So many things changed as adulthood came knocking. The mirror was suddenly an enemy. Where I wanted to see a skin so spotless and beautiful, she revealed all the acne and black spots hidden underneath, the ugly lines that made me always cover up in shame. She was cruel and unrelenting, that mirror. Every scar, every inch of my imperfections, she laid bare unapologetically. 

There were clothes that I wanted on hangers in those boutiques by the roadside. Clothes I knew I could afford, but at the same time couldn’t. 

What will people say? She knows she has acne on her chest, why did she bother wearing that?  She should wear clothes to cover her skin, there is nothing beautiful about it. That’s a human being for you. Nosy, Insensitive, and of course, quite stupid. I don’t know why I cared so much, but I did. And quite frankly, I still do.

My fractured body was always hidden beneath layers of fabric. Barely putting skin on display. Avoiding trolls. However if there’s anything I’ve come to realise, it is that, I am as toxic as they come to myself. What is it about this body people like? What’s so beautiful about it? Why can’t I see what they see? 

Rather than spending so much time on something that might not be fixed so easily, I turned to social media. Talk about jumping from a frying pan, directly into fire. Almost everyone is living a fancy life on instagram. The girls there are very pretty. They wear expensive wigs and jewellery.

 More than a few have made their first one or two million. I log into my account every day, scrolling and scrolling.

 Refreshing page, after page. 

As much as I know most of it, is fake. I still hated myself for not being them. Blamed Life for my misfortunes. She kept me this way, her and her thorns she called children. 

There are self-help accounts that give me validation, they speak to me personally. However, I’m still me, Cranky me. Still the girl that cuts through my already damaged skin with a razor most nights, with a smile plastered on my face. All that talk about self-help, was all a lie. One I told myself, to feel less broken, less psycho. 

My post got a hundred and something likes the other day. That must mean a lot, don’t you think? Compared to other times.  I should feel good, valued even.  Rather, my spirit is down. I feel pathetic. I am pathetic. 

Oh! Ijeoma you’re so beautiful, any man would be lucky to have you. Ha! These people love to joke around, don’t they?  Michael would probably laugh till tears fell from his eyes, if he read this.

As a child, it’s easier to smile genuinely when you’re called pretty. Because somehow you knew those compliments were true, and sincere. Nobody said it, to find out the colour of your underwear or to be tagged as “your boyfriend “. They meant it.

The same men who touched me inappropriately when I was a child? Those Men?  I probably tempted them by showing off my scoobydoo pants. After all, we women are responsible for the lack of self-control in Men.

The same reason my eyes were always teary each night I went to bed, those Men? Or John, whose hands found their way to this body of mine, when all that was in my system, was my good old friend, Alcohol. Any Man will be lucky to have me indeed. Who is ever lucky to be with an unfortunate being? And who dares carry the cross of this curse of pain? Nobody! Absolutely No one! I wouldn’t even wish myself as a partner for my enemy. 

I had entered a train headed south, the roads were very bumpy. At certain places I would bounce due to the impact of the rails on gravel. The journey was a shade of light blue, bright as the skies, until we reached station 20. If someone had narrated how ugly station 20 was going to be, I would have begged God to take me back to my childhood years, but I suppose we have no control over that.

This time around, it was Prideful old Money who drove me to insanity. It all started with a photo contest that had a child of hers as the earthly sacrifice. Two hundred thousand Naira. Never had I seen such a beauty, it didn’t matter that its mother had abandoned her, it was her loss. I needed that child for support, for company. She was going to be the perfect execution for a procrastinated business plan. She meant any and everything to me.

But she came at a price. Everything that looked so good to be true did. Even essays won came at the cost of imagination and self-revelation.

 Desperate to own this child, every loan application knew my name, yet they never called me by it. I was running out of time and certainly out of mind as well. None of it mattered, as long as I would own her at the end of the day.

You see, Insanity is a masterpiece. They are like little children crying with different tempos. Screaming, and vehemently refusing to be pleased. She knew my pycho buttons,and she did an exceptional job pushing them. Desperation was on heat, kicking me in the guts, needing to be appeased. They owned me. All of them, except myself. 

I am as damaged as they come. The very nemesis of light and love. Pain knows my name, she’s the lover I would forever run back to. My very existence reeks of a misfortune so great, she’s stigmatized by my presence. But somehow, I got out of bed today, to deliver this speech of my days of old.  I made it out alive for yet another day. To be grateful or angry, I do not know. But it feels good to feel the air caress my skin. 

It’s been 20 years since I stabbed myself with needles containing antipsychotics. 20 years since I felt that breeze on my skin. There are no flowers, no visitors here. Even after I took off, nobody bothered. This was my life, this was my story. And now I live reincarnated to see it unfold in this 19-year-old. Now the vicious cycle begins.

By Nma’s Vlog Diary