Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hyphenate Please

Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I decided a while ago (in my late teens) that I'm not going to change my name to my husband's name when I marry. For me I don't think its about feminism or whatever but I just never really got the point, the relevancy, and why its a MUST. I have a name, I like my name, and it's been with me and done me well for ages why would I want to change? Never found a compelling enough reason. Even worse my parents are in full support of my not changing my name, they also don't see it as a MUST.

Fast forward to a few years ago when I started to seriously think about marriage, the issue of change of name came up to me again and I decided that in order to be connected to my children I would compromise and just hyphenate my name. Earlier on in our relationship this issue came up and I can still remember vividly the conversation. Bolaji actually doesn't care either way and wants me to do what feels right to me, staying true to myself. I told him at most I'd want to hyphenate but I don't believe really in changing names. He okayed this but gave only one caveat which is that he won't bear the hyphenate name and our children would not bear the hyphenate name which is fine with me. I always say to people I don't care what the kids bear, that's THEIR lot in life, LOL. They think I'm joking but really...everyone has their own life to live.

Anyway so now that the traditional marriage has come and gone, this issue is now at the forefront, it's a burning issue. First, Bolaji and I are a little confused as to whether we are now actually MARRIED. Do we now refer to each other as wife and hubby, mr. and mrs.? How should we introduce ourselves, "meet my fiance?" or "meet my husband?" Almost all our family members i.e aunties and uncles refer to us as married so surely that must count for something? So what I say to people now is that we're in-between :-) Almost married. At work however, they've already changed my name on the system.

Which brings me back to the hyphenate. So I make sure to tell everyone I'd like to be addressed with my hyphenated name BUT NOBODY LISTENS! Everyone, aunties to uncles, to colleagues everyone prefers to say Mrs. so and so. This irks me. I actually don't like the Mrs. moniker and Bolaji despises it! He's of the point of view that it is a moniker that is essentially useless and any usefulness that may come from it should be if one is filling out official forms. Otherwise, in everyday life, he prefers everyone to just go by name. So Bolaji despises Mr & Mrs and it also irks me so why do people keep insisting on ignoring our wishes and still calling us Mr. & Mrs. xXx? I spoke to my uncle this morning because he wanted to send a package to us and he asked how I wanted the envelope addressed and I told him. Would you know the envelope got to me this morning addressed Mrs. Kemi xXx! Sigh.

I have to say not wanting the Mrs. tag adds its own dilemma to my identity. Without the mrs. how would I then like to be addressed? Saying Mrs. Kemi yYy-xXx is not actually correct form so I've been thinking about it and I think my preferred choice would be Ms. Kemi yYy-xXx. And that is if I absolutely must. I'd just rather they call me Kemi what's so wrong with that?

Anyone else hyphenated their name? Any advice on how I can best help my family transition into my REAL new name?

PS - my hubby was working in our home office and just walked out planted a kiss on my forehead and lips and walked back to the home office. I love that man. :-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

The New Mrs...Kinda

Monday, February 8, 2010
My engagement ceremony and the day itself was phenomenal.

Absolutely phenomenal. I don't know how else to describe it and trust me I've tried to describe to many people that asked and there are just no words, or not enough words. Magical comes to mind.

So as I've mentioned my boo and I live together. In preparation for the traditional ceremony we were supposed to have moved apart for about 3 months. That didn't happen. Then 2 weeks. That didn't happen. Then 1 week, and when that also didn't happen I just said forget it, I'll go stay at my hotel the day before the ceremony and that would be it. The hotel is close by my venue. Even this plan didn't work out. Bolaji took the day before the ceremony off work and was supposed to drop me off at the hotel in the morning, but I started to get jitters, and scared. If Bolaji dropped me off it would signify the beginning of this thing and I was just so scared. Ha! It took me by surprise actually, my jitters. So I ended up spending the day with my boo and he didn't drop me off till around 8pm! Before he dropped me off, we stopped over at Bolaji's parent's house and all his aunties and uncles were around so it was nice to meet them all that night.

I spent the night alone in my hotel room. The next morning around 6am, I got up, showered and tried to put my contact lenses in and they broke!!! For some reason, I was quite zen an calm about it. I called my sis to bring an extra pair, then called my eye doctor to ask what time her store would be open because it was nearby. At around 730am, the manicurist shows up and starts on the manicure/pedicure. She finishes by 830am and I take a 15min stroll to the eye clinic hoping that they had my prescription in stock, which heavens be praised, they did. Woohoo! All this while I'm still by myself so when I got back to my hotel room, I just sat down and relaxed. I didn't sleep, just sat and really took in the moment and the experience, I prayed and read the memory passage my mom had given me. Around 10am I call my makeup artist since she was supposed to meet me at 10 because my ceremony was scheduled to start by 11am. She tells me she thought our appointment was for 11 so she was just leaving her house!!! Again for some reason, I was just really calm and relaxed so I was just like okay, she should try and get here as soon as possible. I'm sure even she must have wondered what kind of easy bride was this :-) At 10:30am my Mom on her way to the venue stops by the hotel and was shocked that I wasn't even remotely ready! I just calm her down, told her she looked beeeeaaautiful (my mama looked so gorgeous!) and she was on her way. She and her sisters where going to the venue to pray. At this point I knew I was going to be late because once the bride's family is already there, then the ceremony will start, meanwhile I was still in my PJs without any makeup whatsover! My sister and one of my friends hitched a ride with my mother so they stayed behind at the hotel with me after my mom left. My makeup artist FINALLY arrived at 11am! I just rushed her in and started right away.

Everything was just so calm and peaceful and I will always cherish that. It was like the Holy Spirit was just moving around the place and working cuz it was just so peaceful. We finished around noon and by that time EVERYONE was already calling us to ask us where we were. Apparently while filling in time waiting for us to arrive they had asked Bolaji and his boys to dobale so many times! The minute I got out of the car I had to start dancing to the front. The kneeling and prayers and everything was easy peesy from there. No fuss, no strange happenings. It all went by pretty promptly and fast! I think by 3/4pm it was over and done with and the band began to play!!! There was sooo much food and so much to drink, and everyone looked happy and beautiful. There was a time I looked around the hall and took everything in and said a little thank You prayer to my God because he REALLY did it for me oh. I looked around and was so happy because everyone in that hall that day was a close family or friend. Bolaji and I really really prayed about this because we both don't like Nigerian ceremonies because we believe so many people show up that the couple don't even know or care about, and sometimes there's drama and all that but at this event? It was magical! It felt like a really intimate event. God really showed off for us!!! It was everything we wanted and prayed for.

By 7pm the hall was clear. Well, there were still a few die-hard uncles and aunties :-) Even my father-in-law who doesn't drink was having a glass or two of wine! I left to go back to my hotel room at 7:30pm and my husband left at around 9pm to come and meet me. From the time my husband walked into my room till about mid-afternoon the next day was the BEST time of my entire life. I think I've mentioned that we are celibate....well, we still are! But that night was just.......we were just so happy and in love. I am sooo soooo soooo happy. Like beaming happy. I love my boo so much, he's such a fantastic guy I can't believe I get to be married to him! We got so many messages that day and really we get it all the time that we are special couple, that whenever people see us, they see love and want to believe in love. Everyday I thank God for this. It is such a miracle because I found something special, someone special. We found each other. I am blessed.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love U Tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No, my traditional wedding is not tomorrow but it is in FOUR DAYS, if we are counting today. I don’t know how to describe how I feel. It’s been such a difficult journey for me. I think like many young ladies do I too was expecting the usual we see at times like this: mother-daughter bonding, girlfriends giggling with you and supporting you, fun shopping experiences, picking out materials and shoes and decorators with your loved ones, etc. You know, the quintessential happy experience. Mine I have to say hasn’t been like that. It’s been tough. Almost immediately some friendships evaporated. Then almost all other relationships were tested.

I’ve found forging a new relationship with my soon-to-be in-laws a tricky and trying thing. My mother and I are polar opposites when it comes to just about everything and that has really showed these last couple of months. Add that to the fact that for some strange reason my Mom treats and reacts to me like I’m that 8 year-old child of years ago. She says things to me like “I never thought you’d be the first one to marry, I didn’t think any guy would be able to get along with you with your temperament”, or when she entered Bolaji and I’s flat for the first time she exclaimed, “I’m so surprised that the place is clean, I’ve always said to myself I would never stay in your house”. I have to respond that she shouldn’t judge my life by the fact that I didn’t clean my room when I was 11, I’ve lived on my own since I was 17 and 3 of my apartments I lived in without housemates, ALL of which have never been unkempt. I even have a reputation amongst my friends that if you come to my house you have to constantly clean up after yourself cuz I tend to keep my space in that kinda clinical/sterile look. It’s been difficult going through the planning process with these kinds of issues.

Two days ago, a very close female cousin of mine called me to ask me to send her another asoebi material. I had given her her own pack about two weeks ago. Apparently she had taken it to a new tailor who after accepting the material, messed up the dress and cut up the material anyhow so it was unusable. The day she called me I just come back from a 4hr journey into Balogun market (you have to know Balogun to feel me here) and I hadn’t even stepped into my house when she called. Unfortunately I did not have any more of the aso-ebi packs but I promised her I would ask my friend who helped me organize it to get her more. I hung up the phone and called my friend immediately and she said okay she’ll go to the market and bring the new pack to me the next day. I tell this to my cousin but also told her that I had no money to give my friend so she would have to get the money to me asap. She started to waiver and said that she doesn’t know when she’d be able to get me the money exactly but she’d get it to me by the end of tomorrow. So I said okay and called my friend back that she should not come the next day but the day after that, thinking that that gave my cousin enough time to get the money together and get it to me. Only for my cousin to call me back to say why is the lady now coming another day? How come she could come on one day and then all of a sudden she can’t come again? How come this and how come that. I tried to calmly explain what just happened but she cut me off and says well, guess I won’t be wearing your aso-ebi then. While trying to still explain she then tells me that well my friend had better get the material to her by Monday afternoon or there’s no point. I felt so hurt by her words and spoke to Bolaji about the conversation. He encouraged me to sit her down and talk to her about it and after thinking on how to best convey how I felt, I wrote her and email and told her that I was hurt by what she said and how she was talking to me, especially so close to this big event in my life. In the email I had said that just that morning I told her I was worried I hadn’t found shoes yet and was going shopping for them in Balogun, when she called she didn’t even ask me how it went and just started pressuring me on the asoebi. Anyway next thing I know, she calls me back and starts yelling at me on the phone and crying saying that my email hurt her, how dare I say to her that I’m a person too and words hurt? And it’s not like I also asked her how her day went so why should she be asking me about shoes? And so on, that she’s very hurt by the email. That afterall when I picked the asoebi I showed my family friend and not her etc. I’m just amazed because from the time I got engaged this cousin was one of the people everytime I said anything about wedding or preparation she would stop me mid-sentence and tell me how she’s not interested in that kinda stuff, or it my own wahala and not hers, or she would just glance casually at whatever it is and continue reading her magazine or watching her tv. Even on the phone I still said I’m sorry for hurting her but I also wanted her to know that her words hurt me, but she wasn’t listening and was just yelling at me through the conversation. All of a sudden she stops and says fine, bye. I’m so hurt by this lady’s actions. Bolaji says I have to call her again and make peace with her because as a Christian I have to make sure to make peace with everyone who’s offended me or who I’ve offended and I’ve prayed about it but I just feel stuck. While her actions hurt me, I feel like I’ve truly forgiven her. I don’t hold any malice towards her so I’m not sure what calling her would achieve. I’ve apologized to her about everything she said I said to hurt her. She’s the one who doesn’t see that she’s done anything to hurt me. So what am I supposed to say to her when I call her? Plus my ceremony is in just a few days, do I really need all this tension now?

Sigh. I can’t wait for all this to be over. I’ve really not enjoyed the process at all. Maybe when the day comes, the excitement and adrenaline will come and I’ll have so much fun. I haven’t been eating well the last couple of weeks and I think my appetite has gone haywire. I eat odd things at odd times and then I never finish any meal. I take a few bites and just get bored of it.

I took a few pics with my phone camera:

My aso-oke and the material I'll use to cover my head!

The famous bag and shoes

My second lace that 'll change into. I love this lace!

My red lips makeup trial. Not sure I like it. Plus I had an eye reaction to the makeup so always make sure you ask your makeup artist to use sterile equipment as much as possible.

The basket for the groom's family gift. Apparently this basket is filled with fruits and given back to the grooms family as a token of appreciation.

Lastly, anyone that's reading this please take the time out and say a prayer for myself and Bolaji for our upcoming traditional ceremony, for our white wedding ceremony later in the year, for our marriage, for our future children, and for the families we are joining together. May God Bless you abundantly in return, Amen.
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