I want to be the Chrissy Teigen of my union
I have a friend called Kate that I met in college (not her real name). She was my socializing buddy. We went for fashion shows, brunches, dessert tasting, and all the random bougie stuff you can think of. Eventually, she met the love of her life and got married.
A few months down, I found tickets to a fashion art exhibit and hit her up to come with. “My dear, I’m married now, I don’t do those things,” her stinging response came through my phone. “Girl, I’m not taking you to a strip club, it’s literally an art show,” I responded. “You don’t understand, when you get married you’ll see.” I realized that this was going nowhere, so I soon ended the call, deleted her number and erased her from my life…lol, kidding…but I wanted to. I honestly felt disturbed by our conversation—what was there to understand? Did this girl just trash her entire life because she had a husband now? Or maybe he was a controlling freak who didn’t let her out the house…I wondered if I should investigate and if she needed help.
Given the African background we were raised in, I wasn’t surprised that this was her approach, but I was frustrated because we were millennials, living in America…the free world. We’d promised ourselves to be fun forever and yet she couldn’t leave the house for something as simple as an art show?
I eventually let it go and we stopped seeing each other as much. When we did, it would be for stuff like getting party favors for her baby shower or helping to shop dresses for a wedding she was going to attend. The one or two times we made plans to watch movies, she brought her hubby along, and what was supposed to be a girl-thing, turned into a third-wheel thing. Even though we stayed in touch on social media, we grew further apart in reality to the point that she invited me for her birthday dinner and I made up a reason not to go. I just couldn’t relate to her anymore. Our friendship was based on social interests and since those were now nonexistent, I felt no need for a friendship anymore.
A few weeks ago, she reached out via text, “Hey, long time, miss you, call me when you’re free.” Y’all, it took everything in my introverted mind to make that call. For the past year, our communication had only been through Instagram—liking pictures, the occasional comment on how she liked my outfit and I, on how cute her baby looked.
Her bubbly voice came through the phone, and after she went through the entire list of all the words her baby could now say, she asked why I had thrown her out. The straight shooter in me politely answered, “…because you’re too married to do the things we used to like doing.” I could feel the silence on her end, the same silence I had when she cancelled on me because she was married. She wanted to do brunch. I was thinking quickly to give her a reason why I couldn’t make it and from my prolonged silence, she probably figured it out and quickly chimed in, “Just you and I, no kids, no husband.” We set a date.
At brunch, she seemed to have kept up with my life, meanwhile I, knew nothing about hers. In the middle of our meal she stopped to look at me then said, “I’m so glad you allowed to eat with me today, I haven’t done something this fun in a while.” I just looked at her, not knowing what to respond. Back in the day, brunch was the thing we did before going to do the fun stuff. “I feel like I’ve lost myself over the years,” she said, her voice sounding shaky. If her and the hubby were going through something, I didn’t want to get involved, so I responded, “It gets better,” and stuffed more food into my mouth.
I knew exactly what was going on, but I wasn’t about to tell her. Like I said, we were social friends…it wasn’t my place…plus, the last time I tried, she checked me on how I knew nothing about the institution of marriage.
This girl had probably gotten married and thought that when her pastor said, “You are now one,” their brains had also conformed. She and her husband probably had all their bank accounts joined and she could not buy herself a froyo without explaining to him why she got hungry. She’d given up everything she was, everything she loved, everything that probably made him fall in love with her, all in the name of one-ness.
Now that the high of a new marriage, new life and new children had faded, the world was normalizing, and while her personal life had come to a standstill, the fun things that she used to surround herself with had moved on without her, so here she was, trying to pick up pieces.
It has baffled me for the longest time, why women have to pick up a new persona when they get married.
I completely understand and respect the woman who gives up her club-going-days and wild-ways after walking down the aisle. But I get confused when people give up the things they love simply because their partner doesn’t do them or take much interest. Meanwhile, men continue livin’ it up, going for guys-night, catching football games together and generally doing stuff without bringing their wives along.
Several religions and cultures encourage women to submit to their husbands, and I think that ideology has wives confusing loving, respecting and building solid partnerships with losing individuality.
I’m not writing this to tell married women how to be married. All I’m saying is that I don’t want to be that wife whose only topics of conversation are what brand of diapers are better, or how my husband likes his omelets. I don’t want to be clueless when someone asks me if I watched Cardi B throwing shoes at Nicki. I don’t want to be that mum whose entire Instagram is colonized by baby pictures. I still want to be that girl my friends call to ask what the hottest brunch spot in town is—I want to be the Chrissy Teigen of my union. Happily, and lovingly married to a well-established person, having a strong uniting bond and yet still individual enough to hold my own and not be introduced as so and so’s wife.
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