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City of Banjul
Thursday, February 29, 2024
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A man ain’t worth it, dear Marie (Part 15)

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The siren call of working from home is becoming irresistible, weaving its enchantment around my longing for a space that echoes with the tranquility of my own surroundings. The weekend feels like the perfect time to recalibrate and perhaps, just perhaps, let the home office reclaim its place as the nexus of my productivity…

Dear Marie,

The allure of a long weekend is casting a welcomed spell on me, coaxing me into the embrace of a well-deserved break. Ironically, despite having spent the past two years working at my own pace from the comfort of home, I find myself yearning for the familiar cadence of teleworking once again. The initial fear of losing touch with the remote working groove has given way to a surprising revelation after five months back in the office—I’m growing weary.

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Waking up to the serenity of a Sunday morning, on Christmas Eve, my thoughts naturally gravitate toward the age-old question: What’s for breakfast? As someone who treats breakfast with almost religious devotion, the dilemma I face is not about skipping the meal but rather deciding on the morning indulgence. Today presents a rare challenge—I’m genuinely unsure of what to prepare.

Opting for a moment of reprieve, I linger in bed, anticipating the inevitable inquiry from one of my early-rising children about the culinary delight I plan to craft. Predictably, Kabba, my 5 year old, takes on the role of the family’s resident early bird, greeting the day with an infectious smile. “I woke up first, before everyone else,” he beamed after brushing his teeth in my toilet. Kids never use their shared toilet!

Acknowledging his victory in the unspoken competition of early rising, I gracefully concede by asking what he wants to eat. He’s a formidable adversary, Kabba is. He doesn’t like to lose. So, I’ve learned to reserve my energy for more strategic battles.

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Foreseeing his customary request for sausages and eggs, with the characteristic emphasis on the “round in the middle,” I decide to preempt any potential dissent from his older siblings, who might harbor different breakfast preferences. In a lighthearted effort to maintain breakfast-time tranquility, I rise from bed and embark on the creation of a delightful morning meal featuring poached eggs and sausages. It’s a tactical move aimed at ensuring a harmonious morning, where the only competition is who enjoys their breakfast first.

In the rhythm of life, if there’s one melody that resonates deeply within me, it’s the anthem of existence itself. Life, with all its chaos and intricacies, is a canvas I unabashedly love to paint. My devotion extends to my family, the inexorable journey of personal growth, and yes, even the moments of unabashed selfishness that weave into the tapestry of my identity. Above all, it’s the chaos of motherhood that I cherish with an unparalleled ardor.

Waking up each day is not just a routine for me; it’s a celebration of vitality, mental fortitude, gratitude, and an unwavering readiness to embrace the day’s offerings. Each sunrise is a reminder to prioritize my choices—to choose parents over anybody else, health over wealth, peace over money, assets over liabilities, intellect over emotion, and the pursuit of goodness over the allure of the undesirable.

Life, much like a roll of toilet paper, unfurls at an accelerating pace as it approaches its conclusion. Remarkably, at the age of 40, I wear my lack of “wisdom highlights” in the form of grey hair as a badge of honor, a testament to the light-hearted approach I adopt towards myself.

Occasionally, I entertain the fallacy of desiring a wealthy husband to escape the toils of hard work. It would be nice to be a stay-at-home mom, with house servants and maids at my beck and call, wouldn’t it?

Of course, no. As a woman with a robust masculine aura—abrasive, direct, and unapologetically assertive—I find solace in the independence that a thriving career provides. The notion of dependence remains for me a distant fairytale. In effect, the fleeting nature of male memory post-separation or divorce liberates me from the need for external approval and dependence. I grasped early on in my relationships that only money has the right to say, “You’ll regret losing me”.

Yet, in the grand scheme of my life, divine grace has bestowed upon me a partner whose courage stands unwavering in the face of the tempests within my soul. Loving me is no casual stroll through calm seas; it’s a skillful navigation through storms of silence, eruptions of fiery temper, unyielding convictions, and a generous dose of ego. To another man, marrying me might feel akin to uniting with a kindred spirit, a fellow man. To my dearest husband, my companion of 21 years, I extend profound gratitude for your enduring patience, tolerance, and boundless love to this very masculine woman.

My loving husband finds numerous excuses for my idiosyncrasies. In his eyes, I remain that 19-year-old he married, and he justifies my quirks with reasons ranging from my youthful spirit (he being 10 years older) to my unique and `special` nature.

The journey of self-realization reveals that not everyone will champion your aspirations, often due to apprehensions about the greatness one might achieve. The irony lies in the substantial impact a woman’s ambitions, career, and happiness have on the response she receives from the family she enters—especially from the husband she chooses. A moment of gratitude to Allah is warranted, for I have been blessed with the best among men. His influence has been transformative, prompting me to reflect on and rectify my own shortcomings.

Love, like a potent elixir, weaves through the veins, its intoxicating effects resisting attempts at resistance. The silent interludes that define us perplex those unable to decipher the unspoken language of our souls. Prioritizing ourselves, choosing what’s best for well-being, disrupts the status quo and stirs reactions. The very circumstances that fracture our hearts become catalysts for profound self-realization.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that marriage isn’t an inescapable sentence; we possess the agency to walk away when the union no longer serves growth and happiness. Confidence isn’t confined to a full head of black hair; a bald woman exuding confidence is a rare gem in the rough, a testament to resilience and authentic self-love. Therefore, even in old age, a woman realizing that the dish of respect is not served on the table of marriage can and should gently walk away…

As I stir-fry mixed vegetables—a natural addition to poached eggs and sausages for a healthier breakfast—my husband walks in with two steaming cups of mixed bay leaves, cloves, and ‘horom poleh’ (the English word eluding me). Simultaneously, coffee brews in the coffee maker. I smile and say, “You know I am drinking coffee today, right?” He grins wryly and replies, “Ok.” I’ve dipped into these natural concoctions people have embraced since the advent of Covid-19, although I don’t fully trust them. My husband is aware, and he never tries to convince me otherwise. Sometimes I drink, and sometimes I don’t. He gets it, but it doesn’t stop him from making me a cup every day anyway!

Later in the day, seizing a brief window of opportunity between my afternoon walk, I reflect on this year and how fast it has passed by. I acknowledge that dreams of a million dollars must be nurtured with a work ethic mirroring ambition, for it’s in the diligence of our efforts that the seeds of grandeur find fertile ground to blossom.

Happy New Year 2024!

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