I have an obvious handicap. Close to my second birthday, I was playing in my neighbour’s yard. I was not at school that day because I was ill and my mum could not take me to her store. So our neighbour offered to take care of me. I was playing with the other kids. When it was lunch time, my neighbour called out to us, but she noticed I did not move. She came to pick me up and saw I had a fever and could not walk. My illness kept me out of school for a very long time. I was referred to National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi. Eventually, I started walking again, but one leg was shorter than the other. Growing up, I felt really different. I remember one time when my youngest sibling insulted me and said, “you with one big leg and small leg.”
I got into Queen’s College as a boarding student. I had assimilation issues, and people started calling me a dullard. Back at home, I attempted to commit suicide. I took pills from our first aid kit (an idea I got from a Nigerian movie). That night, I could not sleep and I had really hoped to die, but I did not. All that was happening affected my esteem and I started to play the victim. At some point, I decided that I no longer wanted to be pitied. I started doing daring things. I would jump over fences, jump over large gutters, not caring if I fell or hurt myself. I soon realised I could do a lot of other things. I started to improve at school. Soon, I was excelling. I wanted to be treated like any other person.
The other day, I was coming home from work. I wanted to take a public bike into the estate where my home was, but the security guard would not let us through. I had to get down to walk. When the guard saw my leg, he apologised and insisted I go with the bike. I was really angry and left. That night I cried. I didn’t want to be pitied. I remember how I usually asked God to heal me and nothing would happen. My life is still a work in progress but today, I’ve come to a better place than I was before, whether people see it or not.