CHANGING THE 'SINGLE' NARRATIVE
As a single person either male or female in Nigeria, it’s easy to get sucked into the pressure of marriage or just being with someone, that you do not focus on yourself and building your experiences as ‘one person’ before you become one with another. The only amount of time we use on ourselves before marriage is doing things that ‘prepare’ us for marriage and not exactly living and maximizing our single years. Our expectations to find love early and settle down has stopped us from seeing the possibilities of enjoying life and being the best version of ourselves. Dare I say, we continue to feel unaccomplished because society has told us that no matter how much you have attained, you are nothing until you say ‘I DO’
This ideology ingrained in our subconscious has led to so many people (both male and female) subjecting themselves to a lifetime of unhappiness and abuse in the name of staying married. Some are dead and buried while some are walking corpses because their marriages have destroyed their essence as human beings.
When I started the blog- Single in Gidi, it was mostly for fun. There I was, approaching my late twenties with two master degrees and the only thing people were fixated on, was my love life or the lack of it. It was like every time I met an older person, the first thing they would ask was when I was getting married and if I had a boyfriend; being who I am, I found it funny and so I thought why not document this journey.
Over the years of running the blog, I’ve had the opportunity to have different dating/relationship discussion with different people. Recently, I had the opportunity of hanging out with an interesting group of women. Interesting because the group varied from the absolutely single, the single but actively dating, the ‘in a serious relationship’ single, the engaged and the married; and as most female gatherings go, there was the session spent on talking about men and relationship dynamics that seem to affect the everyday woman more than the man. One of the topics that came up was the topic of knowing who you are as a person and having the best single years you could ever live before you get married.
Nigeria has a way of teaching our women that we must succumb to what society or the relationship tells us to be in order to keep a man or get a man. Even churches teach that you are a nobody until you are with someone, but that’s by the way. No need glorifying the ignorance of our society.
What bothers me, is the fact that a lot of our women have lost their identity either in a relationship or marriage, that they become shadows of who they were before they met the man. Some of our mothers were victims of this, which is why we grow up feeling guilty of leaving them behind and they feel empty when all the kids grow up and no longer have their time.
Nowadays though, the desperation to be hitched has led many women (and maybe some men) to believe that they have to become someone else to please their partner and when the relationship doesn’t work out, they go about searching for validation, struggling with their true identity until they meet someone new and then go into the cycle of losing themselves all over again.
I once had a friend, called Kevwe. Kevwe is usually the life of the party and always looks good with her full face beat and long weaves. Then she met a guy, and everything about her changed because she wanted to keep him. Sadly, they broke up and one of the reasons he left her was because he didn’t think she was enough and so he moved on to someone else who was 'the life of the party' like Kevwe was before him.
What I am trying to say is that Kevwe didn’t have to change for that guy and nobody (male or female) has to change for anyone to keep them.
It’s conversations like these that have kept Single in Gidi going, from the blog and then to stage. To remind you that now is the time to focus on you, to enhance yourself, to become the best at what you do, to be the boss and so much more. You are not defined by your marital status, you are first a person, before you become a lifelong partner.
Single in Gidi has now grown from just being a simple blog to a community of single people living with a purpose. A safe place for people to share their own experiences, laugh about it and learn from it.
So if you are single and reading this, don’t be afraid. There’s so much you can do.
Make the most of it and when in doubt, visit www.singleingidi.com