“There is potential, fire, in us that only comes out when we are stretched.”
My First Decade
Love is not a scam
Love is not a scam. It is the first thing I ever remember and it dominated the first decade of my life. Our parents taught us to love God and to have love for each other. Pure love, true and fresh. My father was my first love. Being his first girl and a beautiful one at that, dad was so overjoyed that he took me with him wherever he went. I was that kind of baby who everyone loved to dote on because I was adorable and beautiful. And even as I grew, and even though I was a shy child, it was easy to make friends in my neighbourhood and at school. Besides, I was very academically inclined; a recipient of many Speech and Prize Giving Awards. Every parent’s dream child. On the basis of the above, it looked as if my life’s story was already written and the script was perfect.
My Second Decade
My second decade was quite dramatic. The decade itself was ushered in with changes. My mom left Ghana to work in the UK resulting in us being relocated to our beloved maternal grandmother’s house. Something which left me with many pleasant memories years later. Grandma was a baker and not only was I too willing to take on the role of a ‘baker’s assistant,’ but I was also quite proud to take on some responsibility for my younger ones.
A few more years into the decade and I was in high school. A period characterized by a certain level of freedom, I was away from home. This phase saw a new awareness of self that made me want to fly. Like reckless flying. A drunk butterfly. Instead of concentrating on my studies, I spent time socializing and making new friends leading to a plunge in my academic performance. I was only too lucky to have dad’s unconditional love to lean against.
It was at the last phase of my second decade that life gave me my first lemon. Nothing prepared me for the shattering experience I was going to face. It was heartbreaking. I had moved to the UK for further studies and whilst I was away, I received the news that broke my heart for the first time. My father was dead. At the mere age of 46 years old. It was so devastating! Who was going to love me like he did? Tell me that I was Ghana’s and even the world’s most beautiful? Proudly show me off to his friends and say all the wonderful things I was accomplishing even if they were only minor in my eyes?
In this life everyone has their own cross to carry, their own path to tread and their own life to live. Don’t be bitter, jealous or envious of anyone. God put in each of us special and different abilities and a purpose to fulfil in life. That should be our main reason for existence
My Third Decade
Growing Up Fast
What a way to enter my third decade! I grew up fast. It didn’t occur to me then that the fire in me was being stoked when I picked up the pieces, held my head high and took up responsibility, to help my widowed mother bear her now extra burden of raising five children alone. I didn’t realize that by taking up jobs in retail shops like Marks and Spencer’s, Next and Peacocks, doing a stint at a Finance House in WestMinster, and helping my mother with her African Food export business, I was responding to life’s challenge as it whispered, “Go girl!’ ‘You can do it,’ ’Don’t give up. ‘You have potential.’
Then in 2004, towards the last phase of my third decade, something good happened to me. Love. Or so I thought at the time. It was like some sort of madness tugging at the strings of my heart. It brought out the colour in everything; the green in the grass, the popping colours in the flowers, even the hues of fallen autumn time leaves were to me a richer shade of brown. It was as if life was compensating me for the loss of my dad, saying to me, “child you have suffered, here is a little something,” for, I met and fell in love with my childhood heart throb in London.
In 2007, while pursuing a course in Business Administration & Human Resources Management at Oxford Brooks University, I fell pregnant and chose to defer my course. We got engaged in 2009 and I had my daughter in that same year. In 2010, my partner got a job offer in Accra, Ghana so we relocated to Accra. What I didn’t know was that life was hiding around the corner, its arms widely stretched, waiting to give me my second lemon. My blissful marriage was about to be hit hard by crises. When we relocated to Ghana, our marriage was fraught with many challenges. The burden of living in our in-laws’ outhouse, and the meager and inconsistent earnings of my husband made life unbearable. In indomitable Blondie (movie character) style, I rose up to the occasion of finding a job to support my young family. This show of strength was not well received by my husband and his family and it led to the breakdown of our relationship, eventually resulting in a divorce. I felt like a failure. I loved marriage. I almost committed suicide.
Once again, life was stretching me but the fire in me was blazing. I held on to hope with my firmest grip ever, picked myself up and reared up to go. I wasn’t called Blondie for nothing.
Working with this couple shaped my life positively because it changed my mindset and my attitude. In my decade of service, I wore many hats. I was like the Jack of all trades, from executive to chef to cleaner to laundry-lady to odd job person to secretary and all. I juggled roles to wear the most needed hat at every point in time.
Perhaps, I will title the second half of my fourth decade, ‘Evolving.’ I hadn’t arrived, but I was getting there. I was ready to soar. In March 2021, I decided to resign in order to pursue my dream of being an entrepreneur like my grandmother, father and my mother before me. I also wanted to spend more time raising my children. My frequent absences had started to be a problem for them and I didn’t want them to begin to resent me or the church because that took so much of my time.
With my employers’ blessings I set up my business and got an office space on the Boundary Rd in East Legon. Perhaps working as a ‘jack of all trades’ equipped me with multi- tasking skills. It is no wonder then that I have set up multiple related businesses which are all doing well.