This is the story of how I came to be a city girl, the evolution of a small town girl into a whole revolution.
Every small town girls dream is to move to the big city. Every ghetto girls dream is to live across town in the big houses with eternally green lawns and endless drive ways. At least where I am from that was the idea.
We all wanted to live “the good life”, distinguished from “a good life” by the fact that it wasn’t peace of mind we were looking for – but luxury.
Interestingly in my language one word describes both things.
You would think it’s the same thing. But not quite. The distinction is everything.
In our young minds “rugare” was to be a black girl in the city. Educated. Employed. Salaried. Because that meant you could buy anything you wanted. It meant having long straight hair, tons of clothes, with a bag and shoes to match for every outfit.
It meant rows upon rows of shoes and lifesize mannequins draped in your jewellery just waiting for you to choose.
It meant eating out, ordering from a menu, sipping drinks nonchalantly and inevitably meeting in those upper class joints men and women with more than enough potential to become good friends, lovers and valuable business connections.
Oh, the cars we would drive!
The trips we would take! Paris. Jamaica. Hawaii. Even Siberia would do, braving the cold for the scenery 🙃
We came to the city and we found freedom. She welcomed us with open arms and handed us opportunity. We walked into lecture rooms, interview rooms and boardrooms nervous and evolved into bold leaders. We paid homage in her cafes, theatres and bars. We met money for the first time and developed a taste for it. We found love and made a life.
And as we were gushing over all of her gifts she swallowed us whole and chewed all the bones. Ate us like Sunday chicken!
We became big girls chasing dreams in between working hours and weekends. Dreading Mondays like a curse and worshipping Friday like a god. Juggling 99 things, barely coming up for air.
It’s been a good life, sigh. Some of us even had “the good life”. The life of luxury and opulence that we came to seek.
The only problem with the big city is this. She is a benevolent host when you can pay the toll but she is not really home to anyone. Never can be.
When you go broke you go back home.
When you need peace and quiet you go back home.
When you die you go back home.
Maybe Rugare, the real good life, is right were we started off. Enveloped in the skirts of our villages and little towns. Back when sunrises and sunsets marked time and birdsong was the soundtrack to our lives.
Rugare. Peace. That’s the one true luxury. That’s the real good life.
Disclaimer: All the images used in this post are not mine. Their use is a homage to the talented creators of black art. May their pens never run dry.