I have so many words. I am so sad for Chioma ‘Chigul’ Omeruah, but I am so happy also that she spoke her truth. That she showed us the tears of a clown. And by so doing, showed the real world what happens to many Nigerian women when they go through a divorce or when they find themselves single after so long.
Chioma Omeruah, popularly known as Chigul sat in Kemi Adetiba’s chair and TALKED! Ms Adetiba is filming her upcoming series called KING WOMEN. In the teaser that came online yesterday, Chioma talked about the angst and pain that she went through during and following her separation from her husband. Every single word during those 3 minutes and 44 seconds resonated with me, and possibly will with every woman who has been through something similar or has found herself alone.
The Pain of Separation
Thing is, people don’t seem to understand that separation is painful. Even if you are the one who called for it, it hurts. Hurts that you could not make it work. It hurts that love was not enough. It hurts that you can no longer fight. That your partner does not want to fight. It hurts that there is no meeting point, no compromise.
It hurts that EVERYBODY and their dog will ask you what happened and will most likely have an opinion about what went wrong. People who do not know you or your story will offer mindless, baseless solutions. When you add the Naija factor to the whole sordid mess, it doubly hurts that people will see the failure of the union as the woman’s fault. With no care or regard for how she feels.
A Mother’s Betrayal
When your mother does not take your side, it is crippling. Your mother is supposed to love you unconditionally. To steer you aright, yes, absolutely! But also to be your champion, your bodyguard, your safe haven. She is supposed to go to battle for your happiness.
She is not supposed to love the concept of being the mother of a married woman more than she loves YOU. But this is what happens in our country. Your mother should not value being a grandmother more than she values your emotional stability. But this is what our mothers do daily.
Our mothers wants to tie that wrapper so badly, want to back that grandchild so desperately, that everything else pales in comparison.
“Be there making excuses. All your mates are married.”
“So biko tell me which one you want. This one is too thin, too fat, too tall…is this how you will give me grandchildren?”
“You must learn to persevere. Persevere and have patience. Suuru la fi n’gbe ile oko (it is with patience that one dwells successfully in one’s husband’s house)!
“Hmmm…so what did he do that has not been done before? Do you know the things your own father did?”
Hmmmm….may God give us all the strength to deal with it all.
The Urge to Please
Against all odds, Chigul still wanted to please her mother. Luckily for her, not more than she wanted her own joy, but yes. The desire to make our mothers smile persists. And if you take a decision that will not make her smile, you take that decision with a heavy heart and a double dose of guilt.
Chigul did not break down over the cause of the marriage. Her first cracked voice and tears came from the depths of love she feels when she thinks of her mother. Yes, the desire to please springs from a place of love.
On a personal aside, I remember going to the doctors for a check-up of my…errr…plumbing. I had woman wahala and wanted to check it out. The end result: the by-product of the woman wahala might take me some time to conceive.
Me, a woman, made of flesh and blood. A woman who should want above all else to carry my own child. My first thoughts were for Mama Yemi, my mother. My first thought were “Ah crap! This woman who is looking for grandchild so? How will I fix this?”
This, at a time when marriage and childbirth were far from me o! But I was already worrying about not being “the perfect daughter”. About not being the “Psalm 31 wife”. About lacking the appropriate length for wife material.
The Double-Edged Sword of Success
I always find it interesting when married women guffaw at single women and divorcees who say they are happy single. Instantly, you will hear “Wetin she for talk, when nobody wants to marry her? If one bobo proposes today, she will dump all that independent woman ish and be in a white gown like greased lightning!”
And you feel you have spoken, abi, madam 6 yards of wife material?
It is very possible to want all things and for some reason, it has eluded one’s grasp. It is possible to love your career and yearn for a family.
I know married women and mothers who crave solitude and alone time. Does that mean they should divorce their husbands and denounce their children? No! But does that craving make them any less happy in their marriage? No, it doesn’t either.
Could I say “Look at her saying she is happily married. Just yesterday she came to my house to escape her children’s noise and tantrums. Abegi, she wishes she was me who can stand up and travel to anywhere at any time”? No, that would be a foolhardy statement. And so is the above when talking to single women.
Success is great. Ambition is noble. And if that is all you have, then by God, ride it till the back wheels fall off. But that does not negate the desire to nurture and to love.
I love the fact that Chigul mentioned her career cheek-by-jowl with her desire to have a family. And her desire to watch her mother play with her children. And bond with her children.
Why we all need to learn from Chigul
Chigul ain’t saying nothin’ single, separated or divorced women do not know. This sword of Damocles has dangled over many women for a very long time. Whom to please, what to do, how to do it, how society might react? All business as usual if you’re a Nigerian woman who has been through this path.
But perhaps our mothers might watch this and learn a thing or two. Perhaps our sisters might watch it and see what support should be like. Perhaps our men might watch it and refrain from stinging words such as “No wonder her husband drive am!”
Because….a little kindness goes a long way.
God bless you, Chigul. I hope the interview offered you some form of catharsis, and I certainly hope all your dreams come true.
KING WOMEN is described by Kemi Adetiba, the visionary behind the project thus:
Last year, God gave my heart the inspiration for a new show /project. One of my first missions this new year was not to procrastinate on it but to execute… Funds or not. Crew or none. Investing in the idea, I called up 13 phenomenal women and shared the idea with them, and in return, the shared my dream with me… The dream birthing “King Women”
KING WOMEN is a visual “movement” that acts as an accessible/online source of mentorship and emotional upliftment to young, impressionable ladies.
In this fast paced world heavily influenced by social media, many young girls/ladies grow up without strong female influences to look up to: Mentors who nurture them not just mentally and emotionally, but ethically as well. Mentors who show them more than just how to be a woman “at home”, but how to succeed in a highly competitive world.
More importantly, young people need to know that every successful person has a personal existence, which may in fact be dogged by distracting vagaries of life that need to also be successfully managed. A lack of understanding of this fact, creates a distorted view on how life works, and what it takes to get ahead.
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