A letter from a Single Lady to her unborn child:
Dear Child, today felt different…
When I was younger and not sure which way was the right way to go, I wished I had someone who I could share my thoughts, more like questions, with. Someone I could trust and be sure would always give me a sincere direction through life. But I found no one befitting this role.
I could not talk to my dad, because, I mean, he is a guy and would have never understood the confusion that female teens go through. Like: can you imagine me saying, “Dad, when is it appropriate to have my first kiss? Withwhom?” Dad, how do I know the boy who really likes me? Oh, I can’t even imagine discussing about whether it is safe to yield to the pressure of losing my virginity. Believe me when I say I had a lot of that pressure at age 15. Wonder what your generation will be like. My dad would have imagined the worse of me, probably think he made the wrong choice depositing the last sperm, potent enough to fertilize my mum’s egg... Yes, the one that produced ME.
And my Mum? Oh she was nothing like me. She was a perfect being. She handled adulthood so well, that I was certain she must have been an excellent teen, who never went through the kind of pressure and confusion I was going through. She was too high standard to accommodate my stupidity; Well, so I thought. Let’s not forget the part that she was from a different generation. She was a 60’s kid and was surely oblivious to the dilemma kids of the 21st century went through.
So my friends were my best bet.
I had good friends and still have, but what I did not realize then, was that my friends were kids just like I was and we were all fighting the same battles from different angles. So we gave each other sincere advises, based on our understanding of things. And boy did I make a lot of mistakes in life, listening only to my friends!
From relationships to life decisions; I bounced from pillar to post, hoping that one day, I would stumble on life’s formula and everything will be just fine.
In the mist of all these, I still had to put up a straight and confident face, when I had conversations with people on why I chose to study the course I studied? Where I saw myself in 5 years after graduating from the university? And of course the dreadful one - At what age was I going to get married? A lot of times, I wished they could all just stop asking me questions and faced their own lives. But no, my dear, people are people. We mostly ask people questions in a bid to find answers to the questions that bugged our lives; or just to justify our shortcomings with others.
Now, I am tired. Tired of faking perfection; tired of acting like I know what I do not know. Then, I am afraid. Afraid of how my life will turn out; afraid of ending up poor; afraid that I made the wrong career choice; afraid that I might just never find the man of my dreams -the one that meets all the needs I require from a man, your father.
I had the perfect picture of him: Good looking, rich, fashionable, a great sense of humour and caring with a strong sense of family. With time and a hand full of failed relationships, a lot of these things did not matter to me anymore. I just wanted a man on whose shoulder I could comfortably lean on. Even this seemed hard to get.
You see, I thought I had my life all planned out. study Law at the University, write a professional examination, preferably ICSAN (Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria), upon graduation from the University; get a job, as a company secretary, with one of the blue chip companies in Lagos state and give birth to my three children within the first five years of marriage. I really had my life planned out. And when any part of the puzzle seemed not to fit, I would go back to my drawing table and tweak things up (how I wish someone would have just told me to stop trying so hard) .
At the University, coffee remained my nightly fuel, oh I needed my eyes opened. I was determined to graduate with flying colors. Alas, the Fates smiled on me and I graduated with an Upper Credit, got a job in an average paying upcoming law firm and quickly enrolled for my ICSAN. I was sure I was going to start living a part of my dreams, the moment I wrote the final paper of the examination.
Everything seemed so optimistic. It felt like I was sliding down a rainbow with a steamy breeze running down your spine. Okay love, you don’t know what that feels like, I haven’t birth you yet, but I promise, as soon as I have you in my arms, you will. I’ll make sure of it. It’s like ecstasy. Again, you do not know what the word means yet (giggles).
But just when you think everything was going on so smoothly, something rather unfortunate began to happen in my life. It felt like the long locked gate that held all the cool and attractive men, the ones I had wished for all my life to no avail, had finally been thrown ajar. Rushing out of it were men whose facial expressions clearly told their intentions: Get and subdue this lady i.e, ME. Weird I’m calling this unfortunate, right? But you will understand in a bit.
Now, men flocked around me like bees did honey pots, always inviting me on dates. My child, it took the last nerve in me to turn them down. I have had enough fooling around with guys that never went past the bedroom with me. Enough of that! I only cared to have my eyes locked on the prize- YOU. I needed to create a future, you would be proud of. I needed to be the mother you can depend on. I wanted to be just right for you.
I once read a quote that said, “If you could not dictate how things started in your life; at least make sure you are able to dictate how it ends”, and that was when I made up my mind to create, for you, a better present, than mine. For me, this was passing my professional exam. So every time the guys came hunting for my body, I just pictured an image of you smiling and that was all the strength I needed to look past them. You made it so easy my little munchkin.
ICSAN was done and dusted. Then I started to apply for jobs in bigger Law firms. Surprisingly, the offers were not forthcoming as I supposed. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I hadn’t even gotten half way into my map and the journey seemed to have ended. My life became miserable. I had become a failure. Everything I hoped for and believed in didn’t work out as planned. My Dad was gone, I had a very distant relationship with my mum, I was working for a company I hated, making meagre salary, did not have a man and no one to truly talk to. I was dying slowly.
Night after night, when I got back from work, I would lay on my bed, shut my eyes and give tears a free flow. I had just turned 27 and had no boyfriend, talk more of a serious relationship.
Wallowing down memory lane in my own self-pity, I was seventeen, again, with so much energy and optimism. I was that little girl lying at the floor of the veranda, and planning my entire relationship life. Oh, I never left anything to chance. I was going to graduate from the university, complete my professional programme, marry my dream husband at, give birth to YOU the year after and at 26, I would have been done with bringing all your siblings into this world. My body goals then, would be weeping myself into the sexy pre-pregnancy mode your father met. Mommy got to look hot for daddy, lol. I can’t give him any excuse to stray outside our matrimonial home. I know you are probably confused about me getting my sexy back right now, but you will understand some day.
Back to the present reality and at 26, I am losing hope of meeting your dad. I have been bounced and played with by men. I have given guys my all: heart, love, time, attention, even money; but somehow, they were just not enough to get one man to wife me. I remember that after my third heart break at the University, I gave lesbianism a thought. Why? Why not? I couldn’t see how fellow girls would hurt me like men did. But at my first lesbian party, I gave up that crusade. It just wasn’t for me mehn.
Again, I wish I had someone to talk to; someone who has passed through this phase, to tell me how it would end; someone I trusted and was sure would give me sincere advice. But there was no one.
I have no sister to confide in (reason why you are going to have one). I had been screwed one too many times on my friend’s advice and now know better than to listen to them. Again my mum? She got married to the guy of her dreams, the only guy she had ever dated. She met him while she was in her second year at the University and got married to him in her third year. Got a good paying job, gave birth to two lovely boys and one confuse stricken girl, way before she clocked 26.
Her life was perfect. Her life was nothing like the one I was living. So she would never understand.
Today, I turn 27, single and a hundred thousand naira away from being broke. I got back from work in my usual state, miserable and afraid that is. I curled up in my bed, wrapped my arms around me, shut my eyes for some minutes and began to picture the same image I had been looking at for years now: A sad, lonely and broke me.
But today felt different, my love. I could not focus. The image wouldn’t just stay steady. I kept opening my eyes and interrupting my thought line. I forced myself to focus; to pay attention to the image behind my eyelid, that has now become very familiar. But it was not happening. Something in me was disconnected. Today felt different, my child.
I thought to change the pattern for the first time. So I flipped my laptop and started to write it all out. Half way into it, I realized I could address it all to you, as a guide through life. I want to document all my feeling through this process, so that you would know that no matter what face ‘mummyhood’ makes me wear; I passed through my own version of lady trouble.
I started out venting, but I feel amazingly better now. As I type each word, something in me is opening up, I do not know what it is, but it is a good feeling. I am smiling for no reason. I feel light. I feel better. I feel a burden lift off my chest. Oh my darling child, I think I have found it! My therapy; the answer to all my problem – My letter as a single lady to my unborn child. You my dear!
*************Singlegirls deserve to be happy; Shit, we all deserve to be happy*************
Author’s Comment: Oh, I had a good time writing this piece and I sincerely hope you enjoy it. Let me know if you did, by leaving a comment or even some words of encouragement for someone who is in this position in the comment section below. Also, if there is a particular topic you would like me to talk about, just suggest below and we would have an even more interesting time talking about it. Do make sure you also share this with the other single ladies you know, you never know whose soul you might be saving. Always remember, we are single and not dead; life must go on. Abi mustn’t it?