Afrosays to me

…random excerpts from my communions with the AfroMuse

Decades II – The Third Decade (21-30) September 21, 2011

Filed under: Decades — Betty @ 10:00 am
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The Decades project II.

Thanks for waiting. In case you missed the preview, find it here so you know what to expect. If you’re not sure what Decades is about, kindly check the preview out.

Decades II – very much like the original Decade project – explores the wholesomeness of womanhood as lived in ten-year intervals; Girls; Ladies; Women; Mothers; grand and great-grand mothers all. They live the same life we live, experience the same joys and pains unique to their decades and maybe we can learn a thing or two from them. Find the subtle connections that link their lives together and get lost in stories told. Decades II.

Please do subscribe to the blog to follow the project. (Column to the right for PC browsers or in the comment section). Also, we hope that you’d be kind enough to leave a comment. Your feedback is important to us.

The Third Decade (21-30) by Omotayo Adeola (@JadenTM)


Emeka was the first person to tell me I had no bum. “The hips of a white woman”, he’d said. Then he’d walked over to where I stood, kissed me, and placed his hand on my backside, squeezing my cheeks playfully. With every increasing dent I felt my self esteem pass out of me. So, at the party, I didn’t shake my booty. I raised my hands high above my head and wiggled my shoulders. I couldn’t komole so I fosoke’d, I moved my knees where I could no longer justify moving my hips, and all my friends said I danced like a white girl.
I heard he became an actor, but I don’t believe it. His eyes used to go blank when he told a lie; he wouldn’t even blink as he stared into the tear filled pupils of my eyes. He would recite his lines with decided precision and I would blink back my suspicions and smile, trusting him with my heart. Until I overheard them describing his backstroke in the ladies’ bathroom, the day after he’d looked me in the eye again and told me he loved me, only me.
I didn’t cry when I told my friends, and they eyed me in suspicion.
“You didn’t love him,” Nike said.
“Are you made of stone?” Rose said.
“She must have been cheating too,” Dami said she overheard Fatima say to Busola.
So I broke up with them, too.
Twenty one was that year; the one where you find out there’s more to life than Brazilian hair and overpriced Ankara skirts. The one where you count your losses and bless them one by one, the one where you realize your life has just begun.
They all got married. One by one they dropped like dead leaves into the forever of matrimony. Busola got pregnant and couldn’t get married in Church. Fatima married Emeka’s brother and inherited a live-in mistress. Nike got fat, and at her wedding she made all her bridesmaids wear satin boubous and stick bows in their hair. Either that or she made sure there was no one on her train who could shop outside of a plus-sized store. They shuffled around with their inflated faces as they filed into the reception. The band started to sing (Nike Peperempe! Omo Olakúnlé!), and I waited until they were all dancing around her to walk over and say hi.
“You look so good!” Rose (nee Ndubuisi) blurted. Nike jabbed her in the side with her elbow.
“Thanks for coming”, Nike said.
As I smiled and walked away, Dami ran up to me and told me that Busola told Fatima that she wanted to know who my doctor was. I gave her directions to my gym.
I told my mother I got a promotion and she wailed in agony; twenty six was the year when success was reckless. The line of pot-bellied suitors at my door shrunk the moment I bought myself a ‘big’ car and my father, strong and silent as he is, led me to his study to impress upon me the merits of marriage. I impressed upon his fading memory the amount of money he’d spent on my education.
He sent me to fetch his coffee and wished me a good day at work.
I was too busy to take my lunch break, but Tracey brought me a slice of cake anyway.
“Happy birthday,” I said.
“Oh no, Jumoke got me the cake because I’m leaving. I’m getting married! Can you keep a secret?” she gushed. “My corner office has your name all over it. Congratulations!”
She wiggled her hips and walked merrily away, even though I hadn’t said a word.
I went to the wedding. I even wore the designated office aso-ebi, posed for the pictures and stood in line to catch the bouquet. Her bridesmaids – and Jumoke – took turns holding up the train of her dress, and her mother hugged her with tears in her eyes as the DJ played ‘Sweet Mother’. Her husband held her hand and pulled her close, and every so often he would whisper something into her ear and she would burst into fits of giggles. And when they thought no one was looking, he would kiss her.
I watched them. And I let myself wonder; maybe I wanted more.
Maybe I wanted a friend.
Maybe I wanted a hand to hold, somebody to lean on; a rock to be strong for me so that I didn’t have to be strong all the time, so that I didn’t need to be strong anymore.
Twenty eight was the year I realized… maybe I wanted love.
So the second time Bamise asked me out, I said yes. I choked down my doubts, put on a dress and tried on a smile as we walked into the restaurant.
He held the door open for me, and he didn’t walk ahead of me. He pulled out my chair, but he didn’t wait for me to be seated. He ordered for me, but he asked to make sure I didn’t mind. And even though I know his eyes must have slipped downward repeatedly, I only ever caught him staring straight into my eyes. I let him kiss me after our third date.
He didn’t make me choose. When he said he wanted me, forever, it didn’t come attached with an ultimatum. Even though I knew I could, even though I knew I would if he needed me to, he didn’t make me swap my Range for his ring.
My father smiled at me as we posed for the cameras. My mother danced with her in-laws as they sang aloud to the choir’s ‘This is the day that the Lord has made’. My husband held my hand and gazed into my eyes, and when he said I love you I knew he wasn’t lying. He turned me around on the dance floor and I threw my hands up high, above my head, and around his neck.
At thirty, I still dance like a white girl.
ENTER @_Ayaba
Beauty is vain, it cloaks the pain

Smiles conceal fears conceived

Who will see behind the veil?

Who will set, the wall ablaze?

To such a man belongs the jewel.




N.B. The project still goes on for the following five days. Tomorrow we have The Fourth Decade by @Zaffiro.
You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments section) to follow the project.

90 Responses to “Decades II – The Third Decade (21-30)”

  1. phantompages Says:

    What is love? *starts singing* L is for the way you look at me…you know the rest…if its ‘true love’ surely I won’t need to ‘trade my success’ for it would I? Maybe seeking a balance yes. Anyway,another lovely story!

  2. loba Says:

    I do not subscribe to a woman marring cos everyone is doing it and her family wants it.

  3. chisom Says:

    The first paragraph cracked me up! This is a beautiful piece. 21 when you realise braz hair and over priced asookes……I doubt that in this generation. I really like this 3rd decade. Nice writing,easy to read and imagine.

  4. papyrusczar Says:

    This is a good lesson to learn: don’t succumb to peer pressure. Stick to what you want and keep your standards high. Think about your happiness at all times, and have faith in God. Cheers

  5. Mighty Says:

    Lol loved it…’count your losses bless them one by one’ i am totally getting u on that one. Also on wanting somebody that will be strong for you so you no longer have to be so strong. Amazing writing very poignant. I’m all for breaking up with some friends too…especially if they are not adding any redeemable value to your life. Well done babes x

  6. This is simply beautiful. Like, I’m just smiling. It is a rare man that would love you enough to let you be you, successes and all.

    Anyhow, I can really relate to this story. To answer your questions… what’s important in life is what makes you happy, the people who love you for you. In my case, that’s family, and the friends who eventually become family.

    Would I trade success for love? If it truly is love, I wouldn’t have to. But then if I really did have to, maybe if we were married and he had to move to another country to work, I would go.

    About friendships? it’s not by force. If they aren’t adding anything positive to you, then there’s no point having them in your life. If I had friends like the ones in this story, I would break up with them too. Friendships are supposed to build you up, not bring you down.

    Love in marriage? Not the ultimate. The ultimate is loving yourself. Everything else is secondary.

    Nice poem too. 🙂

    Sorry this comment is so long.

  7. bibigal Says:

    i can totally relate with the “you didn’t love him” advise. and then “the year you realise there’s more to life than brazilian hair and overpriced ankara… i impressed upon his fading memory the amount of money he’d spent on my education…” classic!!! I totally love this! easy reading, humour and wisdom! way to go @jadenTM!

  8. PreyingMantis Says:

    Asides from the fact that the story portrays you as a bitter lady who was fortunate to find a man willing to marry you, there’s nothing fascinating about this story or the style of writing. The story is completely bland.

    Making the poem close out the story is also lame, predictable & boring. It blows out the different & terrible fonts/sizes used, making it an eyesore to the reader.

  9. dipti (@barbie_deezy) Says:

    Glad it ended happily. Was so scared it was gonna have a sad ending. Lessons learnt from this beautiful story; be true to yourself & always have faith!!

  10. jAyajade Says:

    🙂 very lovely poem and story…I’ve been called that ‘unfeeling bitch’ a few’s sad really..I don’t think I’ll be as bad as the character tho…I hope not.. Really well written.

  11. iamsamsie Says:

    Do these smileys dance? I keep asking .

  12. blacknproud! Says:

    Had such a good life cos I’m at EXACTLY this point in my life! One has to thank God for parents who don’t stress about such. Now all my concerned friends feel I won’t get a hubby cos I’m not in Naija… I laugh in Spanish! I love the flow of the story. Ladies let’s raise our glasses and enjoy what’s left of our 20’s. Flat bum or not, hips or not, boobies or not…our self-love and confidence makes us beautiful!

  13. Nji Says:

    I love her independence and I can totally relate to almost every line.
    Good writing @JadenTM
    Got goosebumps at the end!

  14. Nate Oblivion Says:

    I love how the girl wasn’t a victim here. She stayed strong and got what she wanted. This is feminist candy. I love it.

  15. bukola Says:

    i must confess,i read this quite a few tyms ova cos i was rily facinated bt the story.besides the fact that av gt a penchant for readin,this is classic.some has pigeonholed me as”iron lady” evn tho i still see myself as a love aficionado.Ultimately be happy with urself nd wia u are in life.thats the only way u ll be happy wit ppl arnd u nd likewise love’em.Cheers nd im sure u ll continue to break a leg!

  16. The simplicity of it…the realness… the age bracket…the PRESSURES!

    Love to me…is something i thought i understood. Recently im not sure i do…but to be safe i go by the bible’s definition.

    She got married at 30…parents would take a deep breath and say ‘Finally’…she would be expected to finally be happy… would she be?

    The doubts, consciously pushing them down…

    I could go on.

    I loved it tho 🙂

  17. Funmibi Says:

    Beautiful Poem! This is going really well, I’m so waiting 2 c d end of it. Big-ups people.

  18. @edgothboy Says:

    ~(‘.’ ~) (~ ‘.’)~ In my opinion, the girls have slayed the boys in the decades project. This story has an ease to it, a fluidity that just makes the words meld into images before your very eyes. And the character is strong and objective and a model for what our women should be. Makes me hungry for marriage to a real woman.

  19. ThinkTank Says:

    Well written story. Engaging and easy to read.

    Poem at the end this time. My personal preference for the first two. I really like it this way (if it had come at the start, it would have given away the ending) but I guess the best thing is for the writers (poem and story) to decide where it best fits in for every case. Some might even be best at the middle. Sorry for being a pain.

    I really like the poem though.

    Back to the story. Again…another already well explored subject. Marriage, Success, Age, etc… I’ll let the ladies air their views
    Not sure I like the fact that there aren’t the same subtle connections between decades like there were with Decades I. But hey, where Decades I had connections Decades II has style.

    I like all the decades so far 🙂

    Waiting to be blown away…

  20. Glory Says:

    This is my best decade so far, funny how I’m always loving the 21-30 decade. The writing style is lovely.

    As for the questions, I’m still searching for answers. Somehow, I think we all still are. However, I don’t believe love in marriage is the ultimate; there’s a whole lot more to life. Friends come and friends go, nothing lasts forever. Trading success for love depends on what success and love mean to you. And love. What is love? I’m no longer sure I know.

  21. terdoh Says:

    The guy is gay…no homo.

  22. Uche Says:

    Good work, Jadem.

  23. jay Says:

    Beautifully written! No I don’t think love is the ultimate in marriage but it is important! Friendship is definitely not by force! I like that she stuck it out till the end and didn’t bow to unnecessary pressure at any point! I wish a lot of girls would have as much self confidence! ‘Count your losses and bless them one by one’ Lovely!

    • @iamsamsie- Dance, my puppets!
      @blacknproud!- Lol @ laugh in spanish. Confidence does make us beautiful!
      @Nji- Your comment gave me goosebumps. Thank you
      @Nate Oblivion- Feminist Candy 101 🙂 Glad you liked it.
      @bukola- Be happy with yourself: exactly. Thank you
      @beforesheimplodes- Go on, go on!! Thanks for your comment
      @Funmibi- thanks
      @edgothboy- Yay! Who run the world?!
      @ThinkTank- Very honest. Thank you.
      @Glory- Thanks so much!
      @Uche- Thank you Uche 😀
      @Jay- You quoted me 😀 Thanks!

  24. Kezia Says:

    i loved this!, beautifully written, simple, yet not devoid of emotion ♥ my favourite so far!

  25. georgeenah Says:

    Would I give up success for love?NEVER. I’m not willing to go down that lane

    As for friendships, I don’t expect too much from anyone so, when they surpass my barely existent expectations,I’m surprised.

    The perfect age for marriage should be determined by the level of maturity you have attained,not what society states. More marriages are crumbling in our generation.
    Other than avoiding God’s vexing, I don’t see the need for marriage.

  26. Never have I read anything so fluent… never have I! This is excellent, I’m amazed.

  27. sheSays Says:

    Easy to read….just flows into each other. The strength of the girl is amazing…and the poem was extra-ordinary. Good work.

  28. Rikkytoyin Says:

    Well composed, the lady in question is unusual though, I bet every girl within the third decade looks forward to settling down, I stand to be corrected. Apprehension comes in when the decade is almost over. I will rather marry for love than position.

    • D! Says:

      Not “every girl”… Some girls don’t think of marriage till they are about 29 ish because they think success and career are more important.. At the end of the day, its always an individual thing…

  29. BoukkieO Says:

    Jaden, two thumbs up! 😀

  30. OOkpoechi Says:

    Omg this is sooooo beautiful!! I wonder about what my life will be like in this decade, marriage and all. 😦 🙂

  31. lade Says:

    another well written piece……and yeah i agree d ladies seem to be killing it…. easy to read

  32. gee Says:

    love this piece. the heroine is strong yet unsure, an imperfection that makes the story that much more relatable. very well written. nice one @JadenTM!!!!

  33. Sunmi Says:

    I Love it!!!gbam! Caught myself smiling2many times,cs I could relate….Kip it up!!!

    • @Kezia: Thanks! My favorite comment so far!
      @georgeenah: Lol @ other than avoiding God’s vexing.
      @sheSays: Thank you!
      @BoukkieO: Thank you!
      @Ookpoechi: 😀 😀 Let’s hope it goes exactly how you want it to, how ’bout that?
      @lade: Thanks!!
      @gee: 😀 😉 Thank you 🙂
      @Sunmi: Thank you sunmi!

  34. ibetapassmynebo Says:

    Ermmm. . .

  35. Winnie Says:

    Like the 2nd decade,this decade taunts me… A journey into my head this is.

  36. abimbola Says:

    Thank you for this. This is the story I have not yet learned to tell.

  37. Ayaba Says:

    I find myself smiling just like I did the first time I read this piece. The choice of words and the flow…AWESOME! Massive kissbox for all who liked the poem too :*

  38. 0latoxic Says:

    I love this piece.

    I love the writing. I love the main character. I love the story. I love the telling of it. I love the ‘talking point’. The storytellers art I’m sure I’ll come to love… I still love the poet.

    I like the idea of Bamise too. From the little told of him in this tale, he embodies the kind of man and husband I respect and would like to be.

    DecadesII stays winning. Big up Jaden. Pemi *hugs*, Tomiwa :*, Banx *fist bump*

  39. thatifygirl Says:

    I like this story… very much. The writing….. was fluent and simple…. perhaps, a bit too simple, but I did enjoy reading it.
    I loved the poem.
    Well done!!!
    I actually like the fact that there aren’t those weird connections like in Decades I… hopefully, there won’t be any but.. I’ll wait til the end sha… perhaps one or two is fine.
    Again, well done.

  40. bibigal Says:

    I read the story again and realised details that signify the life of a woman in this age bracket were very much present… aso ebisss!!! bridesmaid dressessssss!!! weddingsssssss!!! aaarrrggghhh!!! so many of them to make you scream! … and don’t we all know a Dami? the one who always has a story that she heard someone telling somebody to ask you? smh

    • @thatifygirl: Thank you. There are a few connections, but they are very very subtle, so I don’t think you’d mind them so much.
      @bibigal: A second comment! Love the fact that you noticed those details. Thank you!

  41. bibigal Says:

    oh! and I like the poem too… mw @preyingmantis please have a cooollddd sprite!!! you sound quite thirsty! ahahn so much hate in the bory!!!

  42. niyoola Says:

    Good read. Wonder why d girl seems sad though 😦 had to read again to be sure.
    I like the fact that she wouldn’t mind giving up the range for the ring. This tells me that even though she’s all about doing stuff when she’s ready; she wise enough to consider her husband Ego.

    Good job.

  43. Ekwe Says:

    this is nice. i like the flow of the narration. i like the last sentence too. the part about her marriage was touching. *sigh. see you girls, you will be making us feel like you are the downtrodden of the earth. my first (and possibly last) girlfriend made me realize that you probably get as as much as you deserve. a very beautiful and impossible human she was.

    i like the poem, tho i dont understand it. i generally dont understand poems. a blockage in my brain, i guess.

    well, nothing to criticise here. i shall try again tomorrow.
    beautiful. i just read the last part again in my bid to bring out something wrong. nada.

  44. damisola Says:

    I LOVE. I LOVE. I LOVE. Ur story is one of the happiest stories I have ever read from a female writer. I love the independence, the happiness, the determination. It wasn’t easy being alone but she wasn’t afraid to be alone. I can’t say how many I love it. I definitely have to bookmark this particular decade. After my disappointments with the other 2, I hope the rest just get better. Thanks for finally showing a successful and happy woman not the usual downtrodden, suffering and abused girl that ur fellow writers are wont to show. Thank u

  45. awizii Says:

    “Twenty one was that year; the one where you find out there’s more to life than Brazilian hair and overpriced Ankara skirts. The one where you count your losses and bless them one by one, the one where you realize your life has just begun. ” <—————– This is poetically correct. (Can I patent that?)

    Tomiwa's poem really moved me.

    Simply beautiful.

  46. Amy Dew Says:

    Really,really loved it!…Hit sooo close to home…it felt like you were watching me as u wrote d story (the earlier part)…just hope my story ends as good as this did…but much earlier ;)…Thumbs up!!!

  47. yewiedewie Says:

    Its such a beautiful written piece. I can really connect with the feelings towards her friends, & also being successful but not married…..proud of u dear….xoxo

  48. […] we have The Fifth Decade by @weird_oo. Decades so far. – The first Decade – The Second Decade – The Third Decade Also, Our dear AFROSAYS worked on a story in The Writer’s Roundabout, a project by our […]

  49. Tolu Says:

    This is impressive my friend. I like the article and trust me it captures the fears of many girls. Have no fears and make your money, the man would come in his time.

    And yes, remind our Fathers of how much they have spent, lol.

    I like the writing style and looking forward to a part 2, if any and more articles….

  50. Ngufy Says:

    Wow. Just wow! Loved it. I think Decades speaks a language so many girls understand is totally relatable on some level.
    I loved that she stuck to what she believed in….

    Lol. So cliche she got it all…. And just at the expiration age when girls feel their biological clock ticking huh?

    But who doesnt need freinds? Not the ones U necessarily grow up with but U do all thesame…. She strike me as lonely.

  51. ed, edd&eddy Says:

    another nice piece. i’m always eager to read d next episode

  52. zoey Says:

    @jaden tho this coming a lot of late!! That piece is all kinds of beautiful!!! Thank u plenty!!!

  53. I loved the story. Loved the poem. Great writing style. Both of them. 🙂

  54. Mo' Says:

    “He didn’t make me choose. When he said he wanted me, forever, it didn’t come attached with an ultimatum. Even though I knew I could, even though I knew I would if he needed me to, he didn’t make me swap my Range for his ring.”

    ….And this is what love is!

    The story is so good. I can relate to each sentence. It was easy to get into d story.
    It just shows that life isn’t always sad… I’m really happy I read it

  55. @Tolu: Remind the fathers oh! They all seem to forget, until it’s time for the bride price, lol
    @Ngufy: She might have been lonely, and I’m a strong believer in happy endings 🙂
    @ed edd &eddy: Thank you
    @zoey: Thank you, thank you!!
    @kesh: 🙂
    @Mo’: “It just shows that life isn’t always sad…” Exactly. I’m happy you read it, too.

  56. while we're here Says:

    The story is not fantastic. Its simple and fluent, the reason why a lot of people are gushing is because we’re in this age bracket and we can definitely relate to a lot of things here. But there’s really no wow factor to the writing though.

  57. […] we have The Sixth Decade by @Ms_Dania. Decades so far. – The first Decade – The Second Decade – The Third Decade – The Fourth Decade You can subscribe to the blog (at the right column or in the comments […]

  58. Abi k Says:

    My favourite part is where she reminded her dad about how much he had invested in her education when d man was talking marriage and he asked for a cup of coffee instead. I can so see myself being this way. Very nice piece!

  59. Kemmiiii Says:

    Ooooh!! I tolly loved this. This reminds me of how my girlfriends and I were always fantasizing about being Miss Independent before getting married so that men won’t treat us like trash. *sigh* good times. (Y)

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