In the last two days, pictures and videos of a Nigerian woman, Dr. Ikea Bello, have flooded our timelines. She is seen celebrating her divorce and daring to look good while doing it, and some people just cannot comprehend it. Come closer, let me explain some things to you.
I was married for six years before I walked away in 2017. I filed for divorce in February 2019, and it was final in October 2019. Divorces do not typically move that quickly. My first divorce attorney told me to anticipate 1.5 to 2 years, but he was not as aggressive as I wanted him to be, so I fired him and hired a shark, a young Igbo lady that made me so proud. She cost me almost three times as much as the first attorney, but she also closed my case a lot sooner AND she got me what I wanted most out of the divorce: full custody of my child.
The day my divorce ended, it was a surprise to me. I did not expect it to be over so quickly. I remember when I called Funmie and Uju that evening and told them that it was over, they, too, were confused. That day, I had on a pair of navy blue pants and a navy blue blouse made of delicate lace. Even my bra was navy blue. I remember because I always wear that bra with that blouse. My shoes were a pair of hot pink pumps, and I had on my big hair wig. If I had known I would be getting divorced that day, I would have come in all dressed in white, and I would have worn a pair of four inch heels and a dramatic fascinator, and I would have hired a photographer to take pictures of me outside of the court room. But since I didn’t know, all I could do was hug my attorney over and over and ask her several times, is it really over? Am I free? I don’t ever have to come to court for this again? It’s done??? And I asked her these questions because I knew what I was getting out from.
All things being equal, no one gets married to get divorced, especially when children are involved. When I walked away from my marriage, I was not even employed, and I had to move into my Aunt’s house (yes, the famous Aunty Chinelo). I did not know the next steps in my life. All I knew was that I wanted to stop being this person’s wife. I had reached the end of my rope, and I did not care how much money it would cost me to get out.
I don’t know Dr. Ikea Bello, and I don’t know the things that transpired in her life to get her to where she is today, but I can tell you for free that she was not celebrating the end of her marriage because what she was in was no longer a marriage. What she was celebrating was a second chance at life. When marriage is great, it will lift you up and make you a better person. In a toxic marriage, you get smaller and you die slowly. It’s like living and being buried at the same time. The way I am configurated does not allow for me to live and die slowly in the hands of a mere mortal, and my guess is that Dr. Ikea Bello is not configurated that way either.
The difference between Dr. Ikea Bello and a lot of you is that she had the courage and the will to choose life. Some of you would rather die than be single. I don’t know what unresolved trauma you’re dealing with, but you need to talk to someone. It’s not normal for one to rather die than be unmarried. No matter how much you bring to the table of your marriage, it will never be enough if the other person isn’t bringing their share. I can bet that the people who are most critical of Dr. Bello are the ones who do not have the strength or the will to leave, so they cannot fathom what gave Dr. Bello the temerity to choose peace for herself.
There are some people, like Marvellous Treasure (the person whose comment I posted up there) who believe that a woman is nothing, unless she is married. I will not try to convince her otherwise, nor will I even spend much time telling you how wrong she is. The part of her comment I actually want to address is the part that says, ‘Whose husband is a saint here?’ Let us please stop normalizing bad husbands. There are good men from all walks of life. There are good husbands from all walks of life too. Normalize that. Don’t listen to people who tell you to expect madness and wickedness and chaos and inhumanity from your partner because he is a man.
I hope love and happiness finds you, and if you find yourself sitting at a table where love is no longer being served, I hope you have the courage to get up and walk away. And if you choose to celebrate your exit, I’ll celebrate with you. But whatever you do, please choose life.