Monthly Archives: October 2014

Stop Giving Boyfriends The Privileges of A Husband

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. I was standing in my kitchen preparing an elaborate six course soul food meal for a young man I was dating at the time. I remember preparing each dish slowly, paying attention to all ingredients carefully, sampling each dish to make sure they were just right and smiling anxiously every step of the way. As I prepared this elaborate meal, I was nervous and anxious about what my then companion would say. I anticipated a positive reaction that would trigger an even more positive reaction that would eventually lead to us living happily ever after.

However, the outcome was different.
My companion enjoyed the meal, but shortly after, we parted ways and have never spoken a word to each other since. As I recall that relationship, and some of the things that transpired, I realized I gave this young man (and many others I was involved with) privileges that should have been for my husband, which led me to ask myself why did I do that? What was my motivation for cooking, buying elaborate gifts, giving massages, etc. to men who were only my boyfriends? I found the answers to my questions when I went on a hiatus from the dating scene. I realized I gave my boyfriends husband privileges because I was trying to prove to them that I was marriage material. I did this because I didn’t see the value of being a single woman, and I didn’t know what it really meant to be a wife.

I didn’t see the value in being a single woman because my focus was on the “American Dream”- having the white picketed fence, 2.5 kids, a dog and a beautiful home. Not only was I focused on the American Dream, but I was focused on all of my friends who were engaged, married or in promising relationships. I wanted the same things they had with their relationships, so I figured if I gave and gave to my boyfriends, they would see my wifely potential, they would propose and my dream would be reality. Boy was I wrong!

When I realized that the more I gave to my boyfriends, that the less of me I had for myself. It was then that I decided to shift my personal focus. When I shifted the focus to reflecting on who I was, learning who I was, and finding my purpose in being single, I realized that I did not have to give my boyfriends husband privileges, but give them who I was internally as a woman and that’s better than any home cooked meal or elaborate gift.

I learned that I had to be myself and allow a man to see me for who I was and not what I could do or give. I also had to learn what it meant to be a wife. To be a wife means more than cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, etc. It means to be wise, have a noble character, have strength and dignity, etc. and these qualities come from within. Also on my journey of learning and reflection I learned that just because a man (boyfriend) has husband potential, it does not mean that he is my husband, and I do not have to treat him as such. Another thing I came to realize is that if I gave my boyfriend husband privileges, we wouldn’t have much to look forward to if we got married!

Now I’m not saying that boyfriends don’t deserve special treatment, but I am saying that there should be standards and boundaries set in place and maintained on what we as girlfriends give to boyfriends. Many times out of desperation and fear of loneliness, we (including me) as women (girlfriends) lead ourselves to believe that we must roll out the red carpet for men (boyfriends) who have husband potential.

We believe if we do this then they will see our wifely qualities and commit to us in marriage, and sadly enough, some of us simply settle for a verbal/cohabitation commitment. The reality is until both girlfriends and boyfriends realize that the purpose of being a girlfriend or boyfriend (dating) is to assess someone’s character on a general level for the possibility of engaging in a meaningful, long term relationship, friendship or distant association that could lead to marriage, girlfriends will continue to give boyfriends husband privileges, and boyfriends will continue to indulge, and can you blame them! It’s like the old saying goes, why buy the cow when…

Liz Lampkin is the author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin –

Culled from:  madamenoire.com

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Halima – The Death of A Dream 14

Continued from Halima 13

I felt like screaming just then. Like shouting so loud someone will hear me in town.  They know! I mean Mama and Baba  . . . just then as my mind wandered to my parents, it dawned on me that that was the first time I would think of them since this ordeal began. When terror blends into horror, it has a way of reordering ones priorities.

My parents, the very people who gave me a reason and much encouragement to dream. They were bold enough to challenge the status quo and give their girl child western education. Courageous enough to face the snickering and bickering of lesser minds in our community who still held on to an old dehumanizing order. They were my rock, my own terra firma. Many times mummy would drum it into my ears that she wasn’t this privileged. Oh she drummed it into me so much the drum became a part of my everyday life. She never allowed me forget. Not when I got so playful my grades began to slip. Not even when I began to develop dangerous emotions for a nice looking Fulani lad on my street. In this particular case, the drum became an alarm. And when she was through shrieking into my soul, it became apparent that I would have to postpone love till I had my definition.

She never had the luxury of a dream. Mama was a creation of the old order, a creation of tradition. A strong willed northern beau. Sometimes I wonder what power her life would have commanded if she had my privileges. I can’t remember ever seeing her breakdown in the face of a challenge. Though very temperate, she has this determination that would shame any lazy soul. She was like steel tempered with mercy. Brittle yet firm. You must understand that our society doesn’t accord her much. To know her, you’ll have to break pass so many barriers. But then, she so refused to define herself by any social script. The irony is this:  those of us in the house were the only ones to feel her influence. In the real sense she was a powerful spirit trapped in a weak body, and further trapped in a weak social system. She was a soul muted. A mouth denied its voice. A spirit denied life. She was a phantom!

The only bright side to her predicament was that she married a different kind of man. A man who believed in the power of the human spirit. A man who understood that that spirit is not gender restricted. That the woman’s spirit was as powerful as that of the man and she can do great things if giving the chance. And that was what he made his life’s goal: To give me that chance!

To be continued in Halima 15

The Halima Series is written by a good friend Chukwuemeka Ezeogu

Reyhaneh: Hanged For Lack of Woman Rights

The lawyer of Reyhaneh Jabbari, the Iranian woman who was hanged over the weekend by the Iranian regime’s henchman after 7 years imprisonment had released her will in a voice message. The 26 year old Iranian woman Reyhaneh Jabbari was sentenced to death by hanging for stabbing a former intelligence officer, Morteza Sarbandi, seven years ago, when he was raping her.

Reyhaneh Jabbari was a woman convicted of murdering a former intelligence officer, Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, in Iran after Sarbandi attempted to rape her. She was in prison from 2007 until her execution by hanging this morning for killing her alleged assailant. She published her story about what happened to her in prison, including solitary confinement. Mohammad Mostafaei was her first lawyer. He published her story in his blog.

While the World is focused on an Iran nuclear deal and defeating ISIS terrorists, the executioner-regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran continues
violating human rights.

Reyhaneh had told the court that she stabbed him in self defence, but the Iranian judicial system did not recognized women rights.

In a heart-rending message to her family in April – beginning with her mother, Sholeh, – 26-year-old Rayhaneh Jabbari tells how she trusted the law, but has faced death for the crime of defending herself against an agent of Iranian regime’s intelligence who tried to abuse her.

THIS WAS THE MESSAGE SHE LEFT BEHIND.

“Dear Sholeh, today I learned that it is now my turn to face Qisas (the Iranian regime’s law of retribution). I am hurt as to why you did not let me know yourself that I have reached the last page of the book of my life. Don’t you think that I should know? You know how ashamed I am that you are sad. Why did you not take the chance for me to kiss your hand and that of dad?

The world allowed me to live for 19 years. That ominous night it was I that should have been killed. My body would have been thrown in some corner of the city, and after a few days, the police would have taken you to the coroner’s office to identify my body and there you would also learn that I had been raped as well.

The murderer would have never been found since we don’t have their wealth and their power. Then you would have continued your life suffering and ashamed, and a few years later you would have died of this suffering and that would have been that.

However, with that cursed blow the story changed. My body was not thrown aside, but into the grave of Evin Prison and its solitary wards, and now the grave-like prison of Shahr-e Ray. But give in to the fate and don’t complain.

You know better that death is not the end of life. You taught me that one comes to this world to gain an experience and learn a lesson and with each birth a responsibility is put on one’s shoulder. I learned that sometimes one has to fight. I do remember when you told me that the carriage man protested the man who was flogging me, but the flogger hit the lash on his head and face that ultimately led to his death. You told me that for creating a value one should persevere even if one dies. You taught us that as we go to school one should be a lady in face of the quarrels and complaints.

Do you remember how much you underlined the way we behave? Your experience was incorrect. When this incident happened, my teachings did not help me. Being presented in court made me appear as a cold-blooded murderer and a ruthless criminal. I shed no tears. I did not beg. I did not cry my head off since I trusted the law.

But I was charged with being indifferent in face of a crime. You see, I didn’t even kill the mosquitoes and I threw away the cockroaches by taking them by their antennas. Now I have become a premeditated murderer. My treatment of the animals was interpreted as being inclined to be a boy and the judge didn’t even trouble himself to look at the fact that at the time of the incident I had long and polished nails.

How optimistic was he who expected justice from the judges! He never questioned the fact that my hands are not coarse like those of a sportswoman, especially a boxer. And this country that you planted its love in me never wanted me and no one supported me when under the blows of the interrogator I was crying out and I was hearing the most vulgar terms.

When I shed the last sign of beauty from myself by shaving my hair I was rewarded: 11 days in solitary.

Dear Sholeh, don’t cry for what you are hearing. On the first day, in the police office, an old unmarried agent hurt me for my nails that beauty is not looked for in this era. The beauty of looks, beauty of thoughts and wishes, a beautiful handwriting, beauty of the eyes and vision, and even beauty of a nice voice.

My dear mother, my ideology has changed and you are not responsible for it. My words are unending and I gave it all to someone so that when I am executed without your presence and knowledge, it would be given to you. I left you much handwritten material as my heritage.

However, before my death I want something from you, that you have to provide for me with all your might and in any way that you can. In fact this is the only thing I want from this world, this country and you. I know you need time for this. Therefore, I am telling you part of my will sooner. Please don’t cry and listen. I want you to go to the court and tell them my request. I cannot write such a letter from inside the prison that would be approved by the head of prison; so once again you have to suffer because of me.
It is the only thing that if even you beg for it. I would not become upset although I have told you many times not to beg to save me from being executed.

My kind mother, dear Sholeh, the one more dear to me than my life, I don’t want to rot under the soil. I don’t want my eye or my young heart to turn into dust. Beg so that it is arranged that as soon as I am hanged, my heart, kidney, eye, bones and anything that can be transplanted be taken away from my body and given to someone who needs them as a gift. I don’t want the recipient know my name, buy me a bouquet, or even pray for me. I am telling you from the bottom of my heart that I don’t want to have a grave for you to come and mourn there and suffer. I don’t want you to wear black clothing for me. Do your best to forget my difficult days. Give me to the wind to take away.

The world did not love us. It did not want my fate. And now I am giving in to it and embrace death, because in the court of God I will charge the inspectors, I will charge inspector Shamlou, I will charge judge, and the judges of country’s Supreme Court that beat me up when I was awake and did not refrain from harassing me. In the court of the creator I will charge Dr. Farvandi, I will charge Qassem Shabani and all those that out of ignorance or with their lies wronged me and trampled on my rights and didn’t pay heed to the fact that sometimes what appears as reality is different from it.

Dear soft-hearted Sholeh, in the other world it is you and me who are the accusers and others who are the accused. Let’s see what God wants. I wanted to embrace you until I die. I love you, mother.

Rayhaneh,

April 1 2014.

Culled from fb.

Halima – The Death of A Dream 13

Continued from Halima 11 & 12

If we are ever going to combat terrorism, it wouldn’t be just by confronting the terrorists in open battles, we would do more if we tear down the system that creates these kinds of boys. The system that makes promising boys into nobodies making them an easy prey to those who would like to use them for their own personal vendetta. Because in the last analysis, these terrorists were once common ordinary street urchins with no sense of self and no hope in any kind of future. They were born to survive like animals in the wild. Born to fend for themselves. Born to live off the streets. I mean they were born disempowered. And the streets gave them only one rule: SURVIVE OR DIE!  So if anyone comes and gives them any kind of meaning, he becomes their lord. Terrorists aren’t born that way, they are made that way. The war against terrorism will be won if we tear than the system that breeds terrorists.

I think I’m going crazy. Seriously, this could only mean madness. Am I making a case for my captors? Am I trying to make up an excuse for them? This is madness! I think I’m losing my mind! Maybe it’s a good thing. If insanity precedes whatever horror awaiting me, then maybe I wouldn’t feel anything. Or better still, maybe the insanity will propel them to put me out of my misery fast and I’ll die with some kind of dignity. But then, what’s dignity to the dead?  . . . What am I saying? . . . I’m losing my mind!

“Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the attack seems consistent with the work of the Bokoharam sect” as the reporter droned on, my assailants kept shouting and hooting some even touched us roughly as if to validate their price.

So BBC knows, I mean the world knows!

To be continued in Halima 14

The Halima Series is written by a good friend Chukwuemeka Ezeogu

Halima – The Death of A Dream 11 & 12

Friends, I took a break from the Halima Series for reasons best known to the Piper that dictates my monetary tunes that have robbed me of hugging my block with my thoughts and unique views. Have you gone through Halima 9 & 10? The Halima Series continue below:

It is one thing to die; another thing to die useless. Here death is not the tragedy; the real tragedy is the useless life. Dying useless is predicated upon living aimlessly. Of course, you can’t be useless in death unless you’ve been useless in life. I decided early to put my life to use. I was resolute, determined and driven. I wanted to live a life that would be impossible to ignore. I didn’t just want to live a mark in the sands of time; I wanted to inspire a generation of young girls to do same.

And now i sit captive in this truck with tears running down my eyes and groaning deep within my soul. My heart saying a requiem for the dream that once powered my life, my soul mourning the loss of its only oxygen. I feel violated. Mad men ran into my destiny and tore it in pieces. You ask me why I sound this hopeless; you are shocked at my outburst. But would you blame me? The men who took me butchered my friends and dragged me pass their remains why should I expect them to spare me? Why should I cling to a hope that is no hope, a hope that is like wax approaching a furnace?
The only thing that challenges hope is reality and my present reality doesn’t just challenge hope it engulfs it. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not suicidal, how can I be when I already have a killer who is just bidding his time. I want to dream, I want to hope but then I am trapped in a truck galloping away from time into timelessness. How can I dream when reality has taken sleep from me? How can I hope when death stares me in the eyes with an unblinking gaze?

I wanted to cry out and risk my assailants silencing me at that very moment with their machetes but then who would hear my screams apart from the animals whose habitation we’ve intruded upon. Please tell me. Who? Who in this wild dwelling would give me a reason to dream again? If it were possible to communicate telepathically, I would have tried to reach the world with my mind. But do they not already know?
While I take this long walk to death, life for the rest of the world goes on as usual. I and my friends are but a tiny bit of inconvenience on the conscience of world. So tiny they would shake us off with a nod of their head. We will be forgotten even before they finish talking about us. We might make the headlines for a day or two but then, as is traditional with the affairs of men, some new calamity happens and we are old news, too stale to savour, another of the many victims whose story history wouldn’t care to tell. So leave me alone let me rant. Let me say the words that come to mind. Let me pour my grief out before I drown in it! When I’m done mourning my dream maybe then I would begin to muster enough grief to mourn my life.

At some point I thought I heard the kind of static you’ll hear when someone tunes in search of a radio station. Initially I thought it was my mind playing tricks on me so I tried harder to come back to reality. But then it was still there, that hissing sound that tells you a search is on.  Then I heard one of my assailants ask if the attack would have made news already, another answered that if the local stations haven’t picked it up, BBC would have.  As if to confirm this the radio came to life and the sound greeting my ears went from static to human voices albeit fuzzy still. With some fine tuning, the voice that came to me was that of a Hausa Disk Jockey trying to prep his audience up for his next musical selection.  In frustration, they cursed the DJ as one of them tuned the dial in search of a news channel. After some new hits, they got the BBC and after another wait that lasted for about 30 minutes (by this time we had travelled for over 2 hours in the forest), the BBC newscaster began to give the headlines and somewhere there she reported that a group of armed men had attacked a secondary school, killed an uncertain number of male students and abducted about 20 of the female students. To this announcement, the four men in our truck raised their rifles exultantly, shouting Allau Akbar! Allau Akbar! They know now!  We did it!

It was then I began to understand the psychology of terrorists, “To make a global statement with every act of terror!” The response they get from the world is in itself a boost to their morale. It makes them feel acknowledged, gives them all the relevance they need. And as I would later understand, it is the response of the world to them that makes it easy for them to recruit more people to join their cause. When a small act of terror is amplified by the news, the perpetrators who actually were nobodies, marabouts who would not have amounted to anything or made any impact on society, now finds the world responding to their very acts. At that very point, they will feel powerful. So powerful they could do anything. Like their only means of expression is in unleashing terror. It is this power they use as a lure to drag in more nobodies. When they say that “hurting people hurt people”, nothing could be further from the truth.

to be continued in Halima 13 & 14

The Halima Series is written by a good friend Chukwuemeka Ezeogu