I recently stumbled on news about a 14 year old girl who committed suicide and streamed the whole process on Facebook live. Shortly after reading the news, I went ahead to do a little research on the girl and on a few others who also live-streamed their suicides.
What I find disturbing is how people leave insensitive comments encouraging a suicidal person to go ahead. The girl whose news I first read apparently had a mother who, while watching her daughter on Facebook live, left a comment to tell her that life goes on and that the teenager was simply crying wolf. A mother!
This week, I have heard about too many suicides that were encouraged by friends of the depressed person.
How depression is a farce to many still baffles me. People get depressed and no one is really above it.
A former friend of mine once told me that depression is not real and that people who claim to be going through it are annoying attention-seekers. This from a very literate man. Seeing as he was someone I used to like a lot, I subconsciously assumed I was an attention seeker when some thoughts hit me. As such, I would not seek help anywhere but would cry my eyes out.
I’ve grown, I have learned.
I recently put up a post on my Facebook page about how my teenage assistant was going through a confused phase in her life and how it occurred to me that my response could be what would make or break her.
There is a ‘movement’ of sorts on social media called ‘#iammentallyaware’ (@mentallyawareng). I suggest you go through their social media pages. There you’ll see, from testimonies of people, that depression respects no one. Perhaps the older we get, the easier we can deal with it but I may be wrong.
Not everyone is strong enough to fight this thing. For years, I never smiled because I thought my teeth were too big; I never went braless because I thought my breasts were too small; I never let my hair down because I thought it was too full. It was a few days ago, when Olu and Otigs were helping me in the kitchen and discussing insecurities, that I realized I once felt insecure about my teeth, breasts and hair. There I was, in the kitchen wearing a spaghetti strapped top without my bra, laughing heartily with two beautiful men who had just complimented my culinary skills and my natural hair. I told them about how I once was in a relationship where he would constantly remind me that he liked big breasts and that my insecurity disappeared gradually when a friend whispered in my ear one day in church while pastor was preaching about insecurity, ‘see did I not tell you not to worry about your breasts?’
There used to be days when I would be angry with my father for not trying harder and with my mother for not being like some others. If they had tried harder, I would not be thinking about my bills when I was eighteen, I would not be carrying so many responsibilities at twenty-five, I would not be worried about food or rent or clothes, I would not lack if only try tried harder. With these thoughts came accusations, ‘perhaps this is why I can’t keep a man, there is something wrong with me’ and I would cry, write and cry. My last real breakup broke me into all shades of suicidal.
That was years ago. These days, I have learned to let people go who want to go; to spend time building myself rather than crying over the past.
Not everyone can deal with it the way I do. Remember I said I was suicidal? I also used to be extremely impulsive. What if I did something dangerous on impulse because I could not control my feelings? Indeed I could not control how I felt. I impulsively packed my bag around 3pm and got on the bus to Portharcourt. I arrived Port Harcourt at 12am.
Not everyone has someone to talk to, many feel no one will understand and the truth is, no one may truly understand the emotion.
But if you feel the urge to encourage a suicidal person to go ahead and kill himself, I suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself and walk away rather than add to an already existing pain.
What they need is love and if you don’t have it to give, please look the other way.
I love you all.
Furious tears from broken heart
Hid deftly with courtly smile
Perfect world fallen apart
Healing shall surely be a while.
Aidee (November 13, 2015)
Last night, my neighbour may have slept with her pillows to her ears as I listened to and sang along with Michael W. Smith, “Your grace, your grace shines on me. Shines on me, shines on me, I’m everything with you. Shines on me, shines on me. It’s your grace”.
I did a vigil last night and this song was all I sang. It was and is still on replay.
It’s a clear Saturday and rather than dress up and go out, I just want to remain naked on my bed. Mama had to scold me for ignoring her calls and answering baby brother’s calls. Why blame me? I love my siblings and I feel responsible for them. I have watched them grow from new borns to toddlers and now to near-teenagers and I miss that I am not there to guide them in their decision making. I have read the letters they always sneak into my bag in the rare occasions that I visit home.
“I love you, big sis. I will never forget you”.
“Big sis, please come home next time. Daddy is very boring”.
“You are the best sister in the world”.
Tell me why I should forget people who think of me, pray for me, pray with me, scold me and tell the world about me? This is family. Family is everything!
I stare at my phone and wonder why this man keeps calling. This is weird. Few days ago, his call would have been promptly answered. We would talk for some time about life and work and he would seek my advise regarding some decisions he wants to make. Then he would express appreciation and be thankful for my wonderful soul. Now, these calls are a waste of time, they are like unwanted visitors trying to share my space with me when my space belongs to me and no one else.
I do not want any more attention and have unconsciously filtered my friends – no time for past lovers, friends who have shallow discussions, people who type in shorthand etc.
I would deactivate my Facebook if I had not sent out the link to companies where I applied for internship. Who knows when they decide to investigate?
One thing that has always come easy to me is dreaming. I set a goal and fiercely reach for it. Birthdays aren’t at all holidays. If I needed a holiday, I’d give myself one. Working hard happens everyday so today, I begin to make new plans. The old plans do not seem to be working out and if anything, today reminds me that I do not have the luxury of making time look like a stopclock.
It is a good thing dad taught me early on the importance of having backup plans. I think of the good man that I am proud of, who raised me and I look forward to the day I’ll bring home a man and have dad sit with and talk to him.
Now that I think of it, I realize he has never really succeeded in making me talk about some boyfriend. He did try the other day I went home when he called me out and stammered some words, shifting uncomfortably on his chair. I had to save him the stress. “Daddy, I’m not dating anyone. If I am, I’ll tell mummy and she’ll tell you”. Fathers! One day he’ll read this, I know.
It’s the start of my 25th year today and what makes it different from other days is the unsolicited attention I am getting. I have had to block all incoming calls on two of my phones while I placed the third phone on silent. I think the difference between today and yesterday is that I’m starting a new year but I still miss my family – siblings who always have my back, a mother who is more an older sister to have girl talk with and laugh over boys especially her boyfriend who happens to be my dad, a father who would forget all my sins and still welcome me with his breast and run around the house threatening ‘won’t you come and suck breast?’ because I used to love breast as a baby. I know he will call me later this evening and as usual tell me to go catch the goat that just ran past me because that’s my birthday present. Family is everything and I guess this is what I am grateful for today and always – Family.
Happy 25 to the girl with the never-fading smile.
When all hope is lost and friends leave your side, those who are your true family will always be there for you through it all – Aidee Erhime
I miss you, I find words to say that I do but words fail to express a certain feeling and people say it is called love – never expressly expressed and coming out as jargon so you find the scattered pieces and try to make sense of anything.
In my lover, I’d see a gap that needs to be filled and promises that may never see fruition and in me, a fear that life’s unfairness would happen again…but I miss you and a kiss shared would prove that my strength may find flapping wings and escape to the skies, leaving me to the mercy of your kiss and memories of a love that went sour.
Hello strong lady,
I call you strong lady because you’ve probably heard it a thousand times from people. We are strong women who take pride in our strength. We because I am you.
Our strength is not just buried in our vaginas, we command so much respect because we know what it feels like to live in a world where the fittest survives and our drive to succeed takes us to places we have imagined we’d be.
Being a strong girl is tough work. It is tough to keep up with. People expect you to behave a certain way and though it comes with a sort of respect because the strong girl does not follow norms, it also comes with a feeling of loneliness. No one likes to feel helpless.
Reflecting on the conversation I had earlier today with my good friend, Tarfa, I realized that the attraction people have for the strong girls usually leads to fear and this fear,though good at times, is unhealthy.
I met a total of 21 strangers in the last three days who told me the same thing over again. They would commend me for a job well done, they would say I am a strong girl, a rare breed lady who actually believes she can work to make a living. They would compare me with girls who are lazy,who think their bodies are their only means of survival and I’d laugh, because these girls also work. We just have different definitions of work. It’s easy for them, you see and sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to have someone take care of me, who would spoil me just a little bit. Strong girls feel it the most. All that attention and for what? Business, money.
There are times when the strong girl wants more than a quickie, more than ringing some random guy to come give her his penis for a day, more than return home late at night to an empty kitchen because she has no time to cook and no one to notice that all she has eaten in three days is a burger. True, being able to compete in a world where the fittest survive is a thing of pride, being able to treat yourself to a weekend of pleasure brings a level of satisfaction and it’s scary how people see the strength from afar but never realize that we sometimes get depressed.
Failure is a dangerous thing. This is probably why we fight always, against failure. But failure happens sometimes and the world does not think you can fail. The little boy I teach has learned to say everyday that the downfall of a man is not the end of his life. I teach him this everyday and I teach him that a man can actually fall, what matters is that he dusts himself and rises up again. I teach him this because I want him to understand that people still fail and so he should never see anyone as perfect.
Us strong ladies are seen as perfect. Our love is perfect, our hate is perfect, our silence and laughter are perfect and we live our seemingly perfect life praying that someone sees, understands and respects our imperfection.
Tarfa told me today that I am a strong lady who at 24 has achieved a lot. I said to him, I have not achieved a lot and I am not satisfied. I get depressed and sad sometimes but people never see it because I hide it behind a smile, keep up appearances because no one will believe that you are crying.
Yesterday, I cried. I cried after I was stopped at the traffic light, I cried when I drove my sleek red corolla to a five star hotel, I cried when I felt the urge to cry, with the car windows wound up and when the traffic light turned red, I cried and when cars hooted, I parked the car and cried so hard, I cried because I wanted to cry, because there’s so much to say and no one trustworthy enough to say it to but a God I believe exists so I cried and prayed and even as I type this, I’m watching a band sing songs and I’m crying. These tears are not of sadness.
Sometimes, our challenges are overwhelming and its sad that we can only imagine how life would be if all we had to do was dream and have someone else provide the resources to see these dreams become a reality.
Here’s where I find satisfaction, that in dreaming, we can get anywhere; that in fighting, life’s stones feel like softball; that in loving, it never gets boring; that in giving, we never lack; that in living, death is a joke.
This was first published as a Facebook note in 2011.
They had the best of times, and the worst. Both scaled through tough times, and kissed when it was good.
In him, she found a companion. In her, he found a sweetheart; loving, patient and of course, naughty. She was young and naive, he was mature and experienced but times passed and along came the hunger and thirst for more. He had not the ability to quench them. She had her short comings, he loved her as she was. But as is typical of young ones, she needed more.. More attention. She needed to feel safe with him. She felt him slipping away, she thought she deserved more. She wasn’t to blame, its how life is.
He couldn’t meet up, he never paid attention. She needed to enjoy her youth, he couldn’t just take it all away! She had to play with fashion, flow with the tide. He had to be with his friends, spend some money, convince himself that she understood perfectly.
But she could understand no more. She was stuck with him, scared to leave, scared of change.
They deserved more, she deserved more. It had to happen, someday.
And when it happened, they both were apart.
Each wondering…. WHAT WENT WRONG?
A boy will dream again tonight, of his many cars and houses. He will dream of wealth, women and employees. A boy will dream again tonight and wish he would live longer in the land of his dreams. He will count his years waiting impatiently for the day he’ll eventually wriggle free from the clingy protection of his parents. This boy will wake and say to his friends, ‘I dreamed of more houses and wealth’ and they will hold their noses with one hand, snorting and laughing. They will call him ‘The dreamer’ and he will snap his fingers at them, ‘You will see’.
The young boy will grow and be happy. His father too will be. ‘You are now a man’, his father will say and the boy, with nothing but his bag of dreams and hope, will open his arms and say to the world, ‘I am now a man!’
Now shelter and a car, he will be gifted. ‘A roof over your head and a vehicle for your comfort’, his parents will say. ‘Never forget that you are a man’.
With this zeal, he will work. Harder each day, he will work and everyday he will smile because life is not as complicated as they made it seem and even though he is now a man, his mother’s breasts still give him life but soon he will crave firmer breasts unlike his mother’s and faced with a bevy of choices requiring only his money, he’ll explore his youth and test them all.
One day, a stone will hit him; the first stone of many. Firmer breasts will leave him for the next hive and he will shed shameful tears, wondering whether to return to his mother’s breasts.
But I am a man! He’ll say, I’ll dream again.
A man will dream again tonight, of a gentle hand and a loving smile. He will dream of budding breasts and wake up craving to be in the arms of this one. He will stare at faces and chests, he’ll give all to find the smile and touch those hands. If I find these, I’ll be whole again. This man will say to his friends, ‘I dreamed of a creature with smile like a crescent moon’ and they will hold their bellies and laugh at him. They will call him ‘the dreamer’ and he will smile at them, ‘you will see.’
Shelter and car soon disappear, tiny stones become hail, his confidence melts but men do not cry. Smiles and breasts he has seen, none exactly like he had dreamed for when he thought he could shed a tear, their gentle hands had hardened. Do you not know that men do not cry?
Soon hope smiles, one hand holds him close.
‘Cry, baby, cry. Men are first humans’.
He sleeps and dreams like a boy again and when he tells his dream to the one with the gentle hands, that one smiles.
A fresh burst of confidence, a man will understand now that the hailstorm will be tackled by two but he soon will crave firmer breasts and with his money, he’ll find them and forget the one with the gentle hands.
I see the passion in your eyes when you tell me how much you like me. I see the truth in the words you say. When you say I have been part of the drastic growth you have experienced and that I have helped greatly in shaping you to the man you currently are, I believe you. I know how desperately you wish I would remain a part of your life, not as a mere friend but as a lover, a partner and very likely a wife.
When you openly express your gratitude to me and do little things just to make me happy, I want to love you too. When I look at you, I see a man who listens. I see a man I can work with, dream with, live with.
Mama once said it is better for a lady to be with the one who loves her. She will grow to love him, mama said. I believe her, more from experience than from obedience.I have loved men who do not deserve a microsecond of my attention and though I tell you when we have our beautiful talks, that I do not think about men as I should, I lie to myself and then to you!
I lie like I do about the young man that I like a lot. The one in whom I see greatness in. The one I know I like, to that point that I usually find myself dreaming of making love to him. He is the first young man I’ve ever liked this much. I am scared that I will let what feelings I have for him take over my senses and this is why I do not look into his eyes when I talk to him. I know that he knows that I like him a lot. I know that he knows that I am scared of what may be an inevitable end – hate. I also know that he knows that I know that he likes me too. I fear that our likeness for each other is merely a facade, like dry gum swab which can easily be peeled off from a finger. Every time I think of him, I think I am letting lust get in the way of my feelings.
It is probably just his confidence that attracts me, or the fact that he is a work-in-progress, or perhaps his soft curly hair or his endless optimism. I want to convince myself that these are not reasons enough to like a man this much.
I say he only likes my hips and loves my brain. These are not reasons enough, young lady! But do I care?
I think I like his body too, young and adventurous. I want to know, how strong is his game? Will he kiss my nipples and bite them just like I want? Will he let his small man stay in me even after he comes? Will he smell my hair and say that he loves me? Will he stare at my body and marvel at its beauty?
This young man likes me, I know. He said it to me the other day. He said,’ ‘I love you’ and I smiled because somewhere in my heart is a small voice that nudges me to take my time and somewhere else is a loud voice that pushes me to go on and live!
So I push away my fear and one day I say to him, ‘I think I love you too’ or did I? I don’t think so. These words I fear to say but caution to the wind is accepting that I want him in me and telling him same, seeing each other every other week to fulfil our sexual cravings and knowing that the love he declared for me is nothing compared to the one he shares with the other lady who covers her hair.
This adventure saddens and excites me and each dose of excitement pulls me away from the knowledge that genuine love would happen for me but I say to myself, this young man loves me and this is a lie.
So my darling, when you tell me that you are in love with me, I think of the men who have said same to me.
When you say you never want to see me suffer, I think you are reading to me a script.
When you say you admire my strength and affection, I think you are merely trying to buy into my weakness.
When you scoff and say you can never marry a woman from your tribe, I think of those who said same to me.
When you can’t control the urge to hold my hands, I think you need reassurance that life can be lived and dreams can come true. I do not let myself think that you hold my hands because you love me.
I brush away thoughts of us together, not because I do not find you worthy but because whether or not I accept it, I am a broken lady. Look beyond the strength I exude and see the fear I nurse. Loving a man is never enough. I’d love to love you beyond your expectations, to cheer you through your journey into success. Indeed you’ve seen the extent to which I go for those I love but love shared to all is to me better than love lavished on one.
Do not believe what I say about the mistakes I made with past love. Do believe that they do not stop me from loving but do not believe that I have not taken down lessons from them; mental lessons that play out when another comes to declare love to me.
I want to love you in a special way but I can’t. Knowing how I’d thence be called your partner and would not be able to declare the love I have for others without first wondering how it would make you feel, scares me. Knowing how that special love would eat into my soul that I’d be in a level of social bondage, irritates me. I’d rather love everyone, my darling, and love you same way. So no, I cannot give you that special love you crave.
PLEA: This is an unedited and impulsive rant. If you find any grammatical error in it, kindly do a mind edit.
Whether the debate as to which of the two sexes (male, female) is more victimized in today’s world, will die anytime soon is not known to me. If I was to give an absolute answer though, I’d say the talk intends to live a very long life, perhaps longer than that of Methuselah.
I worry. I worry for our girls who are soon to become women. I worry that we are too immersed in our culture that we fail to evolve with changing times. I worry about what we’ve learned as ladies, about our struggles, about our fights and I wonder whether I’ll live to see the day our myopic mentality is trashed. Continue reading