We were wrong for forcing you to stay even though we knew you soaked your pillows with tears at night. And when you had enough courage to walk away we dumped all the blame on you and surmised it was your fault. We cried you were too picky, too choosy and too fussy.
You became the topic of discussion at dinner tables, family parties, wedding ceremonies, church picnics and late night gist. We tabled all your past relationships and x-rayed all your exes. We dissected the cadavers, examined their various degrees and stages of decomposition. We made our conclusions and preserved them with the embalming fluid of your break-up.
You went back to school, you registered for more professional exams, you picked up more sources of income, you became occupied and what did we do? We complained. We complained too many degrees was reason you were not getting a date. More money was reason men were snubbing you. And your presence at several women conferences was responsible for your attitude and reluctance to settle down.
We hardly could have any lengthy conversation with you without rubbing your single status in. We insisted you dress a particular way, speak a particular way, and walk a particular way just so you would be ready and some man would give you attention.
Not once did we ask if they were frightened by your capabilities so they downplayed your ingenuities? Or were they afraid giving you yardage could take the reins and puncture their ego? Or was their need for control so bad they disparaged and silenced every dare-devil venture you proposed?
We would not agree our warped cultural views about a woman’s place and role sometimes empowered us men to be mean and condescending. We would stubbornly argue you were the one who needed to do the work of being ready, you were the one who needed to fix yourself and be suitable and you were the one who needed to be humble and submissive. These we drummed in your ears at every given opportunity.
We labelled you proud and arrogant when all you did was refuse to settle for less than you deserve. We branded you cocky and rude just because you were spirited enough to aspire for more.
We were wrong, sis.
Every mention of you in our prayers was always that you get married. We felt it was the sum total of your existence. We cared less that you had exams to write, job interviews to attend, work schedule and business to balance, dreams you want to accomplish and many other beautiful things going on for you. Our creed was marriage was the hallmark of womanhood. So we nagged you for being ambitious and adventurous. We just wanted you married.
You dared not dance and be merry where we were. We sneered and mocked you. ‘Oo ni’ronu! Your mates are carrying their second child, you are carrying Luis Vuitton bag!’ What vacation again? What course again? What business again? Do you know where your mates are? Are you thinking at all?!’
Your singleness was like sickness to us. We treated you like you had some disease and we were destined to provide the cure. We assumed the role of a physician and all we did every now and then was to hook you up with some dude. We couldn’t be bothered if they were still tied to their mother’s apron strings or if your goals were not compatible or if they were on the dole and lacked prospects.
We pushed so hard for you to lower your standards so that their ego could be massaged. We drove you to pieces so your personae would not be intimidating. We concluded your posh car and luxury home made you brash and it was sending potential suitors away.
We repeatedly failed to admit they were lily-livered, and we continuously blamed you for their spinelessness in approaching you. We would not acknowledge their inability to hold conversations with you for any length of time was proof of the mundane lives they’d settled for. Church activities were only good excuses and convenient covers.
We needed you to be unaspiring and passive so their pedestrian lives would not be too noticeable. For each time you shone, you further made visible their lassitude and laziness in making progress.
We were wrong, sis. We were very wrong.
And we are sorry. We haven’t done right by you.
And that is about to change.
I won’t deny we still want you married but we choose to let you breathe and live. We choose to free you from the load of expectations we placed on you. We choose to just let you enjoy the gift of each new day spent in good health and sound mind.
Henceforth, in our attempt to make corrections, we pledge to celebrate your person, laud your victories and appreciate the values and principles you extol without broaching your relationship status. It will be tough but we will try.
Next time we see you, we will be patient to listen and not tag you inferior or plagued. We will rejig our mindsets, look beyond your high heels and long wavy hair and just enjoy the person that you are and the warmth that you bring without throwing our weaponry of questions at you.
We promise to appreciate your good-naturedness, applaud the efforts you have made, praise the steps you have taken and be kind to recognize how much you have grown and evolved.
Please breathe, my dearest sister.
Take a deep breath in. Release.
You are magical!
Your repentant brother and friend,