Bite-Size, Inspiration from without...

What I was not

I was Ugonna’s back-up plan, the one he would come to when all others failed. Only some seemed to take too long to fail and so I stayed in the back-(ground), waiting for the failure of others to be my success.


Then Mmaduemesi came along and set a fire in my belly but would not shine his light on me so others would see. I was his shadow-dancer, his night owl, his cloud that covers the moon. He loved me only in the dark; come daylight, I became a stranger; a nodding acquaintance.


Izuchukwu kept me on a pedestal. He took me down twice a day to polish me; he cared not for the smile on my face or the shine of my tears. He wanted only to display my comeliness for all to see. If I felt anything, he did not notice, so long as I sat pretty for everyone to gaze upon.


Strangely, Ugonna, Mmaduemesi and Izuchukwu helped me come to know myself…to discover that I was not made to be a back-up plan, a shadow-dancer or a trophy… that I should not be sitting and waiting for others to fail so that I could succeed…or hiding in the dark because someone didn’t really want me to be in the light nor should I be kept on a pedestal as a display of someone’s achievements.

I came to know that I did not have to be any of these.

I was more than a prize, a medal…an outline or silhouette…a backcloth or backdrop.

I was me.


Mami-Wọta Made My Hair [IV]

We left the house and the compound. Somehow, my mother had contrived to ensure that our departure did not clash with the arrival of my grandmother and seven aunties.

My mother did not hurry me but, in some way, I sensed she didn’t want me dawdling. I got the feeling that today was not one of those days I was allowed to inspect lizards sunning themselves on a rock, kick at oddly-shaped pebbles, or follow the trail of the vicious, red soldier ants. No. Somehow, I sensed that my mother needed me to keep her pace as much as my chubby little legs could carry me. However, my mother also knew that this journey, arduous enough for an adult, would be a killer for a child so she brought her cart along. It wasn’t a regular cart like the ones you saw drawn by the villagers who preferred them to wheel barrows, it was a labour of love…

Continue reading “Mami-Wọta Made My Hair [IV]”