LOUD WHISPERS: The Online In-Laws

I don’t know if you read it
I did
The story about how a woman could not get pregnant
She sought out her Pastor for counselling
He dropped his trousers for divine anointing of her womb
He instructed her to go straight home to her husband and get him to
do the needful
God would complete his work
That is how Baby one arrived
When it was time for a junior one, the ‘enemies’ started to disturb the
poor woman’s womb again
Enter another round or rounds of divine anointing
Sealed by the clueless husband
Gbam! Baby two arrives
The story would have remained unknown
Buried in the bottomless pit of unspoken secrets
The online in-laws were sitting in judgement of a case of a woman
who had been defrauded by a Pastor
They made the usual remarks about the misdeeds of some so-called
men of God

Auntie ‘miracle babies’ now comes and opens her mouth wide to tell
of how her Pastor made it possible for her to become a mother
through ‘special anointing’
Even the unshockable online in-laws were scandalized!
They made all kinds of unsavoury comments
A common thread being something about one of the two
‘participants’ firing blanks
Auntie please shhhhhhhhhh. Otherwise, Uncle will hear and start
looking for the nearest DNA lab.
One of my wise friends taught me that the only difference between a
stupid person and a wicked person is the intention
The consequences are the same
There was another matter brought before online in-laws
A Nurse whose mother-in-law is ill and bedridden
The husband wants her to look after his mother – for free
The sisters-in law want her to look after their mother – for free
The Nurse said Yes – for a fee
So, the online in-laws were asked, ‘Am I wrong to demand for
I did not understand the question
So, the many answers of the online in-laws befuddled me even further
Nurse. Mother. Husband. For better for worse
The online in-laws were split on this one

Some advised Auntie Nurse to ask her husband and in-laws to look for
someone else or leave their own jobs to care for their mother
Some more reasonable ones remembered the ‘For better for worse’
vows and suggested a deal that would make both sides happy
Yet another story
Rich man passes on and leaves a big house for his daughter in Ikoyi
Daddy’s girl gets married and her husband and family want her to sign
over the house to him
Pooof! The marriage is over
The online in-laws were unanimous on this one
Daddy’s girl dodged a bullet
Daddy, thank you for not sleeping too soundly in heaven
Gold-digger husband, go and find work and build a house for your
son-in-law to snatch from your own daughter
Then there is the one about the newly-wed young man who had
agreed with his wife that they would wait till they could afford a
The poor man in question has probably not watched enough
Nollywood movies
He would have known how that story would end
A collaboration between his wife, her mother and his mother gave
birth to a conspiracy
A condom ‘malfunctioned’ and a baby arrived
Now there is no money for rent, food and other things

And the collaborators are wringing their hands
The online in-laws are fully sympathetic on this one
It is a rare case for a man to be totally blameless as far as online in-
laws are concerned
Majority of online in-laws are women
They do not spare other women even when they should show
empathy and sensitivity
They definitely take men they find wanting to the cleaners
Their judgement is swift and relentless
Not having all the facts of the case is never a deterrent
I often wonder
Why do people pour out their souls to total strangers? Is there no one
they can talk to? What happened to privacy?
Sadly, we live in a world that has changed in ways that are not good
for us
There are fewer people to trust
Not many to listen or to be listened to
Too many angels around us have feet of clay
Many are lonely, isolated, scared, depressed
So, they seek solace
In a cold, charmless, judgmental, yet anonymous world
A place where secrets can be shared in plain sight
And both senseless and sensible advice offered

Perhaps we should all try being more supportive to persons we know
and can touch and feel
Maybe if we listened more and cared more and talked about the
misfortunes of others less
Then those who need us might actually seek us out
And not have to turn to the soulless world of the online in-laws
A place where many problems come for no solutions
If you are one of the many online in-laws
Please show some empathy
Who knows
It might be your turn tomorrow
May we all seek for and find comfort in the right places.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She
is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can
be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

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