“Meet my Suitors?”

I have a new fear, and it’s something I can get over. However, I think it will take time. I recently had a conversation with my mom and cousin about marriage. Let’s pause right here: I HAD A CONVERSATION ABOUT MARRIAGE WITH MY MOM. MY OVERPROTECTIVE MOM. My “I don’t want to see you around boys” mom. My “you can’t have boys as friends” mom. Yeah, I was honestly shocked by this conversation. But, the conversation took a turn, twist, jump, and spin that I did not like.

On this day, all three of us were sitting in the kitchen (my cousin and I were attempting to cook nem- senegalese “egg rolls”). I don’t remember how it started, but I remember my cousin asking my mom about this caste system in our culture. When she first told me about this caste system, I shook my head no. I told her my parents did not believe in it. Basically, I can only marry within my “family.” If I go outside of my family name, I am out of line. Code for, I can’t marry someone richer than me or who’s last name holds more power than mine.

I know you all remember my first marriage blog post. I had mentioned that my mom only cared if I married someone who is Muslim and African. Well…

I had never been so angry in my life. For the past few years, I spent talking to men who were Muslim and African. Now the game has changed. My cousin and I became quite discouraged after the conversation with my mom. When my mother told us about the caste system, I told her about the men I was interested in. She immediately said no.

Not to my mother. But this was my reaction.

I don’t like that my parents still hold onto to these old traditions. I mean, I respect it to an extent. However, some of these traditions need to go. To me, this caste system should not be in place. Why should I allow this to stop me from marrying the love of my life? Why should I fear who I bring home to my family? For so long, I’ve lived my parents dreams. In all honesty, it ends here. I cannot continue to live their dreams, I want to start living my own. And, I am not saying it should start through marriage, but it must start somewhere.

When I think about it, and this box that I have been put in, I am so limited. I’ve talked about this box before. I might just start calling it the box of limitations and expectations. Of course, I won’t go against my parents. It may look like it if I brought home someone who they most definitely will not accept. But, in the end, my goal is to get out of this box.

The day I introduce my suitors to my parents is the day you all will never see me again. The thought of introducing them is terrifying. But as I am getting older, I’ve learned to go around my parents on certain things. I know that the conversation about marriage will continue with my mother. I pray that they accept whoever I bring home (iA).

If you are in my exact situation, introduce who you want to your parents, but be ready for the backlash. Be ready to support the one you want to marry. Be ready to have long and continuous conversations with your family. Be ready for the consequences.

To my suitors, brace yourselves.

Thank you for reading! (:

Written by: Diaka Thiam