Honestly if anyone had told me Aunty Yinka wasn’t always the brilliant and bubbly woman I had known for the past eight years of my life, I would have said they were just hating. I mean, how could she not be that woman who has been a strong support system, that even I didn’t know I needed until push came to shove.
Shamefacedly, I would admit that our relationship had often been lop-sided, and mostly in my favour. Because she was one person I could talk to easily, and who never judged me or even gave any advice, if I really think about it. I tended to pour out all my bottled-up feelings to her, and she would just listen.
Just listening was, and is, the best gift Aunty Yinka could ever give me. Because I knew she wasn’t going to give me any advice, but just listen. I tended to arrive at my own action plan all by myself, and then, she would help to fine tune it, but to dictate to me? That just wasn’t Aunty Yinka’s cup of tea.
For that I love her. I mean, who wouldn’t love someone who doesn’t judge you, complain about your plenty drama, gossip about you, and won’t even give you any advice? I really don’t know.
However, for some reasons, she has been sharing some things with me these days. Some things that made me realise I may have been getting away with pure murder with my marriage (God help me). Even though I don’t know why yet, but after eight years of sitting with her, I know her intricate mind has got something on it, and that there was a message she wanted to pass across. With time, I will find out, but for now, I will share the story of one of the beautiful women God has brought my way.
Aunty Yinka is one easy person to like, and met her husband where she worked. She is the travel business, and he was one of her regular customers. One thing led to another, romance grew between them, and two years after dating, they tied the knot.
Less than a month after marriage, Aunty Yinka found out she was pregnant. Pregnancy doesn’t do justice to her, she told me. It practically knocks her out and that was what happened. She couldn’t function properly for the duration of her pregnancy, and it was during that time that she started cutting back on her hours, till she had to turn in her resignation letter, as she spent more time in the hospital than outside of it.
Her husband became the sole bread winner in their young marriage, from that point on. When she gave birth, it was as though her reset button was pushed and everything that had happen the past forty weeks seemed a blur, only that her son was very real.
At three months post-partum, she started looking for a new job and actually got one, but her husband wasn’t keen on her returning to work and having to deal with childcare issues, so she rejected the employment offer and stayed home.
At the back of her mind, she thought she could actually start her own business, but with everything on her plate, that notion stayed at the back of her mind.
When her son marked his first birthday, Aunty Yinka found out she was pregnant again. It was not exactly good news, as the memory of her first pregnancy was still fresh. The second time was worse, especially as she had to deal with a toddler too.
By the end of her pregnancy, it took all she had just to stay awake; all thoughts of starting her own business left her mind.
Meanwhile, her husband was growing in leaps and bounds in his career, moving up the management ladder fast. He regaled her with tales of his corporate exploits and didn’t forget to add that he was working so hard for her and their children.
Truthfully, they were very comfortable. They had some of the best things of life, but Aunty Yinka had a hunger that wasn’t going away. She pined for something she couldn’t define, until clarity came to her. She missed her job. Yes, that basic. She missed going to work, having deadlines, going somewhere in the morning and coming back in the evening, instead of the life of leisure she had.
At that point, I side-eyed her and she said, “Kemi, you can side-eye me all you want, but that was how I felt. I wanted no leisure life. I just wanted to be a working class babe all over again.”
She revealed that while she loved the title of momma, she couldn’t help but feel that she wasn’t expressing herself fully.
Aunty Yinka discussed how she felt with her husband, and the man bluntly refused, saying he was making enough for both of them and she need not go to work. When she pointed out that every single life in their home was dependent on his income and that it was not a good thing to put all their eggs in one basket, her husband asked if she was planning his early death.
It was not a nice conversation, but Aunty Yinka tabled the fact that she had no source of income of her own, no retirement savings account, no car to her name, no property, however small, was hers. True, she was his next of kin, but that didn’t really matter in the circumstance. He still refused to budge.
She went emotional and tried to blackmail him, still it didn’t work out, not until she took a stand and told him whether he supported her or not, she was going out to get a job.
Her job hunt didn’t go as planned. Her time off the workforce kept coming up and soon, she decided she was just going to start her own business after all.
It was a hard and torturous path, but today, she looks nothing like she described. She had to start from ground zero. The competition was fierce, but she was determined to succeed, if for nothing, to ensure her husband doesn’t get to tell her, “I told you so”.
Her major mistake as she pointed out was resigning from her work, months after getting married. Now, she realises there were ways she could have kept her options open, while taking the time she needed to weather the storms of her first pregnancy. I told her to blame pregnancy brain for that hiccup.
The second one was rejecting the employment offer she got after she had her baby. It would have made a whole lot of difference for her, but her rejection lured her husband into thinking she would be content being a stay-at-home-mom.
Today, her husband is a proud man, always showing off the brand Aunty Yinka has built and saying, “My wife” in that way only a man besotted with his wife could say.
As for Aunty Yinka, she’s barely started. The glint in her eyes says it all, and I look forward to the great years ahead.
In the meantime, I wonder what next she will be talking about, and when she will actually say why she’s sharing all these details now and not back then.
One thing Aunty Yinka’s story taught me is the need for a woman to remain true to herself, especially in marriage. What you know you cannot tolerate, please don’t bother thinking of tolerating from the start. It will only backfire, and you may end up being labelled a rebellious wife.
Cheers to all the beautiful women life has blessed me with.
Remember to stay true to yourself.
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