Can you tell me how a perfect love went wrong…..Man, what a song! What woman doesn’t occasionally entertain the idea of that black brother on his knees begging for forgiveness?
Unfortunately, while the idea of sexy black men singing their hearts out is a delicious thought….that’s not what we’re here for. Sorry ladies! Gentlemen, you can breathe easier now.
Let me begin with a typical cliche narrative from a Wattpad story. It was a day like any other. No, come to think of it there was a slight chill in the air (probably the tension). My mom, who comes from a culturally diverse background, was giving me that ‘don’t even do it‘ eye. My dad, born and bred Samanyika, had that ‘don’t embarrass me‘ look. And extended family members, every woman’s worst nightmare (sorry guys), looked typically expectant. It had all culminated in this one moment where dish in hand I had to decide whether I would bow to wash our guests’ hands or not.
Growing up with a mom with Sotho/Pakistani/Malawian ethnicity and a half white stepdad, I was taught to never ever bow before any human being. It was a taboo. My dad like any other husband who knows a happy wife=happy life wisely remained silent on the issue. Unfortunately, extended family members who didn’t know the intricacies of our household policies assumed I had been ‘trained’ (I say this last part the same way Jonah Hill did in 21 Jump Street, sarcasm all around).
And how did I feel you may ask? I think that’s pretty obvious.
a feeling of indecisiveness that accompanies an information overload-the Valerie dictionary*spoiler alert-it doesn’t exist*
In my mind, I was thinking that if this was a norm would my inability to perform it make me less of a woman. Am I less of a woman? Help me out, guys. Do men in my age-group actually tick this off on their ‘perfect wifey’ checklist? And if they do, do I even care?
“We train girls to be wives”
I say this in my best Chimamanda voice (what a woman). Nevermind that I’m doing well in my education, business, writing and spiritual life. No, if I am not married by 26 I have become a failure in the eyes of society and extended family members.
And of course, if I am not married by next year, I know for a fact someone’s going to point out my lack of ‘training’. Because yes in other people’s minds my ability to kneel, the way I go down with it, the sound my knee makes when it hits the floor while I balance a dish full of water while trying not to fall over (what a mouthful). Yes, all of this is what will secure my marital status.
What a joke!
state of freedom from emotional disturbances and anxiety
I get it. I get that this whole kneeling thing is an integral part of our culture and connotes respect and humility. Unfortunately, it rubs me off the wrong way and rather than humility, I feel humiliation. That’s me and I’m still learning and growing.
Who knows maybe I’ll be the next knee bending champion and write a book on it (hahaha).
Till then I’ll just chill in my no-knee bending zone and be ok with it. Non-knee bending girl signing out.
Valerie Tendai Chatindo is a biochemist, businesswoman and writer.