Don’t be afraid.

Baby girl,
Life will caress you;
And when it does,
Don’t be ‘fraid
To unfurl.
It is your moment,
Tell your heart–
It is okay to be the one.

Life will crush you;
And when it does
Don’t be ‘fraid
To be un-done.
It is not breaking,
Tell your heart–
It is spreading, rising
It is learning how to become.


fear fear

© The Short Black Girl, 2016.



Once, I had a stalker. I don’t know how it was that he took interest in me, or how it began, or how long he had been planning and designing– but soon as he launched out, his every move took me unawares, completely by a strand of hair. He would leave tiny little notes on my locker–

“You turn me on.”

“I want you.”

“You look beautiful today.”

“Your ear-ring is lovely.”

It was exciting and confusing. I was twelve, little, shy, friend-less and weird. He was something around sixteen, tall, light skinned, gorgeous and downright attractive. No one had ever said those things to me. I had never imagined myself as the kind that “turned people on” or the “kind to be wanted”. Such was my self esteem or may I say, sense of reality– that I took no impress-able notice of how I looked or dressed. Granted, I would wear a lip balm every now and then, and apply some “Blue Dream” once a while– but that had been it. And more than dream that it would capture hearts, I had just wanted to feel half as good as half the girls that half the boys thought half the world agreed were the perfect kind. I was nothing like them.

So, it was exciting that he would choose me– at first. A new kind of motivation saw me to school every other day, anticipating his raunchy confessions. But it soon got worse, somewhat threatening– he would take my notes, and any fancy belongings, returning them with rather egregious paintings and writings–

“Your lips…”

“Your eyes…”

“I am madly in love with you.”

There would be people touching people. And every time we crossed paths in the school corridor, he would penetrate my insides with his eyes. My stomach would turn. I couldn’t keep up any longer. The excitement was fast waning, unceremoniously turning into fear, and angst. So I told mama when I returned home the other day.

“Mama, a boy has been disturbing me.”

Her nostrils flared. Her pupils bulged.

“Has he been touching you? What has he been doing to you?”

“Nothing mama. Nothing. He has just been sending letters and notes.” and I had proceeded to reveal his once-happy-now-turned-dreary secret letters to her. She had not said a word more, until Papa returned. Soon after, they had called me from my room. We had to talk, they said.

“Your mother said you have been applying make-up to school, is that so?” Papa began.

“No daddy. Iz just lip balm.”

“At your age! Who taught you to do those things? What message are you trying to send and to whom?”

I was flustered. Lost for words.

“You see the kind of things you cause when you start acting beyond your age? See the rubbish messages a young boy is sending to you. Is that what they teach you at school? Is that what I sent you to school for?”

At this time, tears had started brewing.

“Henceforth, no more make-up! I will see your Principal tomorrow. Good night.”

“I am sorry sir. Thank you sir.”

But they didn’t understand, I thought to myself upon resuming my bed in a pool of tears. I just wanted to feel good. I just freaking wanted to feel good.

That day indeed passed, and so did the next. I had stopped wearing make-up and had become a little too self aware, bordering on me consciously trying not to look good. About a week after, he had seized upon me during lunch, kissed and fondled with my fast budding breasts. The excitement returned, as did the fear and angst. But there could be no telling this time. There could be no telling…


© The Short Black Girl, 2016.

The Voice.


Tam was 14 years, and 11 months when she heard that strange voice. It was in a lonely park along Southsea, on that cold Thursday evening. That day had been one of the most awful days of her life… not because it was any different from all the other days when the famous twins in her class bullied her. It was in the who, not the what. Kelvin had been around that afternoon when Jack and Jill started on her at lunch, enjoying the sight and laughing– but she was too pained to decide whether he was laughing at her helplessness or their choice of words. They had pulled on her long black silk hair, which her sister Margaret did in a ponytail that morning, and promised she would do better if she had more inch in height than in the length of her hair. They were the same words they said everyday– no more, no less– but they carried a different meaning because he was there.

So, it was that different that carried her through the rest of the day and away from the path that led home, to the one that led there, the lonely old park. It started out as a soft whisper brushing across her ear lobes, the voice that startled her from her self- righteous indignation. Then it came on stronger, from everywhere– the autumn wind, the bare tree branches, the chirping birds. It was loud but barely audible, yet she knew it was saying something she needed to hear. She shook, but would not move– the fear that overtook her was one that was prepared to help her find that voice, or die searching. Or maybe it was fear of the future– the very immediate future which began with every next step she would take towards home. Towards Mo’. From the pile of littered leaves that left trails along the footpath, to the big supermarket that hosted a thousand pair of piercing eyes, to the T- junction just before the train station, and the final curve that led straight there. Straight into Mo’s trap of troubles. So she closed her eyes instead, welcoming the dreadful voice as it closed in on and about her. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. And her tears poured on, an ocean in itself, as she waited. For the hour of destruct.

It roared now, ripping her ears apart. It was angry. The voice was angry. It pushed against the wind, violently and tore up everything in its path but her. Break. Crash. Pour. Crush. The voice went on, mindless of the tension that welled up within her. “What about me! What about me!” she yelled. Unable to wait a second longer, craving the soothing arms of death or whatever else it had to offer. Now, the voice seemed to hush, as if now just aware of her existence. Everything became still, as perfect calm claimed the park for a flimsy second… and then, she felt it. Tam felt it, like a kiss of breath upon her being. The voice was before her now. And in one swift, blurring, ephemeral movement, the voice found and happened upon her with a heavy swat across the face.

Now she woke up. It was a dream. And she was very afraid. More afraid than she was in the dream, but afraid enough to want to run for her life if she could. She squinted through the space of light that peeped from the corners about the figure that stood before her in her hiding place that was her closet. It was Mo’.

“Tamara Anyanwu! So this is where Yaff be hiding! Ngwa, who spoil the TV in the parlour?”

That. That was the voice in her dream. Very crisp and clear now. It was the sound of doom.


© The Short Black Girl, 2015.