“There are two kinds of issues to me, the housefly issue and the gazelle issue. If you hurt me and I let you go, it is because you are the housefly issue; meaning you are minor and absolutely not my focus. Something else will extinguish your troubles but, certainly not me. Gazelle issues are my goals- issues like how can I become a better me? How can I help in making the world more livable than it is today?- Esther Ordia.
I have never been one to listen to the words of others about me. This doesn’t mean I am stubborn or extremely nonchalant, I just believe people say what they see and we show them what we want them to see.
Let’s say I was a rapist or I have raped a child before and I didn’t mean to, but I did; I wouldn’t walk around telling people who care about me and think I am the ‘sweetest fellow they have ever met in life’ that I ‘unwillingly’ raped a child and I feel horrible about it and it wont happen again etc. I wouldn’t; because, the day I do, I automatically become a monster to them and it wouldn’t matter if I already thought I was a monster. All my ‘niceness’ and ‘sweet smiles’ would disappear and all they would see would be a ‘nice, sweet smiling monster’. Even if they acted like they got you, people will always be people and it would not take long before they lose their ‘excellent’ ability of hiding their true opinion about you.
So, I am not one to nod my head, blush and ponder on meanings of singular words people say about me because they see what I want them to see. Sometimes, I reflect them.
Its funny you know. I find it completely hilarious how we paint pictures of people in our heads, worship the very ground they step on, get anxious to see them again and speak about them in every conversations till we come face to face with the ugly side of them and suddenly, every good thing becomes bad. We start to see the underlining hell in every ‘heavenly’ deed.
It makes me ask myself how the human mind works.
Are we easily moved by pain or joy?
I wasn’t always this way you know. As a child, I was the light of every place. I always had something to say; something to laugh about and every time, that something was me.
I would tell stories of the day I was beaten or the day I stole fish and how I was caught. I told stories of my cousins and everyone would laugh at them and convince themselves that their lives were more put together than mine.
I was a happy child who knew nothing about bitterness nor fear nor deep hurt. All I knew was hope against hopes and that was enough for me.
23rd June 2010
Mfon arrived Benin on Thursday, 24th June 2010. I could tell she had come to cook! She is quite an expert at occupying kitchen spaces so, I could already tell that my little blue, one room apartment was becoming too small for her so, I got dressed and headed to school for dance rehearsals.
It wasn’t the best day for me and I couldn’t place my hands on the exact reason I went from ‘too excited’ to ‘one kain’. I got home as fast as I could and laid on the bed to catch my breath when I heard Mfon’s phone ring.
“Yes. This is Ansa.”
“Oh! My God! That man just died for nothing!”
”Yes. Yes. But how do you want me to tell her that?”
“Answe… Hello? Hello?”
I got up from my bed and headed straight to my door; I stood there for what seemed like years while I refused to allow my already burning chest burst from brokenness. It felt like I was invisible; like I was a ghost. I was choking; I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t have to be told my dad was dead, I just needed someone to
hold me and tell me everything would be fine not say anything.
I just stood there like a tree. I could feel the tides against my feet but, I stood there and hoped it would carry me away because I knew that pain would take a long time to heal.
I never got the concept of growing up without a father; I thought it was normal. Some days I wasn’t even bothered. So, whenever I was asked where my dad was, I would tell them he was in the village because he was a farmer.
One evening, Mfon’s friend came to visit and as usual, I had to go outside ‘to play’. It was her way of asking me not to listen to adult’s conversations. Typically, this would excite me but, on this particular day, it didn’t. I wasn’t in the mood to play and truthfully, all the kids were beginning to conspire to not play with me. So, I pretended to go outside but, I sneaked behind the curtain that separated the living room from the passage.
I heard her friend ask of my father. She wanted to know where he was. Mfon heaved a sigh and began the story that changed my life.
She spoke about the first day they met and how he made promises. She reminisced about being with him and having a child. She told her about telling him and his advice. How she walked away and never heeded his words. By the time she was done, I was drenched in tears.She heard me sobbing and walked over to where I was. She lifted me in her arms and said “this is why I warned you against listening to adult’s conversations.” All efforts to ease me failed. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that even my father didn’t think I was good enough for keeps.
I took Mfon’s phone and sent these words to him
“Dear sir, the evil that men does, lives with them”.
I vowed that I would spend the rest of my life proving him wrong. I told Mfon that I would make him sorry for treating me the way he did.
I wanted him to pay.
I wanted revenge.
If I could see the future, I would have undone everything and prayed for a better way.
My first ‘long term goal’ was a revenge plan for my father. I was obsessed with what he thought of me, who he thought I would be. Was I meeting up to his expectations? Would he ever accept me? Would he call me his own? Would he ever be proud of me? Would he think I was a failure? Would he b e sorry?
I had plans to prove him wrong. Mehn! I had plans.
It took this man’s death, months of depression and solitude to realize I had it all wrong. I had somehow allowed one man’s mistake to determine my doom.
I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody, I just had to live for me.
I had to be happy for me; fulfilled for me.
I had to follow my own map and if the two of them couldn’t reach an agreeable conclusion before I got in the picture, well…
So, its been almost six years into this journey and I am still learning to make better plans not just for myself but for the people around me.
I am learning to pray for better ways to deal with hurts.
I am learning to exhale and forgive.
I am learning to let go.
I am learning to love; to love myself immensely and love people without bounds. To love the people who do not care if I exist and to love those who care.
Daily, I am learning the difference between love and trust; that one is earned and the other is not.
So, in this journey, I wrote these words down to daily remind myself that I am good enough and so are you:
Gut out; I pulled my skin.
I pinched her and ignored her tiny wince from pain.
I tapped her face; “you are not good enough”
Tomorrow I will pull my skin.
And pinch her again.
Then, ignore her tiny wince.
I will tap her face and say ” you are not good enough”
Then I will do it the day after tomorrow.
She will never be good enough.
And I will never be good enough.
Till I pat my skin and apologize and give her kisses while singing songs of her strength.
I will write poems of how beautiful every scar is.
How I have bent to raging storms and claimed my badges of honor.
I will pat my skin and apologize to her for giving her up to lovers who had held no interest in the soul she housed.
I will give her kisses for being so strong.
There is nothing broken here.
“I am a woman becoming”
So, my point is people see what they see but, they do not see your heart nor the burden you bear. They just know you are ‘someway’ but how is someway not okay?
Your heart could be larger than they think it is or not large enough, but none of them but you will deal with who you really are every day regardless of what they think and say.
You are perfectly flawed and that is beautiful enough.
So, you can drop your ego and whisper “It’s been a long time coming home” as you go home to you…not who they want you to be or what life intends to make of you.
Please don’t forget to drop a comment..I would really love to hear from you. Have an amazing weekend.