I was never suicidal. In fact, when I watch movies and see people commit suicide, I wonder what makes some people take their lives in real life. Exactly one year ago, I was in a bus heading home from an event I went to speak at and was at the bus stop for over an hour because there was no bus for reasons I can’t remember. I finally got into a rickety bus. Upset at the fact that I wasn’t only squashed at the back seat between two men with body odor, I knew I had no money in my account, I had no idea where the next meal would come from and I honestly didn’t want to ask anyone.
I felt my life was slow and everyone was moving so fast and already ahead. I walked into the house and everything I did afterwards was not deliberate.
I remember opening my eyes and the nurse said to me “It’s a shame you tried to kill yourself, what happened to you?” That question couldn’t be answered. The truth is, I was just fed up! The issues were way bigger than I could explain on a hospital bed. I finally got back home and my neighbor looked at me and asked, “Did you think about your brothers at all before you tried to take your own life?” I still couldn’t answer. I just sat there at home and cried. I felt stupid.
Truth is; we all go through a lot and from time to time we need people to listen to us, talk to us and hold us by the hand as we go through that struggle. I was struggling with a lot of things but I only showed people what they needed to see. I only told them what they needed to hear. I showed them strength, told them I was okay. Acted like everything was just perfect! But it wasn’t.
I didn’t tell them that I still heard voices in my head of people having sex because while I was living at a brothel, the commercial sex workers brought their customers to the house and for months, the sound they made flooded my head. I carried it with me everywhere!
I didn’t tell them that I hadn’t forgiven my family for abandoning my brothers and I after my parents died. I couldn’t tell anyone that each time I asked for help to by food or pay rent, I lost a piece of myself. That asking them was a difficult decision that I make each time I open my mouth to ask.
I didn’t tell anyone that raising boys is beyond the stipends they hand to me to buy food. I couldn’t tell anyone that I am afraid to get married because somehow I feel it will separate me from my brothers. I couldn’t tell anyone that I lost faith in Love after my engagement ended. So each time I try to love someone, I give myself a million and one reasons why it shouldn’t work. I didn’t tell anyone!
I stood there wondering what all these meant. Why am I like this? It was in that moment that I decided it was time to fully take charge of my life. No one knew I was hanging on the edge the whole time. I looked perfectly all right, but no perfectly all right person decides to take his or her own life.
It was in that moment I decided to call my Aunts and Uncles and honestly tell them that I forgive them. One of my Aunts cried over the phone and kept saying “thank you”. I felt like the healing had just started, I felt like a heavy burden was lifted off my shoulder.
It hasn't been easy opening up about a past I didn't want people to hear about. But each time I open my mouth to speak, I feel better. Each time I write, I feel liberated.
The journey of healing started a year ago and just like everything else; it takes time.