The subject on people staying single has long been a bone of contention due to the fact that most people see it as a defect and how they come to that conclusion can be ascribed to ignorance and being biased. Being single myself, I have received words of sympathy for my supposed misfortune, offered help in finding a man to marry me and given all sorts of advice. This has always left me irritated because people conclude that you are incomplete and do not even bother to find out why one’s particular status. Many times, as tempting as it was for me to just lash out and say my piece, the better side of me warned me to consider the consequence of my response and opinion, moreover when myself being the victim, would be left with guilt. So unfair, but being sensitive towards others is necessary.
There’s so many books and articles written which aim at giving advice on how to rectify issues relating to singlehood, the perceived dreadful status. There are guides on how to improve the self, attracting a man and ultimately getting married. What happened to love finding you? Some of these manuals seem like aids for undertaking treachery and in some way I find them belittling women by implying that one is not good enough and need modification so to qualify as marriage material. As if modern demands and societal expectations are not enough burden for everyone, these manuals just take poor singles to a whole new level of desperation. On the other hand, with the face of marriage evidently changing, one can accept that for others, such implements are a definite to fulfil their mission. We can only hope that the target and the actor are both happy when the mission is accomplished. After all we are all different and desire different things.
The issue of raising children is also handled with prejudice when in depicts that single women are incapable of raising good children. Any woman, in a marriage or not can fail in raising good children. Raising children to some is a natural gift, others lack the skill but are eager to learn and get it right and on the other hand other women simply dislike the responsibility and frankly confess their state and wish to only and gladly give birth and the rest be taken care of by others. People are created differently and we need to acknowledge it.
On coming across the above insert and reading the kind of comments in support of it, I was again disappointed at how people can confidently impose their opinions on others. First of all the writer is subjective and rude considering that she is addressing fellow women. Trying to analyse the expression of a son portrayed as a king, one can only deduce that women who see their sons as such could be troubled and need peer support and possibly professional help. It doesn’t require rocket science to recognise that some unpleasant breakups which leave a woman to raise children alone as well as the passiveness of husbands in a marriage can lead to this phenomena. It is not a problem related only to being a single mother. I believe that any good parent will raise his son to be a better father, a better man and husband even though his own was not and same applies to raising daughters. Women out of bitterness in unhealthy marriages sometimes turn their children against their father while all living together, which myself and surely many others have witnessed happening with shame. Again, not all fathers in marriages or not are good role models and sometimes children, both male and female are better off without them. Smart, hardworking, classy and positive woman understand the value of independence and how it contributes to a successful marriage or relationship. Good and confident men recognise that too. Our duty is to be tolerant and considerate. We should not put pressure on others to live according to our own expectations and beliefs. What makes one individual satisfied does not necessarily do same for another. Let us appreciate our differences and learn from them.
Until the next issue
For most people who are not privileged to foresee a smooth sail concerning their bright future, it would be harder if that envisaged future was not even crafted for them. Trying to be someone else or living to please others is one daunting mission which is coupled with frustration and demoralisation and one might end up missing out on what could have actually been better for them. Learning from others however can be rewarding and life altering in a positive way.
That moment of joy, pride and relief after landing that first good job is one we always cherish. It surely produces confidence for a better future and we just want to hold on to it especially when the journey towards getting to that point had been rocky and nerve wrecking. In the past as I recall, on the list of priorities for that salary would be groceries, treating the family to delicacies they usually just dreamt of or only tasted at parties or when visiting well to do friends. Next would be furniture to improve the comfort of home, clothing for siblings and also taking off some of the parent’s burdens such as tuition fees of siblings. All these were seen as an obligation undertaken with love and pride. When one gets married they would normally bring the wife home to stay and only leave once ready to start their own lives. When that time came, one knew that they had indeed played their part and had also saved enough. The family support system played a big role.
Change indeed is good and necessary and nobody wishes to be stagnant irrespective of whether they have the means to take them forward or not. We all strive to be better people and have good lives, especially those who were not fortunate to have good things previously. That job when finally comes, represents fulfilment of the long anticipated improved life, one we see others around us already enjoying. We are thrilled to buy that new car, moving to an apartment as a symbol of liberation, then probably get married. As we celebrate our achievements we feel blessed considering where we come from.
As we celebrate our achievements, let us not forget those still unfortunate and may be leaving behind, especially the family. For some, there’s sincere reasons not to want to look back and just move on with your life. Unfortunately, godliness demands that we look back and act accordingly and also avoid needless dishonour. For some, we may even simply forget to look back since we are in a race we are not even supposed to be running due to peer pressure. Peer pressure which most of us are guilty of inflicting on others consciously or unconsciously and in different forms, as a result that cycle of hardship may never be broken in the family. The gap between the successful and the unsuccessful in the immediate family is no less critical than the one between the rich and poor in our country and many others. We all have a part to play, one way or the other in making a difference and we can.
This was actually not supposed to be my first post however when I was getting ready to start typing, a flashback of my past two depressing years of my office working life arose. The inner feeling that I needed to do something more or different in my life was a constant bother, which as I can recall, has been there since about fourteen years ago. Moving from company to company with a new job only provided momentary satisfaction which soon faded away and then the frustration would kick in again. I know that some of you feel me and are probably on similar pathway of uncertainty and quest for that satisfying shift. I clearly identify and say that, it is up to you in consultation with the forces beyond, which if you believe, to do something about it.
Believe me, the frustration of that humiliating pay check you get for your hard work and commitment, which of course the powers that be think you deserve, in addition to the actuality that for mind-boggling reasons, there’s no prospect for development whatsoever, it’s a cruel world, is nothing compared to feeling that you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing and that you are at the wrong place. If the latter defines your situation, you are blessed to be in touch with yourself though it may not seem that way for you at the moment. I’m confident that you will work yourself out of it and towards whatever that will fulfil you and only you, as I did. Fear should be kept in moderation. Start planning to end your misery. The road map is different for everyone. Meditate and listen to that voice within as you plan. Expect counsel from all sorts of places and I am confident that you will digest it well. Let it not deter you. Your unique path is your own.
If you feel that you are doing what you love and the salary and promotion issues can be conquered over time or other options, be grateful, you will live. I was not alone during my frustration in the past two years. Almost everyone I chatted with on work issues was going through a similar phase. Clearly there is a concern. What I ask myself is, can this phenomena be reduced. I found myself thinking back of how I was steered into training towards a profession I did not prefer, of which I never completed. I later went on to do what I thought would work for me at the time and it did. Maybe I got lucky. As much as I do not regret my path as it has been one of significant development for me even in areas I never imagined possible, change is constant and the old way of doing some things are no longer beneficial. Perhaps the new generation need our assistance in every way possible to find their right paths early in life if ever we are indeed learning from ourselves and others. In doing so, we also need not take away their freedom to choose who they want to be either. Please join me in my next issue. Till then