Jess and I have plenty of conversations, I do love him, more than I allow myself to admit and, I have told him several times my feelings for him. He loves me too, that I know. But I do have anxiety issues and a bit of paranoia, It is because I know of these for a fact that I can keep them at bay.
But I realised that when it comes to the people, and the things I love, it becomes quite difficult for me to keep putting both my paranoia and anxiety issues at bay. Let us take for example the day I realized that I was finally and actually in love with Jess.
He had dropped me off home, and on his way back, he realized that I had left my phone in his car, so he called my sister and asked to speak to me, and proposed that I meet him halfway for it.
I agreed and set off home. I stood where I thought I heard him mention as the proposed place to wait for close to 3 hours. It was getting dark and I stood there with fear in my heart. I imagined every horrible scenario happenings, as the reason he couldn't make it to the rendezvous. I had a panic attack and was visibly shaking, then I realized, oh shit! I love him.
In the end, Jess was fine. We just missed our meeting point.
After that incident our conversations started. And out of those, Jess made a funny comment about how he thinks, the only thing that could come between us, is food.
That made me laugh, I love eating, and Jess loves making food, so it's a perfect arrangement for us. He thinks my love for food is enough to be a deal breaker I ever needed an excuse to want out, I thought so too.
It was the book that sang, and someting that might happen in the not-so-far future, that changed my mind.
The book was about a man. A black man fell in love with a white girl. This book was set in the year 2021, a progressive year, but with people of color facing the same challenges as before.
I renamed it "the book that sung" because the words in the book, floated in my brain for months till I could make a song out of it.
At the very beginning of our relationship, Jess and I knew we were both traveling out of our mother country (Ghana) to continue our studies. We didn't count on our schools being in the same country, as well as just an hour and a half away from each other, but they did. We do love the arrangement.
But I one day talked about going back home someday, after maybe working and staying abroad for a while, and Jess doesn't seem to share the same idea. It is often not my way to continuously talk about an issue or raise arguments, so I made that issue slide.
At the very back of my mind, the issue persists silently. There is always an ongoing war in my mind and it always rounds back to the book that was sung. The black man.
He was going through the same turmoil after being racially profiled, I read that book with my heart, and whenever I walk around, be it in school or outside, I feel this imposter syndrome.
I do not belong, is what I tell myself and even a random person's laughter or even stare seems to confirm my thoughts.
I walked into a shop to buy something just last week, and I asked the man behind the counter if he had the item I was looking for, and he sort of waved me away without actually listening to me. I did try to make light of the situation, but I couldn't do that for long, I just kept remembering the book, the book that was sung.
For the sake of Jess, I am trying to like it here, I am boosting myself with enough confidence not to be bothered about being the only black girl on a train, bus, or place. But that doesn't cancel out the urge to want to go back home one day, even if it's after ten or twenty years. I want back to that which is familiar, comfortable, and welcoming.
A black American who once visited Ghana during one of the December festivals geared towards promoting tourism mentioned how walking around in the streets of Accra felt liberating. Because there she is not seen as an African American. She is just another PERSON, going her way.
I have lived in such liberation for a full 28years, it will take a lot for me to get used to this and I am sad. I hope it takes nothing from me, but I can only lie to myself for a short while.
Maybe, in a year, I will come back and refer to this article more certain, bolder, and sure of myself.
Until then, this is a little black girl's way of survival in a foreign land. She's writing.
© 2022 Akosua Ago Mansa