Archive for the ‘Tough Stuff’ Category


Dear diary,
       Still with this unknown sickness, I refused to take my medications ( you know how much I hate taking drugs, Gen! ). Mom told me to take some rest because I wasn’t looking too good. Besides, I could count how many times I spoke today and worse still I had a bad appetite.

        I couldn’t pay attention in class for I was thinking about my life and remembered how many times the thought of attempting to take my life through anorexia came but I was scared to say the least. There was no one to pour out my heart to because I’ve always liked to be independent and people don’t really care about you except when your eyes falls or you pass out.

        Although those close to me couldn’t see anything wrong with me. So they thought and said within them “she’s doing just fine besides she’s got her straight ‘A’s, what can ever go wrong?”.  I hate to say these but I’ve  got to say them anyway, “I’m afraid of my shadows, I find it hard to reach out to new faces, I’m thin-skinned about a lot of things, I fake smiles to cover up my worries and I often switch moods. Believe me, I’ve harbours these for quite a long time and I’m afraid I can’t go on”.

       However, has a book ever spoken to you? Just as if it were specially written for you? Well, this eve, I read a life- touching book which has changed my being and I figured out that I’ve being passing through the juvenile stages which is a natural thing.

       So, from now on , I’ll try as much as possible to leave all these vices behind and have a happy-go-lucky attitude.

Written by : Festus Adenike Joy



Posted: June 4, 2015 by Dorian in Tough Stuff
Tags: , ,


     Hey! It’s Dhebbie here. I’ve really gone far and have evolve from the you I used to be.

     Remember how much I used to suck at Further Maths? Well, I did have a credit in it when I took the final exams, it’s still something right?


     Have you ever done something you feel will make you happy and ended up more depressed than you were?

     Sometimes, we strive to be the best at some things. We put all our efforts into some things so much that we forget to (more…)

“Mom, it’s Jess, may I come in?” I heard a grunting sound. I opened the door and slid into her room.

She was at her table, her left hand to her head, periodically adjusting her spectacles. She always brought work home. “Mom, I want

I was going to use Mom. Yep. She’s the only one Dad actually seems to love. Well, it’s not like I’m saying he doesn’t love us, I’m just saying he really loves her more than us. Only God knows what it is they talk about when they sit in the living room to chat after dinner. Mom is always busy tho. She’s a stock broker and

” Is this what you’ve been disturbing yourself with?”, he shouted. I shivered, shook my head slowly and said nothing. “Hand it over”,he said menacingly. “I won’t have a child who does nothing but fiddle with a stupid guitar!”. I gave it to him and took  step back. “Who gave it to you?” By now, my heart had started to pound. You see, I play the guitar but my dad “plays” the horse whip (koboko). And the strokes from that thing, my friend, are very very painful! “I won it,at the regional talent show”, I answered. He looked at me the way a lion looks at an antelope,turned and started to walk downstairs. I followed.

When we got close to the gate, he stopped. He raised the guitar and brought it down with a smash. It was as if I was hit with a piece of iron. I was too shocked to cry. He turned to me and said,”I want no distractions for you at all. Computer engineering has nothing to do with this nonsense” and walked away like nothing happened.

I opened my mouth to cry, but no sound came. I got up slowly and made for my room. I slumped on my bed and then,the sobs began. I opened my eyes some hours later. My head was pounding hard. I took some painkillers and went to sleep.

The next day at school, I was like a zombie. I did nothing but mope all day. “It takes a level of smartness to be good at the guitar too. It’s so unfair”,I muttered under my breath during lunch, occasionally wiping a stray tear. I was like that for some minutes until Amina, my bespectacled friend joined me.

“Hey, you okay? You’ve been acting real funny. What’s wrong?”. I looked at her straight in the face and blurted,”Dad smashed my guitar!”. Amina’s eyes leapt up in great surprise. “What happened??”. I let the left side of my face sink into a palm and told her my pitiable story. “Oh my, I’m so sorry. He probably didn’t want any distraction for you,you know”, she quipped. I raised one eyebrow. I hated it when people assumed I could be distracted by a guitar. Didn’t thy know I was too smart for that? For Goodness’ sake, I have a frigging schedule!! “Arrgh!”,I  moaned softly as I let my head drop onto the table. These people won’t just understand. They just won’t.

I was still battling with a math question when a junior student popped up beside me. “Yes?”,I asked,my eyes travelling his small body. “The Principal wants to see you”,he said in a funny voice. I faked a smile and thanked him.

When I got to the Principal’s office, I sighted Miss Stella. “Good afternoon Sir”,I greeted. He nodded, waved me closer and wasted no time in breaking the news. “The grand finale of the teenage talent show is next week Thursday. Do make our school proud again”,he smiled as he finished. I smiled too, this time genuinely but weakly. “Thank you Sir”. “I’ll see you after school”,Miss Stella added. I nodded and took my leave.

Back in my seat, I was by myself with happiness. Then I remembered, as far as music was concerned, I was grounded. Well, I decided to inform the Music teacher of my predicament after school. I got back to the math problem and solved it. Three periods later, I heaved a sigh of relief when I heard the bell go.

I saw Miss Stella in the music room, she was waiting for me. I quickly told her about everything that happened and she assured me I wouldn’t lose my chance. “I’ll talk to your dad”, she added. I thanked her and grinned from ear to ear like I had just won money.

At home, I read a bit and pushed the book aside. It wasn’t exactly boring, it was a Hadley Chase, but I was so anxious. Miss Stella had promised to come over to our house at 5:30pm so she could talk to my dad. I heard Dad come in at 5:10pm and I feigned sleep. After a while , I sensed he must have gone down to the living room and I sat up. When I heard a ladylike voice exchanging pleasantries with my father, a smile kissed my cheeks and I walked stealthily to the door. I opened it and tiptoed downstairs.

I got halfway and stopped to eavesdrop. I could see them too. Miss Stella sat opposite my dad and started to talk. She went on and on, telling him how good I was and how much better I could become if he allowed me partake in the competition. Dad listened to all she said,grunted and thanked her. “Madam, I’m not really interested in anything musical. It’s a waste of time. Jessica is a smart child and I don’t want anything that will make her focus on academics waver…”. “But excuse me Sir”,Miss Stella interrupted. “Please Madam, let me finish”,dad cut in. I lost hope. I knew where this was going. I gently left where I had been hiding and walked to my room. It was a lost case. I knew.

I expected dad to discuss it with me or at least tell me about who visited. But he said nothing. Not even at dinner. I ate little and went up to my room. This was the beginning of my questions. Since when did people started determining my future? And who said playing the guitar would in anyway distract my goal of studying computer engineering? I wasn’t really angry. I was sad..
And very disappointed. I could count up to 15 musicians and instrumentalists who were good in other fields too.

I curled up on my bed. My thoughts darted back and forth. I had made plans, a lot of them. From the moment I began to polish my skills,I knew I was would be known for something, at least nationally, before I clocked 20. But all those were nothing now. I really felt bad. I couldn’t read that day. Now, at this juncture, I’ll like to remind you of how much I daydream and that was my undoing. I had imagined myself on a stage,in front of a huge cheering crowd. I had imagined myself smiling as I curtsied and waved.
What was I to do now? I held my head in my hands and cried.

Then,suddenly, an idea came to mind. I hurriedly wiped away a tear and thought for a second. I smirked a little and pulled my pillow closer. I was going to that talent show,no matter what it would cost me.

Do you know what a monster is? Ever seen a wild animal rage relentlessly in a cage? If you do, then you’ll probably understand my story.

Forgive my manners. My name is Jessica, a 17 year old high school student. Head of my school’s Maths club,my classmates see me as a perfect geek but I’m good at other things too. I play the guitar quite brilliantly but secretly.

Mine is a family of erudite humans. Dad is a lawyer,mom a stock broker, Angelina (my older sis) is an engineering student and my immediate elder brother just got admission to study medicine.

That though, is not the issue. My life is falling apart and nobody knows. At school, I’m the Supergirl who makes boys look stupid by reeling off perfect definitions in Physics, Chemistry and Biology but at home.. I’m the helpless drug addict. Surprised? Don’t be.

It started in ss1, our neighbor’s nephew, Folarin had got a semester break and had decided to spend it with his Uncle who lived next door. He brought along the object that changed my life forever: his guitar.

I would watch him practise from my window every afternoon and soon, I was fascinated by his dexterity with the instrument and decided to learn. After so many practised speeches in front of the mirror one afternoon, I set out to tell him how much I really wanted to learn to play the guitar.

I got  to the gate, pushed it a bit and said timidly “Hi, I’m Jess, may I come in?”. He nodded,got up and came closer to where I was now standing. “Hello Jess, looking for someone?”. I shook my head and pointed to the guitar he was holding. “I really want to learn to play that. Will you teach me?”. He smiled bemusedly. “Sure,would you like to start now?”. I nodded eagerly.

We did start. Days rolled into weeks and weeks tumbled into months. I had become good at it. Folarin was proud of his student. “Wow, you learn quite fast”, he remarked one day. I smiled and said nothing. Then, I had a sound. Oh my! It was the horn of dad’s car. “I gotta go now,see yha”, I half shouted as I bolted through the gate.

I went in through the back door I had left open and ran into my dad on his way upstairs. “Where have you been?”. “Next door Sir”,I answered. “Doing?”. “I was showing Folarin a math problem Sir”, I replied. Dad nodded and went to his room.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I rarely lied but I couldn’t tell the truth in this case. Dad hates anything music, he believes music and acting are for the never-do-wells and I could get beaten if he found out what I’d been doing? Weird? Maybe.

Folarin left for school the following week,took my number and promised to buy me a guitar the next semester break. I was thrilled. We resumed too that week and I surprised a lotta people when I offered to show my classmates some guitar chords in Music class. Miss Stella was pleasantly surprised and didn’t hide it. “Jessica, that was quite beautiful, would you like to get the form for the teenage talent show slated for next month?, she asked, her cheeks far apart in a grin.

I looked at her for a moment and said, ” I’ll think about it Ma”. She nodded and moved on with her lesson. During break, I sat at my desk and began to daydream (I do that a lot). The possibilities were huge! I had no problem with singing and I’d learnt some chords that could help me through about 15 different songs. “Wow”, I said to myself, this was it! “Yes!”.

When I got home that day, I got a piece of paper and made a new schedule. I made time for reading and practice. But wait a minute.. I didn’t have a guitar. “Awwh”, I moaned, “what will I practise with?”, I asked nobody in particular and then, this idea popped into my head.

Early the next morning, I made for Miss Stella’s office. I came out grinning from one ear to another. She had agreed to allow me use the guitar in the Music room for an hour after school. It was just perfect. I could study at home after lunch too! Just perfect.

The next week, I got the form and had it submitted before the driver came for me. Have you noticed I’ve not talked about any friend? Oh, don’t go thinking I’m a snob. You’ll meet them soon.

I got home quite early and wolfed down my lunch. I got the novel I had borrowed from a classmate from my bag and started to read. And yea, by the way, we don’t watch TV at home. Did I just hear “weird” again? Well. I’ve not even started.

Anyways, to cut the long story short, I did go to the talent show, it was held on a school day actually so dad didn’t smell a rat. And yes, I did win. My mouth was wide open when my name was announced as the winner and I was too shocked to smile. I finally recovered and went to the podium to receive a trophy and a brand new guitar.

The next day at school, I was recognised on the assembly and cheered. It was a bit normal tho. There was no need to smile excessively. I had lost count of the number of times I had been called to the assembly to be praised. This was a bit different tho. It wasn’t for Maths, Physics or even Biology. I was being praised for singing and playing a guitar. Oh. The feeling.

I put the trophy away in my room and kept mum until the inevitable happened. My mother had met our Vice Principal at Shoprite and told her of my “talent”. She also informed Mom I got a trophy and more. Eessh! I felt like vanishing when I was summoned to the sitting room in the evening.

“Your mother has told me about singing competition. What were you given?” “A trophy Sir”. He pushed up his glasses a bit and asked me to go get it. Immediately I got to my room, I retrieved the guitar from where I kept it and shoved it under my bed. I went back to the living room and showed my parents the trophy. Dad only grunted and waved me away.

After some months, I had almost perfected my skills both at the guitar and sneaking (+ lying).
I had observed my parents’ pattern of movement. I would leave school by 2,hurriedly eat my lunch and practise till 4,freshen up and do my chores till 5 when my parents would return. My plan was foolproof!

I had been living that way until one day,when all hell let loose. Dad had forgotten an important document at home, it was a bit past three and I was dead to the world.  The sound of my name finally filtered into my ears and I looked up. There he was, staring at me like a animal who escaped from the zoo.

“What are you doing”, he said, surprisingly calmly. “I err.. Uhmm.. I.. Errmm”, I had probably lost my tongue. “When did you start to stutter!?” , he thundered. I flinched,put the guitar down gently and rose, my eyes stuck to the  floor”..

To be continued..