The life of the ‘forever bridesmaid’ starts with a dream just like every other young girl. “When I grow older I will fall in love with the perfect gentleman. Just like the knight in shining armour, he will sweep me off my feet and we shall ride together to the land of forever love, where we shall wed and found a lovely family. Speaking of marriage, I shall have the perfect wedding! Under the clear blue sky, adorned by the luminous rays of sunlight descending graciously from the heavens onto the gorgeously decorated venue, shall I wed my handsome prince. While gliding down the aisle in a stunning white curvaceous gown, feeling the soft cool breeze brush against the open of my back, and enjoying the feel of gentle sunlight melt against my blushed cheeks, I shall close my eyes and float to the alter like an angel in its prime.”
Ok that’s enough! it doesn’t even sound African. Back to planet earth.
There she is again standing as one of the bridesmaids at the wedding of a friend, trying to figure out the number of times she has answered present to the bridesmaid attendance list. “I can’t even keep track of them. Oh my God, I think I’m losing my mind.” Oh no you’re not losing you mind, you just realised you are the forever bridesmaid. Snap out of it! (that inner voice we all hate to hear, but still get to hear it anyway. Yeah, I know it’s annoying).
Nonetheless, we all have that one friend or know that one person whom everyone thinks is so nice, so cute and so supportive. And when it comes to weddings her name always pops up as the perfect maid of honour or bridesmaid. A role she plays to the best of her ability, because she is very supportive of the people she loves. Even though it kills her inside, she manages to play the part as expected. Wearing a fake smile on her face and spitting out bellows of laughter emerging from a hollow heart caused by lonesomeness and pain, she hurts inside but no one takes notice of her suffering. If only the eyes were hurt detecting microscopes, one would see the waves of pain gushing out of her eyes and heart, but they aren’t, so how can anyone know. No one can feel the pain, no one can know the shame, except the forever bridesmaid.
At the beginning, the ‘not married status’ or better still, ‘single but searching status’ seems oblivious to you, because you are carried away by the moment with the hope that the next wedding will definitely be yours. After all you are beautiful, intelligent and you are a career woman. Then the next time comes and it’s not yours. Then so many next time follow suit and it’s still not yours. At this point you are drowning in desperation and wondering to yourself “but the wedding is usually where the magic happens. I know of many people who met their partners at a wedding ceremony of a friend, a family member or an acquaintance. What happened to my own magic!”
As if that wasn’t enough salt in her almost deadly wounds, one of the brides had once offered to hand the bridal bouquet directly to her instead of throwing it in the usual fashion, because she thought that was the only way to break her curse and save her from a life time of ‘unmarriedness and misery.’ The latest was this best seller comment from a friend during her wedding: my dear you are such a wonderful organiser and such a supportive sister! I wouldn’t have done it without you, thank you so much. By the way sweetie, you’ve been attending everyone’s wedding, tell us darling, when will we be attending your own wedding?
“Have you ever felt like murdering a bride on her wedding day? I definitely did.”
The importance of marriage attached to women continues to push many young African women into a toxic competitive race. Leaving many of them trapped in a web of senseless comparison with their peers in order to meet up to societal expectations. There is no doubt that the struggle for marriage especially among young African women is real, and it stands as the root cause to several individual and marital problems nowadays. Marriage is relevant, but it’s not a necessity. Attaching one’s success and happiness to marriage is a preposterous perception of life which begets nothing short of melancholy, and an utter feeling of unfulfillment in the life of every individual.
We may be blood sisters or best friends, but we are different people and we walk different paths. The Hollywood celebrity actress Octavia Spencer once said “Ignore the silly thirty under thirty rules that the internet throws at you, before you’ve even had your morning cup of coffee. Know that you are going to alter the way our world works in ways that you cannot even imagine. Life is unpredictable. You are full of complexities and wonders and life’s unpredictability will draw these out. Don’t be frustrated when your path gets messy because it will get messy. Embrace the mess.”
Hello, I’m Anna and you just read my true story. I am the forever bridesmaid, and I embrace my so-called mess, because that’s who I am.