pronounces her name “Shay_la” so she knows that when I call her “She-la” , I’m purposefully trying to be annoying. She hates it 😋😋😋
Sometime back, I was briefly acquainted with a guy whose had the misfortune of being named Fackson. I say misfortune because predicably,everyone shortened it to “Fack” !!!!!!
He didn’t seem to mind it though, so I guess you can call your friends anything as long as they approve.
I approved less of a name given me by aunt Joyce, who it so happened, also had “Ero-Ala” syndrome. She decided (I don’t remember  when) that I’d hence forth be called “Kale” because apparently the exertion of saying Karen was entirely too much for her. She knew I think, that She was the only one who could get away with it just because she’d been with us some time and still treated me like she was still my nanny. I had to shut that down real quick soon as I entered secondary school. I was not having any one from school finding out I was called “Kale”.
She didn’t completely stop of course, I went to see her in hospital the week she died.  she beamed as soon as she saw me, clasped my hand and said
“Kaale, waisa?”
Love and peace

Viva choices….

It was soon after we celebrated our daughter’s second birthday that I found out I was pregnant for the second time. My husband and I had decided that we should try for another baby and so we had thrown away the contraceptives just a few weeks before. I wasn’t even feeling funny or anything, but because my husband was sure that he doesn’t “miss”, I found myself sitting on the toilet, looking at a pregnancy test and waiting for the result. It was positive. I felt both fear and happiness. Fear because my last delivery did not go as expected and happiness because I had a serious case of baby fever and was excited at the prospect of cradling a new born baby again.
I broke the news to my husband in the sitting room, where he was having his lunch and waved the ‘pee stick” in his face. “Look what you have done.” I said. He beamed and responded, “Told ya, I never miss.” Eyes roll.
Then he said, “I hope it’s a boy.” Time stood still. I felt some type of way that to this day I cannot describe, but it felt a lot like pressure.
My husband is alone amongst a sea of lovely sisters. The closest thing to a brother he has is his best friend. He has always longed to have another male to share certain things with. I felt pressure because I wanted another girl, and felt it didn’t matter what gender we were blessed with. So I stopped thinking and let my hormones do the talking. It was like the estrogen was telling me to open my mouth and insert my foot.
“That’s discrimination.” I heard a voice that sounded a lot like mine say. “Does this mean you don’t love our daughter? Why is a boy more important?” The shocked look on his face should have stopped me, but I was on a roll and went on to blabber about equal love and God’s will.
In that calm and non- confrontational manner in which he always speaks to me, he calmly told me, “When I die, the family line of my father ends with me. A son would give us hope that we can still continue.” I realized then that whilst his words may not be politically correct, he was expressing a desire to have another male that was directly related to him. This was not the time for feminist chants and actions. I needed to relate to him as a wife, a best friend and the person he felt comfortable enough to express his deepest desires to.
I thank God for the women of previous generations that through their sacrifice and hard work, have paved a way and opened doors for women of my generation. I know they didn’t sacrifice so much just for us to choose not to take advantage of the opportunities they have given us and for us not to use every opportunity to pursue the female rights agenda for equality at all levels of society, but there comes a time when it’s not about men vs women, it’s not about political correctness, it’s just about love. It’s just about understanding that men and women are different and embracing those differences and harnessing them for the greater collective good.
In trying to protect women and the girl child, we have damaged the men and the boys. We have told them, they cannot be themselves, because for so long, women were oppressed and could not be themselves. As women, we know better, so let’s act better. We know what it means to work twice as hard as a man for half the recognition. We know the stress of staying up late with a baby, and still reporting for work in the morning. We are freaking amazing. But, we should never, in the name of women’s rights lose ourselves by trying to conform to a feminist agenda that may not be applicable in our individual settings. Equal opportunities for all are a must and as we fight for and embrace those opportunities, it should still be OK if a woman chooses a more traditional outlook. The key is choice. We have more choices than our mothers before us. For me, that progress. Even if the choice is not popular. Viva choices.