I had danced in front of audiences a few times before, but this time was different: I couldn’t hide behind anyone; it was just myself and two friends on stage. I was terrified. We walked out of the small changing room in a Hall at school. All three of us were just about to go on stage to perform a dance routine that we put together ourselves for an annual event. The entire time, before we went on stage, I was thinking of our performance and hoping that we would do well. The time finally came… and then it passed. It ended with the audience cheering and applauding. That was a really nice boost of confidence. I was so relieved, more because I didn’t have to worry about it anymore, than because they loved it.
As we walked off stage towards the changing room, two young men pulled us aside. They
introduced themselves as Olu and Ugo. We chatted with them for a bit and then we parted ways. After the conversation, all I could think about was how Olu sounded so arrogant. I was very irked by this man and the words that came out of his mouth. He made a really bad first impression. We got to the changing room, changed into our regular clothes and went back out to the hall to enjoy the rest of the event. The night turned out pretty nice – good food, great people, nice atmosphere.
A not-so-long while later, one of my friends that I danced with sent me a message, saying Olu asked her if I hated him. I just laughed and told her to tell Olu to reach out to me directly if he had something to say to me. He came to my church quite often, so I knew I’d see him soon. A few days later, he followed me on Instagram, but didn’t say a word. Weeks after that, he stopped by at my church, he approached me, we exchanged pleasantries, then he asked to confirm my number. I told him what it was. He had already gotten this from a mutual friend, who visited from another city, a few weeks back.
Did I explain how he got my number? I guess not. A friend of mine who went to the same
University as myself came to town to visit. He used my phone to make a call to avoid long distance charges. He happened to make this call to Olu. Olu saw my number (caller ID) and saved it. My friend went back home a few days later… then out of the blue, I get a “Hey” text message at about 10pm. I was already asleep at the time. So I woke up to the text from a number that wasn’t on my contact list. I dialled the number on my way to work. I hate not knowing things, so I had to figure out who this was. The phone rang, Olu picked up, and then I said “hey, who’s this?, I got a text message from you last night”. Olu responded with
“Oh sorry, I sent the message to the wrong number”.
We ended the call.
That explains how he got my number. Thus, when he approached me a few weeks later, he
asked to confirm my number because he already had it. As you probably guessed already, another few weeks passed by before Olu decided to reach out again. This time he asked to have lunch. I didn’t cook that week and I figured that a casual lunch wouldn’t hurt; so I obliged.
We got to the restaurant, placed our orders and sat down to have lunch. The food wasn’t bad at all and Olu seemed pretty nice. We chatted about a few things, but he kept going on and on about marriage. He talked about how most of his friends are
either married or about to get married and he felt so much pressure being around them. I couldn’t really relate. I do have a few friends that are married, but most of my mates aren’t.
As it turned out, the lunch date wasn’t too bad. So after that I thought to myself “He is not as bad as I perceived him to be initially, I guess we can be friends”.
He reached out again…and again… and again… and we started dating.
He’d cook for me, we’d go places together. He did a good job catering to me so it was easy to see that he really cared about me. I definitely loved knowing that. One day he said to me that he thought I hated him. I told him I never did and do not. That I
didn’t know him enough to hate him. I just didn’t like his attitude and that he always came off as an arrogant person to me and I am not a fan of such people. Then I mentioned that I have seen another side to him that I never saw before and that my perception had changed.
As the days passed, we’d talk, but it seemed like we talked less and less each time. I mean we could have a hour-long conversation and not learn anything new about each other or learn to understand each other better. The more we spoke, the more we talked about the things in our lives that had to do with our careers. Actually, the more we talked, the more I got lectures about how I was doing in my career. The whole time I thought to myself “I can’t believe I have someone like this who cares so much about me that he would put in so much effort and try so hard to help me move forward and up”. But, these conversations were always about what I needed to change, what I could work on, what I was doing wrong, never what I was doing right. I overlooked this.
When we did not have conversations about my career, it was usually quite formal and short compared to how it was initially. Less outings, fewer conversations, more ignored phone calls and messages. We discussed our frustrations and how things had gone downhill so quickly, but nothing changed. It only seemed to get worse. I overlooked this.
One day, we set off to have lunch with a friend of his. We went over to a Vietnamese restaurant, I believe. We sat down, chatted for a bit and decided to place our orders. Before we did that, he told me what I should order. He didn’t even bother to ask what I wanted. Did he care? I guess not. Sometime after, I mentioned that I felt he was controlling; He disagreed with me. I overlooked this as well.
Eventually, things ended. Before this happened, I actually dreamt that it would. This was God giving me a sign and telling me to let go ASAP. But guess what? I disregarded His sign. Bottom line is I overlooked a lot of things that I was not ok with, because of the things I held unto. Did I hold unto love? Did I love this man? Did I see this as my happily-ever-after? Maybe… Maybe not…
The truth is I didn’t love him. There was never a connection at such a level. There was mutual likeness. He was very much into me and he showed it… at the start… and I fell for what I got from him… at the start. I remember praying every night for peace and harmony and for things to get better and to get to a point where I didn’t have to keep praying the same prayer over and over and over again. I prayed to God to end it if it wasn’t right, regardless of how it ended and for him to enable me to accept it. But I still held on tight to what I knew wasn’t love. Even after God had revealed to me that he wasn’t right and that it will end. I still held on. What exactly did I hold unto?
Almost 10 years ago, I remember having a conversation with my friends back in secondary school. We talked about our futures: our preferred careers, how we’d like to live, and getting married. I remember saying I’d love to get married young. I even remember the age I mentioned; I said I’d love to get married at 23. So I held unto my word. I held unto my word from years back when I knew nothing about relationships, nothing about what the right foundation for a great marriage is, nothing about life after the ceremony called a wedding. I held unto my word and assessed everyone that approached me; age was always a factor. He had to be a certain number of years older in order for me to take him seriously.
I convinced myself that the older the man, the more prepared he would be for marriage; the more willing he would be to get married in 3 years or even less; the more stable he would be, financially and career wise. So, I held unto my word despite the fact that things were not right, despite the fact that I was unhappy, despite the fact that I wanted true love and I didn’t have it with him, despite the fact that I wanted a friend and a lover, despite the fact that I wanted peace, despite the fact that my goofiness was unacceptable to him, despite the fact that I had to kill a part of me to please him, despite the fact that I was talked down to, despite the fact that my opinion was usually dismissed and disregarded, despite the fact that I was in pain, despite the fact that I was belittled, despite the fact that…
One thing I have learnt from this experience is to always trust your first instinct. I had a negative perception about him initially. I thought he was arrogant. I may have been wrong about that, but I wasn’t wrong about knowing that he wasn’t right for me.
A man will do anything to get a woman he really desires. He doesn’t even mind leaving himself behind, taking on a whole new persona just to get you into his back pocket. Marriage is a lifetime commitment. Would you rather get married young and be unhappy or get married later than you expected and live happily?
Before getting into any relationship, put God first. Pray to him, and if you don’t get an answer immediately, pray harder, seek him harder. If it’s meant to be, it will be, so why rush it? It is a lifetime commitment, so you will be together for life, happily. So, please wait. Do not rush into anything because of the unrealistic goals you may have implicitly set for yourself or because everyone else around you is married or getting married. Love is much more important than an early marriage.
As for me, I still hold unto my word of getting married early. I’ll still like to of course. But, the difference is that now, this doesn’t control me. I know what matters now. I know what I need to focus on now. And this is my happiness.
This is a beautiful post written by an MCLA reader, Ginika. I hope you enjoyed and learned from it. Have a blessed week ahead.