“Lives are like rivers: Eventually they go where they must. Not where we want them to.” – Richard Russo, Author and Screenwriter
Life is our journey and through it just like a normal trip, there are choices we have to make. It’s my hope that the choices we make and live by are a reflection of our hopes and aspirations rather than a manifestation of our fears, retrogressive social norms and chains of bondage. There’s nothing demeaning as the latter. Unfortunately, such still happen in our midst and we live with them.
Today I had a chat with a lovely friend of mine and in the process got reminded of some terrible choices that individuals make in life that are not worthwhile in my perspective. In most African communities, patriarchal in nature ladies didn’t have much of authority or say on most things but this is changing. It’s a win in some fronts especially with women empowerment on the economic fronts. The constraint to this is that while we focus on the economic spheres, the social spheres are left stuck where they used to be which is a cost to the society at large. Case in point is this normalized notion that if a lady dies before she’s married off she can’t be buried in the fathers’ compound. As such, in Luo community the lady would be buried by the fence. I am not privy to the provisions of such a culture but it has been practiced and growing up ladies are made aware of this. From ongoing conversations, it is made to portray the status conferred by being married and as such ladies are made to gauge their level of achievement by being married which is equated to having a place where they’ll be buried. A sense of belonging.
In retrospect, I got to reflect on a couple of incidences where I know of ladies who as a result of such backward cultures have put their personal wellbeing second to being married. They afford to stay in abusive relationships and suffer in silence for the social status that the marriage confers. It’s such a pity that we can relegate our wellbeing in a life that we have control over and experience in awe of a burial which we don’t have an idea of how it will feel. What’s the value of a burial if you lived in misery your entire life? How is it beneficial to you? I believe there’s more to life that struggling for a burial place to the extent of fast tracking your own demise in the hands of someone why may not even care about your presence in his/their home. In death, there’s only one guarantee. Your body will be disposed of and it’s not in your authority to dictate when, where and how it will and even if you do, there’s no way you’ll ever assess to know where you were buried. What if you die in an inferno and got burnt to ashes with nothing to recover after suffering your entire life to secure a burial place?
It’s my humble plea to ladies to reconsider their priorities when it comes to the institution of marriage. A burial place can’t be traded for your wellbeing, sanity and welfare. You’ve got to put yourself first at times and ask yourself what really is of essence to you. What makes you happy? What kind of a life would you want to lead and how would you want to achieve it? On burial places, there are cemeteries and if not you can still consider cremation which is an option. Don’t sacrifice your wellbeing for a burial place. I write this with a heavy heart because I’ve seen the extents to which some of you go to have somewhere they call their homes. It’s not worth it.
Ps. I’m not against marriage as an institution but your wellbeing comes first. Remember that.
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