Inviting people to view my life without giving them a say in it, is the one skill that makes me know I was made for fame haha. I wrote this and wasn’t sure if I should publish, it felt personal. But I am starting a series among others. BARE is a very personal one. Things people feel too icky to talk about, I want to. After having a chat with a friend going through this exact range of feelings, I will now post this episode. Even if it’s just her that can relate, I’m good. The Bare series will always be lengthy, so do not start reading till you have your feet up, your mind relaxed and your keypads ready to share.
It’s been 9 months I moved to Kenya. Also 9 months I’ve been married. it’s been quite the journey. While living in Kenya hasn’t been the most interesting thing to ever happen to me; (This dude marrying me is way more interesting, I still like to ask him, are you even normal? what were you even thinking!) it’s been quite the journey. Some days it’s 14 degrees and I’m freezing, some days it’s 28, some days my heart is full, some days my heart won’t stop yearning.
The anxiety I felt before and after arriving at the decision to relocate with my husband, can power a city. I didn’t take a lot of clothes with me on this journey. Just one 25kg box, and a return ticket for Christmas. Because Ola is a quality Nigerian man, he’s like, baby don’t worry, I will take you shopping. So we went shopping and I bought new clothes that made me forget I was in a new country where I didn’t know anybody, yet. I needed the waist of some of my new jeans tightened, so I gave it to some tailor recommended, by him. And brethren, for 2 months, tailor o, jeans o, I did not hear kpa or kpo. I was going crazy. Every time I opened my wardrobe, I just got angry. Ola, as per usual, is like (read this as an igbo man) “bebe, forget that woman, let me take you back to the mall and put some more jeans on ya body”. Not exactly in those words but hey, you get the point.
I feel sorry for my husband yo. He got me an expensive gift one time and some few minutes after awwwww–ing, I told him he shouldn’t have, because it was too expensive and it would bite into our savings and it was not a financially savvy decision. Lmao guys I’m not kidding, I shot the whole vibe in the chest. Cold blooded mannerless vibe killer that I am. Also, I used to think I wasn’t deserving of it, but, that’s for another Bare episode. Anyway, as a financially savvy and sometimes stingy woman, I told him No, because why get new jeans when I have 7 (SEVEN!!!) good ones with a tailor. Lool guys 7 pairs of trousers just hanging there. I was able to style them with a belt when I got them, but I went to do oversabi and wanted it more snatched and sturvs.
As we entered the 3rd month, I remembered the daughter of whom I was. So I started sending the tailor messages. As a Naija babe, you know we can turn on our caustic at will. I go,
“I have been very patient. It’s been three months and I will start laying curses on you and your unborn children for generations to come”
“You are a very wicked person. You don’t like peace. I can see you like bringing people sadness. You like making people cry. You like causing pain. Its witchcraft”.
“You will reap what you sew” (pun intended). She calls me. I don’t pick. I was pretty sure she was calling to tell me to stop.
I say “I am not interested in whatever excuse or rubbish you want to say. Just send my clothes and I can stop knowing you. Everyday I wake up 5am and I don’t have my clothes I will ask my God to deal with you”.
“Are you sleeping? Wow, How can you sleep when you have my clothes, do you deserve sleep?”.
I got my clothes the next week guys. On Monday!!! So that was when I knew, I was ready for Kenya.
I’ve been to three Kenyan counties; I’ve seen a good number of tourist attractions Nairobi has to offer. I have been to a great number of night clubs, and I’ve even fought with a bouncer, not physically no. We will talk about this another day. I’ve met random Nigerians at random places; the cool, the boogie and the ratchet, and of course a sprinkle of yahoo boys, and I’ve called out a road side trader for racism. I’ve spent a Christmas, a cross-over night and my honeymoon in Kenya. I’m also currently doing a pandemic here.
But if I do not channel the Nigerian in me for every time these guys use their roborebe to frustrate me, I will have gone mad. My permit just got ready in March! Guys, March! And the immigration office has been closed since then too! I’ve basically been renewing tourist visa every month with $50, they won’t even give me 90 days at a go. One particular month I forgot to renew on time, and lived in great fear. People ask me about my business, but I’m just a tourist, I’m supposed to be buying goods not selling them, so I usually don’t have a response. I’ve heard there are ways around it but I was too much of a stickler. And when things were finally about to start looking up left and right, pandemic hit. It hasn’t been cheap or super easy being here, I’ve felt like so many things were against me. But like play like play, I’ve been off paid employment for one full year this June. I’ve finished any savings I could possibly have, and I haven’t sold one earring or tie in a long time. Except for full housewife. That one is a paid at least, I think.
I have never been very comfortable being dependent. I remember a classmate sending me money to augment my school fees and I responded with “What do you want from me, I have a boyfriend and I won’t leave him for you”. Not one of my finest moments I agree, and I even did leave the boyfriend. But that’s how hard it is, was, for me to ask for help or receive it when offered. When Ola and I started dating, I was going for a job interview once and he drove to pick me up to take me for it. I forgot something at home, and he asked me like a regular person, “how can you forget your WAEC certificate at home”. Instead I look him dead in the eye, told him to drop me right there and then on Ikorodu road, and I’ll take a cab to go pick It up, because I don’t need his help. Instead, he drove me back home, and back to the venue, and came to pick me afterwards(that was when I knew he was the one lol). A lot of men say they want an “independent woman” ehn, but they really don’t know the character development a woman has gone through, to be fully independent. Sometimes it feels borderline rude, or ungrateful, but that’s to the receiver. I get that.
This whole period has been humbling for me. Plot twist, I like it! Not only do I now depend on someone, but it is someone I am emotionally attached to. I recently saw some chat from my last relationship and I was cringing so hard. It was along the lines of me asking the guy why he finds it hard to reach for his wallet for dinner, movies, or general issues in my life. It was along the lines of me asking him to be more financially invested in the relationship because a relationship needs money to be spent, and I can’t be the only one spending all of it. Las las I got called a greedy woman for that conversation. Emi Hefy? Ironically he had asked me one time if I thought he was stingy because his colleagues said he was, and I said no. So imagine me going from that, to the man I married. Culture shock.
Conditioning gets to your head whether you agree or not. You hear men say they want a woman to bring money to the table. You hear, and know from few bad experiences, men also are unreliable. So as a woman, you always have vex money; even in your marriage. I read a Facebook post of a man not paying for DSTV subscription in the house, just to punish the wife. I’ve seen men cheat, and woman can’t even vex small because she needs money for her facial wash the next month. Small and big ways of financial oppression exist between the genders.
I stopped financially depending on my family when I was 19, it wasn’t deliberate on the part of anyone, I just struck out on my own. Although this is minus the countless meals I ate into my sister’s purse when we lived together. My first job paid N43,000, two months after NYSC ended, and I was fine with it, because it meant I was earning something. I’ve lived alone since I was 22. I’ve always used money and self sufficiency as a wall to shield myself from nonsense. That’s how one day in a party in Nairobi, some nonsense chauvinist called me a trophy wife, and it weighed me down for like, forever. It was like, he took my worst fears, and put flames to it. I told my husband and he did his best to make me feel better, it didn’t work, it felt like he was a man and didn’t really, get the insult I felt. I spoke to a group of women, and they told me, “so? So what now happen? What if you’re a trophy wife? I know you’ve been told you need to earn your place in a relationship, a woman’s worth has to be quantified, but why can’t you sit back, relax, and enjoy this money this man is freely loving you with? Does anyone know your story? Does anyone know all the invaluable ways you are contributing outside money? No? F8ck the guy who said this crap, f8ck any family member that tries to guilt you, f8ck everything, it’s your current reality and you don’t need to feel guilty for it. Isn’t that the life women always dream of and hardly ever get to have?”
They were so angry for me that day, I was shook. I also saw Ali Wong on Netflix, check it out woman! I knew somewhere in my head I had zero reasons to be uncomfortable about enjoying my life, but I really was. My husband wasn’t complaining because he could clearly see my struggles, but I was. I didn’t do Bsc and Msc and enter Lekki traffic for 4 hours 5 days a week, to build trophy wife career. I had just one safety net left. Just one. Money and self sufficiency.
So instead of feeling bad about being a trophy wife, I’ve leant how to show love in many other new ways that sometimes involve Instagram recipes and, I love it. I’ve learnt to depend on someone financially, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. And that is the best reward I’ve ever gotten for finally practicing self love. Giving and receiving love without boundaries. Every step of my relationship with my husband has involved me using my own hands to finally break down my walls. I used to joke that I’ll die if he ever leaves me, but now I’m pretty 100% sure, I’ll die.
I’ve short-changed myself for a while in my marriage, thinking, because I don’t earn money I don’t have a say. See, I get how those men feel emasculated when they don’t earn money. Any small thing anybody says to people like us, it’s insult o. Any tiny thing. It’s not a gender feeling. I felt emasculated for a long time. I even found a way to “earn my keep” through home management and knowing how many spoons of sugar is left, what day and time cashew nut will finish so I can know when to buy more. All those things can go a long way, or not, depending on your reality. The best part however is, I got to show my husband I’m a badass in the boardroom, bedroom, and kitchen too. But sha las las, I belong in boardrooms. I turned my kitchen to a boardroom, I’ve started selling bowls of stew. Patronise me and bite your tongue. I turned my energy into this blog, my YouTube channel, they’re all my little babies that will grow up and send their mummy to London one day.
And now that pandemic has relaxed, and I have my permit, well, gentlewomen, Shall we?
Wish me luck. Xx.