Anytime that I want to leave you I hear my mother’s voice say “I know you’re a lawyer but make sure you don’t become one of those I-know-my-rights-women. Aboa pete dze ne kwasia pe nyinkyer”. You see, baby, I don’t want to become one of those I-know-my-rights-women. I don’t want to be a ‘liberated woman’ who refuses to submit to the Eurocentric standard of beauty and so walks around in styles she claims are ‘African’ and ‘natural’. What is so ‘natural’ about braids with plastic extensions? And if I truly want to revisit my Fanti culture, would I not thread my hair, braid it in mmesa or place a tekuwa over my head rather than do these styles that hitherto were restricted to traditional priests in Fantiland? I don’t want to be one of those women who claims to be a feminist, championing the cause of women and yet doesn’t bat an eyelid before fucking other women’s husbands behind their backs. I don’t want to be one of those ‘independent’ and unmarried 50 year old women who wear rings on their fourth fingers and pretend to be married so that people will ‘respect’ them.
But baby, maybe I’ve become one of those women. You remember I chopped off all my hair 2 years ago because I couldn’t stand to put damaging chemicals in it any longer? I know you don’t really like my hair this way but I love it, sweetie! I love its coils, I love how it feels like a mesh when I run my fingers through it in the shower. I love how it guzzles up the coconut oil I put in it daily. Maybe I’ve become one of those women. Just before we started dating, I was dating Kofi who was the 3rd married man I was screwing for the month of July. And yes, I knew his wife and I was and still am a feminist. My god, I have definitely become one of those women because I’m just 28 years and yet I put on a ring whenever I’m going to buy condoms from that pharmacy across the street from my office because the pharmacist is an elder at the Methodist church I attend and I can’t stand to see judgment in his eyes.
And if I have become one of those women then maybe I should leave you because it just isn’t working for me anymore? Maybe I shouldn’t keep trying to make this work just because I love you and wish you would marry me. This is the nth time that I have heard nothing from you for days on end. I know that tomorrow, you’ll send me a hurried text that you didn’t reply my calls because (pick any of the following!) a. you were sick b. you went for a funeral in your village & couldn’t get units c. you were so stressed, it’s hard settling in Ghana when you weren’t born here, you know! Yes, I know, baby, except that this time round, I can’t smile like an obaapa and accept your excuses because I know deep down that your excuses are just that- EXCUSES.
Maybe I should leave you but I keep wondering if the next person I meet will accept all of me the way you embraced all of me? Will he be able to abruptly stop thrusting and cuddle me to sleep in the middle of sex when I start crying because I’m having yet another flashback of my uncle raping me? Will he still want to marry me the day I tell him about the two months I spent confined in a mental ward? Will he still think I’m beautiful the day I undress and he discovers my physical deformity? Will he tell me like you told me and always tell me in that calm, soothing voice of yours “It’s ok, it’s all ok”? I don’t know Kwasi.
I-know-my-rights-women: feminists or liberated women who insist on their rights.
Aboa pete dze ne kwasea pe nyinkyer- Literally, the vulture uses its stupidity to grow old or to secure its life: ie: sometimes, you should play the fool in order to get what you need.
mmesa: three strand braids on natural hair aka celie braids
tekuwa: an elaborate gold studded wig that Fanti women wear on special occasions
obaapa: Literally, a good woman. A virtuous woman.