Of where we’d end up, how we’d end up, when we’d end up.
I mean, we said “let’s leave it to Allah, let’s wait and see”.
But really, the levers in our mind had long clanked away.
I will never be Ghanaian, African [insert whatever label] enough.
To hold on to the vestiges of who I think – we think – I should be
To reformulate the Ghanaianness in me
Down to the last ei, o, and more recently, the last tweaa
I mean, how can you possibly not know how to Azonto
It was the fad. Now it’s vintage.
Encoded in our identical histories.
Yet it seems you missed that particular memo.
“Too American”, “Too White”, “Too Outspoken”, “Too Different”
You make me aware of the fact daily.
With every “It’s not how we do things”,
Each “why can’t you be like…”
But see – we traded all those possibilities in.
The minute I checked in, went through security, boarded that plane.
And maybe there might have been hope yet
If I hadn’t gone running in all directions at once
The glamor of going abroad.
The consequences of going a-broad.
Extending identities, redefining opinions, encountering the new,
This they neglected to mention.
Of being torn between two worlds
Of having the impression – ay the appearance – of being one or the other
But never actually quite getting it.
The impressions of five odd years,
From an alley in Pairs, a boat in Dakar, countless subway rides in NYC.
And yet, you ought to still ride the trotro in Accra the same?
And here we are clutching away at the frays,
Willing the time spent elsewhere to come back.
To reinstitute the plan second, minute, hour, day by day.
Yet – we know time lost is never regained,
And time spent seeking time lost? Equally futile.
So why do we insist, tarry along this tired, old path?
I would have you know me, I would have you see me, I would have you learn me anew
Just so I would have the honor of doing the same. With you.
Yet, here we are. Swimming in the wreckage of grand plans gone adrift.
I’ve never been conscripted, but o the wars I’ve fought!
Trying to justify, trying to explain, trying to make you understand.
And then I wonder – whatever happened to “May Allah guide us”?
Whatever happened to letting things unfold according to His will?
If nothing truly happens without our Creator’s acknowledgement,
whatever happened to trusting that this is how it’s meant to be?
That maybe, maybe this hybrid of a person the earth coughed up,
Is exactly who she’s supposed to be?
Choose your battles, not every one is meant to be fought.
This particular war I thus renounce without another thought.
I will never be [….] enough – not for you, not for them, sometimes not even for me
But that’s okay, because I’m still a work in progress, a hybrid being ever formulated
And if it be His will that I be broken down and built up anew multiple times on end
Who am I to say otherwise?
Hybrid. The glamor of being in-between.
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.