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It’s not enough that my head was bigger than my body. Or that my two front teeth were massive. Or that I had a very large nose on my very big head. Or that my skinny frame got me nicknamed skeleton two babies. I had to have an active imagination and thoughts too deep for a six year old. I learnt early that the best way to make up for my less than perfect looks was to be the mouthiest kid around.

I went against convention. Short skirts in? I wore the most sweeping skirts I could find, preferably two sizes too big. Boyfriends the craze? I’d rather be a prude. God created me a girl? I didn’t want that. I’d rather be a boy.

I picked my battles with wisdom, which meant I never fought at all because every battle looked unwinnable.

I buried myself deeper and deeper in my fantasy world where the cute boy I liked, liked me back. Where other girls envied my uniqueness, where I was beautiful and we had a television in our house and I had the bicycle I always wanted.

I learnt to hide my novels inside schools books which I pretended to read. I joined a book club and stole money from my mum to pay for the novels I devoured at N100 per bestseller and N50 per M&B.

I read everything: suya paper, akara paper, books without covers, newspaper clippings, signposts, billboards, movie posters and the bible which made me think I was a witch because I read somewhere that witches read the bible but were very stubborn and that’s what my mum referred to me as. Stubborn.

I didn’t stop reading. I read my way through books too old for me. Books beyond my years. Books I couldn’t fathom. I read about death, sex, blood, religion, politics, sorcery, afterlife, but somehow I never learnt anything. Nothing I remembered. Except sometimes in the middle of a conversation things would start coming out of my mouth and the looks I’d get scared the crap out of me.

I never wrote except for school or work. I thought I had to wait till I had gathered enough knowledge to start writing, I had to experience more so my writing wouldn’t make me look like the ignoramus I am.

Never did I admit to myself that I was scared shitless. That I would write stuff and no one would like it. That I would live out my life and never have a book published or even worse publish a book and not sell more than 3 copies (to my mum, brother and husband).

I didn’t hear the angels sing or get an epiphany. I started reading blogs. All kinds of blogs: fiction and non-fiction. Crazy and sane people writing like there’s no tomorrow. So I started writing too. I’m still scared shitless. But at least I’m writing and hoping one day I get to give a thank you speech for some award and I get to say some of the stuff you just read; only this time I’ll have an audience with a face.

 

I’m really new at this so brutal comments are welcome.

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