YOU LOVE PEOPLE, YOU DON’T OWN THEM.
Born A Crime by Trevor Noah is an exceptionally good read. In the book, Trevor narrates his experience as a mixed-race young boy in South Africa during the apartheid regime. He explains the racial segregation that took place in South Africa and numerous ways that he found suitable to help him manoeuvre.
In the book, Trevor shares the story of his beloved dog Fufi who was brought home by his mother Patricia after his cats had been mutilated. Noah quickly took up to Fufi after all the cats had never been fond of him. He loved Fufi more than anything. He trained her, slept with her, and taught her tricks. Fufi could jump so high, she could jump above his head. Noah and Patricia started coming home to Fufi waiting outside the gate of their house. They never understood how she got out.
Noah stayed home from school one day and discovered Fufi’s secret. Trevor Noah’s Fufi would wait until they had left, then jump to the top of the five-foot wall and scramble over. Noah followed Fufi and saw her jump the wall into another yard. When he asked the boy who lived there if he could get his dog from the yard, the boy said Fufi was his dog. Noah tried to call Fufi, but she couldn’t hear him and didn’t know her name. Of course, Noah didn’t know this. He would later narrate the story to the mother, who would offer to pay 100 rand in order to get Fufi but the other boy would not have hit. This hurt Noah, because to him Fufi was his and seeing him with another boy did not sit well with him,
Fufi was my first heartbreak. No one has ever betrayed me more than Fufi. It was a valuable lesson to me. The hard thing was understanding that Fufi wasn’t cheating on me with another boy. She was merely living her life to the fullest. Until I knew that she was going out on her own during the day, her other relationship hadn’t affected me at all. Fufi had no malicious intent.
I believed that Fufi was my dog, but of course that wasn’t true. Fufi was a dog. I was a boy. We got along well. She happened to live in my house. That experience shaped what I’ve felt about relationships for the rest of my life: You do not own the thing that you love.~Trevor Noah.
I called her at around 8.00 p.m as is the occasional norm. The call normally lasts for close to an hour or two depending on the stories we are trading or the topic at hand. During this call, we will discuss our plans for our respective future. Our ambitions, desires and the different yet similar paths we would like our lives to take. Our conversations revolve a lot around our careers, men, kids who were not in the books for us, financial literacy and its underrated importance among women, black women. We wanted to change the status quo, to stand out, to be different. The blueprint we each had drawn was one that spoke black excellence and rigorous women empowerment. In this time and era, millennials and Generation Z are leaving marks, they are creating an impact and for the two of us it was no different, we had our lungs filled with air full of change. We were going to be different or so we thought!
You can imagine my utter shock when she mentioned that she was expecting. I was thrown back. To paint the picture, I was in sheer disbelief so much that my plate of ramen noodles was no longer appealing.”This was not the plan” It was not part of the road map that we were to follow at, least not in 2020 with the looming pandemic. My mind started racing. As a woman who is very much aware of her indifference when it comes to kids, I was disappointed. I felt cheated and betrayed. I felt like my time resources and pieces of advice had gone. I was hurt, very much so mainly because we had discussed children and had both come to the conclusion that in our current financial, spiritual and emotional state we or maybe I was not ready for that kind of strenuous responsibility. Being a realist and a firm believer of having plan A, B and C just in case the other two fail, I inquired of the plans at hand. Did they have a gynaecologist, Did they have a hospital ready?, How much was she and the partner ready?, How has the transition been?, Have the parents been informed? Some of these equations did not make it to her ears, because who wants to overwhelm an expecting woman? Not me.
We ended our call because my friend needs her beauty sleep most importantly right now that she is caring for two but I was still left in a trance. As I have mentioned I’m very disinterested in bringing forth progeny. Kids do not excite me in any way and the plans of having one or two are not on the horizon. The plans I have for myself don't include a child, especially an unplanned one. In the same breath, this is neither my story nor my life. This is the life of a young intelligent and ambitious woman (I don't think these change when one is expecting) who is taking the bulls by the horn. A woman who has decided to brave the path of motherhood and in a few months will bring forth a bundle of joy. A woman who won’t lose sight of her goals just because she is with child.A woman who will follow her dreams as she’s not only chasing them for herself but for her child who she is well aware of the fact that she will be it’s first role model.
Motherhood is a life-changing process (I've heard) which requires all hands on deck. Just like Trevor and Fufi, I have had to learn the hard way that you love people you don't own them and that no matter how much you want for or are involved in an individuals life, they have every right to choose what suits them and what's best for them whether or not you agree with this. I don't know what the future holds but I think I’m ready to be an aunt.
You love people you don't own them so let them do and be them.