I closed from a Saturday class and was on my way home when a man called from behind. We were four girls walking together, so all of us turned back to look at the one doing the calling. He pointed at me, “The girl in jeans, yeah please come.” I was young. Only twelve or thirteen. I’d been told to respect the elderly so I told my friends, “Please don’t leave me. I’ll be back right now.”
I thought he was going to ask something about my school or he was going to send me to get him something. When I got closer to him, he held my hand and pulled me closer. He whispered, “Has anybody told you you’re beautiful? Look at the body, wow. Can we be friends? Can I have your number? I’ll pay your school fees. I’ll buy you good things. Please don’t say no to me.”
My friends might have heard what he was saying. I turned to look at them and they all laughed. I didn’t know what to say that wouldn’t sound disrespectful. I said, “Please, can I go? My friends are waiting.” He insisted on a number. I told him I didn’t have it. He gave me his number and asked me to call him. “Don’t worry, I’ll buy you a phone.” That was his last statement as I turned and walked away.
We were four walking down the street. We were all girls at the same age so why me? I know the answer now though I didn’t know it then. The answer is my body. At thirteen, I had the body of a full woman. My breast was out and enjoying the morning sun. My hips were in place and my butt was drawing attention to me. It winked at men and caused them to have conversations with themselves.
One day, my teacher was lashing my butt when he said, “A small girl like you, look at the load you’re carrying.”
My sins had nothing to do with the load I was carrying but it was the only thing that got a shout-out from my teacher.
All through that phase of life, I didn’t think I was special or I had something nobody had. After all, every girl my age had breasts, buttocks and some hips that held the parts together so how would I think I was different?
And then my mom started treating me differently. My siblings could walk around shirtless but I wasn’t allowed to. Whenever I was going out, Mom would call and check what I was wearing before I stepped out. At sixteen, I was wearing the same bra size as my mom but she already had four kids.
I became the girl with the big breasts. My friends teased me. Men overlooked my young age and proposed to me. A female teacher once told me, “The way you are, if you don’t take care, men will play you like chaskele.”
I didn’t know what chaskele was because girls my age didn’t play that game. It’s an old game played with an empty can. The white calls it cricket. They throw a ball and someone tries to hit the ball. In chaskele, they throw an empty can. I told myself, “Men won’t hit me. They’ll always miss.”
I listened to Mom and Dad’s advice so I didn’t fall prey. I went to SHS and completed without a boyfriend. Teachers proposed, my house master’s son made it a project to win me over. He was at the university then. Even girls came my way. They thought I was a lesbian looking at the way I was bouncing men from left to right. I told them, “Don’t let my body deceive you. I’m a good girl.”
I went to the university and fell in love with a guy who called me “baby doll.” I was nineteen and had the burning hormones of a teenager. I wanted to give love a chance and see how it goes. Apart from that, I fell for that guy because I thought men would leave me alone when they saw I had a boyfriend. I was his doll so he took me everywhere.
He’ll talk to me on the phone and ask me, “How’s my ass doing?” Or “Are my boobs missing me? Tell them I miss them too.” When on vacation he would ask me to send a photo of them because he misses them. To him, it was always about my body. We dated for a year and broke up. In a heated argument, I asked him, “What’s my name?” He answered, “Baby Doll.” I said, “No, I mean my real name.” He answered, “That’s not important. It’s about how I see you and how I call you.”
That boy didn’t know my name, I swear. He was the one who broke my virginity. I thought I’d found love but love didn’t even know my name.
I became bitter about my body. I will stand in the mirror and slap my breast, “Why can’t you be normal?” I was ashamed to look back not because of my bad past but because my butt lives there. I’ll look at ladies with tiny bodies and envy what they have. What this did to me was that I saw every man as prey. “He’s not coming for me,” I told myself, “He’s coming for my body.”
I stopped falling in love and concentrated on my books until I completed school.
I went for an interview and met a man who promised to help me get the job. I gave him my details and later in the evening, he called. He said, “Don’t worry about the job. You already have it. Let’s talk about what you have. Women with butts like yours usually don’t have a bust like yours or don’t have a face to go with. How come you have it all?”
I cut the call and whispered to myself, “I hate nonsense.” But who was I saying that to? He wasn’t there to hear me. Probably, I was saying that to my body. She always comes in the way anytime I’m making a little progress. My friends tell me to get used to it but if I couldn’t get used to it at sixteen, how can I get used to it at twenty-six?
I post photos on Facebook and the holier than thou saints come to attack me. “Why are you showing your breasts to the public? Why only your ass? Can’t you show your mind? Or you don’t have some?”
I was first in class from level hundred until I completed school. I’m a first-class student from UCC. That should tell you the kind of brains I have but I can’t put my brains on a mat and photograph them so people on the internet think I don’t have some. Sad.
At this point in my life, I’ve concluded it’s a sin to have my body. I should wear it proudly because that’s what God gave me but this same body has become the weapon fashioned against me. I don’t know what true love is and don’t know how to find it. A man approaches me and the first thing that comes to my head is, “I know what brought you here but I’m sorry. What brought you here doesn’t live here. I’m here but you don’t want me so adios.”
I’ve separated my body from myself. It’s an entity on its own while I’m my own entity. I don’t know if I’m making sense.
I want to meet a man who will look at me and at least pretend my body doesn’t exist but it’s the way they look at you. The way their eyes track the contours of your body and later settle on your cleavage. You get the point immediately. My mother recently joked, “Maybe you can leave your body with me here and go and find true love and later come for your body.”
I’m growing and it worries her that I haven’t brought a man home but how can I when the weapon fashioned against me walks with me everywhere?
I need prayers. I need God’s favour. I need all the luck in this world to do this love thing once and for all. I don’t want to fall into the hands of those who’ll use my body and leave me out of the party. I’m not only a body. I’m brains, light and soul. My prince charming should see all that. Or I’m not making sense?