I married the love of my life at 31, almost at expiry by cultural standards. I wouldn’t have had it otherwise though; before that, I was by no means ready to get romantically involved. I always flatter myself to be a relatively sensible person and I knew I wasn’t ready for the decent conclusion I was taught to expect from a prolonged relationship. You see, apart from passion, alchemy and etc., I believe love is also greatly about timing and readiness.
So what did I do to prepare for what i was told would be the greatest happening in my life? I committed to knowing myself, the things that made my heart melt, and those that made me cringe, exploring my ability to adapt and embrace necessary changes and the kind of differences I was comfortable with. I loved every single minutes of my life the way it was, enjoyed my own absolutely wonderful company, my amazing family and my irreplaceable friends to the point that I just didn’t see how it could actually get any better.
By the time I started thinking that maybe, why not, well it wouldn’t hurt to be in a relationship, I had drastically reduced my resilience to nonsense. My standards had never been so high and I had a clearer vision of who I was, what I was standing for, the type of behavior I could or not tolerate by my side. That’s exactly when a few compassionate souls explained to me that nice men would inevitably run away from me and my too expensive, independent and ultimately emasculating lifestyle. To make matters worse, I was getting irreversibly old. Quoting an ex-suitor who kindly spelled it out for me back then: I was the worst thing that could ever happen in the life of a man.
"Well, marriage is overrated and outdated anyway", I dirted off my shoulders Jayz-style. Plus who needed a man when she could buy her own Anima Iris bag? Besides, I already had plenty of men in my life in case I needed someone to get that pack of chips in the highest drawer of my kitchen…but wait, why would I want to put a pack of chips in a drawer I wouldn’t be able to reach in the first place?
ANYWAY, I kept doing what I loved the most: eating tasty food, hanging out with great friends, and travelling to amazing destinations, alone at times - I still enjoy my solo trips even today: try, you will thank me -. Good food, solo travel and a persistent friend got me one Saturday night to that fated crossroad, the exact point in time and space where I absolutely had to be, where he was... He got me curious that night as I realised that he was many things I wasn’t and wished I were. He was a gentle handsome soul with a decent idea of the things he expected from life. He was ready to get involved romantically, not because he had issues with bachelorhood but because it was me. I was ready to fall for him for the exact same reason. I told him about my crazy aspirations and he wasn’t fazed. He joked about how high maintenance I was with my business class flights and Swiss watches and vowed to always support and cherish my dreams and lifestyle. I loved my reflection in his gaze. I could see in his eyes that he saw me in a way I could never see myself – and God knows I lacked no self confidence: He saw me beautiful inside out, more beautiful than I had ever thought myself to be.
I could talk at length about my man and our togetherness, but what I truly wanted to say is:
Ladies, gentlemen, do not yield to pressure. Do the things you like and enjoy your life. Do not kneel to make someone feel taller. Stand straight, and let him/her climb higher.
Seriously commit to your passions. Someone who loves or at least understand and accept that path of yours will find himself in the same space as you and your life will never be the same again. Keep going to the library little bookworm, someone who will respect your relationship with Morrison or Angelou will show up. You, the lawyer lady who wishes to become the president of a republic, the doctor on his way to saving a nation, or the one who can’t get her mind off business ventures, you are worthy of a lover who will always be your number one fan – and fix you a meal when you return home worn out from work -.
Women, you deserve that mahogany love. You deserve that beautiful Sunday in the village drinking palm wine in the same horn as your promised one, under the ululations and drum rolls of your families coming together as one. You deserve to wear that beautiful mahogany dress with cowries and dance barefoot on a soil of the same tint.
Until that time comes, celebrate yourself which for me – and our dearest Whitney Houston – is still the greatest love of all. Do not settle for less than you deserve. Not sure of what it is that you deserve? Get to know your self, get to love yourself, accept your worth, and it will become clearer to you.
Valentine’s day is coming soon and every single piece of ads will remind you that it's time to give and/or receive. All self-respecting brands will try to get their hands deep into your pocket, in the name of love.
Ladies and gentlemen, note that you do not need the 14th of February to buy a gift for your better half – which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it because it is the 14th of February lol. Prepare gifts anytime you feel like it. Each day is an occasion to show your loves how much they matter: to show yourself some self-love, to show your friends and family members a kind attention, and – in case you have one - to show your lover that you care, in the form of a gift on a whim, – I suggest a scarf 😁 -, just because you and they are worth it. Today is called the present for a reason.