Wednesday, 7 March 2012
then you start wanting more of a response, you want him to be more involved in the relationship...you want him to be more like *drumroll* YOU!
is it you who has no clue whether you want your partner nice and quiet, calm and melancholy; so that you remain "sweet" and he "sour"?
or is it simply growing pains?
do all relationships hit this phase?
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Always wondered about the experience of the Nigerian woman and what becomes of her social life after she’s married with kids. Enter our first subject –Tina; social butterfly in university. Was at every club party and hung out with all the cool kids. Then Adebisi... normal social life, not necessarily the life of the party, average mingler, partied hard only occasionally; perhaps stricter parental controls existed in her family.
Two things are likely to happen. Tina would end up with a mingler as a husband; suiting her personality who wouldn’t mind leaving the kids with the househelp and going clubbing till 4am. He may be more tolerant of her social life because he met her that way, and is used to her personality by now. He would not begin to suspect her of cheating if she suddenly begins to go out more frequently. He knows she is a social butterfly.
Adebisi may meet Tina, they would become fast friends, and Bisi would begin to aspire to Tina’s lifestyle. She may begin to try to regain the youth she lost. Debisi’s husband however, would not be used to the sudden change in her behaviour and her need to want to explore. She may begin to resent his authority when he stops her from attending too many social functions or engaging in activities that are “unlike her”.
Whatever the case, I noticed that some women struggle with being under authority and personality changes. As a young girl, she is under the exclusive jurisdiction of her father and whatever he says is law. The bible says to honour your father and mother so that your days on earth may be long. As if that is not frustrating enough; when she eventually leaves her father’s house and gains her “freedom”, so to speak, as a wife, her husband wields authority. And if she is a Christian, submission is the order of the day. Good Christian wives do as told by their husbands. Im sure you’re beginning to say that the bible appears to be a real roadblock! If he does not like clubbing, you don’t go out clubbing, if he does not like the friends you keep, you stop seeing them, if he doesn’t like eating food that isn’t freshly cooked, you make a new dish everyday and throw away freezer food, if you have young kids, you refrain from going out altogether expect it is absolutely necessary eg market for foodstuff.
What I am trying to say is that she goes from authority to authority, never really being able to be her own boss, and having to explain herself if she suddenly finds joy in activities that weren’t her favourites before. One would reason that she is an adult who should be able to decide what is morally right or wrong, without her husband’s involvement. But it seems as though women never really grow to the point where they can decide things without a man’s involvement. Indeed, it used to be the culture that a woman must never leave her house unaccompanied by a man (perhaps for protection purposes). It didn’t matter if her escort was a 7yr old boy barely reaching her waist.
It begins to appear as if marriage and children are incompatible with an active social life. If she goes out too often and begins to get photographed and put in best-dressed lists, she is tagged “a socialite” aka woman of easy virtue; even though that may not be the case. She may go from frustration to resentment; and a host of other complex feelings which her husband may be unable to understand. He would wonder why she needs to go out to have fun. He would wonder why she cannot derive joy from her children’s faces and delight in her husband. He may not understand that even the best mothers need off days and some down-time. That sometimes, it really is just a harmless tete a tete with fellow wives and girlfriends. That sometimes she wants to walk down the road and get eye-balled by other men and reassurances that she is still beautiful even after 3 kids.
It is a complex existence... the reality of the Nigerian wife and mother. But it can be beautiful if you choose the right partner. It may be fulfilling if he allows you to grow, and be the best that you can be.
I am absolutely appalled that it has taken me so long to write ... last post was in March...tsk tsk. In my defence, a lot has happened in my life since then- graduated from university, moved back to Nigeria and Law School is what is happening now. Moving countries is no joke mehn! Shet!! Anyway, I promise to update more frequently (‘tho epileptic power supply n dodgy internet service might be an issue here...)
Does the bride price a man has to pay before marrying a woman determine the quality of life she should expect in marriage? Should it represent her value and self-worth? Will it determine how much burden she may have to shoulder in future?
Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria are famous for their exorbitant bride price. They believe the bride price should adequately reflect the years of work her parents have put into grooming her and making her the woman the husband now desires so strongly. An acquaintance was recently telling me the amount of money he was requested to pay for his fiancée; about half a million naira, George wrappers for the women in the community; yams and other items for the children of the family; certain items to be given to the age-grade...etc. He said that he eventually did what he could and told them that he couldn’t afford the rest; and if they are not in agreement, they should keep their daughter. If the bride he seeks to marry has been educated up to university, her bride price will vary considerably from the one who did not attend higher education. If she was Western-educated, her value shoots up like real estate in GRA. Where the man is able to afford it, the bride can be rest assured that she will not suffer financially in future (Unless of course his business burns down or some other freaky thing). The only problem that may arise is that the man may begin to view his bride as property, since he literally bought her and paid so much! Whatever he says, best believe it is LAW! I have heard of instances where, upon separation or divorce, the husband requests for the gifts he gave to his bride’s family back!
Hausa people, especially Muslims also have to be financially buoyant before thinking about marriage. The family background of the wife would greatly determine the amount of items that would be required of the husband. Hausa weddings are usually a 5-day affair, and include “budan-kai” (meaning unveiling of the bride), “sa lai-lai” (wearing of decorative henna), “Nikkai” and a host of other very interesting activities. A number of suitcases, sometimes up to 12, filled with Ankara material and French lace of superior quality, gold sets, trinkets and adornments must be given by the man as bride price. If it is a bourgeois background, she would prefer Saudi Gold, and the Shopping to be done in Dubai, Bahrain etc. The bride’s parents will provide furniture for her to decorate her new home with and foodstuffs to last about a year. It is believed that she should have everything she would require for her new life.
Yoruba people on the other hand (where I’m from) collect a pittance for bride price. The bride price is more symbolic than substantial. I attended a wedding of a close family friend where the bride price money (of a paltry N2000) was returned and they requested that he only “take care of their daughter”. I always found it to be a very noble gesture. They appear to be saying that “you will never really be able to pay me for all the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into making my daughter who she is now, so at least, treat her right”; or “keep the money meant for the bride price or a lavish society wedding and use it to build a happy marriage”. Not all men would take the hint. The problem with scenarios like this is that some men go on to marry ladies from a more bourgeois background than theirs, since it does not require a lot of financial resources to seek their hand in marriage. Then they end up not being able to sustain the kind of lifestyle she is used to. The fact that the lady is of better pedigree means that she may end up bearing the bulk of the financial responsibility in the home after the wedding. If she has a better paying job than the man, this could lead to laziness on the man’s part, believing his wife will handle every expense; or resentment, hating her for her ability to follow through where he falls short. He may accuse her of robbing him of his manhood, she may in turn reply that someone has to pick the bills and she might end up getting slapped for her sharp tongue and arrogance! No one is happy either way.
Can u blame other tribes who give early warning signals to the husband-to-be? Does it not make better sense if a man is aware of what he is getting into and what he would need to be able to do before stepping forward? Will he not do better research and cut his coat according to his size? Most people are happy to marry a man they love as long as he is comfortable enough to afford the basics. Most people would rather marry ambition and potential, that if nursed properly as embers can grow into a flame of wealth. Some women would rather grow and build a future with an ambitious man than marry a silver-spoon kid who always has daddy’s money to fall back on. The woman can say to the man boldly that they built this wealth together should he begin to misbehave in future. When he wants to act out, he may remember the struggle they went through and the support she provided when things were not so rosy. Silver spoon marrying silver spoon perhaps gets boring quickly. Whatever the case, I still wonder whether the bride price is an indicator of future happenings. Should it be?
Friday, 19 March 2010
“So something interesting happened tonight. I was talking to Bf, but I had underlying animosity, but I’m not sure where it came from. So basically, I was telling him about how I cut the phone on FB, and basically pay him no mind, and then I ask if Joy stil kals him and he said yea sometimes. And that just did my head in, because I was thinking that so here I am, being rude to FA and other toasters, not picking his calls at the expense of being seen as a bitch, but he still gets to pick the calls of these other girls!! Okay o, I am not impressed with the unfairness of the situation. To be clear, I could care less about FB, and can definitely sacrifice him over and over for Bf’s happiness; this is not the issue. So we start chatting, and I just basically become curt. what is good for the goose is good for the gander, not so?! So I was actually mad about this. He senses this, and then asks why I am being all... and I play it off . In retrospect, I know that it is because I have to do things, he doesn’t have to do, and I am mad at him for this, and the fact that I was born a woman!! Lol but I am just pissed off. Sometimes I cannot understand my feelings because I know that I love my Bf very much and I want to be nothing more than the best wife and mother; but then I begin to think about how I do not need a degree to make a pot of stew...what im saying is, I would just hate to be taken for granted or treated unfairly. Like it just makes my skin crawl and I cannot stand it. . I want to be treated with respect, I want to be treated kindly, I want to have a career to go to everyday, I want my opinions to be treated with value and respected. I need to give him a chance; and I need to put my feminist gloves down. This much I know. But not at the expense of all those ways that I want to be treated. I am worried I am going to turn out like Enitan in “Everything Good will Come”. I wonder if he knows about these feelings. I think that he suspects. What I’m saying is, can I be the woman that I want to be? Without being clothed in that word ‘submission’...
And then I found the answer to the rant. A one liner from Arit Okpo’s “Ode to womanhood.” :
Why do we insist on sacrifice, even when it is not necessary and then feel wounded when it’s not appreciated?
Jesus already died for all our sins- he is the ultimate martyr. That is enough. She was unimpressed with my response (laughter)!
Monday, 1 March 2010
i realise i have been away for a bit. my happy new year is coming late, but a happy new year it is!! too many demands but my educational journey is close to being over by God's grace.
i am not writing a story...just thought to introduce this fabulous write-up: pls click on the link and support this fabulous writer! she certainly has her Feminist gloves on and is suffering no fools gladly!
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
She walked into the sitting room, where I was sprawled across the sofa, the only female amongst my brothers, and asked us to lower the volume on the television that she would like to speak to us. We complied, focusing our full attention on her.
My mother sat down on the love seat, adjusted her iro and buba. Looking slightly sheepish, she said “I am pregnant”. I immediately asked, “ why are you having more children? is three not good enough? I am not helping you babysit any rugrat o, bear in mind that I am going back to boarding school soon!” Here I was, thinking that my position was sealed as the last born; and then she comes at us with this. She continued with, “its for my boss, not your father.” It was the way she said it, this equanimity about her that made me sick.
I began to cast my mind back to when my father was making such a fuss about her working relationship with her boss, even accusing her of having an affair. Knowing my mother for the virtuous woman that she is, I certainly did not believe a word of what my father said, and assumed that he was simply jelaous that the woman was making some money of her own and did not have to wait on him hand and foot for her needs as she used to. In my head, I knew my father was acting in a very jealous and immature manner; probably slightly chauvinist and needing to keep up with the times.My mother is a very attractive woman, so I could sense where the insecurity was coming from. Besides, her boss had a hawk-eyed wife, who worked in the office below them.It would be difficult for my easygoing mother to upstage that sort of woman. She had no fighting spirit of that sort in her.I had completely blanked out, my head reeling with the implications of the news she had just given to us. She had not finished; “ and I have told my boss about the baby which he is very happy about.” It was then that I turned to her, letting her feel the full wrath of my anger, I said “Sit down mummy! Are you alright? This man you are talking about is happily married with six children. SIX! What family do you plan to fit your bastard child into? Have you considered a TOP? She retorted, “this child is a gift from God and is not a mistake. I am not terminating the pregnancy.”
It was surreal, having to speak to my mother in this manner; but I could not help it. It was as if she had suddenly become the child, and I, the mother. She was the one who was supposed to be warning me about the dangers of teenage pregnancy, abortion and the implications. I turned to my brothers, wondering if they were witnessing this too. The elder of the two, simply walked out of the room. He was not usually one of many words, and was prone to walking away from difficult situations and pretending that they did not exist. My second brother, simply said that although what my mother did was wrong, it was a greater sin in the eyes of God to abort the baby. I had not expected less; he is the fanatical one. I seemed to be the only one making sense in this room. It was then that I dragged my mother up, took her to my room and began to speak to her. “mother, why are you doing this? Why do you want to break up your home? I admit its not the happiest of homes and there are things that you would rather not have to deal with regarding my father, but is this your solution?” My father’s philandering ways were definitely a problem in the family and I know it was something that caused my mother a lot of pain. He had been carrying on with this particular woman to the extent that we were not even sure if she was merely a concubine or had become a wife. But to think that she would retaliate in this manner was just unexpected.Besides, was it not only okay for the men to do such things? Was it not an abomination if a woman followed suit? My mother, that has gone through thick and thin, my very own shock absorber…who would think that this would be the straw that would break the camel’s back?
I turned back to the woman who gave me life, and then hugged her. “o zugo, we will find a solution. I just regarded you in higher esteem and to say the least, I am disappointed. You are not the sort of woman to engage in extra-marital affairs and if this is to get my father’s attention, you are cutting your nose to spite your face.” She replied, “you do not understand me darling, do you? This is not about your father anymore. I have accepted that he is continually going to cheat on me. This is me finding my own happiness. I am in love”. At that point, I shifted away from her embrace, unsure that it was my mother speaking. It was like some creature had taken the place of where her mind used to be. Was she even thinking about us, and how this news would affect us?Unable to take it anymore, I started to scream at her, yelling at the top of my voice that I think that she is acting like a doe-eyed, love-sick puppy, a completely deluded woman. I was hoping that if I screamed loud enough, she would snap out of this land of oblivion her spirit had wandered into. It was then that she began to look pale, like she was about to be sick. I followed her gaze and realized she was bleeding out. In a state of utter shock and panic, I knelt in front of her and put my hands there, hoping that the pressure from my hands will stop the blood from flowing out from between her legs. The blood was defiant, squirting out with such intensity that I was sure I was going to loose her. I began to berate myself, telling myself that it was the pressure and the unkind words coming from me that caused this. I began to wish I had said nothing at all. “Somebody call the ambulance, mummy is bleeding.please help!”
I got up with a start. A huge truck was outside blaring its horns, and cursing at the small car causing the obstruction. I walked into my parent’s room, and found my mother sleeping peacefully, beside her husband, snoring loudly. I looked down at my hands. There was no blood. What kind of dream was that?