The Deal With Your Body

What they didn’t tell you when you were born.

You were beautiful. Maybe no one ever told you, but you were a miracle, formed delicately, intentionally by the powers that be, in your mother’s womb.

You still are.
Sometimes you’d hop into the bathtub or basin along side your sibling(s); male, female, it didn’t matter then, whether inside or in the backyard, as you washed off mud from play.
Then the hushed tones, the discreet scarves, wrappers and body changes.
That which was responsible for the miracle of life was looked upon as shameful to the point your entire being was blamed and you had to cover it all up.

But wait, not all times.

Times when your body was violated by twenty men, we all agreed it was sad with tears streaming down our emoji cheeks. But we liked and retweeted and shared and kept this memory alive and well. The sacredness of body and life meaning nothing.

Times when your body was blown apart with a bomb by another human who did not value its essence. We also liked and retweeted and shared and kept this memory alive and well. We felt sad for a minute but we moved on with our lives.

Times when the pervasive decay of our minds reigned free, resulting from our unwillingness to, each of us, take responsibility for our own bodies, we, again, liked and retweeted and shared and kept this memory alive and well. The sacredness of body and life meaning nothing.

Times when life was snuffed out in mere seconds, irreversible in reality, but forever remaining in a constant one-minute loop. The memory of your life reduced to just the moment before and after death.
It was sad, but we desensitized. It was traumatic but we did not report. It was inhumane, we couldn’t stand to watch, but somehow we did.

Until you said no. No to silent okays for bodies just to be watched and tolerated, beaten and brutalized. No to the degradation of humanity. No to feeding the violence.
And then the offences began.

How dare you display an unsexualised, unbrutalised, unviolated, undesecrated and whole body filled with life?
How dare you?

That was not the deal, how do we show our sympathy now? How do we feel better about ourselves now you’ve owned you body, how do we reign dominance over you now you’ve owned your mind?
How do you tolerate our refusal to grow, our insistence for things to remain the way things have always been? How dare you — be free?

We don’t ask you this though, but please understand this is what we mean when we look at you, see the defiance in your face and reach out to invade your personal space.
It is what we mean when we throw out insults at your refusal to smile, nod and reply when we ask you to.
It is what we mean when we hurl shame-filled words at you for doing the same thing we do in our private time. The same thing those we fantasize about do.
It is what we mean when we strip you naked for going to the market in clothes you decided to wear that did not suit our judgement.
It is what we mean when we look with disgust as you dare cross the thresholds of the four walls into our congregation without conforming.

We know that now, you wouldn’t be bothered. You stopped being a long time ago.
But the deal changed sometime in the last few years.
You, you had to wait until what we called ‘adulthood’,
But your children don’t have that luxury anymore.

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I write about digital product design.

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Adaku Nwakanma

Adaku Nwakanma

I write about digital product design.