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Dear Friend,

I will not tell you I understand how you feel because the truth is only you understand how it hurts but this I can assure you, you are strong enough to make it through. Maybe you feel weak right now, maybe you are tired, a little hug here and a little love there may be all you think you have been living off for a while but I believe it only takes a strong spirit to have come this far. I know it hurts so much and you feel you can’t share, I can relate because your silence says a lot. I wish there is more I can do to let you see what I see in you.

I see is a Sun at dawn, even though it is still shielded by the thick dark cloud, soon there will come a time when nothing can stop its shine.

Most times life would not give us what we deserve, by a longshot we might be far from what we believe should be our reality or where we think we should be but that is life. The humiliation, the stigma and the “bitter after taste” might be too much to bear, this I understand is not easy but I also know many have come from the grave dark to grace the stardom lights.

Opera Winfrey was raped repeatedly for years, got pregnant and lost the baby. It seemed she was in that darkest place where no one can come out of but somehow she never gave up. Today, her light shines brighter everyday while guiding others to the light.

Joyce Meyer suffered abuse, molestation and rape from her own father for several years. She said those were her darkest hours but then she didn’t give in to those hours. God’s love found her and today she is touching lives with her story.

Steve Jobs was ‘fired’ from his own company ‘Apple’ by someone he hired but he didn’t give up, he didn’t let anger, feeling of being betrayed and quest for vengeance cloud his judgement. He built another company called NEXT and through that he was able to get back into Apple.

You may have been humiliated by people you trusted, people you thought you could count on through thick and thin but then life is a war with many battles, you may have lost several battles up till now but I can assure you the war is not over. So long as you don’t let depression bring the worst out of you, like a wounded lion, inch by inch, you can claw your way back into this fight.

It is easy to think revenge will set you free, this I will not stop you from especially when it seems your mind is all made up but here is a fact I know, no good thing comes from being vengeful. When you hold on to hate, revenge, or bitterness, it is like trying to smite someone who hurt you with hot iron rod in your bare hands, whether you succeed or not, you would have burned your own hands in the process. My honest advice, let it go! It won’t be easy but it is the right thing to do, let karma do her work and you concentrate on building your life a piece at a time.

Death may seem a way out, but suicide is for cowards. The brave would rather die fighting than commit suicide. You are brave my friend, I see so much life in you, even through the thick cloud, I believe your Sun will still get its turn to shine. I know you probably expect more from people but there is so little anyone can do, honestly. As much as I want to assure you things will be alright, there is just little I can offer you but my words. People may seem less concerned but that is not totally true, there is more than meets the eye; most people are also struggling with things they would rather not talk about, yet they wear the smile of ‘all is well’. However, after all said and done, never forget to reach out. It is easier to fight life’s battles when you have someone to rub minds with.

You are not alone in this struggle. It is a phase and it will pass. It is okay to be confused, it is human to feel insecure and unsure, these only remind us that we are not perfect; and nobody is perfect. You can ask questions or just do it anyway. Don’t give up on yourself on the account of how life has treated you, remember only the test of fire makes a fine steel. I believe in you my friend, I believe your light can still find its way through this thick cloud. Your past don’t define you, you are wiser, you are braver, you have all it takes; dig deep!

Letter to My Depressed Friend

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Virtue of Patience

Virtue of Patience

Ama in her frustration, screamed back at them saying “I should Leave him? Have you forgotten my age? I am 35, how many men will want to marry an old hag?” Ama was a beautiful young lady, her father James was a Ghanaian who came to Nigeria to work and met Ayoni, her mother. They fell in love, got married and they had two kids Ama and Kojo. When Ama was twelve (12) and Kojo was eight (8) their dad fell sick and died, and since then their mother had done her best to make sure the two of them never lacked anything.

Ama graduated as a nurse and got a good job at a university teaching hospital with a comfortable pay but there was just one problem, men issues. Ama had been disappointed by different men in her life, so when she met Joe though she knew he was not what she wanted, she was desperate enough to take whatever is available. She felt she was not getting any younger, more so, all her friends were already married with kids. When she introduced Joe to her mum, she was sceptical about him and she advised Ama to be patient and not rush things but Ama wouldn’t hear of that. 

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One day when she was going out with Joe, she came across an old classmate,  Paul. She was so excited that she forgot Joe had warned her about male friends, it was with that joy that she ran off and hugged Paul. When she was done exchanging pleasantries with him, she introduced him to Joe, “Paul meet my fiance, Joe!”. In response, Joe gave her a dirty (brain re-setting) slap and walked out on her. She was left so embarrassed and humiliated that she bursted to tears, Paul tried begging her but she pushed him away and ran after Joe.

When she got home, she told her mother and  her best friend Diana the story, they both advised her to break up with him. Ama in her frustration, screamed back at them saying “I should Leave him? Have you forgotten my age? I am 35, how many men will want to marry an old hag?” Diana however tried to calm her down,  “Ama, you need to be patient, your own man will come”.  That statement  got Ama even more infuriated, (Ama now facing Diana), “Diana, all my friends are married with kids including you and I have become the official Chief Bridesmaid even to younger sisters and cousins. Listen I’m not going to break up with Joe. It was just a stupid mistake and he has apologized, so let me be, more so he was just being protective because he loves me”.

“A man who slapped you while courting will beat you up when he finally marries you. Marriage is too long to endure abuse and molestation whether physically or emotionally because in the end it will cost one or more lives. Ama be patient, don’t rush things” those were the exact words of her mother. At that point Ama stood up hissed and walked out.

Ama got married to Joe and barely 6 months into the marriage Joe started misbehaving. He would beat her up at the slightest provocation or mistake. Everyday was hell, she wished she had listened to her mother and Diana, if only she was just patient. One day she was at home peeling oranges when Joe stormed in, claiming he saw someone that looked like her in man’s car. Before she could explain herself, the beating had started, in a bid to defend herself, she stabbed Joe with the knife she was using to peel her oranges. Joe died from excessive bleeding and Ama was imprisoned.

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Day after day the words of her mother kept coming back to her “marriage is too long to endure abuse and molestation whether physically or emotionally because in the end it will cost one or more lives. Ama be patient, don’t rush things”. Only if I had listened, only if I had been patient, Joe will still be alive and I will still have my freedom even if I am not married… all these were the thoughts she battled with as she remained incarcerated.

Benjamin Franklin said “He that can have patience will have what he wills”. Lots of times, we want things done in an instant but some things take time not every of our heart desires will be granted immediately. We don’t have to give up because some things are not working out or settle for less because what you want is not readily available. Trust me, if we are patient good things will surely find us. Often times when it seems too long, it is because God is preparing something big. Nothing good happens overnight, it takes a continuous effort, patience and determination.

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A decision made in haste ends in the waste. I know we don’t want to end our life in regrets, so I urge us to be patient with our dreams and most especially with God. He knows the end from the beginning, sees further than we can ever see and He understands the things we are not even aware of, that’s why we (you and I) need to trust Him.

Patience is a virtue we need to learn and put to practice. Every great and successful person passed through that dark moment, a phase that only patience can light one’s path. Patience gives birth to Hope and Hope helps one to endure till success comes.  The fact that your friends have gone ahead does not mean you are a failure, there is enough room at the top. Don’t be in a rush, you are designed to be a success but remember, your friends are not you. You are special and you will definitely make it, if you don’t give up. 

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God didn’t spend time creating nobodies! He created wonderful people and because God invested in you, you are already a success! The great business mogul Warren buffet once said “No matter what you do, you can’t have a baby in one month even if you got nine women pregnant at the same time”. You don’t need to give up right now, what you need is to be patient and let God have his way. You are definitely going to succeed. Your success story will be heard but don’t forget to be patient with God. Remember any decision made in haste most times lands in regret. You are a champion, so stick to the right path, it will take you to the top.

I love you and I believe in you!

God bless you!

Written by Omodara Oluwabunmi Onome
Images source: Google

The Best Kept Secret

The Best Kept Secret or The Worst…

I think I can safely say that 95% of  girl child and about 50% of boy child have a common secret they hope the world would never find out, not even their parents, mostly because they are scared of someone or something. I call it the best kept secret or better still the worst kept secret. It is a secret that is tearing them apart from the inside and making them take very rash decisions. They often become vengeful, misogynist or misandrist, suspicious of everyone, lone ranger, they lack self belief, become rebellious, less accommodating and in extreme cases serial killers (watch movie “October 1st” by Kunle Afolayan)

Hmm…. Headlines like these serve as a pointer to this secret…

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Image Source: Google
The above tells you this secret is not restricted to a particular country or region and that many bottle it up till they become superstars, celebrity or made before they eventually summon the courage to spill the beans.

What is the fate of those who have been destroyed by this secret? In particular, people who are put in this situation by the same people who should have protected them… Hmm!

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Image Source: Google
Lecturers, brothers, sisters, friends, fathers, role models, maids, acclaimed men of God… everyone seems to be guilty one way or another. While many issues are covered up for lack substantial evidence like the case Jackson, Gibson, Cosby, Tyson to mention a few.

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Image source: Google
It seems the age of the victim is inconsequential and this could  go on for as long as possible, so long as the victim still keeps it secret.. The best/worst kept secret.

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Image Source: Selected Headlines

Some time ago, a young lady shared her experience with me, which she wants me to share, so that everyone can learn from it, especially children and parents.

She said it all started when her cousin (a boy of 14years) came to Lagos to stay with them. She is from a struggling home, their house’s a two bedroom flat, a family of 4…The dad, the mum and her sister… pairing the rooms. So when the cousin moved in, at that time she was just 10years and her sister 8years, her mother insisted that the boy shared the room with the two sisters (like the average Nigerian woman, she wouldn’t want a member of her husband’s family to sleep in the sitting room, that could be termed as maltreatment by other family members).

She told me that she rejected the idea but the mother overruled her objections. The dad was indifferent though but the mother wouldn’t want anything that will cause wahala (problems) with her husband’s family. As the story will play out the young cousin would wake up in the middle of the night fondle the two girls. At first he would pretend to be asleep when they jolt back to consciousness but over time he became bolder, he soon wasn’t bothered if they woke up. She said, when she tried to tell her mum, the mother shouted her down claiming she is wicked and just doesn’t want the boy around while her little sister just seemed to be enjoying the new found night play. She was afraid to confide in anyone as the cousin also kept threatening her.

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Image Source: NSPCC website

It however blew open about 1year down the line, the cousin was now about 15years and now more adventurous. She said, On this fateful night, the cousin started off like before, just fondling which by now she was used to but what happened next shocked her. The cousin mounted her and forced his way into her, she tried screaming but the cousin pressed down a pillow over her face, at this point she was scared of death more than she was scared of what the cousin was doing, as she could not breath well.  When he was through there was blood all over, this her sister saw and screamed. The dad and mum rushed down to the room, they could not believe their eyes. The dad almost killed the cousin but that would not right the wrong, she concluded.

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Source: Google
James Safechuck unsubstantiated claims against the Legendary Michael Jackson.

It is easy to blame her for not telling someone but in truth what about you and people around you; if it is not happening to you, if it has not happened to you trust me the person next to you is a victim of “the best kept secret”. It may be convenient to conclude that the parents failed to protect their kids but let’s not also forget that it is easy to assume everyone has good intentions when you are just trying to be good. The boy is evil, many young ladies will want to say but not being in his shoes makes it difficult to know what must have led him to that, like I said earlier about 50% of young boys have been molested in their formative stage which makes them become a pervert or insatiable when it comes to sexual activities.

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Image source: Event in suburb of Lagos
Above is a 5years old boy being abused by a Togolese maid… Abuse is not limited to girls, a boy child can also be a victim.

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Image Source: BBM chat with a lady who was also a victim of Abuse

My Advice
Parents should never trust their kids with anyone, especially overnight or having them in a secluded place. The lady in the chat above told me, she (age 6-9years then) was abused by children of neighbors she was asked to stay with while the parents were not around and also by students of her mum who were often asked to help take her home from school. She became misandrist and vengeful something she is still battling with.

Parents should separate the rooms for their wards, according to their sex as early as possible. On no account should either parent sleep in the room of the opposite sex child, no undressing before them, parental guidance on movies should be strictly adhere to. A young man recounting his ordeal said he was continuously abused by his mother’s maids, these ladies would take turns on him and ended up making him a sex addict.  He eventually became a menace to young girls when he could no longer have the maids to satisfy his ever demanding urge.

When sending your kids on holiday with family or friends, parents should be very careful. This reminds me of a lady who her parents asked her to go and spend her holiday with their Pastor (Now a Bishop and was at the inauguration of Ex.President of Nigeria Obasanjo 1999) This young girl, 15years at the time, became a sex toy for the “man of God” who will leave his own wife on their matrimonial bed at the dead of the night to the room where the lady was. He deflowered her, got her pregnant and aborted for her all before the end of the long vacation. She said, she was terrified as the Pastor made her swear with the Bible to keep the secret. Eventually the wife caught them, begged the family to cover it up, to protect the image of the church.

Finally parents need to teach their kids sex education and body part awareness. From as early as possible, they should know how to sit properly, what part of their body should not be touched and how to behave when they are with or around the opposite sex. Parent should be aware of changes in their children’s behavior and even though the child says it is nothing, parent should still investigate until they are satisfied. Above all, parents should encourage their kids to speak freely with them and freely in public. Parents should not only be custodian of their kids but also their best friend.

Abuse thrives under secrecy, don’t harbour it hoping it will stop or it will just go away, neither should you yield to threats from the perpetrator, no matter how high or low the person is placed or how intimate the person is to  your family. It is not in your own interest to keep it a secret because you are scared of what will happen to the person if people knew. Expose the person, confide in someone that can act and you will be able to breakfree from the clutches of abuse. Once, you see that someone’s conversation is tending towards “weirdness”, distant yourself from the person, often times this is how the perpetrators size up their victims. Stay focus and sharp no one can be trusted.

But if you are already a victim, then you have got to let it out and know IT IS TIME TO LET IT GO , what you have been through doesn’t define you but when you harbor hatred it will limit you.

Don’t let anyone destroy you or your future, you deserve to be happy, let no one take that away from you. Freewill is God’s gift to you, let no one take that choice away from you.