What Do You See in Him Anyway

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And he took your love for granted and

He left you high and dry

But you know someday,

When you’ll wonder on what you see in him anyway

When that day arrives we’ll live on

Ocean drive

Lighthouse Family – Ocean drive

 

 

The lyrics that played in your head as you remembered him. He doesn’t come into your thought anymore and you wouldn’t even have remembered him if a friend hadn’t mentioned his name.

The name you used to love, the man you used to care for with your whole heart. The one who loved you, hurt you and then hurt you some more. Even then you used to wonder what you saw in him; there was nothing a sane girl would love about a man like him. Yet you loved him and even you couldn’t explain why. The days after you found courage to walk away; you decided that yours was the love of a victim. The more he maltreated you, the more you loved him.

He would call you names. Idiot, fool, stupid, bastard, retard ….. those were some of the nicer ones. You would cry yourself to sleep on several nights praying and asking God to change him and afterwards you would ask yourself if you were crazy to be praying that God should change a man you were not even married to.

Why don’t you just leave Folake?” You would ask yourself.

I can’t leave, I love him, and he needs me.” You would reply yourself

 

—-

 

On the few occasions when things were good, they were really good. He was the best man to be with on such days and so you would tell yourself that he is not really all that bad. You could never predict what would trigger his anger, they were that erratic. Even the things you did thinking he would be happy could make him mad. You just couldn’t be sure and so you took great care in all you do.

 

—-

 

You are a daydreamer, it’s what you love doing. You would try to imagine your future with him but the pictures were always blurred. That was unusual, your visions were almost always clear yet the visions of your future with him looked bleak, blurry and depressing.

That alone was enough reason to leave but fear won’t let you.

If I leave him, how will I cope?”

I will miss being with him.”

What if no other man comes my way?”

Where do I start from?”

I have spent several years with him already; will all that go to waste?”

What will my friends say?”

Leaving him will mean accepting failure and I am not a failure.”

A lot of people know us together already, it will be so shameful.”

Someone has to marry him anyway”

Perhaps this is the cross meant for me to carry, everyone has theirs or don’t they?”

 

—-

 

Some days he would call you and demand that you move the phone towards the television just so he could be sure it was the television he heard and not that a man was in the room with you. Other times you would have to give the phone to your sister or neighbor so he could be sure you were home. You also had to scream “I love you” each time he called otherwise he would suspect foul play.

—–

The day your liberation came, no bells rang, no doors crashed. It happened so simply you didn’t even know you just got liberated. It was during one of those periods when you and him have the fights that happened for no reason at all. The days when you would check your call history and realize you have dialed his number for up to fifty times without any response. You would ask yourself if you were still sane or crazy to have called someone that many times. On such days you would walk around with the world on your shoulders, weighing you down with every step. It would be as though your life was incomplete and all for nothing unless you heard his voice.

 

—-

Your liberator bore no resemblance to superman; he was just a man like any other yet the differences were easy to note and they slapped you in the face. He is gentle where the other was brash and harsh. He is polite where the other was offensive.

He is what the English call a gentleman and you couldn’t even believe it. He is too good to be true, you told yourself. He must be pretending, no man can be this good. Men are all the same, he is going to change once I let him into my life.

 

—–

You really wanted to try, at that stage the visions of your future with your boyfriend was finally clear. You could see the future and it was filled with sadness, despair, domestic violence and infidelity. You sat yourself down and asked if you had the strength for such a future, you told yourself you didn’t and willed yourself to leave. Yet you were so weak, too weak to let go. Like a dangerous habit or addiction, he was under your skin and it would take serious intervention to get him out. Finally you sought God, you asked him to help. You gave him two options; it was easier that way for you.

You said God;

If it is your will that I should have an unhappy future, then let me marry this man but if there is another man out there that could make it all right, that could bring me happiness, that could show me what it means to be loved and cherished then lord please bring him speedily.

After that prayer you relaxed and you began to realize that you could do without him after all, you stopped calling and it was painless. You discover a day could go by without you thinking of him. You started spending more time with the gentleman. You realize this was home, where you were meant to be, where your happiness lay and so you relaxed and allowed him to show you what love really is.

 

—–

The brute came back with a force, the moment he noticed you had gotten over your addiction, the moment he noticed you were happy and he wasn’t the reason. He couldn’t live with the fact that he was no longer important. He came back a seemingly changed man desperate to persuade you he could be good. He reminded you that the devil you know is better than the angel you don’t know. You told him to go to hell that what would you be doing with the devil when you could be with an angel. He cried and pleaded. He told you he couldn’t live without you, he said his world will end but you didn’t listen, you were unmoved.

You couldn’t recognize yourself. You never thought a day would come that his presence would become irritating, that his voice would mean nothing, that his tears would have no effect. You were over him and it was massive. You felt like someone who suddenly discovered Indomie after feeding on earthworms for years. He noticed and he was scared, the fear brought back the monster and he started to attack and threaten you. You laughed when you saw his real self reappear. Whatever did I see in this brute anyway you thought telling him to get lost and never come back.

It was easy to forget him, your gentleman made that possible. He erased all the hurt with his love, his attention. He treats you like a precious gem and loves you completely and sincerely. In a short while you forgot he existed and the few times you remember him now, you feel nothing, no pain, no regret just praise to God for delivering you.

And here is your song:

 

O ti mumi gbagbe oooo, ibanuje igba kan

You have made me forget the sorrows I once lived with

Ase were nise oluwa

I never knew the Lord could so easily turn my situation around

Oba ti mo pe to’n je

The King I call that answers

Ase were nise oluwa

I never knew the Lord could so easily turn my situation around

Oba ti mo pe to’n je

The King I call that answers

 

 

 

Foot note:

He  or she is abusive? Or is it that it just doesn’t feel right? Leave now and forget all your fears and insecurities. Don’t get married to someone who abuses you verbally, psychologically or physically just because you think you can’t get someone better. Yes there is a man or woman out there waiting to love you, waiting to show you who a real man or woman is. He or she  is out there but they may never find you unless you let go of the brute. You deserve better, you deserve happiness; do not let the enemy tell you otherwise.

Just bring God in, let him intervene. Trust me you can’t do it alone.

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Abused, Rejected But I am a Survivor By Omowonuola Maja

we condemndont hurt me

Here is My Story! I was abused as a child, got rejected after years in higher institution and went through several stages of depression. I’m gradually getting better and hoping for better days. I’m telling you this story to reach out to those who had been abused or going through one abusive situation or the other; please speak up and seek help. You are not broken.

*******

I’ve always been that extroverted child, the vocal one whom nothing could ‘befall’ till abuse came.

As a six/seven year old I didn’t know what it was but as I grew up, I understood more about what had happened. What our houseboy and family friends did to me was very wrong.

I began to remember those ‘events’ in flashes and patches. I’ll push them away most times, but after twelve years I spoke out for the first time. All I managed to say was “I was abused as a child”; it happened in the church at a workers’ vigil.

A dam broke that night.

I wept so hard! I felt ashamed that I’d been stripped of my ‘shield’ and dignity. I thought every one knew my ‘secret’ now and I would become a laughing stock amongst members. From that night onward, I became more aware of what happened and learned to deal with it. Then began the ‘fight’ to deal with ‘it’; my abusers live right opposite my house, I’ve seen them everyday of my life since then!

I couldn’t muster the courage to tell my folks; I knew blood would flow, I was scared. The next battle was to stop seeing myself as an object of pleasure, its has been a constant battle and I’m winning it but I needed a ‘weapon’, so I choose hate. I hated men, house-boys, and male family friends; as long as you’re male, I see you as an enemy. I was losing myself! My folks tagged me “sadist”, there was no explanation for the erratic mood swings or the sudden need to be alone in reclusion.

I’d inflicted wounds on myself, I couldn’t build relationships – erratic at them. I had lost trust for everyone and if I eventually trusted a person, it was the unhealthy kind because of my extrovert nature. It was hard to know but I had dark days.

I had contemplated suicide; even attempted it!

I met Christ while at the university. Life became better! I was progressing; I read books on child abuse and I read other people’s stories too. It looked like life was finally getting better, then another tragedy struck.

Two days to my final exams I got a call to report to the Administration office; on getting there, I was told there was a problem with my registration. The man said: “you’re not a student! you’ve been using a fake matric number” all these while. At first I thought there must have been a mix up, could be there was a mistake, but it turned out that it wasn’t a mistake.

It felt like a bad dream, it took the next 24 hours for the news to sink in. I saw all kinds of black, I moved like a robot, I wanted to die. It took me fifteen months to tell my mum. Those days were the darkest hours of my life, I craved death at every opportunity. I would forget to eat, comb my hair or even take care of my health.

I stopped living, I lost so much weight that I became stick thin.

There were moments of complete darkness! There was a blanket that descended on my soul. There was complete numbness, sometimes I would forget where I was. I felt worthless. I harboured guilt and hopelessness towards myself. I was hurt, depressed and felt abandonded. I thought maybe God hated me and He was ‘punishing’ me for an “unknown sin”.

Why only me?

I’m a ‘good’ girl – that, I’m very sure of. I’m a believer too. why would He let all these things happen to me? I went everywhere for help, I had to get back to school. I went to the governor’s office, commissioners and permanent secretaries offices. I was desperate! I met men who saw my desperation and banked on it, they wanted the ‘cookie’ before they would help. it was tough! After two years of running from pillar to post, I gave up and started over again. Seven years down the drain just like that and there was nothing I could do.

I had to come to terms with what had happened.

I remember telling my parent that I needed to see a psychiatrist and she went “Olohun maje!”. I’d been writing before then but it became more frequent, I found solace in writing; I’d write and weep! The dark days are still there that blanket descend on my soul….. I still see my abusers anytime I’m home, a lot of times I feel nothing and I wonder how many more little girls they’ve broken. I don’t know if I’ll ever confront them. Everyday is new and I always choose to live. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to visit my old school (tried it once, not a good move) or tell my folks about the abuse.

But today, I stand tall and I’m grateful for everything I went through and how I’ve been able to stay the course. I understand now that its okay to cry, its okay to be weak.

I’m a victor!

I’m a survivor!

Omowonuola Maja
I’m @OmowonuolaMaja on Twitter

My Wounds May Never Heal II

In case you missed the first part, please check here https://toyinfabs.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/my-wounds-may-never-heal/

 

despair

I had been sitting in the living room watching Atilola take her afternoon meal when I heard Jimi’s voice.
“Where is that fool? ehn, where is that imbecile I call a wife? Seni get here now before I come there to drag you.”
I moved to the edge of my seat, my heart thumping with dread. I was confused, wondering what it was that I had done. I didn’t want any fight especially not when Atilola was awake. I knew I had to do whatever it takes to make him calm down. I said a quick prayer asking God for wisdom to deal with the situation.
I walked to the bedroom reciting the bible passage I had read that morning under my breath. I had been going through the books of proverbs looking for verses that could help me cope with my situation.
“A soft answer turneth away wrath but grievous words stir up anger”
That was the verse that had jumped at me immediately I opened Proverbs that morning. I took it as a divine revelation and was determined to put it into practice that afternoon.
“Baby, I’m here” I said immediately I entered the room.
“Do you want me to get you something?”
“Don’t baby me, do you understand? Don’t you baby me.”
I sighed softly, of course the soft words thing wouldn’t work with Jimi, but I was still determined to try.
“Jimi, I’m sorry for whatever it is that I have done, you know I hate to stress you.”

“Don’t you dare patronise me Seni, Don’t even bother because it’s not going to work.”

“Do you know you are just a good for nothing idiot and a big bellied one at that”, he said casting a distasteful look at my caesarean section induced big belly.

I swallowed hard, hurt at his reference to my stomach. I felt annoyed that he would say such a thing especially since he was aware of my efforts to lose the belly fat.

He pulled a bag from inside my closet and spilled the contents on the bed.
“Look at these” He said, pointing a finger at the clothes now scattered on the bed.
“Seni, I am going to kill you this afternoon” he added, clenching his teeth and drawing his trouser belt.
I panicked more worried about the fact that Atilola could walk in at any time than about the beating I was about to receive.

Several thoughts flashed through my mind in split seconds, I backed towards the door of the room even as Jimi moved menacingly towards me, holding the belt in readiness to strike. I thought of rushing to the living room, grabbing my daughter and running for dear life but knew the chances of doing that was too narrow.

As if Jimi guessed my thoughts, he dragged me from beside the door and pushed me further into the room. My eyes misted and I started pleading with him, asking him to allow me to explain. He ignored my pleas and holding both my hands with one of his hands dealt the first whip of the belt to my back.

“Stupid woman”, he shouted sprinkling spittle on my body, “you had the guts to go shopping for yourself after telling me you had no money to borrow me”.

You selfish moron”, he said raising the belt yet again and hitting me on the thighs. He let go of my hands and pushed me on the bed, I curled up on the bed trying as much as I could to shield my head and face with my arms. I wanted to scream and shout about how much I hated him but I didn’t want Atilola to hear my screams.

I resolved to endure it until Jimi got tired and so I tried to focus on counting the blows. The tears ran profusely down my face and I lay there whimpering determined not to cry out and not to beg him.

“I won’t stop till I kill you today” he said making my heart skip a beat and weakening my resolve to not fight back. I however decided to wait till the twentieth before taking any further action. He was on the thirteenth lash when I heard Atilola’s screams.

“Daddy leave my mummy, stop beating my mummy”, she cried hitting him with her tiny hands. I sat up to look at my daughter and the fourteenth blow landed on the right side of my face.

I ignored the blinding pain, shocked that he seemed unaffected by Atilola’s actions and completely shattered that my daughter was having that sort of traumatic experience at her age. I stood up suddenly and made for the door, but he raised his leg and managed to trip me. He drew me up, slapped me repeatedly and pushed me against the only window in the room. All the while Atilola kept wailing screaming “leave her, “leave her”.
He pinned my arms to the burglary proof window, I cringed at the thought of what was coming, I knew the next thing was going to be a head butt, my cranium should have shattered based on the number of head butts I had received since the first time he hit me. I made a split second decision and ripped out the iron curtain tie-back beside my right palm, I raised it quietly, my teeth clenched and jabbed the sharp end into his side in the split second before the head butt landed. He went down immediately holding his side and groaning in pains.

I did not stop to check the extent of his injuries but rushed out of the room with my daughter, picked the keys from the hallway and drove off to my Mom’s place. I however called my mother-in-law while in the car and advised her to get an ambulance to the house. I switched my phone off immediately after the call and decided there and then never to go back to the house. This decision, I told myself was irrevocable.

******

All that was six months before Bosola brought the news of Jimi’s latest plans. I thought of her words again and the urgency with which she had said it. She wanted me to do something fast. There was something about her words that irritated me to no end because it seemed to suggest that I fight to get Jimi back. I had no desire to do that. All I wanted was my freedom. I hadn’t set a foot in our matrimonial home since the day I stabbed him, although we had spoken on phone for a number of times after he left the hospital. I was always the one to call and it was for just one reason, I needed him to sign the divorce papers, I wanted my freedom more than anything else but Jimi had refused saying emphatically that I was his and would never belong to any other man as long as he lives.

I shuddered as I always did whenever I remember the statement. As indifferent as I wanted to feel about what Bosola told me, the news did bring with it a ray of hope and what could be my only chance. If I played my cards well, I could get my freedom soon I thought finally leaving the window and reaching out for my mobile phone. I needed to call Jimi and we were going to have a long and hopefully fruitful discussion.

…….to be continued on Wednesday 09/01/2012

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