Stick it to the Man

Mother Zambia, in southern Africa, is a landlocked country of rugged terrain and teeming wildlife, with many parks, safari areas and people that’ll blatantly hurl soul rattling stares at you- if you’re in the slightest bit different.

 

I’ve always been different.

 

But for what felt like an eternity, to avoid the soul rattling stares and whispered opinions I shrunk myself and lived within the confines of people’s expectations of what a young Black African girl should look like, think like, dress like and be. In those couple of years, I’d managed to build a constrictive wall around my true self – with the looming, judgemental opinions of others as sturdy bricks. Having this wall built around myself left me feeling like I spent a great deal of time pacing about a tightly spaced room. Which I was, with no room to breathe or grow.
As the space around me grew tighter and the air increasingly got thinner the higher the wall rose, a mini revolution begun to stir inside. After many arduous conversations with myself I finally reached a turning point. The point at which I decided I wouldn’t shrink myself or apologize for living my life the way I wanted to, or evolving past the comfort zones of those who threw disapproving glances my way and offered their unsolicited opinions. And man was it liberating! To be unapologetically myself, to be lock, stock and barrel myself!
My whole approach and energy towards being ‘different’ brought a huge paradigm shift in my life- I finally felt like I could breathe- no more walking on egg shells, no more remaining silent. In all senses of the word happier. Since then I’ve met the most amazing, revolutionary, unapologetic souls, who I’ll introduce you to in the next couple of posts- who epitomize self-love, self-expression and strength because damn is it something to Serve Time as an Indigo. So ladies and gravies- I can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying 105% true to who you are, even with the inevitable backlash bound to follow, you just have to STICK IT TO THE MAN and do you!
So to all the people in Zambia who stare and pass little snide comments concerning my means of self-expression, whether it be my bright blue lipstick, my septum piercing (which some random closed minded moron man in the supermarket called self-mutilation when I was minding my business and paying for my Calamari Rings), my tattoos, the clothes I wear or my pastel coloured hair:
No. I will not apologize for evolving/living my life outside the bounds of your comfort zones nor will I shrink myself to make you comfortable. *insert zapper emojis here*

“‘I love myself.’
the quietest.
simplest.
most powerful.
revolution ever.”
-Nayyirah Waheed

love and light

Banji-Rae
x

Share:

4 Comments

  1. November 30, 2016 / 6:33 pm

    Any moron comfortable enough to spit the term “self mutilation” to strangers is the one suffering from an unexplainable mental disorder. Fuck him, fuck them, and fuck every single prominent unnecessary stare. Do you, boo.

    X
    Kenzo
    http://www.blackprophecies.com

  2. Panje Nambao
    November 30, 2016 / 11:20 pm

    Spit the true y’all…..As someone from Zambia, I agree with errrrthang you preached. I love my country but our people need to learn to live for themselves and not for the white man. Some of these standards of modesty and the like we’re placed on us by pretentious missionaries claiming to come and enlighten the savage man in the name of Christianity, yet most of them don’t even live by those standards anymore, so why do we feel so obliged to do so? On the other hand, I will not deny that there are people pah Zed who genuinely have a conservative way of dressing based off their own beliefs and culture, and that’s in a sense their own way of expressing themselves but the problem comes when you start shifting on another person’s way of self expression. I fear for myself sometimes when going home for holidays because of those familiar stares, especially when you go out in town, Cairo road ykno ;)? We need people to step up and own their own shit rather than looking up to whiteness and stop policing other people who are just being themselves. So, I feelzzzz yeahhhh. Great post 🙂

    • banjichona_bcqwqk
      November 30, 2016 / 11:56 pm

      Indeed! I like how you linked in the outdated standards/belief systems that were entrenched post-colonialism to the current mindset in Zed and in most African societies. It spans across all areas. Like the dress code/religious beliefs + beliefs on homosexuality and all the other complex social issues that aren’t easily/well conceptualised in our present African societies.

      It pisses me off actually because now the West is seen as a pioneer in all these things like legalising gays marriages or being ‘spiritual’ and on them frequencies and what not. When Africans and all the other colonised countries had these things going on long ago and had already conceptualised them (waaaay ahead)

      Like ???

      Thank you my angel.

  3. Tangu Msimuko
    December 3, 2016 / 5:27 am

    Banji, Thank you. Thank you for this brutally honest post.
    To know there are people who choose to live as they wish and define the world on their on terms confirms my sanity. That’s power, almost magic and its beautiful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *