As a single person either male or female in Nigeria, it’s easy to get sucked into the pressure of marriage or just being with someone (anyone) that you do not focus on yourself and building your experiences as ‘one person’ before you become one with another. The only amount of time we use on ourselves before marriage is doing things that ‘prepare’ us for marriage and not exactly living and maximizing our single years. Our expectations to find love early and settle down has stopped us from seeing the possibilities of enjoying life and being the best version of ourselves.
Recently, I had the opportunity of hanging out with an interesting group of women. Interesting because the group varied from the absolutely single, the single but actively dating, the ‘in a serious relationship’ single, the engaged and the married; as most female gatherings, there was the session on talking about men and relationship dynamics that seem to affect the everyday woman more than the man. One of the topics that came up was the topic of knowing who you are as a person and having the best single years you could ever live before you get married.
Nigeria has a way of teaching our women that we must succumb to what society or the relationship tells us to be in order to keep a man or get a man. Even churches teach that you are a nobody until you are with someone, but that’s by the way, no need glorifying the ignorance of our society.
What bothers me though, is the fact that a lot of our women have lost their identity either in a relationship or marriage that they become shadows of who they were before they met the man. Some of our mothers were victims of this, which is why we grow up feeling guilty of leaving them behind and they feel empty when all the kids grow up and no longer have their time.
Nowadays though, the desperation to be hitched has led many women (and maybe some men) to believe that they have to become someone else to please their partner and when the relationship doesn’t work out, they go about searching for validation, struggling with their true identity until they meet someone new and then go into the cycle of losing themselves all over again.
I once knew a lady called Kevwe who exemplified a woman with a lost identity. When I first met Kevwe, one of the things I noticed was her love for weaves, makeup and for men. Not saying she was a girl around town, but she had way too many stories to tell of different guys, most in church and her contention with other women over these men. One time, she reported to the Pastor of the church that some guy was being too cozy with another young lady, only because she was jealous that the attention was not too her. But that’s not the main gist
When Kevwe moved back to Nigeria, she soon adjusted into the Lagos crowd. The British accents, the 30 inch weaves and everything else that meant she would be one of the ‘it’ girls around town. Then she met Emeka, a church going boy who preferred makeup free faces, natural hair and gospel music; so Kevwe became exactly what he wanted and even went the extra mile to be more active in the church.
Sadly, none of that was able to keep Emeka because he felt something was missing and that he didn’t truly know who Kevwe was and can you really blame him? Kevwe had become someone else, she liked only what he liked, she listened to only what he listened to, she basically became a shadow of Emeka. When they broke up, Kevwe went back to her weaves and makeup because deep down she knew she only did that to keep a man.
Shortly after their breakup, Emeka met Onome and in 4 months they were engaged. According to Emeka, he saw everything he wanted in Onome and more, a woman with her own vision and identity, she introduced him to a different world, he knew what she liked and disliked and to make matters worse, Onome was a weave rocking makeup lover which meant everything Kevwe changed for was in vain.
What I am trying to say is that Kevwe didn’t have to change for Emeka and no woman has to change for any man in order to keep him. Don’t be in a hurry to change because marriage will change you and the last thing you need is to feel lost after you’ve finally gained the Mrs title. He is meant to love you just the way you are, with all your assets and liabilities. You are meant to bring fun and variety into his life, not become a clone of who he is. You are meant to be whole and standout with or without him and there is no way you will be that ‘power couple’ if you do not have an identity of your own.
So Ladies, despite what our society or the movies tells us, before you find romance take a moment to love yourself and find yourself.