They broke into my house last night. Stripped me of everything I had. Started with the fruits I had kept at the entrance to my door for a special occasion right through to the precious gem I had as a center piece on my dinner table. As they dragged all my belongings out the door, my innocence and confidence caught my eye as one of them clutched it in his hands with my self-esteem stuck at the bottom of his shoe like a stray piece of gum. These were people I’d known, not the strangers everybody assumed it would always be. I was so angry cause I’d burglar proofed my house against these strangers only to have people who held the keys to all the locks be the ones that tore my house apart. I smiled as they neared, my heart bursting at the seams with the joy of seeing their faces but I hadn’t known that within them, they carried the weapons that would change my fate. When I finally realised that the look in their eyes had changed to something I couldn’t recognize, the alarm system that was my voice malfunctioned. In my head I could clearly hear it going off: “STOP! NO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!”, but my mouth remained a single slit across my face, resembling a Caesarian scar across a mother’s abdomen. The first intruder took all he’d come for while the others pinned me down like the floor was some kind of notice board I had to stay on. They took turns thrusting into me with so much urgency as if I was an antidote to a disease they suffered from and needed a cure for before time passed. Like junkies who were finally getting a fix of what they couldn’t bear to be without. I lay, motionless, eyes shut, each second feeling like a lifetime passing by and thinking over and over in my head that if I just endure, not flinch, not make a sound it would soon be over. But even when it was over it wasn’t because they took all of my stuff and hadn’t left anything behind. My trust had been tucked under their arms and my self-love shoved in the bottom of their shoes. They left misery and bitterness at my front door, covered my windows with self-hatred and painted over my walls with the deepest shades of fragility. I couldn’t bear being the tenant of this house anymore. I needed to move, find a new house somewhere far, with high walls and shaded windows and a back garden I could sit in for hours. Turns out I’m stuck here, occupying this tragic house. This morning I tried with all my might to scrub the memories plastered across the walls of this house, I even tried to mask the stench of pain that hung in the air but the memories were like a stubborn stain that just wouldn’t wash away. I even tried painting over the front of the house so outsiders couldn’t see the sadness that spilled out of my windows. So they couldn’t see that I don’t know how to be happy here. I don’t know how to live in my own body.
Chimamamda Ngozi Adiche, We Should All Be Feminists
The most powerful thing anyone has ever said to me: “You deserve to take up space.”Warrior Mosadi, epitome of greatness