Precious Martins 1 year ago
@PreciousMartin... 15 min read Write a comment #short-stories

Home And Trauma Part 2

I don't know why my mum's own hurt me most, maybe because it was very common that children were more close to their mothers than fathers.

So I guess I expected some closure from her since me and my dad I were like strangers, yunno to balance the family. But it didn't happen like that. My dad's strictness must have made me oblivious to my mum's character when he was around, or maybe she changed after he left, but either way, I took the brunt of it all. I was the eldest, after all. After my dad left for another state for work. I started getting some uncomfortable vibes from my mum. She wasn't as strict as my dad, he was more physical, but hers was more emotional damage.

When she was irritated or angry, which was almost every day, she would rant and say so many demeaning and derogatory words about me. Her words affected me more than you can ever imagine. I tried so hard to please her, but the more I tried, the more she detested me. It was like my presence alone made her angry. I didn't understand why. Maybe she was trying to be strict like my dad, so no one misbehaves, or I kept doing things that offended her...but I didn't think I was a rebellious child to warrant such strict care; in fact, I was always ever pleasing. I could jump off a cliff if she told me to; that's how much I do her bidding. I still believe that most of the reasons she got so mad at me could have been corrected if she just told me that she didn't like what I did. I swear that I would have never done it again. But instead, she would beat me and curse me to no end.

See now; my mum is a devoted Christian; she is quite religious too. Since I was born, we have never missed a morning or evening devotion in the house. She was the opposite of my dad in that aspect. There was also an unwritten rule with her; anytime anyone did something bad or offensive during the day, she would say little or no words about it. Instead, she would wait and address the issue during the evening devotion and punish you in front of "God" and the rest of the family. She would then give a long sermon on repentance and lastly ask you to ask God for forgiveness. Lol, let me tell you about one of my experiences.

I can't remember clearly, but I think I was 7 or 8 years old at the time. Then phones weren't as popular as they are now, children at four could now operate phones, but then at 7, I couldn't. The only phones in the house were my parent's phones, and we, the children, barely got to even touch them. So that night, my mum called me to drop her phone in the sitting room for her as she retired to bed. She believed that phones were dangerous to sleep in the room with; she said it causes cancer. I took the phone to the sitting room, but before I left, I decided to check it out; I hadn't really looked at her phone up close before. So I turned it on and began checking apps; just two apps later, something suddenly happened. Apparently, the app I touched suddenly changed the background and theme of the phone, her picture wallpaper was gone, and everything looked different. I panicked; I didn't know what to do to reverse it. I got an idea to shut it down; maybe it would go back to normal when I turned it back on. So from the little, I know about phones, a long press of the on/off button should do the trick. I did it, but it didn't work; instead, I saw 3 bars with different icons. There was no name beneath to say what it meant, and I didn't understand the icons. I tapped on the first one, but nothing happened, so I tapped on the second one, and that was it because the phone shut down immediately. I turned it back on, and fortunately, it worked because everything was back to normal. I sighed in relief, and jejely kept the phone before going to bed.

The next morning, my mum complained that her data had been exhausted and that somehow her data was on throughout the night, so she believes that was what made it finish. When I heard her complain, I didn't really think too much about it. I have heard her complain about how her data runs out very fast. So I didn't say anything about it and continued my day. That evening during devotion, where everyone was seated, me, my three sisters (my brother was not yet born), and my dad (I think he hasn't traveled yet), she started talking about a bad child, lies, and sin. That's when my name came up; she narrated how I used her data and couldn't even tell her when she complained earlier. I was confused because I didn't remember doing such; what would I be using her data for? She said I should have come up to her when she complained earlier and confessed that I used her data to browse opera mini. Browse operamini? Lol. I didn't even know how to do that.

I was very confused at her accusations because I didn't even turn on her data; at least I knew then that data on/off was at the notification bar, and I didn't even go near there that night. She continued telling everyone how I was becoming a bad child, liar, and good for nothing. I was still speechless because I didn't know what to say, plus interrupting her speech was a death sentence. Then she suddenly took the cane and flogged me. She flogged me so mercilessly till I couldn't move or block anymore; I just laid there on the floor and cried. The rest of my family sat and watched. She stopped and continued talking about how useless and disobedient I was. I weakly kneeled and cried as she went on; I seriously tried to think of what I really did to warrant such a beating. I suddenly remembered the first icon I had touched that night that did nothing. Could it be that the data turned on because of that? I didn't know if that was really it, but it was good enough to at least redeem myself that I didn't know. I called her attention, "mummy, please, I have something to say..." I couldn't go on because she cut me off, furious; she said I always have words to say; since I have such a big mouth, I always want to talk even after being caught red-handed. My dad, who was listening in but half asleep, spoke up and agreed with her that I had a wide mouth to talk to.

My mum took her cane again and pounced on me; she flogged me till she was tired. My body was full of marks from head to toe, I had some bruises, and my head ached from being smashed continuously on the ground. I couldn't even cry anymore. My mum preached some more while subbing me, prayed, and asked me to ask for forgiveness from God. After that, everyone retired to bed, and I was left to clean my wounds. I cried myself asleep that night. At morning devotion, she reviewed my case again and said I couldn't even come to apologize after. Lol. Wanna hear more?

Still, around seven years old, I was in primary school, the school graduation was fast approaching, and as usual, children practiced after class in different categories. Children were normally excited about these things, and I was no different. I had joined a Benin cultural dance group and was hyper to perform on D-day. One of those evenings after school, all the children had just retired to bed while my mum was watching TV, but I couldn't sleep, we were finally going to practice in our attires the next day. I went to check on my things, so I didn't forget any at home. While checking, I noticed that one of my beads had been cut. So I took some thread and went to the lobby where there was light and began trying to string my beads. Some minutes later, my mum walked past and saw me; she was very angry to see me there. She started scolding me that instead of me going to bed, I was busy doing nonsense. That should have been enough, yeah? Nah, she took the beads and angrily cut them, and threw them away. She then told me that because of what I had done, I would not be participating in any activities for the graduation. I cried and begged, but she didn't listen. I went to bed, hoping she would change her mind in the morning. Well, she didn't change her mind; I was so sad about it. My class teacher, who was also our cultural group leader, even called her to beg on my behalf, but it all fell through. I ended up attending the graduation without participating in anything. And since that day, I never participated in any activities for all other graduation ceremonies during my remaining years in school till I finished. In fact, after that day, we didn't even attend graduation ceremonies again. Even my jss3, ss3 graduation, I didn't attend. I have another interesting one for you.

So one evening, I was older a bit, news came that a neighbor had slipped and fell, and he broke his spine in the process and was now rushed to the hospital. My mum went to see their wife and family, and when she came back home, she started talking about it with us. So I asked her, "how did he fall?". Simple question ba? She got angry and started talking about how stupid I was to ask such a question. I muttered that I thought it was a simple question, she flared up even more and called me all kinds of names, how I was useless and senseless, she cursed that God should cut off that my big and lousy mouth that I used in saying nonsense. She called me a fool and a good for nothing. I was insulted and cursed repeatedly. I didn't understand how things escalated so fast, from a simple question to curses. Did I really deserve such?

She then said as punishment, I would not sing with the church choir for about four months, and I would also return to the children's church and take my service there. I had recently just joined the choir and was a teen, so I stayed in the big church. So that is how I paused from the choir and returned to the children's church. It took more than two whole years before I resumed choir again and sat in the big church. Along with that, she compared us (her children) a lot, she would tell us how her friend's children were so this and that, but her own children were senseless and made her ashamed.

I was always indoors because going out was a big problem. At 15, I only knew the road to my school and church. The choir I joined was also bringing problems; it was extremely hard to get her approval to go to weekdays programs, rehearsals, and conventions. And if she eventually agrees, she would pick at your words and actions till she finds something offensive in it and bans you from going as punishment even though you have paid the fees and everything. If going to a church program was so much of a hassle, how would hanging out with friends be? Lol. If she saw me walking with someone after school, she would tell me she didn't like them or that she was watching me. A schoolmate came to buy something in our shop one time, and because I laughed when he said something funny, she asked me what I was laughing for. How could I keep friends under such circumstances? I became an introvert and stayed indoors; till now, I have found it hard to go out to even buy something and barely socialize.

All these made me very down, and I kept to myself. I stopped talking except being asked because I didn't want to offend her or anyone. I started feeling like I was the problem, and I could never do anything right. Maybe the least I could do is free everyone from the burden of hearing me talk. It was not the best decision because I fell into serious depression. I had so many suicidal thoughts, and I would cry myself to sleep every day. I needed to feel loved desperately, but my family only made me contemplate my purpose in this world. Perhaps due to my desperation, I accepted the love I got outside, leading to my first relationship, it wasn't what I deserved, but I wouldn't even know; I was willing to beg and cry just so I could get a little bit of love. I will emphasize my first relationship in another chapter. But the next one would be on my siblings. You would think since my parents made me feel unloved, maybe my siblings would be there to lean on at least. That wasn't the case; they contributed as well to giving me a traumatic childhood.

Follow me for the next chapter.

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