For Better Or Worse, I Choose Me by Sbongile Lugube
On behalf of happily single Black African Women everywhere:
How many times have you heard it? Or a version of it anyway: “No man will marry a woman like that!” How about, “The way to man’s heart is through his stomach!” And of course the stamp of approval: “Now that’s wife material!”
Is it just me or has my entire life turned into some kind of weird reality TV show where I’m auditioning to be “wifed” by someone? When did this happen? When did every action, decision and opinion of mine start to have its merit measured purely on whether or not some eligible man somewhere will be impressed by it? Isn’t my opinion valid? Is it true? Does it make sense? Does it add value? “Doesn’t matter!” comes the unspoken response. “Man no like woman of strong opinion!” And so I am hushed into silence, forced to blend in with the walls. “Oh, but don’t be too invisible!” I am warned, “Or Mr. Right will never find you!” Wait, is there a rule book somewhere? Because I can’t keep up!! …..what, there is????
“Being brave enough to be alone frees you up to invite people into your life because you want them and not because you need them.” – Mandy Hale
Before I go any further, I must point out that I am not here to attack or insult anyone whose desire it is to be Mrs. Somebody one day. Go for it, girl! All the best to you! Marriage is a beautiful thing, designed and ordained by God Himself. I don’t hate marriage or married people. That’s not what this is about. I am speaking on behalf of the woman who has found herself in the line-up of The Bachelor without ever having sent in an application. Competing with a group of girls for the attention of a limited number of gentlemen, none of whom I find impressive enough to share a romantic dinner with, much less spend the rest of my life with! Even the “singles” events held by my church seem to be a project aimed at getting me “unsingle” as quickly as possible. Words of encouragement are never short, with promises that my special someone is out there somewhere if I can just hold on and stay strong!!!
Here’s the thing though. I am taken. My special someone might take you by surprise, but until I find someone here on earth who will make me happier, treat me better and love me harder than this person, I am genuinely not interested in making a change. This person guards my heart jealously and protects my integrity fiercely; works tirelessly to make me a better person; we like the same movies, same food, same music; when I make a wrong turn in my life, this person lovingly and firmly checks me and works with me to get my life back on track; my love knows all my secrets and will never share them without my permission.
This one has seen me at my best and at my worst, at my fittest and at my fattest, first thing in the morning, make up and filter free, edges gone wrong and eyebrows in need of prayer, and always made me feel worthy of love when a previous lover tried to convince me that I wasn’t. This person is perfectly flawed and beautifully broken, with scars that make up a portrait of exquisite and unique beauty. Not only that, this is a love so selfless that if ever someone showed up who could love me better than this, this one would surrender and make way for me to receive something bigger and better, but still, always remain close by, never far. And this bigger and better love would have to accept that this other one will forever be a part of me.
Who is this incredible person? Is such a love even possible? Someone will find this corny, but I see this person every time I look in the mirror. Every crack and every bump is all mine. Her failures and her victories are mine. God endorsed this love when He said I should love my neighbour as myself…like this love I have for myself is so good, He wants me to share it with others! Is it so difficult to understand that I am perfectly satisfied with my own company?
This is not to say I don’t love other people or that I feel that I am above them in any way. I am just really content on my own, and until I find someone who can make me a better offer than I have made to myself, I’m staying right here. I have chosen to love me unconditionally, to accept myself as I am with no judgment even as I work to improve and knock off some of my bad habits by the grace and power of God. I gave myself permission to disagree with what doesn’t sit right within me, and I gave myself permission to be wrong sometimes.
“… please note that I am not merely tolerating or surviving my singleness…. I enjoy being with me!” – Sbongile Lugube
So before you tell me that my standards are too high, and that I am too picky, or that I will never find a man, please note that I am not merely tolerating or surviving my singleness. I am not actively seeking to end it as though it were some kind of sentence. My solitude is not a disease that I am desperate to cure. I enjoy being with me!! I love my time alone. The moment I curl up on my couch alone with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate is something I look forward to every day. My life is full and I am blessed with amazing friends and family. I am alone, but I am far from lonely.
Like I said, I don’t hate marriage. God created it. God also created peanuts, and yet many good people cannot eat them without being rushed to the emergency room soon after that when they go into anaphylactic shock. Every good thing that God made ain’t for everybody. And that’s OK. Maybe one day I will find someone with whom I can share this amazing life, maybe not. I’m good either way. So I’m sure your single brother is wonderful and I believe you when you say your husband’s single golf buddy is an amazing guy, really, good for them. But I am not looking to be found. I am already taken. Taken by me; and I am satisfied. Maybe one day I will change my mind, and that’s OK too.
By Sibongile Mlotshwa Lugube
S’bongile is an awesome woman of God who spends some of her time being a wife, and mom to two seriously cute little girls. She also happens to be a singer and song writer – she’s written a few for gospel artists across the African continent; you may have also seen a few of her articles online. S’bongile is passionate about discussing faith, music, motherhood and women.
You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you S’bongile for penning such an inspired piece that I’m sure many single women will resonate with! Can you relate to S’bongile’s sentiments above? If you could tell the world about your experience with singleness, what would that be?
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