You see, this life is funny! When you are supposed to be a master of an art, and people look up to you for inspiration and direction, it is sadden to know that you also need help.

As I hurriedly read through Toke Makinwa’s recent book, ‘On Becoming’, online, I wept. I did not weep for Makinwa or all she had been through, as narrated in the book alone, I also wept for womanhood. Before the launch of the book last Sunday in Lagos, I knew nothing about all that went wrong with her marriage to fitness coach, Maje Ayida.

All I heard were mere speculations, but I was really not interested in their affair. My take was that after all ‘said and done,’ they would come back. During those dark days too, Makinwa refused to say much about her failed marriage to Ayida publicly.

We thought she would remain silent forever, and move on with her life. But she proved us wrong; she had a bigger plan, a way of fighting back. Her response to it all is a book about her experience. While a section of the public has condemned her for revealing too much about her life and relationship, she has also been receiving kudos for bravery, selflessness and also for compiling her pains into a book for others to learn.

I refuse to condemn her too. At times, you need to be in a position to have a better idea of things. He who wears the shoe, knows where it pinches. She had been keeping things to herself, despite being subjected to ridicule.

Being in marriage for just 18 months is not only ridiculous, but demoralising for a relationship coach like her. She is supposed to be a love doctor, yet she had no medicine for her own marital pains.

But how does she stay in a relationship with such a man for 12 years? If all she had stated about her former husband was true, I wonder why she did not call it quits before getting married to him.

Going by her accounts, it was glaring that the man would never be faithful to any woman, and getting married to him was a time bomb waiting to explode. According to Makinwa, even her family members predicted that their end would be dreadful, but she thought she could prove them wrong.

In the book, Makinwa quoted her elder sister, Opeyemi, telling her husband, “Maje, this girl has given you everything. What more do you want? Our family was against her, yet she stood her ground and she decided to marry you.

“We all didn’t think you were going to change and here we are right now. What is going on? Someone I know told me that Anita is pregnant and you are responsible for it.”

Makinwa’s book is a reflection of what most women face in the society. The experience might be different, but the effect is the same. Apart from being deprived of good sex by their husbands, many women always had to tolerate being cheated on, being battered and losing shapes after having babies.

Inasmuch as I do not want to over-emphasize on the content of the book, it is vital to note that she was on the verge of committing suicide, and she started bleaching to be the woman she thought her man wanted.

For bleaching, she had come under severe criticisms from the public and media. Most worrisome aspect of the entire tale is that she resorted to bleaching to please a man who did not care about her, and that never stopped him from hurting her.

She lost her originality, her skin, because of the man and she eventually ended up losing the man as well. Ayida could be guilty of all the allegations leveled against him, but he should not carry the can alone.

At least, I do not think he should be blamed for Makinwa’s decision to change the colour of her skin from black to white. I did not read in any chapter of ‘On Becoming,’ where Makinwa said Ayida told her to bleach. Again, there are some warning lights, or what we can call danger signals, a woman should always take seriously in relationships.

From the book, Makinwa saw those warning lights, but she refused to run for her life. Nursing the mindset that he would change for her or she could change him was the beginning of her problems.

-Olushola Ricketts