To have and to hold.
You know, once upon a time, I wanted to get married. To a man( or a person of the male gender). And get children.
Just let that sink in. That there was once upon a time when I had bought into the notion that somehow, I , Mercy Mwende, could be a man’s wife, and a mother to little ones.
Right now, or an hour ago, i’ve met a really interesting stranger. Who wanted me to introduce myself. And as I talked of my career, or at least what I would like to do, he asked about my marriage status. And it was with such normalness that I talked of not wanting to get married, nor having even a single iota of maternal instincts in me.
So it is with intrigue that I am reading this book, by a young Kenyan lady who has decided to write about her young marriage. And i’m reading the first chapter, and feeling like an alien. To those kinds of beliefs. To these vows. And then it occurred to me, that I once thought like this.
And its interesting how much my mind or thoughts have transformed concerning marriage. That once upon a time, I would have fully agreed with her. 2017 to be precise. I even had a groom to be. But between then and now, I have discovered parts of myself that don’t require teaching. That if you have to be told how to be a wife, then you probably shouldn’t be one in the first place.
And that’s a basic rule I’ve come to apply in my life. That if something doesn’t flow from my innermost self, if it has to be taught in ‘church’, retreats or books, and reinforced further by older women, then its probably not meant for me.
Because looking at my life, there is nothing I enjoy that I was told about. How to do it, I might have needed help here and there, but not the force behind it. Like I love books, in between i’ve taken people’s recommendations, i’ve changed my tastes, but there is no time I had to be taught how to love reading.
Plus I wonder how I ever bought into the notion that relationships require so much work. They make it sound like for you to excel in marriage or relationships, you have to do a whole overhaul of yourself, leave your pride at the door, mara leave your anger or whatever else. In societal views of marriage and relationships, there is a lot of leaving bits of yourself that happens, and picking up other many more desirable traits. Like don’t shout at him etc. There is a lot of changing that occurs in there.
I have nothing against leaving pride at the door and picking up kindness when dealing with your other half. But to be honest, that sounds like a whole load of work. The whole picking and leaving. Holding and having.
My most interesting interactions with people, either romantically or even friendship- wise, were the ones I showed up as myself. The ones I truly walked in that door with all bits of me. The ones where my pride and kindness sat at the same table. The one where my anger let itself out the way it saw fit. Yet it thrived. Without anyone being taught how to be a good friend or lover.
So I always find myself at my wits end, reading about all these work that gets into loving someone that you chose with a sane mind. Like how does something so beautiful as love, end up being so laborious? And acceptably laborious while at it?
I guess I may never get it. The whole viewing marriage or relationship as this farm that needs to be worked upon with so much effort, for it to yield returns. It could be because I changed genders of who I love. And I guess some genders are less work-intensive than others. Who knows?
Or it could also be the living together aspect. This is a whole discussion on its own. Like if married people were not living together, would their marriages still sound like a whole diamond mine that requires one to dig thousands of feet under just to find the valuable parts?
I could understand why people living together is too much work. But why would you live with a human that’s too much work to live with?
All i’m saying, is that i’m not buying into this struggle love anymore. If I can have friendships that thrive with us showing up as our truest selves, us helping each other grow, us holding each other down, and all that while happily so…then I do not think I will gladly put myself in situations that concern love, where explaining it feels like explaining too much labour in one paragraph.
I mean, I live with myself, and despite all our ups and downs, me, myself and I, aren’t that much of a hustle.
And I hope to never go back to some of these struggle beliefs. To have and to hold, shouldn’t be a whole profession unto itself.