I have heard the question ‘are you married?’ more than the birthday wishes I receive annually. At first, I used to sheepishly answer ‘no oooo, not yet’, then I continued to ‘very soon’. After a while, I started claiming it by fire by force, claiming that the man is on his way to meet me. All these haven’t changed the fact that some years down the line, I am still not married.
I have been in relationships that were good and some bad. The good ones happened when I was much younger and not ready to settle down; but the bad ones have taught me the lesson of a lifetime. My last one got me dishing out my money on a regular basis. All he had to do was come up with some story of being unable to carry out some projects due to some financial incapability. I was earning twice as much as he earned, would take a cab to and from his place on weekends. Sweet Lover Boy would just stand by the cab and wave me bye when he was leaving. I would cook his favourite dishes too; all he had to do was say what he wanted to eat. All these were with my very hard earned Naira. I never missed a moment to surprise him – buying gifts, calling him hourly- all because I wanted a ring on my finger.
It eventually collapsed after I met his mum. Because, seemingly for no reason, she did not like me and found me not worthy of her son. It was too late to count my losses. How can I forget? He even lost his job mid-way into our 8 months relationship and yes, the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 would have had to contest with me if she had a face. I was fending for both son and mother. Lover boy would always complain of B if he got A and complain about D when I made sure he eventually got B.
Before you start saying ‘maybe, you are not good looking’, I dare say that if it was beauty that kept a man, then Prince Charles would never have left Diana. I am 5’7 and pretty. However, the men I have met after my ‘tales in hell’ relationship are either married or about to get married. That is not a life I would want for myself. Before you also say maybe you gave too much away by cooking his meals or being generous or sympathetic, I say to you ‘how can you please the world’?
The guy I dated before Sweet Lover Boy got me something new every time we met, took me to places I had only dreamed of, but I never got him anything. At a point, he felt I was stingy. I never called with my airtime despite his purchases of same for me. When we eventually broke up, he told me to my face that I did not love him. In retrospect, I loved him, but I was with the mindset that giving a man anything would cheapen the reason of their existence. It hurt me when we broke up and then I resolved to give and give and give and give in my next relationship.
Almost all of my friends and colleagues are married, and from the look of things, it seems like a good place to be in. The ‘my husband’, ‘my wife’ tales are good to listen to sometimes. To love and be loved is the sweetest thing that could ever happen to anyone. I desire that. In the meantime, I am where I am, fasting and praying for this man.
Like couples long for a child and ache at the sight of toys or children parties, I long for an engagement ring and to splatter my wedding pictures on Facebook (whether high profile or not), I long to gist others about ‘my husband did this or said this’ (whether true or not).
Until he comes, I am here, focusing on other things, moving my life forward, being a better person every day. Technology has a bank for sperm or eggs for couples experiencing infertility, sadly, there isn’t any for men.
So, friends and colleagues, church members and distant relatives, until you show me the market where to buy one from, please stop asking me if I am married
I found this article as I was browsing and reading some news stories from CNN news page. It is written by China Okasi written for CNN Opinion. click this link to read. http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/16/opinion/okasi-african-moms/index.html?hpt=op_t1
I could not help but agree. Most moms have push their daughter into a lot of crises. for those who can’t open the link. Here is the full article
Moms everywhere like to ask their unmarried daughters dreaded questions like: Why are you still single? Are you married yet? Anyone catch your eye? Especially around Valentine’s Day.
Sure, we’ve seen Carrie Bradshaw agonize over the issue, watched Bridget Jones’ awkwardness around it, heard Amelie’s lamentations au Francais, and we’ve even heard from the lovable Mindy Kaling vis-a-vis her Indian-American perspective. But, we haven’t heard the modern African woman’s story. Being an unmarried African woman in her childbearing years is like being a manicurist with a hand tremor: very odd and rather tricky. She is expected to marry early and marry well.
African mothers, then, are in a deep crisis. They immigrated to the United States with the hopes that their daughters would get a good education and fulfill the American Dream. But they never considered that, along with having all that modernity, their daughters would, like the rest of America’s young, empowered women, be so “late” in marriage. Granted, African moms are not alone in their hopes. But still, some of them seem particularly affected. What shall they do?
Well, first, they might accept that their daughters have not just a “double consciousness,” as W. E. B. Dubois termed it, but rather infinite consciousnesses, complicating their very blackness. If an upper middle-class girl has one or more African parents, for example, she has likely schooled in the United States or Europe — maybe even a generation after her own parents have.
And she has likely spent a fair amount of time in London via Lagos, a common lifestyle practice for those of formerly colonized African countries. If she has lived down South, say in Texas, for some time, she has likely acquired a George Bush twang for survival sake. If she has taken up a neuroscience residency in Boston (which, of course, she must, if she is African), she might now sound like Matt Damon’s sister. And the minute she wins an accolade in some not-so-diverse department (which, of course, she must, being African), she’ll be labeled the “first African-American” to have done so. In short, she is global. If she is living in a melting pot like New York, she is global on steroids. Naturally, global girls outgrow such local traditions as arranged marriages, dowry and bride price, which have not been exclusive to African tradition (see the English period drama, “Downton Abbey”) but have certainly lingered longer in homes of African descent.
African moms need to accept that globalism has allowed their daughters to know the world better, and as a result, seek partnerships more wisely. This process of self-determination takes a tad longer to form than setting up an arranged marriage.
Thankfully, my mom, educated in America, a New Yorker and rather global, has not been as insistent on marriage with me. But it seems like only yesterday her older sister, my aunt, warned about the dangers of waiting too long, or being too educated, to be married.
Really, if you’ve watched Maggie Smith’s blunt character, Lady Violet Crawley, in “Downton Abbey,” you have watched my aunt. Despite being an accomplished woman who acquired a Ph.D. later in life, she praised my graceful exit from my doctoral program. I’d just turned 21 when I’d chosen a rather eccentric doctoral study. In her words: “What man would marry a 20-something-year-old Ph.D.-holder?” It would be too intimidating to men.
“I’d do better to tone it down a bit,” she suggested. Which brings me to my second plea to African moms. If you want your daughter to be as happy or happier than you have been in marriage, it makes no sense that she should dumb down the colorfulness of her character, the boldness of her spirit and the fire that made her the “first African-American” this or that in order to appease those who are potentially intimidated by her. If you’d never match a conservative Christian with a flagrant porn star, it’s not clear why today’s educated woman should edit herself in hopes of attracting a feeble idiot. Yes, she’d be married, but then she’d live only to repress herself for someone else’s ego — and what kind of message would that be for the children?
You see, dear African moms, global girls need global boys. Not intimidated ones.
We can sit and try to make sense of why one kind of match would work or not work for a global girl, but we must concede that love is messy and unpredictable. Love is not like your daughter’s medical career with a blueprint to follow, or like a GPS map that can calculate the distance between Addis and Accra.
Yesterday’s woman wanted marriage. Today’s woman wants love — and marriage, if it turns out that way. Olivia Pope’s character in the TV series “Scandal” spoke quite unapologetically for today’s woman when she said: “I could probably give all this up, and live in a country house and have babies and be normal. I could. But I don’t want to. I’m not built for it. I don’t want normal and easy…and simple. I want…painful, difficult…devastating…life-changing…extraordinary love.” Extraordinary love? Sometimes, dear African moms, that process is just a little more complicated than marrying your cousin like in the 18th century. So, you’ll just have to be patient.
I thought I should share this beautiful piece with you, written by Omonike Odi. Happy reading!
This year, I dedicate my valentine’s piece not to the market segment that February 14th has become branded and commercialized for, but to the lovers it ignores.
To the lovers who got stuck on the way and unable to figure it out, gave up and parted ways.
To the hearts stuck in reverse praying a lost love back home.
To the newcomer who has found himself in a virgin place of vulnerability.
To the fearful, afraid to take the plunge.
To the unprepared shocked that so hard a thing as love would be demanded of them.
To the one who has been there and done that, and has now taken form in a cold heart banging the door firmly and finally on love.
No I do not ignore the lover who is folded in a nurturing embrace where she has found her heart’s resting place, for I completely understand her. I know her joy, I muse at her abandon, I understand her smile and I recognize her rich laughter, no I don’t ignore her, not at all! Yes, I see her and the world sees her.
But what about the one who hides what lies beneath, what must not be known, what must not be seen? The one who scolds her desire like it’s a bastard child, turning her face adamantly away from it as though she was raped by love and now she hates its child- this bundle of weakening emotions that remind her of hungry thrusts that took and took and took.
I am writing for the disappointed who thought that love will be the missing link that makes life complete.
I am writing for the true lover who came to love on a level ground and gave it 100% but found something else. Although it was called love, it manifested itself as selfish and one- sided.
I am writing for the soul like a bruised reed bent in the wind, praying her broken heart won’t break. No I do not ignore the lover who is secure in a love that understands, that accommodates, and does her no wrong.
But what about the one who found herself ravaged like a house without gates. The one attacked by enemy forces banging against her walls of defense. With one last heave they reach her deepest, and all she hears is the eerie harmony of voices; his pitch with stolen pleasure, hers only cry, tears a last defense.
This season, I write acknowledging the women on both sides of the valentine dream. For the woman experiencing the phantom and the woman experiencing the fantasy of valentine. For the woman ensconced and the woman scorned. For the woman fallen in love and the woman fallen out of love.
At the end of the day, it is not about how we have been loved but about how we have loved – wrongly or rightly; poorly or richly; sparingly or generously.
For all the lovers out there, do have a Happy Valentine’s day!
Love is in the air but how many people really show love. You see, love is such a powerful drug: that pure, true and un-adultered love; the kind that makes you give your all without question. It is one emotion that I am thankful that I have experienced. It is one thing that I always pray that more people will share because it truly makes the world a better place. It is one emotion which needs to be constantly expressed AND shown in order for it to be effective.
So as you celebrate Valentine ’s Day, and as you go out to buy those gifts for that special somebody, remember that love is a lifetime feeling. It is not all about people you know, but people at the corner that you have never taken time to notice. It’s not limited to that one day but something that must constantly be expressed and shown. Love should be true and real because you really don’t know how much time you have left. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been hurt before, it is an emotion so powerful that with it, we really can change the world.
Tell someone you love them today, show them how much you care and believe it you will be amazed what you will receive in return.
Love you all
I lost the habit of making new year resolutions when I realised I never kept them. It was all well and good to resolve to take up tennis, despite the fact that I am the most non-athletic human being I know, but that resolve and many others like it died a quick and natural death over the year usually before the 5th of January.
What I’ve found works better for me though, is taking what I’ve learned in the preceding year, and deciding how I’m going to extend or build on it; this way, I know I’m growing, and I also know I’m not just pulling plans and resolutions out of a hat. If it’s all right by you, I’d like to share some of these lessons with you.
I’ve become better at valuing my worth for potential business partners and employers and to get to work with that valuation in mind. Last year, I learned to calculate my value based on skills that I was bringing to the table. This year, I will build on that, acquiring measurable and realistic skills and demonstrating consistent and progressive growth.
I usually know the answers. Growing up, I got very used to questioning, rationalizing and second guessing my every idea. In 2012, I came to the slightly shocking conclusion that I usually have a good idea not only of what is best for me, but what I need to do to achieve that I want. I will develop that skill this year and learn to listen to that person inside me who is more daring, more confident and infinitely wiser than I ever dreamed.
I fell in love with me: With all the attention on love and subsequent heartbreak, gaining and losing jobs and generally getting my hustle on, I forgot who I was. Last year, I started to find myself again. I rediscovered old loves and discovered new ones. I took myself on dates, learned to identify the things that make me happy and went on a personal rebranding scheme. I realised that somewhere in time, without my notice, I had finally blossomed into this incredible woman I used to dream of being. In 2013, this incredible woman will continue her journey of personal growth and transformation. I’ve discovered that I have the Xfactor that I’ve spent much of my life looking for in other people. This year, I will learn how to package and show off the wonderful person that happens to be me.
So, I’m going to turn this back to you. Do you ever get that itch that tells you that you can do something you’ve always dreamed of? Tired yet of backstabbing and insincere friends who you know you’re better off without? Have you ever woken up and wondered who the stranger in the mirror is? Who knows, this might be the year that starts the process that will change your life. I’m excited about 2013, and in seeing these lessons and goals translated in the various aspects of my life.
HAVE A BEAUTIFUL 2013
Have a merry Christmas everybody