A girl is allowed to change her mind

My heart ached when I recently discovered that I do not hold the same values of around four years ago. Not that I do not welcome change, it’s just that this disrupted my smooth-tracking train of thought. I have always felt indifferent about Valentine’s Day. I did not hate it as such, but felt hostile towards it. I always felt like I would not want to fall into the pressures and demands of red and white marketing schemes and strategies. Furthermore, I truly believed that my boyfriend and I live Valentine’s Day everyday just by the mere virtue of being with each other daily and being evermore so besotted. But no, the pressures got to me. Cupid aimed his arrow at me and I was struck. I found myself in discomfort over how I would approach my boyfriend about this conjured desire that is so sudden, and quite frankly, unreasonable. Or is it? Does a girl have a right to change her mind? Let us trace the events leading up to this change of heart.
I feel strongly about the impact colonialism has had on the colonised subject closer to home; this being myself, for one, my immediate family and my immediate community, notwithstanding an African people as a whole. I have published several works on this matter, and one in particular dealing with the holidays and beliefs that are totally arbitrary to the African. This particular piece of writing interrogated the relevance of Easter’s paraphernalia, like the wonder of bunnies that lay eggs; or that fat white man in a red suit who apparently sits all year in the north pole, receiving wish lists from children all around the world and delivering these wishes to them all in one day, arriving on reindeers with sleighs nogal! Another wonder that never made sense was, hold on, Valentine’s Day. It seemed too far-fetched an idea for me to even consider. Never mind fall for it. So you can understand my disruption in beliefs when I, all of a sudden, wanted anything ranging from a stuffed toy, chocolates, or even a card; all this for a day that I always found too outdated and foreign to my reality. I have always viewed cupid as some Greek, neo-platonic, mythical archetype who has lost meaning and probably gained new, arbitrary meaning over the last five hundred years or so.
See, my boyfriend shared these sentiments when we met four years ago so you can imagine his surprise when I carefully raised the subject on the twelfth of February this year. The moment called for an “I thought we spoke about this” speech. I must admit my approach was tactless. I should have taken time to think of how I would overturn everything we believed in, hence risking the “this is not the woman I fell in love with” sort of abrupt thinking. To be honest, it is the doubt that I had towards this sensitive matter that made my words come out like empty vessels - I could not back them up confidently. And add to that, the location and timing were completely wrong. The words just blurted out of me while I was behind the wheel, cruising down Old Potch Road in Soweto, “babe are you gonna get me something for Valentine’s day?” Talk about tacky — wrong approach, no eye contact, and a general lack of poise. “Oh, is it Valentine’s day?” oh, no! Now we even live in different worlds! Which world has he been in that does not have in-your-face Cardies sales, red and white balloons and the advertisements that prompt one to send one’s spouse love sms’s? There is no avoiding these messages. Or could you avoid them if your mind is made up by solid decisions you have taken about your life? Am I shallow and fickle? Why can I not stick to the beliefs I initially relayed upon this man that I so love? But change is a constant and we are seeking courage to embrace each other for the ever-progressing individuals we are. I have decided not to be hard on myself. A girl is allowed to change her mind. And with enough thought put into the next ‘approach’ for next Valentine’s, I shall not lose!

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