Brave

Brave

A beautifully written piece by a dear friend of mine on Bravery. Bravery means so many different things to so many people…. Here’s to wearing our bravery crown and strutting like we know what we’re doing.

Nuggets of Gold

What is being brave? It can be so many different things for different people. Being brave for a 5 year old can be jumping off the diving board! Or can be trying to pull the teacher in with you. Yeah, I kinda didn’t make it through swim lessons! But I did eventually learn how to swim, tho please don’t count on me to save you!

Bravery is the child who stands up for the one  that is being picked on. The teen who chooses to go eat lunch with the lonely teen sitting by themselves in a corner of the cafeteria.

Bravery is standing for the truth, even when others may be against you. Its speaking out against injustice, when the roar of the crowd is deafening against you. It is facing your fears and unveiling things you have held inside. You are stepping out  in order to help yourself…

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Mental Health Fridays: Blurring out the stigma

Mental Health Fridays: Blurring out the stigma

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Mental Health Fridays is a new feature I have created on this blog. The main aim is to share stories needing to be told at the same time, blurring out the stigma associated with mental illnesses. There are two things I am unashamedly passionate about: the first is writing while the second is mental health advocacy. There’s no greater Joy of mine than to be able to join these two passions together.

It’s been one year since I joined the blogosphere and I figure, what better time to start than now. If you’ve got a mental health story which needs to be told, I would love to hear it. Your submissions could be on:
1) personal mental health journeys
2) loved ones battling mental illnesses
3) losing someone to mental illness
4) an experience related to mental health
5) basically anything that could pass as a mental health category

The important thing here is, let’s get talking and blur out the stigma. But to do this, I need your help. Maya Angleou rightly said, “there is no greater agony tha bearing an untold story”. 

I am looking forward to hearing from you, learning from your stories and coming together to blur out the stigma. If you’ve got any questions, you can leave a comment on this post or send me an email.
                    Can’t wait to hear from you: mykahani@yahoo.com

The Train Journey

The Train Journey

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When I was a kid,I always believed my first train journey would be a somewhat replica of Jab we met where I would find my “not so charming” prince in distress, save him from the turmoil of heartache, lose my heart to him unwillingly after a few mishaps where we miss the connecting train and then in the end, he saves me and we live a happy ever after life. Well, life has a way if turning things into the unexpected.

My first train journey was what I would refer to as- eventful. With my Karens-like Caribbean printed skirt, yellow basic too and a colored shawl wrapped around my neck, I embarked on my first ever train journey at the age of nineteen, returning home from school.

After a rocky exam, I made the mistake of going out to “chill” with the gals in the night before my flight. Chilling where I came from basically meant, going out to eat anything and everything. All the pizzas, chin chin (local Nigerian snack), zobo, ginger ale, cookies, chocolates, heck, we even ordered a medium sized chocolate cake.

Blythe time I got to the train station, my intestines were screaming loudly, I needed to go and empty them. I managed to climb aboard the train with my bowels twisting and turning. Luckily (the only luck I had that day) , the train at tenant was kind enough to show me to the loo. The sight I met there was enough for me to puke out my stomach contents. Ahhh,I still feel a. Shiver down my spine when I think of the terrible state in which the toilet was on. Not to forget, it was a pit latrine. Read more

The Plan of the Bed-Wetter

The Plan of the Bed-Wetter

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One summer holiday, when I Was in grade 1, My family and I traveled to the North as we often did to visit our relatives and grandparents. I and my siblings spent all year looking forward to those visits because, life in the North is different- it’s safe, rural and still had vast nature. Anyway, I was a bed wetter. To both my parents, it was a normal phase that they believed I would grow out of. But to some of my relatives, uh-uhn, this was something that needed taking care of- the traditional way. Some of the suggestions given was that: (and this is true by the way)
1) a lizard should be tied to my leg when I’m sleeping. Apparently this was the tradition those days
2) I should drink water in which snake-skin has been soaked in.

And I know some of you might not believe me, this is the Northern Nigerian style. I can still remember the look of the snake skin, haha.

I slept on the same bed in the family house with a cousin of mine, let’s call her “H”. Well, I awoke one night to find out that yet again, I had wet the bed. Not wanting to be the only one guilty of the crime, I arose from the bed to solve the issue. Thank God, the night was well illuminated by the moon. As I clearly remembered, I walked to the fridge and felt for the bowl in which drinking water was normally kept. I slowly lifted it, walked backed towards where “H” was lying, fast asleep, and poured the contents of the bowl on her clothe. With that done, I returned the bowl and went back to sleep feeling good that at least, I wouldn’t be the only one who wet the bed.

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I Flogged you Because…

I Flogged you Because…

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“Ameena Garba, come here”, the teacher called me. I left my two friends M and K at the back of the class where I was seating and went to meet the teacher. She was an older woman who wore round glasses and whose son was also in the same class with me. The teacher was sitting at her desk with my notebook in front of Her and a chubby long cane lying on her desk. She knew it was my birthday, oh she knew it was my birthday but it didn’t stop her. The next thing I knew, my palms were outstretched in front of me and three strokes of cane were slapped onto it.

As a kid, I was notorious for noise making which in my defense is basically making conversation with words that when spoken sound too loud for a classroom. I was a talkative, I was restless and I was a whole lot of other things which for the sake of my now adult dignity I wouldn’t repeat. And so, If the teacher would have flogged me for any of that, it would have been a bit justified. Heck, if she would have flogged me for failing my maths class work, and that was a low probability because I was good at it, it would have still been justified.

But no, after flogging me, I was handed back my book and told it was because my handwriting was bad. I received three strokes of cane, on my eight birthday, in front of the whole class because I had bad handwriting. I went back to my seat with tears in my eyes and sought the comfort of my two Bffs. I received comfort and sorry looks from the other classmates as well, even though I think it’s because they wanted me to share my birthday goodies with them.

A few minutes passed, and I was called up once again by the same teacher who flogged me to take a share of the birthday goodies to the headmistress of the school. I clearly remember the teacher telling me that if the head mistress asks me why I was crying, I should tell her it was because I had bad handwriting hence I was flogged. Which now, If I was a headmistress would find it absurd. But that was the way it was back then.

That day I learnt a few things:
1) It doesn’t matter if bad handwriting is genetically inherited, some teachers would still blame you for it (that wasn’t the last time) and you might even get flogged for it;
2) Even If a Nigerian teacher flogs you black and white, they will still eat your birthday goodies without any shame.
3) Birthdays are meant to be awesome, but they are not in my case and that was only the beginning.

And that’s the story of my Life. Also, no hard feelings towards the teacher, I actually find it funny now when I think about it. 🙂 🙂

The Best Obsession

The Best Obsession

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It is an obsession- this writing
The best obsession there is;
Cause without it- this writing
Without it, I’m just real

But with it, this writing-
With it, I can soar over seas,
I can break through mountains;
With it, I become surreal.

Some may ask- this question
What’s the point of all this?
I say writing takes me places
Of which I could only dream.

In the end it comes right back to-
this obsession, this writing; i need
This chance to live out my dream.