Yes, as the title suggests – I am single, Somali, and turning 30 in the next three months. I guess this makes me a sad unicorn in the eyes of many Somali aunties and uncles but in the eyes of my generation, I am just another singleton in a rising population of Somali women who are single for various reasons.
First, before I get to the societal changes around me as I am about to hit the big 30, I want to talk about the bodily changes that try to send you signals too. This just might be me but, has anyone reading this gone through puberty twice? Many would describe me as ‘petite’, ‘small’ etc but for the past two years, I seem to not fit that description anymore. At 28, my hips, my thighs, and my ass were becoming noticeably bigger and just kept growing. Is my body also trying to tell me that I need to get a man and have babies? Or am I just getting fat?
Another bodily change that I noticed the older I am getting; the constant need to be on Nexium, the 40mg one to be precise. For those of you that do not know what Nexium is, it is a household medicine in many Kenyan and Somali homes. Why did no one tell me I would constantly have gut issues? The muscle pains too! I mean it feels like all my body parts will fail if I am not in bed before 10 pm. Oh and every time that I get up from a seat I have to make that sound – you know that sound. If you are below the age of 28, next time you are near your mother/older auntie I would suggest do not laugh when she makes that sound as she stands up.
On a more serious note, being single in the Somali community feels a lot like being stuck between “you have committed a crime” and “you are a stranded cat in the middle of the road at midnight”. Most people are curious, and I hate the fucking (excuse my language) question that they ask me. ‘You are so pretty, why are you not married?’, as if the sole purpose of my existence is to get married. And comments such as ‘all will be well, the right one will come’ I fucking hate that too. And the ones who don’t ask or have comments? They just look at me with sad eyes.
You see, I am not just pretty but I believe that I have a lot to offer and I don’t want to marry the next man that tells me that I am just pretty. I want him to understand my humour and be able to hold a conversation for more than 20 minutes without pulling out that low base and tell me how he wishes he was next to me so that he could (rolling my eyes) – at least whatever he thinks he can do.
Yes, I too do believe the right one will come when he is meant to come, and if somehow that nigga gets lost midway, or gets distracted by the baddies on Instagram, that’s cool too. Because I think what we are not taught is that we are still and can be active members of our communities without being married. We can still make changes without this so-called ‘husband’. This is not to say I have no desire in finding my true love and settling down, but I am finally OK with being that fierce auntie that never got married and is living her best life. We all have that one – we secretly wish we could ask why she never got married but we just never ask.
Being single seems to be harder now than when I was 23! I say this only because every man thinks he can shoot his shot with me. It is honestly frustrating when they go ahead and shoot their shot, but never know when to quit even if it’s a no from me. My friends think that I need to stop smiling so much; apparently, it is why I attract a wide range of random men. I can no longer be friendly at this age without it being mistaken for flirting or desperation. If I offer you a glass of water, it’s because I am just a nice person and I am not coming on to you.
The married men. They seem to be becoming more prevalent in my life now that I am almost thirty. They somehow portray themselves as the Prince Charming in my fairy tale – where yes, you guessed it – I am the damsel in distress and the evil monster in the story is the possibility of dying alone and they must save me. I have no opinions if a man chooses to marry a second/third/fourth wife but this just isn’t for me, at least not right now. I mean, I am not opposed to revisiting this idea after another five years but these so-called married men might think I am too ‘old’ to fit the role at that time.
All in all, Tawakkul. I am learning to trust in Allah’s plan more and more. This has been part of my spiritual change as I get closer to the big 30! I would like to also say, alhamdullilah for supporting parents who have not added to any of the societal pressures. It is because of that support that I am content with being Somali, single, and almost thirty – which I wear proudly. Although, my mum would be happier if I stopped mentioning my age as much as I do.
Shout out to all the Single, Somali thirty-year old’s. I cannot wait to join this rare group and have more judgmental eyes and unnecessary comments come my way.