We live in other’s expectations on us, and it’s not always bad. But to fail to defy some of such expectations and have a mindset with what they expect each of us to do or become is not good.
Each time when one of my sisters (I don’t like to use cousin it’s a Western terminology against strict family ties) calls, she must ask about her ‘makoti’ or if I have one already not to keep her in that status but to marry her and have kids, while her knees get a darker and a skin that is as thick as a hide through kneeling in front of me when delivering food (read this one, external source), begging something and doing her chores like cleaning the floor. Borrowed from Zulu where it is the term for bride makoti is a nurse in Shona, my first language. One expected to be a woman with qualities like that what Malan from that Disney movie, Malan, was expected to have and still defied it (polite, quiet, composed, graceful, elegant, poised but hardworking and submitting).
The gravity of my situation is a man flying towards his twenty-sixth birthday without any girlfriend introduced to her sisters just once. It’s the last thing expected in my culture. Sisters must know any of my affairs and I haven’t been in one since 2019, or since 2016 when I last introduced them to a girlfriend. But I am in my most crucial time, and attending a girl who must become a wife like yesterday, especially a submitting kind (instead of an equal who can have a vision and ideas) is the last thing to do. Busy, as I will be until thirty-five, I barely answer a phone ringing on the same table where I type my work. I have a vision to build and a vision to attend.
At the core of my personal belief about success stories fabricated from where it was close to impossible is “doing things they did or you have done in a way they never imagined”. Raised in a farming village where farming never meant anything, new ways to achieve that are all that I have to achieve one day, including my own vertical farming system “Bier”. Bier is my own expectation, can it be achieved by following some others’ expectations and expectations in a thinking system and a culture?
I am not here to defend my attitude but when heading for self-made success you must be aware that we are trapped in cycles. Thinking cycles, outcome cycles, etc. The difference is made by breaking the cycles and shooting up in a straight line.
Following others’ expectations may ruin even your happiness. Someone had the best wedding at the cathedral, and the Bishop said he had never heard of such a wedding in his history of hearing about weddings while four big magazines and newspapers wrote acclaiming it. But seven years down the line things were not working fine, and since marriage is not really love, a divorce was fair enough.
“What people will say?” Such a simple question stopped what was necessary from happening, and still failed to heal the situation and prolonged what was broken. The thing is when you allow the tune of your life to play in their expectations you can only be afraid about what people will say about it if you don’t stay in what’s expected by them.
It is an amazing thing to find a purpose but also not allowing the purpose to find you. Don’t ever let their expectations to find you. Find your own.
Why you do it is the maker of how you do it. Very often as an adult you are expected to fit in the society’s “how they do it”; a crime-free life, or anything that is a choice of many. A crime filled with life is bad, but going past twenty-six without marriage is not necessarily. I am expected not to be a criminal and it’s a good thing to live in that expectation. But because there is a reason now I can avoid what they expect as far as my marital status is concerned.
Society can punish you for going against expectations. A BBC report in 2019 had it that, in Nigeria, people with dreadlocks are regarded as miscreants. It’s when, among other reasons, formal teachings, home and teachings from some religious circles are in a full-swing attack against dreadlocks; the only shape African hair can have without so much effort. Our colonial masters detested dreadlocks especially when they linked with traditional religions, and there is a continuation.
Among people expecting me to be in this shape instead of that are helpers in society, my family and friends. I would have received so much help to get a job if I had graduated and throw that cap in the air boastful of my distinctions behind. That $300 to get a driver’s licence, an expensive emergency passport to cross into South Africa where I can probably find a job, nice suits to enter job interviews with, all funded by either loans in the helper’s name or sacrifices. But I dropped out in the final semester to avoid a job and work on founding the village’s first company. And helpers disappeared.
Greatness is having your own in everything. Your own expectations then choices among other expectations are welcome. And when you are finally alone, suffering because you have decided to go for this and not the expected allow it to be lone showtime.