I wrote this article in (2012), and the boots in the picture are the ones that housed my feet when I was a corps member serving my country Nigeria in...
We as humans can’t forget about our past, we are created to have retentive memories. What we can do is to give everything that has happened a NEW MEANING
Fear is Firm Experiences Attacking Reality. I say this because our experiences are real and our concerns are genuine, this is what makes us human. Even still what brings out the genius in us is our ability to decide what the interference of the past means.
I was 7. We had just closed from summer lesson and it was around past 5pm I think, when I and my elder sister came out from the school gate to meet my father standing by his car waiting to pick us up. It was strange because it had never happened before.
He was the kind of dad that when we saw the head lamps (we knew the shape) of his car from afar, we would run inside the house and sleep. I didn’t have a privileged childhood expect the kind that was characterized by domestic violence.
So, he took us in his car but to our surprise we parked at the popular motor park at Alafia along Orile- Mile 2 Express-Way Lagos. I was still trying to understand what was going on when he paid for our tickets and forced us to board the Marcopolo bus that night.
I didn’t know where we were going. Nobody in the family knew we were on that bus and I was terrified all through the journey and couldn’t sleep. He took us to a place in Onitsha, Nigeria where we (myself and my sister) stayed for about a week before my mum traced us there and took us to the village where we stayed with her and her mum for 8months without school.
One morning I staggered out to wash my face when I saw a man that looked like father walking towards me. He came, took me and my sister off to Lagos and left my mum behind.
I landed in Lagos in 2002 and was taken off to Ifako to be a houseboy in one of his friend’s house. I was there for a year and every day I kept asking myself what I did wrong to deserve this kind of life. My father was not a poor man who couldn’t take care of his children. He had international exposure as he was well travelled.
So, what was wrong? what would make a man throw his wife’s clothes and belongings from the balcony in broad day light such that I couldn’t walk the street freely because people laughed, pointed fingers and muttered words. This was the kind of life I was exposed to throughout my early teenage years.
There were really dark days in those moments and I remember when I smoked cigarette for the first and last time because I almost coughed to death.
In all my years in secondary school, only twice did any family member visit my school. The first time was my elder brother who came on the very first day of resumption and my mum who came to give me the house key. My dad never came; neither did he know where it was located. He only paid the fees I never took result home to show any one.
Did I tell you that I once hawked fried meat? Well, let’s leave that story for another day. All of these made me unsure of what tomorrow holds. In 2013 I was a student in my third year in the university and remember locking myself up in my room and was asking myself series of question and one of them was Who is Francis? I couldn’t give an answer to that question neither could I say “this” was the kind of career path I want to follow. The real me was in there somewhere but it was buried by these interferences. Today, I have risen above them and I’m still rising as now, I have an amazing relationship with my father.
As I recall everything that happened, I first accepted everything that has happened and my inability to change any of that and as time went by and with the help of counselling and therapy, I began to give new interpretations to these interferences that occurred. We as humans can’t forget about our past, we are created to have retentive memories. What we can do is to give everything that has happened a NEW MEANING. If my dad knew better, he would have acted differently.
Life is a bit messy and anything that can happen will happen but our power lies in our response towards life. One of the ways to respond rather than react towards life is to find lessons in every interference that life has thrown at us.
I am the dreamer who broke up with fear. Now I am living my dreams… Let’s live our dreams together
Francis Arihilam is a natural teacher and a blend of gifts. He is primarily known for his advocacy for Emotional and Behavioural Health. As a therapist he uses Neuro-Cognitive Consonance, Conflict Management and Communications tools to help individuals challenge paradigms and self defeating behaviors. Also a Religion Advisor with a degree in Philosophy and Religion from the University of Benin. He is the author of the Book “Possibility”. He loves humanity, and believe that all men are good.