Mom is bae, but I held a different opinion years back. If slaps were not settled on my cheeks, then it would be a damaging knock on my once feeble skull. I cannot measure the amount of lost tears that rolled down my cheeks after every thunderous insults – my mom was adroit at breaking my emotional walls with her well timed and perfected slur. I avoided errands but never imagined that such avoidance necessitated head cracking knocks, smacks, spanks, and demoralizing insults; I remember telling my grade 4 teacher that my mom was wicked. When I started developing patent muscles and pubic hairs, I assumed myself a big boy who should be given respect – I must have thought mom saw me in that light; one more slap, and I was going to shout at mom as that was the best defence available. EWU (goat)! – Mom was at it again, many rail words flew in remorselessly this time. It was with gathered balls that I stood up from the couch, took a bold step towards mom, and was murmuring things worthy of a spank. Well I got the spank, my sister was an observer – she probably wanted to see my reaction, she must have expected me to run to my crying spot somewhere in the parlour; but that was not my next line of action. I got loud, and with my finger wagging, I was telling mom that it would be the first and last time she would…she did not even let me complete my sentence as robust slaps from her left and right palm graced my face – I felt for a second that my cheeks would shed its skin due to the scotching cuff that forced my head movement in the East and West direction, I was commanded to stop talking and I had no other choice than to grip my murmuring gab to avoid a disfigured cheek bone. I could not defend myself, I walked around the sitting room that tears stay clear but all hassle was pointless as a salty tear flowed down.  No other thing was going to make me cry, I recall saying that while sobbing in a bend far from the public eye.

Tears were no more; I hardly had reasons to weep like a cry baby. It was however short lived. In my JS1, I saw teachers who held canes; they flogged the soul out of the bodies of their students like gladiators piercing the backs of beings with long bladed weapons. I got well attuned with the strokes, my tears remained safe within. Some other guys could bear the whips too, we earned respect from the weaklings, and even got despised by the teachers that could not compel our eyelids to be heavily pregnant with tears. My record came to a halt the day I was caned for no just reason. I was sitting at the last row of the class and paying rapt attention to my Agric teacher, my friend was asking me a little question but I was yet to answer him when my teacher called us out for six strokes of the cane. BOY O BOY!  This man was not keen on hearing my honest story, his mind was made up. The first stroke on my buttock was so peppery; aside the fact that people cry when wrongly accused, I was pregnant with tears as a result of the firm rods that had its way in my buttock – it was so giving same effects like an injection which I could not stand at that stage of my life. The second stroke of the cane did the job; I cried and scratched the living hell out of my bogus shorts, I behaved like a sissy that day as I took all six strokes with cries and yells in progression – I felt de-repped. My friend took all six without a moan, a sound, and a movement – I wished it was that way for me. I repeated that nothing would make me cry once more, and that was the last time indeed cane-wise.

My brother and I were Tom and Jerry at one point; I was totally recalcitrant and was keen on fighting for equal rights. It was mostly a shove me-I shove you thing back then until big bro got tired of same routine. With my ever running mouth, I had awakened his naked anger. One thing became sure, we were going to militate – I was going to defend myself from consequential face dismembering spanks and blows. I tried to replicate John Cena’s moves but he was quick with the pedigree; my face was smashed against a wooden bed with my teeth short of two – I must have been upside down. I picked both tooth and ran to my mom’s shop with blood looking forward to dry somewhere down my jaw, mom saw me and made it worse. More smacks was met me that evening simply because I wore no slippers; I cried loudly with a mix of discordant sounds.

I had kept my tears within for two years running after losing my precious tooth; if I was to see a tear then it must have been as a result of slicing onions. I felt I conquered tears, I felt no one could make me cry no more. Funke was the angel of doom that broke my record; I was talking to my brother in the school bus only for her to say WHAT! I told her that it was my brother I was talking to, and she got abnormally angry and had my cheeks producing different melodies as she rested her hands on my face six times. I could not defend myself against the embarrassment, instead I brought out a pen and rough paper and was scribbling my Dad’s phone number – I wonder why I was doing such unnecessary thing, writing Dad’s number was not going to solve matters. Should I not have smashed her fat head against the window, or anything worse? Was I being too respectful of the fact that she was three classes ahead of me? I watched her alight the bus, I saw me fighting back the clouded eyes of mine. Enough was enough!

I had the best medicine to rise above any degrading slur from easy lips; I was going to diss myself so that words from hate speech lose its effects. I was going to call myself a whippersnapper, an elf, a buck, a penguin – thanks to my side to side pattern of walking – , and many offensive words. It worked for a while until I realised that calling myself names made me see myself in that light. I realised that if I must self defend me, then I must have self love above any other thing. Mama slapped me cos I needed it big-time, it was her love for me that warranted the kicks and blows all those years. I was not supposed to defend myself with shouts and yells, but by taking correction after hits for my transgressions. The smack down that saw to the misplacement of my pearly whites was due to my strong headed nature – it was only a lovely brother that would spank you, and knock you to see to a better you – you can be a defender of self if you are willing to learn, and if you are willing to know your boundaries. Funke slapped me for no just cause and it teaches me that life takes delight in seeing your tears form an ocean around you – the best way to hold back your tears is not by self hate; it is in applying a smidgen of common sense that I define self defence as ability to keep a smiling face amidst slurs, confrontations, and hate speech for that is what I consider the golden rule. Tears were never a sign of weakness, it was a proof that I was human flourished with emotions; so I cried that day and I cry today but my tears are not due to spanks and rail words from persons, or life’s hardship cos I know better to smile than cry – I do not do pro bono yowl or blubber, it has ceased to be within my niche.
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                    OKOCHA OBED

 

Advertisements