During a bad relationship you simply are not yourself. There were times I would go out to network with other entrepreneurs or simply wake up in the morning and know that something was off. It was so subtle that I could never place it.
Whenever I feel this way I assess if I have done something wrong or if I should correct something, but during this time I could never place exactly what I’d done wrong. My household was simply…off.
At the time, little did I know that my husband was saying things to my daughter that would make her wonder if she was the cause of the house being off-centered. It would be long after Emmanuel abandoned me that I would learn this, which is probably for the better. Essentially, making statements to a child about how she should not have the opportunity to travel and his dead wife should be in her place is beyond disturbing. Again, probably for the better that I learned of this later.
Yes, in learning this the household should have never been functioning – which is exactly what was happening. Since I was the breadwinner of the relationship I had to always be on. When I would grab feverishly for a moment to myself I was always met with statements such as “…in my culture the women do not…”. Fill in the blank with things such as: go out or dance like that, because I love salsa dancing. Further, the things that women in Ghanaian culture did were: cook everyday, have sex on demand, and were there to cut the husband’s toenails – especially the hard one that was hard to clip; she’s supposed to make it soft by soaking his feet.
In a balanced relationship if this is what the husband and wife decide they want to do, then kudos to you 2. In my relationship with my ex he wanted these things on demand despite the fact that he did not bring any money to the table and always seemed to be waiting for me each week to escort me to the ATM. That felt like oppression to me.
I was often compared to Ghanaian women and started to wonder why these women put up with this shit. With the little activity that was expected of a Ghanaian woman I was beginning to feel like I should be in my 80s with a bad back and not able to walk, not in my 30s and ready to be the best Latoya I could be. Certainly not the Latoya whom he met who loved to travel and meet people and yap it up with friend girls over a weekly brunch.
I was expected to suppress my American side and take on being a full Ghanaian woman. How do I do that? I’m not from there directly. We’re at least 400 years removed if my ancestors are indeed from Ghana, so I was in very unfamiliar territory. As the demands became more stupid, for lack of a better word, I started to think: Umma need you to go and marry that Ghanaian woman that you’re speaking of and why hook up with an African American in order to try to convert them to being a Ghanaian?
It wasn’t enough for me to simply be Latoya. I had to be someone else…someone Ghanaian. It made me wonder and question aloud that if Ghanain is what he wanted, why didn’t he simply marry that person instead of me.
I’m still getting to know Latoya, so me trying to be another person simply won’t work. Latoya is still evolving and making mistakes so trying to pretend to be someone else will only slow down the progress. It will also water down the Latoya that I am. Imagine a Latoya without the ability to express herself as I have in this blog. I’m matter of fact and forcibly to the point most of the time. I don’t even wear out on being that way, so I can’t imagine being a demure Latoya. My friends do not use the word demure and my name in the same sentence. Or worse, a Latoya that sits waiting to clip her husband’s toesnails after she has worked all day and he has listened to music on the internet all day or chatted with women about his love for them.
With this realization there must be a revelation. There is no race nor any comparison. I won. I’m me!
Ladies, if you feel that you are so caught up in his culture that you forget that you too have a culture of your own, reshift and rebalance. Learn from my mistakes and buy and read the book, Wanted: Green Card.