(Part 1/3) Growing up, I never fancied Nollywood movies; the stories were too calculated and every action was predictable. What I disliked most about them were the dramatic scenes of suffering, in which misery was portrayed so tragically. The cinematic sadness resembled no reality I had ever known. Maybe I should have paid more attention. Little did I know that someday, I would become a major character in a series of real-life tragic events.
At the time, my family was God’s greatest gift to me. The privilege of having a strict dad monitor me was tiresome but rewarding. The joy of having a best friend in my mum was so reassuring and, of course, having three loving brothers who treasured me was the icing on the cake that just made my life complete. Nothing was missing.
But things took a turn when my dad fell ill. Though innocuous enough in the beginning, his condition soon worsened. The doctors diagnosed cancer. My father’s health deteriorated. Before our very eyes, he slowly ebbed away like a melting candle. So did our savings – the more we spent to save his life, the more of a skeleton he became.
When he gave up, all four of us kids were still in school, and mum worked so hard to keep up our livelihood, even though we were now left with nothing. She did her best, but this test was backbreaking. And just like a twig snaps at the force of the wind, mum also snapped under the pressures of life.
It was the worst scenario ever, when my best friend and mother slumped and died at work. “No! Never! Give me the keys! Let me have them!” I screamed at the mortuary attendant. What was I to do? Allow my mum stay in the mortuary? Never! I prayed, screamed and tugged at her lifeless body but she couldn’t hear me…she was gone, and she took a huge part of me with her.
The harsh realities of life began to set in. With Mum’s body yet to be buried, Dad’s family insisted that the house left us by our parents was not really ours, and kicked my brothers and I out into the streets. The church came to our aid with shelter over our head and a rented apartment. Soon hunger became a regular companion, and sorrow, pains and uncertainty filled our lives like toxic gas!

(Part 2/3) We needed each other more than ever at this point, but how mature were we? The loss of both parents and the harsh realities of life had separated us, transformed us. My once bright and lovely brothers became moody and bitter. As the only girl, I tried to step into mum’s shoes, but they were way too big for me. In my quest to establish order among us, serious fights ensued which soon metamorphosed into bloody combat. Fed up with the situation, I took to my heels. I knew life had more to offer. Of course, I had nowhere to go, but I couldn’t stay and suffer this pain any longer.
Confused, broken and alone, I roamed from home to home and began to contemplate suicide after a string of disappointments. And then, one day, a friend of a friend, an angel among men, took pity on me, and she gave me a home and a family that shared what little they had with me and gave me care, for the first time in a long time.
New home, new folks, and a new circle of support, but in the midst of all the newness, I still recalled where I came from and longed so much to bring change to what was left of my family. I had options. Yes, many young folks I think, may not have gone through half of the pain that has steamed through my life, before they decided to use their bodies as just another commodity to be bargained over and sold on the open market. So maybe the pain would have been a sensible “justification” to take any route I chose, after all life was not fair to me. But I knew better and sought to develop myself. I decided to go to something within me – my creativity, which has been a part of my existence right from a young age.

(Part 3/3) I took to creative writing and surfing the net to learn the many things I didn’t know. When I felt ready, I launched out into the hustling and bustling streets of Lagos with my CV, searching for a job and a meaning to my life. The outlook was bleak – sometimes, I had to even do “corporate begging” to raise transportation fare. I pressed on, because I was desperate. There were days I missed my family badly, worried sick about my brothers’ survival. At night, I cried myself to sleep, feeling hopeless after being drenched by the no-nonsense rains of Lagos and scorched by the sun all in a bid to get a job.
When an opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it with both hands and legs. I sent my CV to a firm that wanted a script writer and content officer for their online platforms. I attached my creative write ups and God having it, the creativity was the cutting edge that secured the job. My career path has since evolved towards professionalism, and with money coming in, I quickly dived at the opportunity to become a source of blessing to my lovely boys back at home, to my foster family who took me as their own, and to other peeps who needed some form of assistance. The river of love that made me who I am is now flowing through me to touch others.
I am still healing, but I am whole enough to present my life as a healing balm to all who are in pain by telling them my story. I looked beyond myself, looking unto the hills and held unto the power beyond my power to see me through.
I have come to learn that there really is no person without problems, but there are only persons who choose to be smarter than the circumstances thrown at them.
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honour me.” To think that God will not only deliver, but also give us a chance to have the joy of honouring him in the midst of our troubles, I believe, is a gift, and I am humbled to share my story to encourage readers and honour my Creator.

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