There is this Nigerian saying that goes ‘Love is not blind, e wear binoculars’ I had lived a very secluded and ‘I don’t want wahala’ kind of lifestyle. Being the only girl, my upbringing was very different. I grew up in a house with three boys, a dad in the militaryand a Mum who is a maths teacher. I can graciously say we were ‘handled’ well. I was taught to take care of everyone around me, to be tolerant and endure whatever came my way with a smile plastered on my face🙄. I wasn’t allowed to express how I felt towards anything and it all accumulated and made me depressed(story for another day😌).
With my dad being in the military, Mum settled in a small town in our state while we were shipped to different states for school because of dad’s job. I lived with dad and went to school from home. I was shipped to stay with Mum after five years of high school and I’d say, that was the beginning of my problems.I didn’t like my new school any bit.I first attended a school where I wore a uniform made up of a burberry skirt, packet white shirt, tie with cufflinks, suede shoes. I was taken to school every morning from Monday to Friday by the school’s Toyota hiace bus and having classmates from all nationalities. From there, I changed to a school where I had to go with an okada…They didn’t even give us lunch, We didn’t go for excursions, we were only allowed to come to school with twenty naira for Puffpuff and zobo drinks wrapped in a nylon bag. My skirt looked like a floater preventing me from drowning in agony. Arrrgh! It was frustrating walahi!!!
My classmates didn’t help matters, they laughed at my frustration and tagged me an Oyibo. They didn’t understand why I was different and don’t behave like them because they didn’t know where I was coming from.I didn’t know how to darken the board with charcoal or battery, I couldn’t balance a bucket of water on my head and play ‘tenten’ or ‘Suwe’ like every normal person. I ended up being friendless. I grew up alone and quiet,didn’t want anyone laughing at me. I finally got into the university and was a loner. I didn’t have a social life, didn’t have close friends.
After final year, I had an extra year and ran off to Abuja to stay with my cousin for fear of being beaten by my dad for failing. I was that scared of him(did I forget to mention he had a koboko and handcuffs hanging specially in his wardrobe for when we erred. He never failed to handcuff whoever to the gate after flogging him/her for passerby to see and make fun of). Yes! I was afraid of the humiliation. After weeks of living with my cousin,I was introduced to his friend. He was a banker living in Lagos and was looking for a wife. We got talking through social media We talked everyday nonstop for months, and fell in love with him. He introduced me to his family, his mom spoilt me silly with gifts and food. At a point, I felt I was in a relationship with her. She would call me up, wanting us to hangout. I felt at peace, at least it was different from the last relationship I had been in. After a while,i travelled all the way to Lagos to see him. He was cute and calculated, and a husband material. So I thought🙄. For no reason he made me cook meals for him at odd times, He would wake me up by 1am asking me to prepare jollof rice or spaghetti. I couldn’t give him food without a tray or food with just a plate and just two chunks of meat.The stew, rice and meat had to be in separate plates as he didn’t want the stress of shifting the meat to scoop stew. He also had extra for him to eat with! He would consult his mother over everything, and she called randomly asking me to prepare a particular dish for him. His mum wanted to know everything, including when my next cycle will be starting, my blood group, genotype and my CGPA in school. Gradually, I became irritated by the whole drama.
We agreed to travel to see his parents and this got me excited, and tensed. It was a mixture of emotions. For a split second I wanted to walk away, to end the whole thing because I was being drained emotionally and loosing self worth but the other part of me that would push everything down with a smile plastered on my face made me stay put enduring. When we got there,I wouldn’t lie, they were nice people, his siblings were amazing and supportive but I suddenly became homesick and wanted t go home. I felt I had became too common, I was choking. I figured it was time to go. I left after some days, with them promising to come see my parents. One day, his sister called asking for the name of my Vice Chancellor. I knew they were try to snoop and gave them the names of the vice chancellor, the head of department and my course adviser. I had previously heard people talk about snooping around the intended and felt at it was normal.
He finally came with his parents and I noticed some changes in them. They became withdrawn and weren’t eager to see me. Days into their arrival, his mum called asking me to see her. I went the following morning and met her at home with a carpenter. Apparently, their door had issues. As I sat, she asked me why I didn’t tell her of my extra year in school. She claimed I wasn’t truthful to her. Next, she said she wouldn’t want her son getting married to someone he would cheat on because I didn’t have the right curves in the right places😂😂. She also said she didn’t want her son seeing anyone through school and that I was below his class. She didn’t fail to tell me of his ex, an architect with a masters degree whom she forbade him from being with because she was from a particular tribe. Did I feel myself shrink into little bits, yes. Did I feel like insulting her and strangling her? Yes. Did I feel like crying? Yes. I felt a sudden darkness envelope me, I felt worthless and for a period of time, I only felt peace when asleep. I couldn’t even eat well… I became the rejected one. My aunties and uncles used me as an example to their kids. I remember my uncle(who is a close friend of the ‘fiance’)telling his daughter jokingly that she shouldn’t be like me that was sent to school but dropped out and was dumped by a man because of it. Deep down, I felt pained. For years, I stayed away from people. I couldn’t even go back to school because I was ashamed of meeting the same lectures and being with students who were still in secondary school when I left.
With the help of my Course adviser,i finally went back to school, wrote the remaining exams and passed. Did I broadcast to those uncles and aunties? No!!! Sometimes it is better allowing those who thought you wouldn’t amount to anything wallow in their assumptions…With the help of God, I hope to get a doctorate degree 😁😁😁.
Written by Pinky Egbuna