A series of events, all which occurred in the same year, led to this blog.
The first, was my brother’s wedding – actually, his wife’s bridal shower. It was my first time to ever attend a bridal shower, shadowy details of which I documented on my parent blog – Diasporadical. As with all Bridal Showers, the-bride-to-be was counseled on all the Do’s & Don’ts of an African, say rather, a Kenyan wife. I listened keenly, as the lady counselor, a self-styled skilled-wife with 20-years of marriage to her name, furnished my soon to be sister-in-law, with all manner of duties, responsibilities, norms and of course, taboos to the extent that I wondered whether marriage is meant to be enjoyable at all for the wife. When I couldn’t hold my curiosity any longer, I raised my hand to get the marriage expert’s attention. To which I asked:
“What’s in it for the wife?”
“What do you mean?”
“There are all these things you said that my sister-in-law will have to do for my brother as his wife – cook, clean, bear children, submit, yield, bendover, forever and ever – but what does she get in return?”
“Well.., uumhh.., she’ll get to be bought for nice clothes, live in a nice house and if God blesses them with a car, get dropped off at work every day by her husband.”
“Well.., a good wife shouldn’t be too demanding”
Let’s just say, I didn’t wait for that bridal shower to end. I left immediately feeling disappointed and questioning what value marriage has to Kenyan women.
The second event had everything to do with my mother.
For a woman who had never visited me since moving out her house five years ago and who didn’t have an idea where I lived, I was quite surprised when she said she’d be coming over to see me. Though we have an awesome relationship, I was a little puzzled. But all my questions would be answered that Sunday afternoon when seated on my sofa she blurted out:
“Are you aware that you’re running out of time?”
She didn’t give me a chance to ask why or whether I was dying. She cruelly, yes cruelly, went on and on about how I had an expiry date, like all women, and that I needed to find someone very fast before doom befell me. All this, my mother’s way of interesting me in marriage #SMH
The third event was when, after 14 years, I reunited with my childhood friends, iCon and misterNV, the duo behind Diasporadical. They told me about their awesome blog and asked me to be part of the crew. Though I wrote for mainstream media, I didn’t know much about blogging, but I reluctantly obliged.
I had the freehand to be as diverse as possible in my choice of topics but for some reason, my repulsion to marriage seemed to be the one thing I wrote about often. Of the most prolific of my posts was the one titled I Am Not Wife Material, where at the end I challenged DR female readers to give me 10 valid reasons why they would get married. To my dismay, over 60 angry comments later and after close to two months, only one reader came up with a couple of reasons. Something struck a chord.
See, we’re in agreement that every majority of Kenyan women want to get married. Only problem is, they are not sure why. Perhaps, to use my mother’s words, they’re running out of time. Perhaps it’s because, they see their friends and family getting married and they want to join the bandwagon. Perhaps, it’s because it is the “Godly” thing to do, pre-marital sex considered. Well, whatever their reasons, a large number do end up unhappy or calling national radio to complain about their husbands or bust them all together.
Perhaps, the majority of them didn’t know exactly what they were getting into. They never took a risk or cost-benefit analysis. Never keenly weighed what they would give up vis-à-vis what they would gain. And because divorce in our little African communities is frowned upon, they stick it out, till death do them apart. We cannot judge them, just sympathize and listen to them on radio on our way to work, in church during the alter call or at the club on girls’ night out.
As a Kenyan woman, still in her twenties, at prime late marriage age, I’m pleased to have discovered that marriage has nothing to offer me. That it is too huge a responsibility to fit into my my 20 to 50 year plan of the life I wish to live. After a thorough analysis, I have come to the conclusion that I’m better off and more productive to the world, than cumbered with the load of care that is marriage.
I know there are a few young African women out there who, like me, have chosen to take the road less traveled. Women who, despite their socialization and enculturation geared at making them good wives, have charted out a different path for themselves. Beautiful African women who have chosen to rise above the pressures of society, who’ve consciously discovered that they are free to follow their own destiny. This blog will seek to celebrate such women – young, old, rich, struggling, famous, unknown, successful or getting there.
Allow me to also make it clear that this blog is not meant to discourage anyone who’s planning to get married. Please, go ahead, make those plans and get a ring on it. My hope, however, is that this blog helps you make an informed decision. That you’ll think very carefully about that major, lifetime step you’re about to take, whether your mother threatens you into it or not. For marriage is not something you try out, especially when children come into the picture.
So here’s presenting Soul Spinster – for better or for worse.