So today, Lets deal with the elephant in ‘my’ room. Marriage Vs Career. As I write this I will try as much as possible not to sound like a feminist and if I do, allow me to ask you, my lovely readers, to add ‘with all due respect’ where you feel slightly offended… however let me begin by quoting the gracious Chimamanda Ngozi,
‘We teach girls to shrink themselves, To make themselves smaller
We say to girls, “You can have ambition But not too much
You should aim to be successful But not too successful
Otherwise you will threaten the man.” Because I am female
I am expected to aspire to marriage I am expected to make my life choices
Always keeping in mind that Marriage is the most important
Now marriage can be a source of Joy and love and mutual support
But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, And we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors, Not for jobs or for accomplishments, Which I think can be a good thing
But for the attention of men
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings, In the way that boys are
Feminist: the person who believes in the social
Political, and economic equality of the sexes.
Every time I hear her recite this on the song Flawless. My stomach churns on how much truth there is in this statement, I mean growing up, how many times did you hear this statement, ‘look at how she carries herself, who will marry her?’ or when you would try and be the ultimate best in whatever you did, from working hard to how you behave because one of the things you learnt was this is what will attract a good husband? Is there a point in life when you sat back and told yourself you are doing this for you? Isn’t it unfortunate that at times we unwillingly find ourselves judging each other on the basis of competition for men….well here is my story.
Sometime last year, I turned 27, my gorgeous lovely baby cousin was walking down the isle, I was overwhelmed with emotion on that day, she looked breathtakingly amazing, and one of her greatest dreams was coming to pass, she had desired for the longest time ever to start her family as soon as she found her Prince charming. I think I may have cried the most on that wedding, I mean I even got Her dad teary! that’s when you thank God for waterproof Makeup. However, keep in mind among my cousin’s am automatically meant to be next in line if not before, and here I was the only one without a solid plus one. Every corner I took, the question was, so when is yours? and my response would sarcastically be, ‘am I meant to wed a tree? let him come along first’. Clearly I did not know I had opened pandora’s box because from then on came the family hook ups and everyone feeling like they have the suitable suitor for me. Can you imagine the pressure? Yes, I had told myself I will not let it get to me but after a couple of dates with these ‘suitors’
(yes, I went out of respect for my elders who took the time to do what is best for me) I realised a part of me was succumbing to these pressures. I found myself less focused on my dream of wanting to go back to sea (penning my story 1) and trying to compromise on how it may not be that important for me to scale those heights if I truly wish to settle down. I found myself convincing me, that the career/marriage balance could only be reached by me forgoing my dream, what I had been fighting for for so long because I figured if I needed to settle down I needed to be around for that Man. I was simply allowing myself to settle for less. Up until a few days ago when I got to visit my mentor and she kept introducing me to everyone as Captain to be and telling everyone how I am so tiny but tough because I’m fighting hard for equal rights on board ships and I will not rest until I get there. That was my ultimate wake up call. Why was I giving up so quickly, why was I even having it cross my mind? Yes, I do wish to get married and have a large family, but again I am at a place I never thought I will ever be, I have fought so hard to get here, do I want to throw it all away? honestly not, do I feel like it’s only fair to compromise with my future spouse, hell yeah. Why is it that I am the only one asked, all those years at sea, how about your family? why not pose the same question to he male seafarer?
So here is my take…
Ladies out there who are at that age whereby you are undergoing that family and societal pressure to get married, especially those who are in male dominated areas. Stop for a minute, look back at how far you have come then exhale. I believe God put you where you are for a reason, so please don’t try and compromise your blessing to please others. The same God who got you there is the same one who will Send that husband. Stop feeling like every date should end with you in a white gown, whereby you end up struggling to fit into his life at the expense of what it is that you struggled for or better yet your happiness. Make it clear from the get-go that yes, these are my dreams and I would definitely love a man who will support them, If he agrees to stick around and a time comes where you feel there is need to compromise e.g for the purpose of starting a family, then cross that bridge when you get there and if you feel you have been held between a rock and a hard place, seek God’s guidance. You don’t have to be the most prayerful person, just talk to God. I mean if you have read the book Eat Pray and Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (the writer) talks of how she decided to try out this thing called prayer when she knew her marriage had hit the rocks and didn’t know how to do it but decided to just talk hence started by telling God Hi,… thereafter she explains how she felt guided and a weight lifted off her shoulders the minute she said Amen.
So young ladies, focus on those dreams, know your worth, know what you are fighting for, have more than enough ambition, and above all do it for you. Ensure ‘YOU’ are happy before anything else. Get married because YOU want to and YOU feel it is right for you, don’t do it because society family and friends feel it is right for you. Above all remember Godspeed in everything
P.S it was during this beach shoot that I got to share my 2cents with my best friend.
YELLOW BEACH KAFTAN: PROMOD
WHITE SHORTS: H&M
SUNGLASSES: RAYBAN ONLINE
BEADED HAND ACCESSORY: WOOLWORTHS
WATCH: DANIEL WELLINGTON
LOCATION: SERENA HOTEL MOMBASA
PHOTOGRAPHY: MODAN PHOTOGRAPHY