Over the years I have struggled to understand why men and women are so different, in my younger years I was convinced that the only thing that separated the genders were body parts but sometimes it feels as if we are so far apart we live on different planets. I thought that it started making a lot more sense to me and I had finally figured out the Pythagoras theorem type code, but then I moved in with my long-term boyfriend and that showed me that there are some serious levels to this game we call love and war. I definitely wouldn’t say I have my life figured out because we don’t own this life so have no idea where it will take us, but I plan and when my plans lead me towards a different destination I re-route just like a Satnav would and continue on because if not I would freak out and be lost. How I got to this profound way of living you ask, lots of failed attempts at life (I mean lots), understanding that I cannot control all aspects of my life, getting closer to my faith and most important having positive role models to guide me in the right direction.
And upon deep reflection, I think this is the main factor that divides the 2 genders. I love Wretch 32 who is renowned for speaking his mind about issues relating to culture, colourism and community differences. On his project FR32 he has a song called Thugs Prayer which depicts people within their moments of weakness seeking support from higher beings. A line in the track reads “we didn’t need designers we needed guidance” and I believe it really explains where some of the difficulty lies. When I talk to the different males around me the common missing factor is always guidance and the lack of role models around them in the formative years of their lives. Although a lot of them are surrounded by many friends and influences that could have a positive impact, the ethos of nurturing and teaching is not always seen as compulsory for their development.
My background is nowhere near privileged, I come from a single-parent home with an absentee father and attended a school in Hackney. Not the hipster loving, bicycle riding Hackney we see now but the much rougher and more abandoned Hackney. I could have been very different from what I am today, but what gave me a chance was the morals and values instilled in me from as long as I can remember from my mother. She was a hardworking woman with 2 young girls she knew needed to have the knowledge and education on their sides to succeed in this tough world and made it her priority to do so. I find that Boys are not given that opportunity, they are often left to their own devices to figure things out for themselves or are fed the idea that their main focus is about making enough money, so they can stunt on others with high-class designers and use that to get the attention of other women.
Life is deep, meaningful and incredibly hard, so in order to win at it takes conscious teachings from elders and personal reflection. My constant gripe as a woman and a girlfriend is that it has been put out into the world that the shortcomings of men are to be accepted by us as they require more time to grow. Time is for sure is a mentor and a healer, but how can they change their ways when there are no mechanisms in place to aid or apply pressure in order for it to become a requirement and not a suggestion? For us to become the best versions of ourselves we have to be answerable to something and I have found that lessons taught to young girls is more about how to enable a man, but no lessons for boys on how to become pillars of their communities, or the responsibility of guidance that will be bestowed upon them within their latter years.
For anything to be different the narrative needs to be changed, it needs to be a priority for men to be mentored throughout life and made accountable for their weaknesses and faults as well as being celebrated for being providers for their families so that those teachings can be shared with those coming up after them. I for one am tired of watching our young boys fall victim to the cold streets who have nothing to offer them but false pretences and pain. Prosperity is beautiful and something we all hope for, but lessons are learnt better with love and nurturing at the forefront.