I was twenty-one two years ago. It was on a Wednesday. I go for evening services on Wednesdays. I wish I didn’t go on that day.
You see, one thing I hated more than my body was when people focused on me. I detest being the centre of attention. Apart from the fact that it frightens me, it leaves me battering more demons that I can handle.
Before coming on stage or even being called to speak. I’m finished before I start. There are always the “what if’s” and “why did I’s”. Coming down from the stage, I am bombarded with what did you just do? That was terrible? Nobody smiled? You did terribly.
The dreaded steps towards the stage are always a torture. I count my steps to distract me from the tornado of negativity that goes on in my mind. It doesn’t help. They seem to sound louder as I get closer to my destructor.
That Wednesday, a chair was put right before the altar. Everyone’s focus was one. With smiles, they sang and prayed for me. My head was down throughout. And not because I am humble but because I noticed how short my skirt seemed to have gotten. I also noticed that my feet seemed to have grown uglier. I tried tugging at my skirts to give it an additional length. It didn’t work. So I squirmed on the chair with the intent of hiding my ugly feet. All these happened while songs and prayers were going on. I didn’t hear a word of they said and sang.
The Amen sounded like rapture to me! Yippee! Jesus had come for me. I jumped off the chair.
The usher was startled. He took a step back and asked if I was alright. I smiled in my usual way.
They all assumed I was shy. Shy indeed.
Another incident occurred in school when I had to defend my assignment in front of the class. And like several other project defences, it was a catastrophe. It was Mr Waziri Adisa’s course. I love that man, I really do. He’s a great tutor but I hated him that day. Why on earth did we have to talk about what was already on paper?
Nobody heard anything I said that day. They kept asking me to speak out. Speak out he? I couldn’t remember all the things I had written. I kept moving back and forth, shuffling left and right. People thought I was dancing. They thought I had stage fright.
Good news. I can utter a few words, confidently also. I can preach in church now. I still walk around the church, not from fear, though, I walk around because I’m badass.