Much as I was excited to start my second year at the university, I sure did not feel like I was the same lady. All I felt was disappointment and his cousin called fear. For some reason, word had already spread round the school that I were a girl who “had it all”. As I interacted with schoolmates, there was always such a high expectation of what I say, what I wear, the guy I am seen with, what I ate for lunch and how much I ate. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced in school life.
All I knew was how to remain socially invisible and just focus on my books. My expectations to remain socially invisible had gone down the drain once word spread across the campus that my two mates and I were the tallest girls on campus. I was horrified once I started experiencing what came with it all at once.
Suddenly, a classmate informed me that someone had placed a bet on me; to have sex with me and then he would win some money.
Suddenly, lady schoolmates felt the need to inform me as soon as I lost or gained weight.
Suddenly, everything I did went on the ‘campus grapevine’ and reached me at the end of the day.
In panic, I resorted to keeping my social circle on lockdown. My efforts were all in vain, for some ‘mates’ had been behind the betting, the rumours and the assumption that I were a politician’s daughter.
On the real side of my life, I was slowly sinking into depression. I was not okay and it took an emergency visit to the school clinic to know. As I walked to the hostel one hot afternoon, I felt faint in a way I had never felt before. A lady stopped me on my way to the clinic to ask if I was ok. But, she said this in reference to the weight I had rapidly lost. I told her that I was fine then staggered my way to the clinic.
After the nurse left me to rest and the fluid from the IV drip seeped into my body, I broke down and cried. For the very first time in my life, I felt so alone. The loneliness inside the hospital-scented room brought out the reality that had been existing inside me. I cried till my nose became hot. I sat in silence. Luckily, a good friend showed up and comforted me. Moments passed and others showed up as soon as they finished their classes. But, for some reason, I still felt alone.
When I went back to the hostel, I slept for a while and hoped to wake up feeling better. This was not the case. I soon received a call informing me that my only grandfather was no more. I had grown tired to a point my tears could not come out anymore. I felt so broken till my voice disappeared;I would open my mouth but no words could come out. Defeated, I lay my head on my pillow and woke up the next day confused but with enough strength to pack my bags and go to the village for the funeral.
All I can remember was that after the funeral, I felt more confident, stronger and complete. After a funeral? Yes.
Well, I’ve got God and my traditional culture to thank. Experiencing loss helped me discover my hidden pains, but also helped me appreciate what I’ve got left. I had my family with me and a great God who loves me. Love came rushing through my heart, kicked out depression and I had a wide smile on my face.
With this gift of a new appreciation of life, I had to carefully chose with whom to share it with. I am glad that we continue to share it even with the ups and downs that have challenged us in the years that followed and brought us to the beauty of today.
My hope is that this little story of mine will encourage you to let go of your past pains and have a deeper appreciation for what you’ve got left after a season of loss.
Love and Sunshine,