For Colored Women: Olive

“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” I cannot express to you how deeply I despise this expression. I don’t care much for lemonade and I can’t put Olive in a blender.

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‘Love and Olives’ by @CeceNoStockings

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So you’re at the cinema with this hot guy you’ve had your eye on for ages. The hall is dark, and you’re both really into the movie but just a little bit more into each other. You’ve been brushing up against yourselves all night and you figure it’s time to make your move, so you give him a light peck on the cheek. He turns and smiles, leans in for a full kiss, and, as your lips are just an inch away from each other, your baby lets out an ear-piercing scream, causing everyone in the theatre to turn and look at you.

Yeah.

Welcome to my life.

“…sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get bored. And sometimes all I want, more than anything else in the world, is to go on a freaking date.”

― Kiersten White, Paranorma

Seeing as I haven’t been on an actual date in a significant amount of time which I’ve decided to term “forever”, romance is starting to look like a pipe dream to me. When people ask about my romantic life, I laugh because it’s cute that they think I have any, but I die a little bit inside as well. My “dating history” consists mostly of undefined ‘things’ and two-week, semi-dating episodes not all of my own doing or desire. Sometimes, I just couldn’t stick with a guy longer than a certain period of time, and there were times when I really wanted to stay, but the guy just wanted what he wanted.

But that is the least of my problems now. My mother and I may have come a long way from her throwing me out of the house after finding out I had hidden my pregnancy from her until I was in labor – long story –  but my baby is still my baby as far as she is concerned. One cannot simply up and leave the house at will anymore.

“Where are you going?”

“Who are you leaving your baby for?”

Well, I can’t very well take him on a date with me, can I?

He needs constant attention and cries at awkward moments, ruining whatever semblance of a romance my date and I are trying to maintain. A lot of guys aren’t turned on by that sort of thing. They’re even less turned on by my mother coming to check in on us every five seconds when I invite them over.

“Don’t tell me you left Oliver alone in the room.”

*sigh*

She won’t even help me. Let me have a little fun. Let me try to find love somewhere. It’s almost like she feels she has to punish me.

It’s hard enough just going out in public with a baby. Everyone stares. They aren’t entirely sure he’s my son, but I can see them silently judging me anyway, just in case he is.

Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to be a single mother in this country? The constant and consistent judgment? The crushing responsibility? And with a system that’s built to ensure that young people remain dependent on their parents for as long as possible, I’m essentially a slave to my mother. Part-times jobs are few and hard to come by. And then there are the things people say.

“You young girls of today…”

My mind has learned to just turn off audio reception on its own whenever I hear the beginning of that speech.  Everyone wants to know where his dad is. How am I supposed to know? He made his decision. He decided not to accept his responsibility. But the people talking? They don’t really care about all that.

“Why didn’t you marry him?”

Always the same damn question.

Abeg, I’m tired of hearing it. I’m trying to move on.

I’ve started dating again and it has not been easy. I want someone who’s sweet and caring and makes me laugh and understands me. A guy I can talk to about anything at any time, and who’s a positive influence on both me and Oliver. I have a whole list I could show you. Standards are necessary if I’m throwing myself back into the shark pool of dating.  Mostly because there are too many freaks out there now, with all these social media platforms and dating sites and what-not. I’ve actually had a guy approach me and ask me to be his, his… I can’t even say it.

“I no go mind if you fit be my sugar mummy o”.

Me o! At my age! Oh, I forgot to tell you, I’m only in my early twenties. I don’t even have money. I think he was some sort of pervert.

Honestly, I have suffered. This dating thing has been getting harder and harder.

“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

I cannot express to you how deeply I despise this expression. I don’t care much for lemonade and I can’t put Oliver in a blender. I love him desperately, but I’m so tired of being alone; I’ve actually considered just settling for the next guy that’s willing to shack up with us and putting an end to this horrid search.  I’ve been told there’s no ‘perfect guy’ out there, especially one that will want to date a single mother so I have to just grab the closest one and mold him. Could this really be my only option? I shudder at the thought, but as more days, weeks, and months go by with me going to bed with no one to cuddle up with and Oliver constantly reminding me of my loneliness, it’s starting to seem logical.

Yes, I’m scared.

I’m scared I’ll get attached to someone who will disappoint me so terribly or just leave me feeling more empty and alone than I already am, that it will send me into a downward spiral of shame and depression and resentment for my child. I can’t deal with any more disappointment.

Disappointments get exhausting.

I need someone who cares enough to put in an effort to put me at ease. I don’t want to be with someone who makes me stop expecting people to do even the simplest of things or makes me wish I didn’t have a son. I want to be able to see a person and believe they can do the most amazingly, unbelievably glorious things. It’s possible I need to stop trying to choose someone to date and just leave myself available for the person who’s right for me to find me. But how long can I wait? And when they find me, will Oliver be a dealbreaker for us? Oh God, I’m so scared.

“Your baby is crying again o!”

Yes, mummy. I know. I can hear. I’m crying too but my tears don’t matter anymore. Not since Oliver was born. I have to wipe them away before I tend to him. No one can see me like this. Crying because I’m lonely and scared. I have to be his everything  I have to be strong for both of us.

Whatever happens though, at least we’ll always have each other, my Oliver and I.

 

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Responses

  1. deevagal
    THIS!
    defo a touching subject
    i know 2 young single mothers
    one is divorced at 25
    the other… well..
    its not funny
    they have no lives
    minimal family support….
    very sad
  2. thegraceseeker
    Awwwn nice post thou. But in my village, pple that have children out of wedlock normally get married easily. i guess is cos the hubby knows that her womb is alright. What i am not sure of is if they do adopt the children the woman had before she got married as their own children or not.
  3. @Sirkastiq
    “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

    I cannot express to you how deeply I despise this expression. I don’t care much for lemonade and I can’t put Oliver in a blender "

    BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAM

  4. BimboPee
    WOW. I av tears in my eyes. D pain bhind all d jokes n everytin is strong. Its funny and interstng 2 read but 2 anyone dat hs ever bin in dis situation b4, u will kno ow hard it is n ow real is.
    WOW 🙁 God bless u writer 4 ds. God bless all d single mothrs and fadas in dis world. Double blessin sef.

    This 4 colord women has bin so real. touchin so many deep tins more dan d 1 of d men. kudos to u guys.

    1. emmonfclassic
      Certainly! It lends credence to the fact that women are emotional creatures. Almost all colored women series have been outrightly emotional
  5. Deee
    Nice post. Like someone said "the pain of single motherhood is real". I watched someone I know struggle with this. Her dad refused to speak to her and she wasn't welcome at home anymore. Thank God for her friends and other mother figures in her life.

    I can't help feeling like the post had two different xters though, or maybe the the xter evolved/grew up within the space of the post?

    At first she sounds petulant, selfish and quite fickle. Talking about how her mother refused to help her and questioned her whenever she wanted to go out. How its difficult to find romance and have fun was 'cos she had a baby. I found that irritating.

    Then all of a sudden she's this grown woman, looking for someone who would be a positive influence on her and Oliver. She's no longer selfish. Doesn't want her son to see her crying. Realizes she has to be strong for him. It was a bit difficult to reconcile these two personalities.

    1. edgothboy
      People are never cut and dried. there's always an internal conflict. A fight you could say to blame someone else or accept responsibility. she merely showed that.
  6. edgothboy
    I know quite a few friends who have taken the other alternative and I know they all wonder what it would have been like if they didnt have to do what they did. This is honest and painfully beautiful.
    1. la_ensemble
      I know quite a few mothers who also wonder ehat it wld have been like if they had taken the alternative. Its human nature, dear.
    2. la_ensemble
      I know quite a few mothers who also wonder what it would have been like if they had taken the alternative. Its human nature, dear.
  7. Sultana
    Thank you for writing this.

    This is just so eerie because I actually put up a post on my blog today about a girl whose parents insist she keeps the baby after she got pregnant from being raped. I'm unabashedly pro-life and I think that every time we see a single mother we should applaud her…because it means she chose not to have an abortion, when it would've been the "convenient" thing to do. Single mothers are heroes.

  8. emmonfclassic
    The society cast single moms in a single mould. Even if a guy is willing to date a single mother, the influence of family and others usually weighs in and forces him if nt strong enough to retreat.
    1. Tip
      Dating in this context symbolizes her own life ( or lack of it ), a young mother in her early 20s shouldn't resign her fate to just motherhood.
  9. Sharon
    I agree with sultana. Single mothers are heroes and should be celebrated as such. You didn’t take the easy way out, even when it’s so easy to do that nowadays. I have a friend and coursemate who’s pregnant. She’s 19, but her mum is supportive. Unfortunately for you, your mum isn’t. All I can say is that I have a deep and admiration for each and every single mother who was willing to take responsibility and do the right thing. And hopefully, things will get better, and please don’t settle for anything less than the best, because contrary to popular opinion, you deserve the best, make sure you hold out for it. Do it for your child.
  10. AAa
    There's no convenient way to do anything. I've had 1 abortion and 2 terminations. I try never to think of it. But now I'm grown and c cute babies, and wonder if my actions were convenient. Back then, there wasn't a tot to keep my babies, not one thought!!!
    I hv a single mother as a friend, this post doesn't cover one tenth the struggles she has to endure.
    Life has many turns, lemons are sweet, pls think bitter leaf wen u think of single mothers.
  11. @undefined
    This post would pass as the part 2 of J.cole's "lost ones"….but I think when the baby comes being in a relationship shouldn't be on your mind atleast not in the early years of your baby's arrival…give the child all the attention that would/should cover up for all the loneliness in your life.
  12. Mona
    ” don’t care much for lemonade and I can’t put Oliver in a blender.”. This got me laughing out.

    Seriously though,single motherhood is a major task and I deeply respect women who choose the option of keeping and taking good care of the child. Thankfully,there are still men who choose to stand by these women regardless of family/societal pressure.

  13. Angela
    MY BEST POST SO FAR! It hs everything. Funny, sad, touching, sweet and real. So real. it is all of them. Love it. This is for all the olive mothers out dere. You are still green at heart.
  14. Tobi
    IMO, the post doesn’t do justice to the struggle AT ALL. Not even close. My mom is a single mother and i think i have a pretty good idea of what she faces. Its much more than finding a date and stuff like that. I don’t think the writer should hv made that the centre of the post, shifting other important stuff to the periphery.
    1. thetoolsman
      The writer wrote from the perspective of a single mom in her early twenties, at that age, things like dating and getting back in the social scene are top of the mind. It's definitely different for a grown woman like your mom…
  15. amaka
    I can totally relate to this…life isn’t fair to women that have children out of wedlock..u’ll be really lucky to have a family that is supportive of u…good read tho..
  16. Tiki
    Who goes with a baby to the cinema?

    My sister is a single mum, so the struggle of single mothers is particularly close to my heart. I like how the character hes mixed feelings about the baby initially, and then resolves to make the best of a less than ideal situation. Kudos to all single mothers out there – may you find your heart's desires. And kudos especially to the ones who try as hard as they can, but their kids still turn out bad – it's not your fault o! God has seen your efforts.

  17. MrsAmazing
    It must be scary enough raising a child on your own, Nigeria doesn't make it any easier. Noone cuts you some slack, you were 'stupid' enough to make a 'mistake' before so now you're expected to jump when they say so, they're only trying to make sure you don't make another. Kmt.

    I can't really blame her mother either, my brother had a baby out of wedlock and I know what it did to my mom.

    However corny it may read, this: "I don’t care much for lemonade and I can’t put Oliver in a blender" made me smile. 🙂

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