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Of Relation-Ships That Sink—I Need Space

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Allow me to rant, dear reader.

I promise I will be fine by the time I am done. I will be me, again. Probably the thirteen-year-old me who rarely talked to boys — just in case a sperm jumped out of their pants into my uterus and got me pregnant, you know. The younger me, who once reported to the headteacher a boy who wrote me a love letter. The boy was whipped thoroughly.

I want that part of me back so that when I get to forty and unmarried, you’ll misjudge me and say how empowered women are toxic. Isn’t that what you’ll say? When I step on large podiums to spew wisdom, adorned in flashy stilettos; a dress subtly displaying my curvy endowment, and an expensive wig catching the podium’s regal lighting, you’ll say I can’t advise your daughters because I have none and am not committed to any man. You will speak tirelessly, like a chatterbox,  from a point of ignorance. Let me rant.

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I recently saw a Swahili joke that said, “Watu wanatafuta chapo za twenty na wewe unatafuta soulmate.” This directly translates: People are looking for Chapatis for 20 shillings and you are looking for a soulmate.

Whoever came up with this joke did so in reference to the hiked commodity prices in Kenya, including chapatis that were being sold between Kshs 20 and Kshs 30. From past experiences, before our economy went to hell in a handbasket, chapatis, especially in local stalls frequented by ordinary folk were affordable.

Back to the joke—that soulmate part caught my attention. You see, love is the most spontaneous thing I have ever known. You could be scrolling through trends on Twitter then a message pops up. You pause to check and take a glance at the person’s username. Aha, it’s Davis in a suit, sporting a sexy beard with a goatee, and what’s more, his timeline is pure intellect.

So, you reply and before you know it, you are out on a coffee date with him. You ignore all the red flags. Blind to what you should see, and wide-eyed to things you perceive but don’t even exist.

You deny the feeling that he is among the many frogs you will have to kiss before your true love eventually comes through. Along the way, he breaks your heart. It could be at a funeral like it once happened to me. Damn it, how dare someone break your heart while you’re at a funeral? Point is, you could be anywhere when it happens.

The cycle has a tendency of repeating itself. So once again, maybe at an event, your colleague introduces you to someone new. As they say, one thing leads to another and you are soon spotted on the streets kissing under the moon. That’s love for you. The doubting Thomases, saying that it only happens in the movies, please stop dating folks from Timbuktu.

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“I need space to figure out my life.” That’s all he said. Just eight words and a period. Our relationship came to a halt after that statement. I needed more information, like a thesis to justify his decision. You don’t just wake up one day and ambush me with a breakup. Or is there any perfect translation to ‘I need space’ other than ‘it’s over?’ Walubengo should have prepared me! He was cold, no matter how much I tried to win him back. I hoped he would get back to his senses and cherish what we once had. He’d made up his mind, though.

One thing I have learnt about most men is that when they say it’s done, there is no way around it. I am not sure if it’s being stoic, or if they are certain about what they want from the onset but refuse to be honest. While he moved on almost immediately, I didn’t. I thought he’d come to me. So I waited…waited…waited. He never did.

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Heartbreaks can be toxic. Sometimes they have extremes — spiralling into depression. You might have heard of people who locked themselves up in a room for days to nurse a heartbreak, lost or put on weight, or committed suicide. It’s bad. I am glad it didn’t get to this point for me.

Heartbreaks also tend to awaken some sort of self-awareness in us. Amidst all the sombreness and pain, there are things you discover about yourself, either good or bad. For me, it was the crazy things I did and lost myself in the process. I learned that I had difficulty letting go. I was always determined to make it work, even when the pieces were too broken to be fixed. I would blame myself for it when I had nothing to do with it. Every time I sunk into this mode, I felt horrible about myself. So I am embracing this part of me and choosing to unlearn it. I am learning to let go. I have chosen to love myself more.

I am moving on, with conditions though. If I ever return to the dating scene, there are a couple of people I have to scrape off, especially single men with kids. I have nothing against them, just that experience has proven this lot doesn’t work for me. There are things as a woman you have to compromise when dating someone’s baby daddy. First, you have to know the other woman is part of his life, which means you have to accept and live with that fact. It also means you have to allow him to spend time with her. This is where I get knots in my stomach. When two people who once shared their bodies and produced a human being meet, you don’t know what to expect. Call it insecurity or whatever, but there’s a likelihood their love will be rekindled and even thrive. You’ll find yourself in a mix of chaos. I hope you understand when I say no to these men. Oh, I am also leaving behind brawny males!

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I, too, need space. I think it’s wise that I take a pause, reflect and refresh. I stopped working on myself and it’s time to revisit that. Some of my goals have stalled because I stopped being intentional. I will still talk to boys, only that this time they will be men. Real men. I choose to be open-minded. If I lose, I refuse to interpret it as a failure but, rather, a learning moment. I am continuously learning to be emotionally intelligent and to be more empathetic because sometimes, it’s not about me. See? I told you I will be fine. Thanks for listening! Allow me to grab a glass of lemon water. The taste of fish in my mouth is disgusting.

Also Read: Toxic Relationships: Here Is Why You Must Quit


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