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If you are here to read about how I excel at solving mathematical problems (I suck at Math), or how I’m a pro basketball player or how I can read minds, or something equally uninteresting and eww-inspiring that only simpletons do, then you shouldn’t move on from here. My life is not that serious and honestly I don’t want it to be. 

Now that that’s out of the way, lets move on to the 12 totally amazing and awe-inspiring things I excel at doing😊.

1- Thinking incomprehensible senseless stuff right before I sleep off – My gibberish creative time and space is right before I doze off  or when I’m between consciousness and sleep… that time, my brain rolls films of nonsense that makes sense to my brain and that I’ll not recall after I’m fully awake.

But I swear when that is happening, I feel so inspired I can write a book.

2-Washing toilets- Is it weird that this is the first thing I actually typed (brought it down to seem more normal)? Because I think I was washing a toilet when this topic came to mind. I was washing and thinking, damn! You are one good toilet washer. In another life, I could wash toilets for celebrities and charge €1000 per session (clean toilets only).

I just really hate to see that I’m done with a toilet and it’s not very clean so I use up a whole bottle of Kleanit (best toilet washer ever.. my sister sells it), use brooms, plastic brooms, soft and hard sponge, Jik, detergent… everything until the toilet looks like Trumps teeth.

3- Sarcasm – In my mind or verbally. I cannot stand people who don’t get sarcam. If the snide sarcastic remarks I make in my head are to be revealed for a day, I wouldn’t have a single relationship with anyone I know afterwards. We say the most sarcastic things my head and I.

The remarks may be orally said but I have to be comfortable with the person first and I have to be sure the person will 100% get what I mean and so far, only 2 people get my ostensibly sarcastic, dual-meaning, exaggerated comments. Whenever we are together with one of them, she calls me mad like 4 times on average. 

4- Elite humour- I’m sorry if you don’t get my humor. It’s elite, you are not. Since people always use the word elite for even the most inappropriate of things, why not?

When you see me smiling alone for no reason, most likely I just thought up a super funny joke or scenario or I’m engaging myself. Telling this scenario out loud is never a good idea because it never sounds half as funny so I just keep it in my head and laugh … alone… like I’m crazy.

5- Writing fast- Maybe because I learnt how to read and write late (in my primary four; before then, I’ll write letter by letter as in alphabet by alphabet as in if the word on the board is ‘fringe’, I write ‘f’, look up at the board, write ‘r’, look up…) much to the chagrin of my classmates and teachers… so when towards the end of primary 4 I was hit-in a moment of epiphany-by the reading formula, I became a torrential writing force.

 I write so fast, faster than I process the word, faster than my brain processes the word. 

In classes where lecturers talk in the stead of lecturing or dictation, I usually have notes while my classmates complain about not even being able to jot. Even though the notes are not comprehensive to others apart from me.

Because of that, my handwriting is horrible.

6- Being inconsistent- I’m sorry but this blog is suffering for it. When I start (any new project or commitment), it’s all fun and games and I have enough ginger to make tea for a village but before you say ‘ginger’, my steam has run dry. Sigh!

7- Overthinking/ Over analysing: I over the top think through and think back on everything imaginable. Whether its a fact or an incident or a person or something said and done or something I said and did or a movie I watched, a book I read, the little baby crying in the bus, the man driving the Napep I entered today who looked like he has herpes, the woman in the market who might have shortchanged me, the intentions of people and their trustworthiness….. etc. Endless list. Some are deep, some are vain. 

And I analyse all these things from every angle possible.

8- Over looking things- You can do something to me that should elicit an explosive response and I’ll over look, but that just means I don’t really rate you or I don’t want to indulge. I can overlook and downplay serious things and choose to react to ones that may seem trivial…

9- Typing on the phone- I take notes in class on my phone sometimes and I usually keep up, I wrote my two books on my phone, my University project, over hundreds of thousands of words… and I type really fast.

10- Changing topics- You think you’ll loop me in a conversation I don’t want to be in, you need to have another thing coming. I can change topics so subtly… you’ll notice, if you are smart, 4 minutes later.

11- Daydreaming – Why do you think I fail a course? Because I’m a listener, I understand while listening better than reading, so in class, when I should be listening, I’m usually daydreaming about another world, therefore I’m not listening , therefore I fail to utilise my listening learning capacity… it’s sad.

12- Making parfait- I am at liberty to once in a while market my brand and I’m saying this with my head high that I make the meanest greek yoghurt and greek yoghurt parfait that has ever graced your taste buds. And this is me not even selling myself.

Do you relate to these things or do you find some weird. What are the things you excel at? Share, share lets see.

Do you have basic  stuff like hiking or crazy stuff like spending a night under water (that has no sharks) in a cage because you want to see if the ocean lights up in the middle of night?!… nope, not on my bucket list either.

So bucket lists are basically a list of things one wants to do before he/she kicks the bucket. Little wonder they are usually daring and/or adventurous . People have all sorts of things on their bucket lists from the normal to the unthinkable to the putrid.

There are some things on many bucket list that are so scary chances are I won’t be able to complete them because I may actually kick the bucket in the process… now that is a proper bucket list.

Now some things are so basic I have decided not to add them because they are like many people’s life goals. And naturally, below this list there subs but for now (I’m sure I’ll remember some later) these are the 20 top things on my bucket list.

Here are the things on my bucket list that is on that of many (mostly oyibo)

Common List

1- Bungee Jumping: Jumping off a high place while secured by the ankle.

My heart will sink below my heart as I plunge upside down to my sense ultimate demise but boy will it be fun! I’m in. 

2- Sky diving : The act of jumping of a moving plane which high up in the air with only a parachute back pack. I wanttttt! 

3-Hiking: Hiking sounds like so much fun. I would have wanted to camp out but I’ve read enough Goose Bumps to scar me for life.

4- Mountain Climbing and Abseiling-  Check. Did that in Shere Hills Jos.

5- Waterskiing- I’ll fall a hundred times, will never learn, and I’ll give up for lack of balance but at least I’ve tried.

Not Very Uncommon List:

6- Run in a marathon- I know I’ll probably run 5 miles , walk five more, crawl for 4 minutes and slump! But I was in a Marathon. And if I walk, I know I’ll make it to the finish line as the last person in 5 days time.

7- Jump off and on a moving train: I’ve actually ticked  off jumping off a moving train. It was not intentional and my knees hurt for weeks. Indian movies instilled a love for slow-mo jumping on a moving train.

8- Drive a Tesla- Or ride in a Tesla rather. 

9- Walk the streets of Paris the whole night- Sigh! A dream!

10- Go Kayaking or getting on a Gondola- Gondola please so I’ll feel a connection with the Merchant of Venice. I love anything Italy. Kayaking looks fun in cartoons, I don’t know about reality.

11- Sleep under the stars- Spend a whole night sleeping under the open starts with the starts twinkling at me and the soft breeze twiddling around my skin. The life.

12- Try thousand of oriental and intercontinental dishes from all over the world… except for Wuhan of course.

Not Common List

13- Spend two weeks indoors without peeping out. Indoors!

14- Stay in a beach house that has no form of technology at alll for three days. How refreshing will that be?

15- Date a Qatari Prince: Will never happen but come on, what’s the harm in wishing?

Now To The Ones Unique To Me

16- I want to sit in a Napep for over 10 hours straight coursing through the city and taking in the people, lights and sounds and just being part of their day for a day.

17- I want to sit on a major highway in the middle of nowhere and get a stool and a chair out. Sit on the chair by the roadside,  fold my legs, get a newspaper out and read through my shades. I’ll pour myself a drink, and sip slowly as cars occasionally pass by and the  force from their passage sways my veil about. 

18- I had always considered Kaduna-Abuja expressway. Sadly, this is one thing I may not strike off my bucket list.. or might but it may cost millions.

19- Seat on a trailer from Kano to Kaduna- Two hours enough. Like open trailer where people squat with cows and kolanuts and stuff. 

20- Walk for a day straight resting only for a few to recharge and keep moving. 

Now that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my bucket list in all it’s glory and craziness. 

Do you relate even remotely to it?

Which are on yours and which aren’t.

You reading this can post all the things you wish to post about your life but I defiantly will not believe you because I’ve been let down so many times by people i thought had it together but are so full of it.

The reality is that It’s not all picture perfection and rosiness as is always the case on social media (I mean who will show you a picture of his failure and hard times?) because social media life and reality are as far apart as Spongebob and sense. 

Many events and people and situations were responsible for the reality check that knocked my sense to proper functionality because I too- like many others- had, once upon a time assumed that to a very large extent, the width of the smile on a persons face on his/ her social media pictures and videos are a reflection of reality. Boy was I  wrong!

Turns out for some, it was the only place they had to smile, it was the only way they could feel a flicker of happiness which soon dies and in a bid to revive it, they need to post more pictures, tell more lies, spread more rumours and pretend they are fine.

Social media (using term to refer to situations whereby people live-literally breathe on -and because of social media) is a sickness, a mental disorder and many are suffering from it directly or otherwise. 

Remember that Middle-Eastern British couple that were the perfect muslim couple personified? Remember the sham there lives were and how in reality, one had even attempted suicide? (Even though they are back at it now)

All because they had to portray a perfect life on social media and they couldn’t keep up because no one’s life is that flawless and in pushing to do so, they lose themselves .

There are the rich ones who are in fact broke or are fraudulent. Or the ones who body shame and flaunt their perfect bodies which in reality are photoshopped, or the ones who are easy-breezy-life-peasy but their lives warped AF. 

They are all masks, a facade; believe at your own risk. Social media profiles are in most cases the only aspect of people’s lives that they can control (before hackers come for that too), and of course they’ll paint it pink and lavender.

It is sad how we spend hours and money at the expense of a real social life all so that we can lose our souls to the internet in exchange for a clowns suit, because only in the clown’s world is it always full of laughter and merriment.

There are plenty more people I’ve admired, Nigerian socialites, motivational speakers, celebrities whose real lives look like a dull shade of black. 

Motivational speakers are the worse because behind all those words urging you on is a broken spirit roaming about a dark cage but the worse part of it is that they do not know. They see from the inside out so as far as they are concerned, you are the broken-spirited person in need so they try to heal you who needs little healing by giving you bits of the spirit they have left.

If social media where to be away for a little while and people are to try and really please themselves no matter the condition away from the eyes and expectations of others, then life would have been so much easier because many will find themselves.

I’m not painting social media bad, far from it; if you know how to utilise it for good. I’m not saying don’t post your pictures even if you are fake smiling (fake it till you make it right?). I’m not saying delete your social media account or don’t listen to motivation, I’m just saying; wise up, know what to believe, know who and what to emulate, do not compare yourself with others, do not kill yourself to measure up to those who probably have less. 

Be you. The people you see on Instagram should never be the scale to judge your life and successes on. Many are sham.

So during Eid, I usually assume the role of mai gashi at home. I am the Mallam Mai Suya. I organise the grills, get the beef, slice it into the layers, make the marinate and get to work. (The boys do their afterwards but it’s so basic).

I usually try to be as innovative as possible. My grills are good but last years was a bomb! Literally, it pops in your mouth; a surprisingly juicy mix of pepper, sweet and savory.

It was so nice that a neighbor of ours had a taste, excused himself and came back with ram thighs (I’m going to start charging for this ish).

Anyway, I decided; What’s the harm in oppressing my people online with some mouth watering pictures of what they can only see but not taste (food network always does that to me anyway). I have since gotten recipe requests but the hoarder that I am was unable to let go.
So here we are, finally, a blog post spilling the juice. I hope you try and give me feedback.

Ingredients

-Open fire (optional)Okay you can use a skillet, or double sided pan or conventional oven or an electric grill but know that the fume of open fire and the graze of smoke adds immeasurably to the taste. It’s a secret ingredient of mine 😉

-Beef Sliced into thin layers

-Onions

-Garlic

-Pepper (attarugu)

-Rosemary, celery, oregano, mint

-Paprika

-Little honey

-Curry, Ginger

-My moms yaji (special ingredient)

-Soy Sauce

-Vinegar

-Salt and Maggi

RECIPE

Pulse the onions, ginger and herbs and pour into a bowl. Add maggi, salt, paprika powder, vinegar, and soy sauce. Pour oil into mixture.

Put two spoons of honey. Sprinkle ginger and some curry. Chop celery, rosemary and oregano and mix everything.

Dip beef slices into bowl and press in the mixture. Let it marinate and keep aside. Do same for the rest and let the marinate seep in.

Marinated beef

Place beef evenly on grill over open fire and turn after every six minutes. Let it grill slowly for about thirty minutes.

So here. I feel like I just let a huge skeleton out of my closet so make it worth it by recreating this recipe and sharing your taste buds experience with pictures .

See you next time.

She pressed and held so that the honk of her car will rally with that of the ones around, maybe then, the traffic will clear.

She could will all the cars away, she knew she could. But she did not. She wanted- needed- to conserve her new found powers because of course it was bestowed on her by more than coincidence… it was a gift of fate for the greater good.

Lala knew the world was in imminent danger. The signs where there, of things; bad things approaching from different dark crevices.

It was obvious in the shadows that moved anti-clockwise, against the sun,defying light.

It was evident in the children born with their eye wide open, open even in their mothers wombs.

It was apparent in the gait of the trees, more rebellious as against their gentility. Nature was brazen and brash; a tree trunk extending to make her trip, then the winds howling in laughter as she falls.

Somehow, she was the only one that saw them, she was the only one that felt the change so when she told her mother, her mother merely grimaced and looked away staring into the empty sunburnt evening.

Lala had had enough. Surely, doing something to prevent her from having a heatstroke amidst an ungrateful traffic in a state that will get mad at you for dying because you have caused more traffic is part of the greater good.

Eyes closed. Breathe hitched. Zen mode. Concentrate.  It took 10 minutes… it gets easier and faster by the moment. Wielding ones power, like a talent takes practice… Lala was getting a hold of hers.

The traffic had dispersed before her and she easily maneuvered, her heart in her throat, her fists clenching the wheels till she felt like she’d puke. She could do it, she had the power of telekinesis. She could move objects using sheer mental power and that…. that had to be the most heady thing.

She was glad she made it home before fainting. The mental exercise had drained her of all energy and she needed sugar or an energy drink to re-charge. She’ll take red bull, then she’ll tell her daughter all about it now that she had confirmed that she was indeed superhuman.

It all started in the lab, as a scientist working in a high facility government lab, she dealt with major chemicals, and she believed in major abilities but she had never for once thought she’d accidentally develop an ability though it might be that her strong mental believe had attracted that bug to her.

The vision of that multi-coloured, shimmery bug with eyes that looked like they could see right through people and straight into the future hit her again, this time, so hard she had to promptly sit on a sofa.

She wondered-not for the first time- how it had made it’s way past the barricade, past the heavy duty doors that shut so tight even air had to hiss away. The place was highly sensitized and well-lit, surely something as big and colourful as that should not have covered that distance unnoticed.

But fate… laws of attraction… her innate instinct to help must have had a hand in gaming it all. The sting was so sharp and sudden she fainted. That was when she  died, perhaps for a second or its split,but her heart had skipped a beat, maybe two and it had been jolted back to life only because on her way down, the complex chemical she was working on had spilled and burnt deep into the sting that it had prompted her heart to beat. And when she awoke, she woke up a new human.

She could see patterns in life, she could see thought processes. She could see the life in things people think are inanimate not knowing that they retain the hum of life of their raw nature. The furniture still hum with the trees essence, the cars still have elements of steel, so does every other thing; that was why controlling them became easy for her- because she could feel them, connect to them, communicate with them, will them and they bent to her will.

She didn’t hear her daughter come in. She was so in tune with every other thing she started losing touch with humans… they were far less interesting.

‘Mama you look pale’. Her daughter looked at her worried. Her daughter worried unnecessarily.

Lala smiled weakly.

‘I’m okay. How are you? How’s school?’

But she didn’t hear how school was, or how Nana was selected to represent the school in a science tournament, or how Nana’s best friend was caught with a boy and flogged before the class, or how Nana really needed money for a new uniform, because she was communicating with TV vibes and she would have moved it but for the fear that Nana will freak out.

When she opened her eyes, it was night and her daughter was nowhere to be found, she had slept off. There was a plate of yam and beans porridge on the table, Nana must have made it. Her poor child must be confused and lonely but some matters require sacrifice.

‘Mama are you sure you are okay?’ Nana asked again after checking up on her mother to see if she was breathing. Her mother had been delusional since her father left them for her mothers older cousin but it had become worse lately.

Lala didn’t flinch.

‘It’s okay to think about him. But please we have to move on’. She pleaded. She was desperate for her mother to pick up the pieces of her once colourful life again.

Lala tilted her head towards her daughter and smiled ‘Who? It has always been the two of us darling’.

She was, it seemed, stuck in a stage of calm denial- not of the act of betrayal (it would have been much better) but of the existence of Nana’s Dad. It scared Nana to no end.

Then something moved in Nana’s periphery. She turned to catch the object fly out through the window. Her mother caught her looking and smiled.

‘ I was wondering how you’ll find out. It was so hard keeping it to myself for so long. Now you know’. Her smile was so wide, it was the happiest Nana had seen her since the incident.

‘Know what? What are you talking about Mama?’

‘I know it may seem like there’s a plausible explanation, but it’s just that! I have the power of telekinesis… and yes I just threw out that verse through the window with my mind’.

‘Mama!’ Nana half-whispered in an ill-attempt to keep the alarm out of her voice, ‘Mama that was a bird’. And a tear fell from her eyes.

How do you react to physical illnesses? Do you ignore physical pain, tell your loved one to ‘man it up’ when he has a killer headache, decide to treat yourself when you have diabetes? Or do you go to the hospital and seek professional help.

Now how do you react to psychological diseases? Are you aware that mental illness do as much harm to you and your body as the physical and many physical pain are in fact, a manifestation of the pain that is lodged up in your brain seeking a way to get noticed and treated.

Mental health awareness, in developing countries especially, is just gaining momentum after wreaking harm for years unattended.

Recently in Nigeria there is an appalling surge in the number of suicide and suicidal attempts, murder of spouses, relatives and strangers, terrorism activities and other life threatening acts. Are you aware that over 70% of these acts can be attributed directly (as in the case of suicide) or indirectly (as in the case of terrorist attacks) on mental ill health.

Psychopaths, sociopaths, people with borderline personality disorders and other personality disorders walk, work and live among us (they might even be us), but the lack of awareness on the signs to watch out for and when to get help can make the disorders worse to the point of making them dangerous in the society.

Depression spreads it’s tentacles far and wide, more so because it has found a suitable environment for growth in Nigeria fed by lack of awareness, shunning, pressure, frustration stemming from work, home, marriage life, studies or standard of living.

The lack of empathy makes it that much harder for patients to reach out and the stigma makes it worse when it comes to seeking help. But no one has ever stigmatized people for seeking help with cancer, so why is cancer of the mind any different?

What we need to understand is that mental diseases are diseases like any. What we need people to know is that having them is okay and seeking help is an act of courage. What we need from people is to research, know about the importance of mental health and what to watch out for, know the many different personalities and disorders, observe the people around them and give them a should when they need it.

Because your mental well-being means so much more than you think. It means the world.

Submitted by Aisha Hamza

  I arrived at Tara’s apartment a little past eight p.m. She enveloped me in a warm hug and led me to the lavishly set dinning area where candle lights were competing with porcelain dishes . Sitting down, I allowed my eyes roam on the body hugging sequined dress that flattered Tara’s beautiful body. I might just propose tonight.

  Tara excused herself and went into the kitchen. Suddenly something moved from the shadows and surfaced in form of Tiara. She didn’t give me time to recover from my shock as she said “long time no see Ayo”. There was no way my ex from hell was sitting across from me. Too shocked to say a word, beads of perspiration gathered on my forehead.

“Tiara, I see you’ve met Ayo already” It was Tara’s honeyed voice. What in the world was going on? I mused. Tiara flashed Tara a smile. 

    “Ayo, this is my twin sister Tiara”. The universe must be playing tricks on me. “Remember the two girls on the night of the 27th, 2008. Your boys and you. Remember the rape Ayo”?
It was Tiara speaking.
I looked up and saw Tara holding a gun. “It’s payback time Ayo”. Smiling, she pulled the trigger. 

This story was written as an entry to the Flash Fiction contest hence the theme but unfortunately, due to technical issues, it was not received.

Writers Bio

Aisha Hamza

Aisha Hamza is an ardent and growing creative writer who is passionate about stringing words together. She is a poetic soul with the pen of a word artist and hopes that some day,her name would be written in gold amongst a legion of renowned writers.

A 7 year old boy in primary 3 is making his mother’s stomach tie into knots in worry that he might be a perpetual slow learner, because it is such a terrible thing that he just cannot seem to string letters together in his head and read them aloud as words, she fears he may be dumb.

The 7 year old receives the lashes of his mother’s harsh tongue and most likely a few slaps but try as he may, he can’t read.

It would have been better if school would be his safe haven but the pressure in school surpasses that of home because in truth, his problem started in school when all the students instantly create sentences in a fantastic manner and write with the average speed of an infant where he can’t even seem to read not to mention write.

He feels his esteem eat away like leaves attacked by unrelenting pests. He can’t even be free because the other kids look at him and think he is dumb, especially when the teacher deems it right to punish him for being ‘slow’ and compare him to other students thereby subjecting him to being taunted.

There goes the confidence of the boy and the beginning of his self-doubt and manifestation of other problems most of which will be mental all because of the ignorance of the learning environment in matters of mental health. In another society, it wouldn’t be a big problem to understand that the boy has a learning disorder called dyslexia which makes reading a herculean task to his brain and which may or may not recede and completely disappear with age. And in case it does recede, the ridicule will still linger.

A scenario similar to this that I know of happened in a school in Kaduna, hundreds of scenarios similar to this that we may not know of are still happening all over.

I’ve been meaning to write this proposal for a while but I had to target a willing listening ear first and there’s no better one in a position of power than Gov. Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai.

Over the years, he has proven that Kaduna can be a role model educational reform system and is ever ready to attend to anything education. It is on this basis that I write this.

The inclusion of mental health studies in the curriculum of secondary schools will not start in the classroom as the classroom is a teachers territory therefore, it is subject to a teachers knowledge. That is why it has to start with the teachers.

It is my suggestion that all teachers of government schools be trained in the basics of infant and common adult mental health disorders where the signs and how to handle people with such cases will be taught extensively even if for a week.

Again, every private school should be tasked with training their own teachers be it a mathematics or foods and nutrition teacher and all schools must have a trained Guidance Counselor(s) who is to work directly with a government body.

It is after this foundation has been laid that it will be plausible for mental health to be seamlessly taught in schools.

The rise of psychological disorders and diseases is alarming and the main reason why it’s festering on the society is because of ignorance of the majority of the members of the society who chose to condemn rather than redeem.

I believe it is wise to ‘catch them young’, by teaching the future generation about the complexities in personalities and how the brain works in diverse ways which will be a sure way of promoting and fostering tolerance and understanding among them and most importantly, it will mean tackling mental health issues head on.

It is my plea that this suggestion is heard and worked upon by not only the Kaduna State Governor but all those in power and all those who have a say so that majority of Nigeria’s problems (which is due to deep and raging frustration that has been left unchecked) is put in check.

After careful consideration of all entries by three judges, three top stories have been chosen out of 36 delighful creative pieces of fiction.

Congratulations to the writers of the stories. The absence of your name does not discredit you as a writer, it just means there’s always room for improvement. 

And as a writer who will eventually face the world, it’s all about trying till you make it. I hope this will serve to strengthen your writing spirit to make it. Therefore congratulations to everyone for being brave enough to put his/her writeup out there.

Winners List:

1st Runner Up- Rabi Lawal, Entry 4 (N2,000)

2nd Runner Up- Oyeniran Tofunmi Eunice, Entry 15 (N3,000)

Winner- Ruqayyah Saghir Nabage, Entry 14 (N10,000)

Honourable Mentions:

Annie Ifinedo

Hauwa Hala Nuraddeen

Ishola Ubaydah

Jesutofunmi Fekoya

Dela Azojani Adeorike

Yunusa ibrahim

Gift Ukay

Aisha Mahmud

Watch this space for more contests and mentorship opportunities.

Thank you for your participation.

She dipped the kitchen towel in a bowl of hot water and placed it on her hand. She winced as the heat seared through her tender flesh. There was a cut and several small injuries on the back of her hand and she couldn’t let anyone see it, especially the people where she was going.

She placed a band-aid and covered the small cut around her knuckles with foundation, she was wearing a long-sleeved gown to shade her wound from prying eyes. People, always trying to establish your life is not perfect like theirs.

She wasn’t going to address the cause of her pain until she’s back. He was probably on their matrimonial bed still asleep, but she had to get up, because she had to work, because she had to feed the family while he slept like a bunch of rotten bananas.

She checked her watch, frowned at how the small hand had ticked clockwise faster than she had wanted and hissed. The lecture wouldn’t deliver itself, she said to herself. Domestic violence, it seemed was a much sought after topic. Battered women where having none of the bullshit anymore, and she was proud. She stared at her bruised hand, she was proud of them.

Iridescent flowers that have already started darkening by the edges, that was what they looked like. Their faces lighted up in understanding and agreement as they stared ardently at her, eagerly sucking up each word like a child with an insatiable appetite of milk.

She shivered slightly at the sight of the innocence painted on their faces, innocence that for some, has already started getting tainted with a dark paint. She needed to save them; from themselves and from the others be it their parents, partners or the society… or all.

And so her voice got stronger with each word, with each message, with each example stating a hundred and one reasons why a woman is the owner of her body and why no one, can take that away from her.

‘The word ‘woman’ has, for a long time been taken to be synonymous to ‘weakness’, and that is why the girl child has been conceived of weakness, birthed by weakness and brought up in weakness. It has been drummed in our brains for so long we begin to believe in that and that is why when our husbands batter us’ she cringed at the thought of that ‘it is taken for granted and blame is heaped solely on us, the weakness’ her voice dripped of passion. She needed them to understand that they needed to stand up for themselves, she needed them to understand there in the grand looking assembly hall of the school of the elite children before it was too late.

‘But not anymore’, she went on. ‘The modern woman is strength and power. She understands that she is human before woman, she understands that she is woman and therefore priceless, she understands that dowry is not a ticket to torture, she understands that she is the owner of her body and she will fight to see that every other person accepts same’. She concluded.

The thunderous applause made her jolt a bit in fright. She stood stunned as the crowd of young secondary school girls and teachers stood up and cheered.

It always happened like that and that was why they scouted lectures so much from her for whenever she was delivering a lecture on violence against women, she was never herself. She was a woman from fifteen years ago who had been dragged and man handled, slapped across the face and told to shut up or the knife glistening in the dark will be buried within her. And she had to stifle her scream and lie for hour-like minutes until the deed was done and her innocence, gone. The most painful part being she knew who it was, and she knew he was a coward as only cowards hit women.

She smiled and lowered her eyes as if shy. The rage of being a victim had subsided and she was back to herself.

The admiration in the eyes of the female students and the profusely stated appreciations were enough for her. Her job was done.

She didn’t want to go back home. She didn’t want to face him or anyone. She just wanted to drive away, far away, but she knew she couldn’t, she knew she had to face her worse nightmare who shared her bed every day for 5 years.

The moment she pushed the door open and heard the sound of feet shuffling, she knew he was home. Where else would he be? Useless man.

‘Come here’. Silence.

‘I said come here’. Now with obvious annoyance.

She felt the rage creep back in. He always had that effect on her ever since he decided it was a good idea to rape her. Little did he know, he fucked with the wrong girl.

10 years after the rape, she had bloomed into a beautiful woman,and he had thought that she had forgotten as it happened a long time ago. And so when she did everything young ladies were prone to do to get the attention of men they liked, he had succumbed and had fallen prey. Some months later, they were married, what he will come to discover was her plot for revenge all along.

She had made his life a living hell from the first year of their wedding. She had made him lose his job, distanced him from family and friends and basically made him dependent on her so that all the power were in her palms, the palms she used to batter him all day as she relieved that dark night that awakened the monster in her.

Her fists were still sore from the punch she had given him last night and she could see him visibly shake as her palms curled to fists.

‘Bloody coward. I hope you tell this story to your fellow weak men who hit women’. She spat out in disgust and landed him another punch.