Tiwa, Tunji, 'Depression', and the pressure of it all
Monday, May 02, 2016
Photo Credits: www.jaguda.com
The beauty of the internet is the distraction it provides us from our dreary every day, regular human beings life. Without the internet, life for some of us would be churning out opinions, endless court sessions and annoying adjournments.
Day in. Day out.
The drama displayed on the internet regarding the (now ending) marriage of Tiwa Savage and Tunji Balogun (a.k.a Tee Billz, but I’d rather call him Tunji) could not have come at a better time.
It was a long weekend. Folks were saved from the eventual boredom.
Sadly, this ‘drama’ providing us with some escape from daily life, is actually an intricate true story, affecting various lives, and throwing up a myriad of issues.
Let’s start with pressure.
Nigerian (scratch that) African
society is configured to pile pressure on individuals; to achieve the
definition of ‘success’ within the confines of what the society regards as
success. Everybody has an opinion on your life’s journey, and their voice must
It starts with the more innocent questions, like : “What will you study?”
It works up to “When will you get a job?”
And builds up to the more intrusive and blatant interrogatories, echoed over and over, as a gong gone rogue:
“When will you get married?”
“…Will you get married?”
“When will you have children?”
“…Will you have children?”
“Why should you leave your marriage, eh?”
“…should you leave your marriage, eh?”
“…leave your marriage, eh”?
“…your marriage, eh”?
There’s the pressure of the roles that society has doled out to you; roles that you have to been seen to play, even if it is someone else’s script:
“Ha! You are a man, you would/cannot…”
“As a real woman, you have to/cannot…”
“If I were you, I would/would not…”
That is not enough.
The internet has made it easy for everyone to flaunt their ‘success’, leaving their peers craving, striving to achieve this seeming success - illusion or reality – in order to not ‘carry last’:
“My Hermes bag”
“My new Mercedes XYZ, 2094 (Limited Edition) model”
“My Banana Island mansion” (Can we stop hearing about these already?)
Status change: “A is now Senior Partner at …”
This society is configured to put pressure on humans to meet certain expectations, beyond the innate pressure for the need for self-accomplishment.
The pressure will crush you if you let it; if you give in.
Reading the ‘Pandora’ posts that commenced the public dissolution of their marriage, my first thought was that Tiwa had no business marrying this person. She was a musician with a lot of potential. He was a… well, a ‘Manager’.
The moment he signed her on, and eventually married her, there were no new acts required to ‘manage’ anymore. Tiwa was the God-sent ‘hammer’ (Nigerians get this); there was nothing left to hustle for.
I figured to myself that she caved into the pressure in entering this marriage. What with the likes of Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Mercy Johnson who make juggling a family and living in the spotlight seem like a walk in the park.
Coupled with this society that would always sing into you ears “Irrespective of what you have attained as a woman, if you are not under a man, you are nothing”. Kpom
(Sigh... The pressure is real)
She confirmed it in her bare-it-all interview; the Pressure. She admitted seeing the signs of traits she could not spend eternity with; yet, she chose to say I do, in consideration of all the “what ifs”, led by the largest of all: “What if I never find someone else to love me like this?”
It is easy to be smug. Those of us currently rocking the singles ministry can smugly say “thank heavens I didn’t cave in the pressure to marry some person, who would shame me in public”.
(I will confess…I had the smug moment. For at least 10 seconds)
This does not however put the X sign on marriage as a whole. There ARE good marriages. There ARE good men… or rather, the right men, for the right women.
From the events of the past few days, Tiwa and Tunji were obviously not suited for each other. And Tiwa knew it from the start.
He was not configured to acclimatize with her success; blend with it, and rise as she rose. Carve his own niche, and own it. Blaze on as a god, as she built her throne. Side by side with her.
But she caved in to society’s pressure to be a wife, to be under a man. She caved in to be any man’s.
The good thing is she did not lie under the rocky weight of the Pressure, and wait to be exterminated in a bid to stick to the society’s pressure-meter. She has owned herself, realised her error, and has now declared their union for what it is.
Tunji… and the ‘Depression’
Our society often views the woman as the ‘mouthy’ one. Hence, the need to caution her to ‘endure’, keep quiet, and keep smiling.
One would think the wife would be the one to spill the beans. I would think the wife would be the one to spill the beans.
No one thought to caution the man.
This husband was the 'whistle-blower'. He blew this lid off, albeit in the most unorthodox manner.
His defense: Depression.
Depression is a horrible, horrible thing. It sucks the very life from you, makes you recoil from all things social; to become a shadow of who you were. It eats at your existence, until it sucks out the very fabric of your essence.
I know people who have gone through depression. I know folks who have died of depression.
Robin Williams was lost to depression.
Alexander McQueen took his life, no thanks to depression.
‘Depression’ however cannot make you create time, carefully craft messages calculated to paint your significant other as an adulterous, non-empathic, self-centred diva, whilst implicating other equally popular persons of the other sex, in a move bound to bring the utmost disrepute and disgust to that significant other.
Depression does not make you take cheap shots at this significant other, using people who you know the public can easily identify to shame her, and tearing the lives of adults and children alike.
No. Depression cannot do that.
Depression may make you a hermit. It may make you lose touch with reality. It may make you want to take your life, without the slightest inclination to close to 170 million people.
There is however a fine, clear line between depression and manipulation. Especially manipulation born out of insecurity.
A depressed person’s rant would centre on the depressed person.
This husband’s rant centred on his wife, laced with as much arsenal as possible to fill any reader with loathing as to her personality. A personality which she depends on to sell her ‘market’ and make a living.
Tunji’s rant was aimed to be the final dagger of a former lover unable to keep up with the pace of his significant other, and now scorned. His rant was aimed to kill. In this case, commercial death.
Let’s (briefly) talk about Shawn Carter and Beyonce.
Beyonce is the single most powerful female entertainer in the world. She’s regarded as THE QUEEN. People bow down to her in worship.
Yet, and despite the infidelity rumours, her husband has not gotten ‘depressed’ and gone off on a senseless rant. Why? Because as his wife climbed to success, he had also been investing in and re-inventing himself as an entertainment business mogul. So that if Beyonce walked out, Jay-Z’s life would not grind to a halt.
Power meets Power. Power understands Power.
Let’s bring it home:
Omotola the Actress, and her husband, the Captain.
For the 20something years they have been married , and she has been in the spotlight all these years, he was never known to complain of depression, or crash a plane full of people, because his wife did not ask him if he had eaten. His wife, who would disappear for days on end, shooting one movie or the other.
While Omotola was busy being the darling of the Nigerian movie screen, her husband was busy becoming accomplished in his chosen profession as a pilot, and achieved his own definition of success. Not a definition which society foisted on him, but one which he desired to achieve, and worked towards it.
Tunji caved in to the pressure of jealousy; not being able to meet Tiwa’s success level, and not investing in himself enough to have a non-parasitic fully independent existence, untied to her fame and wealth.
Tunji realised that in truth, Tiwa was the better off for leaving him and living without him.
He resorted to shame antics, knowing that this society - our society - would welcome his darts, under the auspices of “culture”.
This society that would justify a full-grown man having to be asked “have you eaten’ by his wife, for the wife to be considered ‘wife enough’.
This society that would shake its head in sympathy at his sob story, but would fume at her granting an interview to have her side heard.
This society that would say a man owns his wife, and everything she is/has; thereby, absolving him of the fundamental obligation to be responsible for his own subsistence, and the need to invest in himself.
This society that entitles everyone to fling the basic concept of live and let live, but gifts each person to be a self-righteous judge of their neighbour’s business.
“She did well”. “She did bad”. “She should have not married him”. “She should have cooked more for him”. “She should have tried to see Edible Catherine”. “I like the interviews”. “She should not have done the interview”.
Thankfully, Tiwa is (finally!) doing not what society feels or wants, but what SHE she feels is best for her and her child. She has the rest of her life to look forward to.
They both do actually. Enough time to each start a new page on the books of their individual lives.
As with every fairy-tale, or (as in this case), fairytale gone wrong, there is always a morale of the story:
Do not give in to the Pressure.