Self Healing

Give your wars names
that will roll off your
tongue in smooth silky
texture.

– Now let the self healing begin.

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One Sunny Day

It was very sunny, it almost felt like my neck was burning. Each step heavier than the last. I silently wished school had not been over. The roadside was very rowdy, it would have been a mob but for some big men and the man who seemed tall due to the help of a podium, his words were like orders to the disorderly people. He opened his mouth, they all went quiet. He closed it, they raised voices to the highest baritone possible. It was easy to be pulled by such a man, the glint in his eyes, the way he held the microphone and the reassuring smile he gave after every pause.
I walked briskly to join the crowd then I remembered what mother always said about kidnappers, without any more hesitation, I crossed the road and stood on a stone that served the purpose of giving me a better vision of the man on the podium.

“The right man for the job is standing before you, don’t be swayed by the lies you’re being told by other candidates. I know the needs of my people and I’m willing and ready to provide it and serve you. But I’m one man, without your support, I’m naked and I cannot work towards our dreams. Your vote matters, vote for the right person, vote for me.”

He smiled, I smiled. It was infectious. I knew he could help. I would beg the man on the podium to follow me home and talk to dad that my dream is to go to the university to study nursing. Not learn hair dressing after sitting for WAEC. I jumped down and ran happily across the road to meet the man on the podium. The driver was too fast, I didn’t see the car coming. Mother was right, look at road properly before crossing.

Haunted People

They said it was all in our favor, too bad they think so lowly of us. Maybe its because we have become onlookers, all talk, no action. We have gotten too comfortable doing nothing, spectators in our own show. They never consult us. Wait, do they even remember we are here? They have decided to make us pigeons and themselves, hawks. We fuss and cuss :

they are inhumane,

thieves,

spineless beasts,

rogues,

inconsiderate bastards.

The language of despair and bitterness. And when words fail us, we weep, curl up in a corner and become spectators again, in our own show.

“Let’s say there are prospects for a new Nigeria, but I don’t think we have a new Nigeria yet”
– Wole Soyinka

Belly Laughs

With bare feet,
trudging across the sand like
a lost child
I sit on the remains of a mud house.
Today I don’t want to be a beggar
at the street corner.
I want to wear sandals and swagger round
the city like the boys with rich parents.

I remember yesterday,
after sunset,
after trekking,
begging and chanting.
My beggar-friends and I raced happily
to where the big people call slum
but we know as home.

But today,
I don’t want to race with my beggar-friends,
the soles of my feet will swell.
I don’t want to share jokes
and have belly laughs on empty stomach,
it hurts.

Am I perfect now?

What you do,
What you’re doing.
You think I don’t know,
You think I’m not looking.
When you ogle at the size six ladies.
When I undress,
the unsaid words in your eyes,
of how my body repulses you
because you think I’m fat.

My hair is too short,
I should get a long weave.
That’s what you say.
Sometimes at night,
I want to draw my fingers up your spine
and snap them out of place.
To let you know
how much you hurt me.
Still I keep loving you.
Maybe a little too much?

I know you’re fucking
that girl across the street.
But I’m not mad at you.
Its probably my fault,
for being so unattractive.
Not to worry,
I’ll be perfect for you.
Fix a long weave,
Loose some weight.
All for you.

Standing in front of a mirror,
I shudder at what is staring at me.
Collar bones,
look like they’re out to play,
Hair that don’t belong to me.
Thin hands hanging limp.
Waist that seem like they
won’t hold on to any clothing.
It doesn’t matter
if I hate what I see.
As long as you love me like you used to.

A recurring nightmare

Key Fact

– 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss (328 million adults and 32 million children)

“Deaf people can do anything a hearing person.
can….except hear”
-Anonymous

***

The only time I ever saw a sandstorm, I was seven. I’m twenty three and I still have nightmares about that day.

I walked into the lobby, the blast of cold air from the air conditioner hit my right cheek, I sniffed. The floor was so glossy and clean I could almost see myself. Counting my steps, looking straight ahead, I stared hard at the secretary at the desk, I could smell the wood. I stopped in front of the desk and handed her the paper. Her eyes were blue, they weren’t hers. It felt like they were poking into my skin. I pushed the paper into her open palm, then she blinked, her cheeks became flushed, so abruptly, she spat a series of words at me, all I did was stare at her lips, it was hard to make out any sense, she was too fast for me. She shot out of her chair angrily and probably repeated what she said but I wasn’t looking at her lips, I towered over her, she was petite, breathing heavily, obviously intimidated she sat back and read the paper. For the second time in all of my life, I felt contrite for being deaf.

Slowly raising her head, I could see the apology in her fake eyes, she scribbled on a paper and handed it over to me. I sat down.

***

It was a sunny day, I sat on the railing, staring at the ants at work, going in and out of the crack on the tiled floor, carrying tiny bread crumbs. It was always fascinating to watch them. Then I felt it, the discomfort, I tugged at the neck of my dress, something was wrong. I climbed the stairs and went to my room, after futile efforts of distracting myself, I gave up and walked to my dresser, I climbed and looked through the net, that was when I saw everything, the twirling air, gathering sand, stone, buckets, a wooden stool, then I saw it pick John, his mother owned the kiosk opposite our house. I swallowed the lump in my throat, the twins who were neighbors were running towards our house as fast as their legs could carry them, shop owners running and carrying their goods into the shop. The sandstorm was doing a lot of damage, because I was deaf, I hadn’t heard anything. Then I saw a little movement under dad’s former table across the street, it was Folawale. Fola was the only person who played with me in our neighborhood, the only friend I had. Dad had thrown the table away because of termites and I knew how light the table was, Fola wasn’t safe there.

I jumped down the dresser and took the stairs two at a time, ran so fast I wasn’t sure I was breathing. I needed to get Fola away from that table. The only friend I had at home couldn’t die, I would be lonely, no. She was shivering and her eyes were wet with tears, I grabbed her hand and pulled her and told her “Don stob running”. We started running, the sandstorm was getting really close. I was paranoid and scared, I pushed her with all my strength through the gate, I didn’t know a dog was in the compound or barking, when I entered a few seconds after Fola, I saw her on the floor, crying, her hand on her forehead and the other hand holding onto her leg, the dog had bitten her really hard, I could see her bone. I sat with her and held her leg too, we cried until my aunt heard us.

She was taken to the hospital, my mum didn’t allow me follow her. I cried to sleep. The next time I saw her, they were moving out of their house. She was limping and had a scar on her forehead. I waved and smiled at her but she didn’t wave nor smile back. It was my fault, I should have heard that dog barking. I wished I wasn’t deaf.

***

A cold palm rested on my hand, I snapped my eyes open, wiped my sweaty forehead and palms despite the air conditioning. It was time for my interview. Bracing myself, I walked into the office and introduced myself:

“My name is Titilope Adams and I’m deaf”

I could see he was slightly amused, he smiled at me reassuringly and gestured that I sit. I relaxed my knuckles.

Mirage

The first time I saw Anne, I remember being rooted to the spot, awe struck, staring at her without discreet, she wasn’t exactly beautiful but there was something about her eyes and cheekbones. Remembering my camera, I walked up to her and pleaded to take a picture, she was a little hesitant but agreed and shyly stared into the camera with the most beautiful black eyes I had ever seen, I felt so light headed. I took her picture and thanked her, even smuggled in a handshake, she had such tender fingers.

For two months I stalked her, I didn’t know what to say to her, I felt so little, so I just silently tagged along, lurking in the corners, taking my fill from watching her and taking her pictures. She was an artist and a ballet dancer. For someone with such a tiny frame, she had really bubbly laughter but she was quiet, paying more attention to her surroundings and she loved to walk. I would walk for hours following her and days after, my legs would still ache from walking. I was becoming obsessed even my best friend started mocking me because I had called her Anne once.

I followed Anne to a cafe, when I realized she wasn’t waiting for anyone, I summoned all the courage I had and walked to her booth asked if I could sit and she shrugged, I took that as a ‘yes’. I wanted to tell her how beautiful her eyes were but I knew she probably heard that everyday. So I asked her if I could take a picture, she started giggling, I was a little flushed, I just stared really hard at the floor. Then she touched my hand, smiled and nodded. I took the picture and left. I really thought she would call me back, I was disappointed.

Anne liked going to the park, she would sit on the grass and sketch, that day I was at the park, sorting through pictures I needed to deliver the next day, while watching her. I didn’t know she was walking up to me until she was a few feet away, I nervously bent to untie the already tied laces of my sneakers. She sat down and told me she knew I had been stalking her and asked me why. I told her the truth – I was in love. She stared at me in shock and disbelief. Then asked me if I wanted coffee, I told her as long as I was with her, I could drink anything. She laughed.

We had been together for three months and I relished every hour I spent with her. She was older but she warned me never to refer to our age difference, I readily agreed. On weekends, I cooked our meals, we would curl up in bed, smoking and drinking, she danced while I watched and took pictures, she liked to trim and shampoo my hair, I was always reluctant but secretly I loved it. We never had sex, the only time I tried to, she told me she didn’t feel totally connected to me, so she couldn’t give me her body yet, I was confused and dazed but I didn’t push it, having her was more than enough.

When Anne told me she wanted to draw me nude, I laughed hard, told her to quit the joke, the frown on her face made me realize how serious she was, so I agreed. It was a little awkward standing stark naked in front of her but I got lost staring at her working, lightly pinching her eyebrows, how she held firmly on the brush, how her eye lashes fluttered and how she looked up occasionaly to smile at me. Few hours later she was through and I was numb, couldn’t feel my body, she helped me sit down and showed me her work. I have to admit, I looked really good. She told me thank you and kissed me, it wasn’t helpful, I was naked, I told her to help me get shorts to wear, rather than that,she pulled her clothes off and we made love. Till now, I still can’t find the words to describe what it felt like. All I can say is, it was worth every single day I had waited.

Taking the stairs two at a time, I was on my way to Anne’s studio, it was her birthday and I had gotten her a cat, she always talked about it and I just knew it would be the perfect birthday surprise. I got there and found Anne in bed with a woman, and staring right at me was a drawing of the same woman in bed with her. Anne wasn’t even bothered, she came up to me and hugged me, I stared at her unbelievably. She asked me who the cat was for, I told her it was her birthday gift. She was happy, she cooed at the cat and kissed me on the cheek. She asked the lady to get dressed and leave. I didn’t want to offend her so I didn’t ask any questions. After dinner, she talked about what happened and told me she couldn’t continue anymore that there was no fire between us anymore. “No fire” what the hell was that? The sex, the shampooing, the smoking and drinking, the dates, all that was what? I asked her why she didn’t tell me she was bisexual, she said it had nothing to do with what we shared. I was appalled. She told me not to look for her after that night, I begged without shame, I knelt and cried but Anne didn’t budge, told me I would find someone better and younger. Anne never loved me, I was just a piece of inspiring artwork and fantasy that had to be fulfilled. It was a harsh realization.

After dinner, she went to bed immediately. I kept looking at her tiny frame and wondering if I would ever be with someone like that again, I knew the answer was no. She was one of a kind. I took her drawing of me, the cat I got her and left. I call the cat Anne.

’21

They say I should have found me,
but I haven’t. This is not yet me,
No, this is not my heart and my soul,
I still lack knowledge of what that is.
But there’s a yearning,
to become a woman,
A woman of substance.

Myself –
Still wanders aimlessly,
in the mist,
in the darkness,
in the clump of mud,
in the beauty of stars.
Yet to be found.

Myself –
Like the snow that falls,
awaiting,
the tender hands of children,
to be moulded,
to be thrown,
to be scrawled in.

Myself –
Is the bubbling lava,
Sprouting from the volcano,
won’t hesitate to scar,
if you do not leave my path.

Myself –
Yes,
Beautiful inside,
yearns for acceptance outside.
Craves for attention,
Dares to dream,
Demands to be respected.

Myself –
’21,
Still on a roll,
Kink,
Rash,
Phenomenal,
riding gallantly through life.

Quotes on writing

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you and have a lot more fun while they are doing it.
– Anne Lamott

A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millenia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time – proof that humans can perform magic.
– Carl Sagan

Cram yourself with characters and stories. Abuse your library privileges. Never stop looking at the world and never stop reading to find out what sense other people have made of it. If people give you a hard time and tell you to get your nose out of a book, tell them you’re working. Tell them its research. Tell them to pipe down and leave you alone.
– Jennifer Weiner

The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date. Otherwise you begin excusing yourself. You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.
– Margaret Atwood

A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and everyone around him.
– Dylan Thomas

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
– Cyril Connolly

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool god ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories- science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love everyday for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake the world.
– Ray Bradbury

Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.
– Margaret Atwood

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.
– E.L Doctorow

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
– Joan Didion

Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.
– Leonard Cohen

Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.
– Sylvia Plath

If you expect to succeed as a writer, rudeness should be the second-to-least of your concerns. The least of all should be polite society and what it expects. If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.
– Stephen King, On writing

For a dear, with happy sobs.

And a cheesy love story begins today.

So, thanks to my dear who made me a part of the story, even though I was told the mini version, I still got to be a witness to the really cheesy and amazing, amazing chapter. Yes, I said amazing twice, because it really is. Here goes:

I was on my phone, chatting when I saw new updates and as usual I checked them out to see dp’s I could save when I saw the picture you have here, so I pinged my dear and I told her how invalid, untrue and deceitful that quote was, she didn’t agree, instead, she said it was worth the risk, that you wouldn’t know until you tried. Well, I still didn’t agree. Then she said she was going through it so she would know better. That it was better to let it out than bottle it up and kick yourself everyday for it. And that’s where she told me this,

I still didn’t agree, telling her it didn’t apply to love, maybe anger, jealousy but not love. She went ahead and told me about the guy she was so much in love with, they’ve been friends for over 2 years and along the line he asked her out but she wasn’t ready to be committed, then my baby fell in love with him but cute guy didn’t ask her out again while she was waiting for him to pop the question again. So, I told her, ask him yourself, like you said, you have nothing to lose, the worse that could happen, he’d say no. And that’s when she did! 😀 It went thus: (no names)

My dear : Cute guy (his name)

Cute guy : My dear (her name)

My dear : Lol. Would you be my boyfriend? Yes I’m asking you out.

Cute guy : If I say no?

My dear : I’ll ask again.

Cute guy : *cheeky* Hmmm let me think about it :$

My dear : Aii 🙂

Lol! I was excited and it wasn’t even me. Here was a girl asking a guy she loves out. So I asked her if he has a girlfriend and she was like

“Tf? I didn’t ask him”

I didn’t know what she read, because I definitely didn’t tell her to ask him. Then she went ahead to! I simply asked a question oo 😦

My dear : I love you :* I’ll be waiting for my reply. Ohh I didn’t ask. You have a girlfriend? I’m not going to snatch anyone’s man.

Cute guy : If I do?

My dear : I’ll move on, maybe.

Cute guy : Okay I do. Sorry, I shoulda told you.

My dear : Lol. Its fine. Lucky her.

At that point, I really wanted to be there with her, so I could hold out tissues for her 😦 and I freaked out, like, why would you ask him that?! I didn’t tell you to, I simply asked you if he has a girlfriend you know about. He wouldn’t say no, if not for anything, to make you go through the emotional stress you put him through when he was in your shoes. Then I got this 😀

Cute guy : I guess. Her name is My Dear (her name) You might know her.

My dear : :”)

Cute guy : *tissue*

I’m pretty sure I was happier! Even though I wasn’t the one in love 😦 Here was someone who had summoned the guts to ask a guy she loves out and she had gotten a yes! And I was part of it.

So, YES, there are girls who ask guys they’re overly crazy about out and they get a yes/no, all depends on how much the other party feels.

I wrote about this because it had turned out great for my friend and I love happy endings.

If there’s a guy you love/like and you can’t stand being just friends, ask him, what have you got to lose?

Would I have done the same thing if I was in her shoes? NO WAY! This friend of mine is almost everything I don’t have the guts to be and I envy her for that. So, I’d just rather kick myself everyday till I move on or he decides to be with me.

I’m super duper happy for you dear, I pray and hope that this lasts for as long as you want it to. And whenever you’re mad at him, because you will be, just remember that he loved you enough to say “yes”

*sobs happily*