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My name is Deji-Folutile Blossom, I am 21 years old and I’m a Nigerian. I am a mass communication graduate student of Covenant University Nigeria.
I’ve always loved writing as a child and I used to try to write little story books when I was around the age of 7. This passion for writing has continued to burn within me since then.
In my teens I began writing articles for magazines. Sometimes I wrote short stories for children and other times, I wrote feature articles. My articles have been published in different magazines. As a teenager, I had a passion to write about the educational system in Nigeria. Many of my articles usually focused on that.
In 2016, I was the Sub-Editor for my department’s yearly magazine ‘Stream’. I was in charge of editing the materials to be published. It was a very exciting experience for me.
Recently, I've picked up a a burning interest in Child Sexual Abuse because I feel it is a terrible issue that is reoccurring in our society and it puts the lives of its victims in danger. Also, because of the silence culture in my country as regards child sexual abuse, cases of child sexual abuse often gets swept under the carpet and the victims are not expected to say anything about it.
You chase frantically after happiness. You know you're there when you're finally happy right? But what happens right after? What happens right after you're as happy as you want to be? For me, it's anxiety. I worry about how long the happy feeling is going to last. I stress about what would happen that would snatch my happy away from me. I bother about it because I know that from there on, it could only get worse and I'm certain that it would. Maybe it's a rejection mail, or I remember something I've worked so hard at forgetting, or I lose something, or maybe someone… and at that moment, when the slightest thing threatens my happy, I just break down. It feels like I'm starting all over again like there's no end to this pursuit of happiness and I've come to realize that there's no end. Happiness is an emotion, just like sadness. It's so fleeting and holding on to it for so long only brings pain. Recently, I've been working at letting things go immediately I sense that they're about to go. I used to hold on to pain, to help me remember so I don't go down the same path. I writhe in pain as I remember what hurt me but I'm thankful for it because it helps me to remember not to make the same mistake. Funny thing is, I started to hold on very strongly to my happiness. When I felt like the slightest thing was trying to take away my happiness, I became aggressive. I didn't want to hear it and I didn't want to see it. Unfortunately, I started to hurt a lot of people in the process. I didn't want to make any sacrifices or deal with anything that would make me a bit sad or worried, so I started to push things away. Over time, something sad would seep into the barricade I've built around me and it'd hurt me way more than it should because I'm so afraid of hurt or pain or sadness. Ironically I'm also afraid of being too happy. When I sense that I'm getting too happy, I call myself back and warn myself. I remind my heart that it's not going to last very long so I better be prepared for the consequences of being so elated and joyful. In the spirit of being a better person, I'm trying to tell myself that it's okay to feel what I feel. Sometimes you're happy and other times you're not and it's okay. I'm also working on getting accustomed to the fact that happiness isn't a destination and it shouldn't even be. Happiness is something we should all keep chasing after, you never arrive, you never get there, you just have to keep chasing it for the rest of your life and it's okay.
There was no pool and no lifeguard. Well, not literally. The pool was my depression and I while I was drowning to my death; I was rescued by my friend. You'll understand me in a bit. I tried to kill myself once. Actually I didn't intend to kill myself. I just wanted to put myself in so much pain; so much so that I wouldn't feel the terrible heart ache I had at the time. I was so torn one night after I had cried my eyes out in grief and sadness and I just took pills. First, I swallowed 10 pills, and then I tried another 10 immediately. Fortunately, I was online and I saw a friend online and I just told her that I was in so much pain. She immediately came up to my room and saw the state I was in. She was so devastated and I was so scared. I thought I was going to die for sure. She tried to make me induce vomit but I just couldn't. She said we should go to the health center but I was scared. I didn't know what to tell them. It was around 2:00am, so it was a miracle that she was even up. In the end, she just stayed with me until morning. When I slept, she slept and when I stirred, she woke up and asked if I was alright. The next morning I pretty much acted like all was well. I was very ashamed of myself. I felt very stupid and overly dramatic. I was very weak, I didn't eat anything because I didn't have an appetite. Why did I do that to myself? I did it because I was in so much pain; the heartache was just too painful to bear. I felt very worthless and very useless. I felt like a burden, like a cast away. I wouldn't say that my friends weren't there for me, cos they were. When I remember this incident, I am just very grateful to God for sparing my life. I would have brought tears to the eyes of many and hurt a lot of hearts and now that I think about it, it wasn't worth it. I'm sharing my story today to let everyone know that they matter. No matter what you're going through, there's someone that cares. You might have to look a little harder, but people are there. People are always there to help you. You are not alone; you never are, most importantly, God is looking out for you.
I've gone from trying to figure out what feminism is really about to understanding the term and agreeing with it from afar. I no sooner learned that it was impossible for me to agree with but not identify with the term. As a result of all the bad energy surrounding the term and fear of not being misunderstood by people, I thought that identifying with it within myself was enough. I said to myself ‘I know I am a feminist and that is all that matters'. If people asked me I'd say I'm still deciding and sieving through because of the extremists. I got encouraged when I realized that some of my friends were feminists too so I was able to reveal my hidden status as a feminist to them but not to the world in general. The moment of truth for me was sitting in a room with people ‘shading' feminists and spitting out untruths about feminism for me to realize that I was either standing for something or not standing for it at all. I was riled up inside of me and I didn't even realize when I announced that I was actually a feminist and a proud one at that. As expected the usual argument associated around feminism ensued and I remained firm in my belief and stance as a feminist despite the fact that I was the only feminist in the room. It was a very liberating moment for me as I had finally released myself from the self-inflicted bondage. I am an unapologetic feminist. Anyone who cannot murder their ignorance by birthing the urgency to educate themselves about any relevant topic or issue before speaking about it is not even worthy of my association. Before I drop the mic, I want to add that anyone who knows what feminism stands for and still stands firmly against it should just move away from my view. We should all be feminists.
I have a perfect love life. My boyfriend is tall, dark, smart, intelligent, caring and handsome. He loves me so much and he looks at me with so much admiration in his eyes. I am the center of his universe. I wish! I have no one. No tall, dark, intelligent, caring or handsome boyfriend. That's just a dream. A far-fetched wish. I don't think I'm the kind of girl that gets the tall and beautiful guys. In fact, I don't think I'm the kind of girl that gets any kind of guy at all. I'm not any guys dream. I'm pretty ordinary. I'm the perfect description of imperfect. My face is too rounded, my eyes are too big, and my nose is funny. That's just to mention a few of my imperfections. I don't have that hour glass shape that every guy wants his girl to have. I'm not the kind of girl that people look at and just can't stop looking. Like I said, I'm pretty ordinary. The 14th of February is always a pain for me every year. It's usually the time when I try to put on that façade of a girl that doesn't care about not having a valentine or not having anyone that cares about her enough to get her a valentine's gift. There was a particular period when I used to get myself something for valentines, but that even made me look more pathetic. There's a new guy in my class. Every girl has been talking about him. I don't expect him to notice me. He's gorgeous. I tell myself not to have high hopes. He can't possibly ever like me. I can't be his type. I'm no one's type. I tell myself all these but I can't stop myself from trying to look nice when I go for classes. I usually just have lip gloss on when I leave my room for classes, but now, I put a little lip-stick on. I'm hoping he notices me. My head tells me I'm a fool to think that he'll ever like me, but my heart can't help itself. He spoke to me today. No, it's not what you think. We didn't actually have a proper conversation. He asked for my pen. Actually he didn't really ask for my pen. He needed a pen and announced in class for anyone who had a spare pen. I didn't. So I can't really explain why I heard myself saying ‘I do'. He walked up to me, I gave him my pen and he said ‘Thank you'. I'd never forget that moment in my life. He said ‘thank you'. To me! Guess what! We have an assignment and we're expected to pair up. Guess who I was paired with! Him! I really don't know how I plan to sit with him for over two hours and make coherent sentences but I'll have to worry about that later. He asked me to wait behind after classes, so we could create a meeting schedule that would be comfortable for the both of us. We talked for hours unending. We still don't have a schedule, somehow, we completely forgot about that. He's such an awesome person! I never for once thought that his personality could be just as interesting as his looks. He has an amazing mind and heart to go with that pretty face of his. I could feel myself letting loose around him. I didn't have to refine my thoughts before I opened my mouth to say them. I just said whatever came to mind and he thought I was interesting. Me? Interesting? I couldn't believe it. I thought I was being an over blabbing fool but he thought I was interesting. I've learnt so much about him in the past few weeks. Our assignment has been completed and submitted but we still hang out all the time. Isn't it amazing? He's almost as insecure as I am. I say almost because I really don't think anyone can reach my level of insecurity but still! He's not the image of perfection I had created for him and I'm happy about that. He's way better! Sometimes he stumbles on his words, he's really afraid of heights, he's an effortlessly sarcastic person, he could be really annoying, he's a terrible singer – and writer but despite all these, he's perfect to me. All of his imperfections are what makes him perfect. It's been two years and now, I can confidently say that I have a perfect love life. My boyfriend and I argue all the time. He is the most sarcastic person to ever walk this planet, he does the weirdest of things most of the time, he doesn't always say the right things but he's such a darling. He is so sensitive, his heart is wondrous, his heart is kind, and his heart is beautiful. He loves me so much and he looks at me with so much admiration in his eyes. I am the center of his universe. He is the center of my universe. I am not perfect, he is not perfect and that's what makes us perfect. I love him and he loves me and somehow, that's all that matters.
What could I do? My mum loved him. The way she looked at him, spoke to him and acted around him, told me that much; she adored him. She'd do anything for him. I wanted her to be happy. My heart and head rarely ever agreed on the same thing but even at that moment when my heart and head were screaming at me to say no, to tell her to wait, to tell her that he was not right for her, I smiled and said ‘go on mum, you can get married. He'll make you happy'. She was so excited. She hugged me and screamed with joy. She had tears running down her cheeks as she said ‘thank you. I love you'. Even as I sit here, with my head throbbing and my clothes torn, my body defiled, in pain and with tears; not of joy, running down my cheeks, I'm not sure I would have told my mother no if I had a chance to relive that day again. I'll give anything and do anything to make my mother happy. I knew I decided my fate the moment I let my mother marry this beast of a man. I knew he wasn't who he claimed to be but my mother didn't see that and I was too much of a coward to try to make her see. It would tear and break her heart. She had come to see him as her knight in shining armour. I couldn't take that from her. I told myself it was my fault. I walked around in shorts. I tempted him. He wouldn't have touched me. He wouldn't have raped me. If only I didn't tempt him. I was thirteen years old. I was not a virgin anymore. My innocence had been forcefully taken from me. Forcefully taken, by the one man my mother loved. Forcefully taken, by the one man my mother thought was the best thing that happened to her. I would lay in my bed crying every night after Monty slipped into my room and did despicable things to me. He always threatened me after. He said I was never to tell my mother. If I did, he would kill her. I couldn't let him kill her, she was all I had. My father left, he didn't want me. She could have left me but she stayed. Her parents disowned her, I was a result of a mistake, I was unwanted. But she stayed. She kept me. I love her so much. I couldn't let him kill her, so I shut up. I didn't know who to turn to. It was becoming too much. He was making me do things I didn't want to do. It's been two years. Two years in hell. Monty was making life unbearable for me and my mother didn't see it. I couldn't tell her because I felt Monty would kill her, he said he would kill her, he swore it, I knew he meant it. I didn't have any friends. My classmates thought I was weird. I didn't know who to talk to. I was dying inside and I needed help. Who could help me? No one seemed to hear my silent cry. No one seemed interested in my life. Except my mum that is, but I couldn't tell my mum, how could I escape this? Sometimes he brought his friends over when mother traveled for work. Whenever they came it was always worse. They always took turns with me. This was one of the numerous times he had his friends use me and I was certain it was going to be the last. My grandparents were right. Mother should have gotten rid of me from the start. Mother was still out of the state on a business trip and Monty and his friends went out to get drunk. It was the perfect time. I go out, take a rope, climb a chair, tie the rope to the fan and put it around my neck. I kick away the chair underneath me. The pain is indescribable. I struggle. I can't breathe. I feel the life seeping out of me, then – darkness.