I am the 13th of 28 children. Do not adjust your seat, eyes, or ears. Yes, you heard me right. Allow me to take you back home with me, but just for a while. Not to Sugar Land, Texas, but to Enugu, in southeastern Nigeria, where I was born on the 4th of July in a royal family.
My father was a hardworking man, a philanthropist, a self-made scientist, a business guru, an Igbo man, and guess what? He was also a polygamist. Yes, he was, and in his late 20’s. He married four wives. My mom was the second, an orphan, and 13. Crazy, huh? I know for sure. However, he also accomplished so much at that young age, locally and internationally, but died untimely at 54 in 1984. I was 12. There you know my age. Ha!
As I got older, I wondered if he was fulfilled and if he would have married more wives. I can never know. I’d have asked him many pressing questions. Certainly and naturally, it couldn’t have been easy being married to 4 women and having that many children. Back then, polygamy was the “right” of many rulers. After all, it was an “honor” to be married to one. Plus, it was a way for many young girls and women to meet their societal and financial needs and wants. Especially, if the king or chief was rich and famous. I doubt most married for love.
My mom agreed to my father’s marriage proposal because she wanted the opportunity to get an education, but that dream never came true. In my father’s case, he was the igwe, the king, and could afford to marry as many women and girls as he wanted. A friend of mine in Oakland, California at the time is one of the 68 children of his father with 20 wives. Wow was my first reaction as I held my jaw in my hands and my bulging eyes fixed on him. With that many wives, one would have thought that his sexual appetite and the need to feel “powerful” would have been met. But no, he wanted more and had countless concubines. Was he happy? What did his wives and concubines want? Were they happy? Were their needs and wants ever met? Was he the only man?
WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE
No matter how much knowledge and experience we gain, we quest for more. We dream. We fantasize. We hope. Our minds are always curious to know and understand. We sometimes, or most times, feel like something is missing, and that we need to do more. Then, we want to go on a haunt or an adventure to experience something new or more.
Regardless of race, class, or nationality, it’s amazing how many men have different women and children at the same time. Women have learned the same game that men play. Being in relationships with different men and having baby daddies, that is. Some true stories are baffling! Is it what they want, and not necessarily what they need? What do I know? Might be what they need and want (for reasons).
Are you still doubting that you are a polygamist? Don’t you always want, hope, or need something? Even pray for it? Wish for it? Work hard towards it? Well, think again. You are a polygamist. The heart may not be so smart when it comes to love, but the power of the mind is certainly intriguing, deep, and vast. It controls all that we do. So powerful that it can build, mold, remold, and/or destroy us and things simultaneously. Even broken pencils still want to write. Wait! Guess what? We have the master key to ignite our minds to a place that we want. But, only to an extent. Unless we are battling with some mental illness and lose control.
When we are born, the first thing we do is wail, and we do it uncontrollably. As in, we cry like the world is coming to an end. Why? Because we have been pulled out of our comfort zone, the womb. And because we want something. So, we continue to cry until we are made comfortable again with warmth, food, and tender care. Then, we fall asleep. When we wake up, still, we cry!
As time passes, we learn to hold our heads steady and we say our first words. We want to crawl, then, we start to crawl and wander to explore because we are curious and have needs. We start to walk. It’s exciting! We want to run, and we fall. But we get up and keep walking and running. We fall. We get up. And then, time keeps moving, we grow up, and our minds still wander, and we continue to yearn for things. So, we dream. We want to become.
We fail. It’s ok to fail. We want to excel. We want to have. We want to feel. We want to know. We want to succeed. We want to do more than exist; we want to constantly thrive for as long as we live. We are always yearning for something, different things, wanting more out of life, working hard to achieve our goals and dreams, or acquiring or accomplishing something new. And even when we get what we fought for or fighting for, we still want more. WHY? Because we are humans and all polygamists.
BACK TO MY CHILDHOOD AND BEFORE I TURNED 50
As a child, growing up in a family with that many children, the love, care, and attention were not evenly given. Our mothers always wanted more for “their” own children. And we, the children of an igwe, also wanted more. Such is life because we are all polygamists.
Dreams are wishes that our hearts make. I got older and wanted more in life. So, I came to America, had clearer visions of what I wanted, and got an education against all odds. I wanted to get married, fell in love with a beautiful man, and got engaged, but was heartbroken by Death at 25. He was 28. Time passed, and I married another, had my four beautiful children, and nurtured them. Things happened and I ended my marriage without regrets. Broken pencils still write after all. Love unexpectedly found me, but I was heartbroken again by Death at 46. He was 59.
Though I didn’t understand death and love at 12, I understood the importance of hard work, having a dream or dreams, having wants and needs, and yearning for more in life. Our wants and needs will forever be insatiable.
We Are All Polygamists!
I never allowed my bad experiences to take my joy and hope away. I am not just a product of polygamy; I am a polygamist. Yes, I still yearn for love, and I still have many dreams that I want to achieve in my lifetime. But as a single mother and a Black woman in America, life can be extremely difficult. I have struggled and suffered in ways that will break your heart too if you knew my journey. Though I am yet to attain my many goals and dreams, I am proud of my hard work and perseverance to be where I am today. My hopes, needs, and wants remain in my prayers.
You must know that I do not have a million dollars (yet). Heck, sometimes, my bank alerts me, “Your account has reached zero balance.” What do I do? I choose to find humor in it, rather than become distressed about it. I always hug hope and do what I can to smile, while counting my blessings, and continuing to work harder. And, I do my best to maintain my peace of mind, the kind that money cannot buy; that kind from the core of my being. No matter the season I am in, I guard my mental health and physical space.
Regardless of my harsh experiences in life and with love, to love and be loved will remain my greatest gifts of all. For this reason and more, I remain loyal to authentic love and hope it finds me again and stays for as long as my heart beats. You know, that kind of love you share with another who compliments you/your energy and truly feels your soul, yet unique. That’s what I need and want because I am human.
MY NEEDS AND WANTS AS AN AUTHOR
And, as a bonafide writer of inspirational children’s books, I hope to someday, sell as many or more books as Michelle Obama, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and co have. I want to someday, write to donate most of my books to underserved communities and read to children, teens, and young adults in those areas. These are some of my wants and dreams, and I continue to work hard to achieve them. Discouraged for not yet making my first one-tenth of a million dollars? Well, I remain focused and determined. Therefore, I continue to write because I enjoy writing to empower, inspire, and educate especially the younger generations and others.
Through the years and now, I have learned that, if you want to survive, you have to first choose to want to live. Not just breathing and existing, but surviving against all odds through seasons. After all, life is not meant to break us, but to teach us and make us better for ourselves and others. Remember, no matter how insatiable your wants and needs are, you should want to become better than you were yesterday.
It is true that my father lived an intentional life, and his needs and wants were too many to be mentioned here but he was not a polygamist just because he had more than one wife. He wanted so much in life to allow him to live fully and to provide for his family and everyone who needed his help. His dreams, needs, and wants were his goals and prerogatives. So, yes he was a polygamist, but just like you and me.
Listen, do you want more out of life? Do you ever want, need, or yearn for something (different)? If you are human, then, your answer is yes. That makes you a polygamist. Even when you don’t want something, it’s still a desire not to want.
As long as we are humans here on earth and in space, our needs and wants will remain insatiable. No matter how insatiable they are, be your authentic self and live your best life…intentionally.
Not only men are “hunters.” We are all hunters, as much as we are polygamists.
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