I always knew that one day I would find my people. I knew it would take time but I knew hoped that it would eventually happen. No guys, I’m not adopted but a lot of times, I feel like I was born in the wrong country. I love my country but my personal values and opinions are very contrary to the values and opinions held by most Nigerians that I know and have encountered online (hence the blog name “Odd Naija Girl”). When I’m just being myself, people think I’m trying to be controversial just for the sake of it. So, when I say “my people”, I mean Nigerians that have values and opinions that are similar to mine. One of my fellow ‘aliens’ is Yagazie Emezi whom I’m embarrassed to say, I just recently learnt about. We are so alike it’s not even funny: she is a photographer, has natural hair and likes white boys (Hellooo, that is me).
I decided to check out her YouTube channel after I watched one of her interviews. She has over 60 videos on her channel but the one that made me realise that we were cut from the same cloth was titled “I REALLY Don’t Want Children”. In that video, she talks about not being sure if she wants to have kids and the reaction she gets from people when she is vocal about that uncertainty. The reactions she gets from people are completely identical to the reactions I get from people when I’m honest about not wanting children. The one response she didn’t mention was the “I’ll pray for you” (I get that a lot).
I school abroad so people say that I’ve been influenced by foreigners. Firstly, I lived in Nigeria till I was 17 and anyone who was close to me in secondary school, knows that I’ve always expressed unwillingness to have children: so, no foreign influence here. Secondly, I study in Turkey which is a very religious and traditional country and recently, the president of Turkey stated that women who don’t have children are incomplete. He didn’t even differentiate between voluntary and involuntary childlessness. So where exactly am I getting influenced from again?? (Nowhere – in case you were still wondering).
When I say, I don’t want to get married or have children, I’m not saying it’s never going to happen (I’m a ‘never say never’ kind of person), I’m just saying I’m fine being a spinster; I’m not going to let family and society pressure me into getting married. My main goal in life is happiness/fulfilment and there are different ways to achieve happiness/fulfilment. I am self-aware enough to know that my route to happiness/fulfilment is not linked to marriage and childbearing. I want to become a philanthropist and be part of the team that helps Nigeria become great; those are the dreams that keep me awake at night.
I think another reason why I’m turned off marriage is because I honestly believe marriage is a prison for women because of the power dynamics: the men hold all the power. Every day, we hear messages telling women to submit to their husbands and so on and I don’t want to submit to anyone. I want my marriage to be a partnership between equals; every decision will be made after discussions between both parties. I don’t want my husband to be a parent figure to me. Most Nigerian guys/men want a submissive wife so in their eyes, I’m not “wife material”.
Oh, one other interesting comment I hear when I say I don’t want children is “Try and see”. I’m sorry, are we talking about clothes or children? Try and see?!?! A child CANNOT be returned if you don’t like having one and most importantly, it is irresponsible to have a child JUST because society expects you to have one several. I once heard someone encourage a woman to have more than one child in case her child dies. WTF, I know I’m morbid af but even I don’t think about the possible death of a child and besides, the death of a child is always tragic regardless of how many children one has. Seriously, I wonder how many people would get married and have children if there was no socio-cultural expectation pressure to do so: Are people really getting married because they want to or because they are expected to?????
Even though I’ve never been crazy about marriage and children, I do want a wedding though. I mean, those wedding photos on Bella Naija weddings got me wanting a wedding. The weddings are beautiful and the bride gets to be princess/queen for a day, who doesn’t want that?
In conclusion, we as people should be careful not to assume that everybody wants the life that we want and we should also try not to make people feel broken or incomplete JUST because they don’t want the life that we want.