Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Men and the Masculine Identity

Ghanaian contestant DKB slaps a female housemate on the MNET show Big  Brother Africa in June 2012.

I spent the last week in the city of Accra, Ghana, where I went to attend the Yari Yari Ntoaso Conference of Writers of African Ancestry. I had a wonderful time meeting new people and discovering all kinds of fascinating information about writing, history and the struggles of black women everywhere. In fact, I enjoyed my stay in the city so much that I decided to stay for another two days. I had planned to spend those days in Lagos anyway, but I was charmed by the beautiful simplicity of the city and it’s friendly, open people.

Yet, Accra has a dark side. On the last day of our stay, my friend who had joined me on the last leg of the trip, rented a car from a local company named Ghana Car Rentals. The trip itself was wonderful until the driver, Ken, physically assaulted me – ripping my clothing and breaking my glasses – over what was essentially a cultural misunderstanding.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Power of Inadequacy

Earlier this week, I found myself in a room filled with some of my childhood idols. Women whose books and words helped shape my consciousness and informed my writing. I had the opportunity to walk up to them and let them know how much their work meant to me – to converse and engage them on questions that had haunted me all my life. Yet I couldn't.

I found myself overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy – I was not successful enough, not published enough, not accomplished enough, not worthy of being in the same room with them. Instead, I sat in a corner and bowed my head, and tried to make myself as small as possible. I tried to disappear. I had a unique once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I could not take advantage of it because my sense of inferiority held me back.