Dear Teenage Girl

Raquel Daniel
Posted September 10, 2019 from Nigeria

I wish I could talk about the good without talking about the hard, but I can’t. You admire me now but have no idea what I have been through. It's true what they say "we sometimes don't look like what we have been through''.

My Dad was a nice man but borderline abusive. Not physical but it’s always verbal. He constantly abused my mum but she shielded us from it. Although we were very close, I hate what he did to her. She didn't mention until he died in an accident.

He told me when I was 9 years old that no one in my family had ever graduated from the University and constantly encouraged me to read and excel in school so that I can be the first and just maybe, others will follow my footsteps.

Running away from home never helped anyone but that saved me from getting married after my Dad died. It didn’t help my relationship with my mum but towards the end of life, she understood why I had to run away and we got talking.

I was only 17 when I ended up on the street of Lagos. I was alone and I was so scared. This was after my Uncle, whom I stayed with tried to rape me. One night, I saw a girl get raped and out of fear, I went in search of proper accommodation. I ended up in the brothel with commercial sex workers and drug pushers.

I admit, I was tempted to join the girls on the street who went to clubs in search of men to sleep with for money. But I guess, where I was going was more important than a mobile phone and new clothes. 

Dear teenage girl, living on the street is hard. Nobody cares. No one is there to defend you when something goes wrong. I had to fight for myself. I narrowly escaped rape four times, lived with a jean and two t-shirts for months and went without food for days. It took me nearly two years to finally leave the brothel for a better life. 

My teenage years have been the greatest and most difficult years of my life. Sometimes I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person staring back at me. I’m grateful for all the nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family, and dreams that turned into reality. I finally graduated from the University of Lagos.

Somewhere along the way, I learned that everything is temporary; people, places, emotions. I learned that you simply can’t love others until you love yourself. I’ve given myself permission to be vulnerable because its too easy to be cold in a world that makes it so very difficult to stay soft.

Dear teenage girl, you might be going through a difficult time now but look at the bright side. It won't last forever. Just like me, and so many others before you, you will get through this. 

It's possible you have taken some steps in the wrong direction but there's still room to fix this. We all make mistakes and bad things happen but it's so important not to dwell into the misery, rather to smile through the tears and make an effort to appreciate the gift of life.

I am smiling right now as I write this and I feel so blessed to be at this place in my life: married two years with a 9 months old princess. I believe that should be a enough of a reason for me to be in a good mood. That should make you smile too.

Don't suffer alone in silence. I'm here if you ever want to talk. 

A girl just like you,

- Raquel 

This story was submitted in response to GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable.

Comments 9

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Lisbeth
Sep 10
Sep 10

Dear Raquel,
You are a very brave young woman. Even after all your mishaps you turned things around.

This is exactly what life is about, rising above the challenges. I am so proud of you and keep up the good work of helping like minded girls like you.

Thanks for sharing your amazing story and have a very good day dear.
Hugs

Marie Abanga
Sep 11
Sep 11

Dear Raquel,

I decided a like alone wouldn't do. I wish I could give you a real hug, receive a virtual one. Thanks for real, vulnerability is the new authentic. Look at where you are now huh! You are indeed unstoppable. I wish many young girls are inspired and motivated.

We are indeed in this together. Tough times don't last but tough people do - You are definitely one of Us.

From a big sister who's been there and back lol

Marie

Annastanzia Kimbio
Sep 11
Sep 11

Dear Raquel,
This is breathtaking.
Be blessed

Jill Langhus
Sep 11
Sep 11

Hello Lovely Raquel,

Wow! You're tough, and, yes, I would've never guessed that about you. I'm sorry you had to go through these tough times, but it sounds like it definitely made you stronger and it definitely sounds like you had your wits about you at all times, too. Happy to see you come through it now and are experiencing more joy in your life. I love your lovely invitation for sisters to talk to you, too:-) You have a good heart, dearie.

XX

Anjana Vaidya
Sep 11
Sep 11

Dear Raquel,
Congratulations on being so brave and a true fighter. I truly appreciate how positively you turn out to be a role model for the teenagers those are vulnerable in different scenarios and time. I can feel the hardships and the uncertainty you felt during your teenage. But from all those things you turn out to be a strong personality. Hats off to you. Keep your good work, keep raising and keep shining my dear.
Love and hugs,
anjana

Dear Raquel,

You're a wise, strong and resilient woman. The joy you have today is a product of the well-thought decisions you've made in the past. This is such an inspiring story. I hope struggling girls out there will read this post.

Thank you for sharing your story! Please give me a hug to your beautiful princess who I know is so blessed to have you as a mother. :)

Tarke Edith
Sep 12
Sep 12

Hi Raquel
Ohhh you are a strong woman that why you are able to write so bolly like this , thanks for sharing your life story.

Anita Shrestha
Sep 13
Sep 13

Dear Sister
Keep it continue.

Anita Shrestha
yesterday
yesterday

Dear Raquel
Yes, nobody will be alone, if she tries.