The first time I ever laid my hand on anyone, I was about twelve years, six months old.

When it happened again, it was ten years later, only this time with blood on my hands.
“Una meno kama ya ngamia!” A burst of rising laughter emerged behind us.

“Your smile is disgusting!”
Hanaa’s hand clasped mine.

“You must be adopted. You’re darker than your whole family,” another chuckled.

“Do you hear that, Hanaa? You’re adopted!” One shouted.

We both continued looking ahead, my other hand clenched.

“Even your sister Sarah knows that you’re stupid, that’s why you’re always last in class!”

I stopped in my tracks. I could feel the heat rising in my face.

Hanaa pulled me forward with her tiny, bony hands. I didn’t budge for a minute.

I turned around just in time to see the smirk on Fatma’s face, the oldest and loudest of the group. Without thinking twice, I dashed to where she was and planted a hefty slap on her face. There was a gasp from her friends as Fatma felt her now red cheek. My heart still pounding, and before I could say anything, someone smacked my head from behind. For a moment, all I could hear was the ringing of my ears. With tears in my eyes, I looked up to see Fatma’s father and mzee Abubakar, one of our neighbours.

Without a word, Fatma’s father took her daughter and walked away to their house which was just a few steps away from where we were standing. What were the odds? I thought to myself, still standing at the same place.

Mzee Abubakar started patting my back as he requested I explain what just happened. In between loud sobs, I narrated my sister’s constant predicament with this specific group of girls. He continued wiping my tears until my breath returned normal, then he bent down close to my ears and whispered, “Don’t tell your mother about this incident. You wouldn’t want her to start a fight with mama and baba Fatma, would you?”

“But…”I said as I looked at Hanaa, whose trousers were now soiled with wetness.

“They are kids. You’re older than them so you understand they’re just being childish. Forgive them for now. Your mother needn’t know.”

Before I could say any other word, he was gone, and so were all the other kids. I looked over at Hanaa who was silently crying. I walked back to her and held her hand.

“Mama will be angry when she sees me,” she pointed to her trouser.

“She is at aunty Wahida’s place today. Let us rush and change before she gets back home.”

We started running quickly, hand in hand. But before we reached our doorstep, mama’s voice rang behind us. My blood froze. I could feel Hanaa’s hand tremble in mine. I turned to face mama as Hanaa quickly positioned herself behind me.

“Why are you late? Madrasa ended half an hour ago.”

We both looked down.

“Sarah, speak!”

“We met some friends on the way and got a bit distracted with some games,” I said, still looking at the ground.

“Mwataka kikoto sio?!”

We shook our heads quickly.

She clicked her tongue loudly, “I have a wedding to go to so I won’t let you ruin my evening. Get inside, your food is in the kitchen. Thereafter, make sure to do your homework.”

As they entered the house, mama turned around and faced Hanaa with scrutinizing eyes.

“Did you pee on yourself again?! What is that on your trousers?”

We remained silent. Mama looked at me.

“Uhh…we…we sort of got into a fight with Fatma and her friends…Hanaa got scared,” I whispered.

“Again?! What do those girls want? I will break their necks the next time I see them. What was the fight about?”

In a very low and shaky voice, I narrated to her what had occurred.

“Mama, please don’t start a fight with them. Mzee Abubakar said he will talk to her parents about her behaviour,” I lied.

“I am not stupid to go fight with those pigs. With one tackle they will break my bones. But I know what I shall do. Wataona!”


“Hanaa, why would you pee on yourself while you weren’t even the one who was beaten huh?” Mama ignored me. “How many times have I told you, that you need to stand up for yourself? You think those girls will ever respect you if you keep peeing on yourself and bringing bad grades home?!”

Our eyes remained glued to the ground.

“Go on …go change. I will deal with this. And this should be the last time you pee on yourself! If you pee once more, ntakufunga jongoo waskia?” she threatened.

Hanaa nodded meekly.

Mama then stormed out of the house and I quickly followed her to Fatma’s home which was in the same neighbourhood.

“Mama Fatma! Fungua mlango!” Mama shouted outside their compound. “Mama Fatma!” she banged the door.

Mama Fatma slowly opened her door with a frown.

“Bismillah, kuna nini?”

“Do you want me to start telling your neighbours the truth about Fatma?!” she hissed with a murmur.

Mama Fatma’s eyes bulged, looked left and right then quickly pulled mama and me inside the house and closed the door behind us.

“Listen very carefully! Your child is a nuisance and we both know why that is. If you don’t want me to go around and inform people that she is a mwanaharamu, then you better discipline her. I don’t want her near my daughters ever again. And that husband of yours, if he ever raises his filthy hand on my daughter ever again, I will finish him with my own two hands!”

“Sawa mama Sarah. Sawa,” she said with a shaky voice. “I will talk to my daughter, I promise. Please stiri mambo yetu kama vile Mungu anavotustiri sote,” she pleaded.

“Before you mention God to me, teach your child manners first, waskia? Don’t make me do things I don’t want to.”

Before mama Fatma could respond, Mama took my hand and led me outside and we started walking back home.

“Is it true Ma?” I asked.

“What is true?”

“That Fatma is an illegitimate child?”

“I should never hear you say those words again, do you hear me?!”

I nodded quickly, and we didn’t say a word the rest of the way.

As the years went by, the bullying still went on. Despite mama’s threats, Fatma didn’t change at all. In fact, she seemed to attain more pleasure in picking on Hanaa. And because Hanaa didn’t want mama to make a fuss about it, even when mama asked her about Fatma and her friends, she said that everything had been good; they’d left her alone. I would often try to protect her, but we never brought the complaints to mama ever again.

The bed-wetting went on too until she was ten years old is when it finally stopped. Mama was so relieved; she almost thought Hanaa would still be peeing on herself even as a bride. However, her grades never got better and both mama and her teachers gave up on her. Hanaa slowly became invisible to them. All tasks at home were given to me because according to mama, Hanaa was useless like our father’s family. At school, the teachers praised my intelligence as they compared the two sisters in the staffroom.

As expected, Hanaa didn’t have any friends at school or madrasa and spent most of her time alone. She would join me for both break and lunch because I was the only one who would talk to her.

When I got into secondary school, it was very difficult for both of us. Students started picking on Hanaa again because I was no longer there. Many evenings, she came back home and went to bed without speaking a word. She was losing weight at a high speed and mama’s frustrations gave us an even rougher time. Sometimes I would awaken late at night and hear Hanaa sobbing silently into her pillow. My heart ached for her but I was mostly helpless to do anything.

A few years later, when Hanaa finally completed primary school after repeating two classes, mama didn’t even wait for the results to be out. She immediately found a groom for her. The man, who was twenty years older than Hanaa, was set to marry his bride as soon as she turned 17-only a few months later.

“Mama, how can you do this? You always complained about dad’s family pushing him to go for a second wife just because you’re not their choice. How are you okay with Hanaa being a second wife now?!” I protested when we were alone.

“It is not the same.”

“How is it not the same?!”

“This man is only marrying again because his first wife can’t conceive. That is a genuine reason. And mashallah he can afford to comfortably look after two wives.”

“Why have you given up on her so early?” tears started falling.

Mama sighed as she sat down on the mkeka, “You think I am happy sending away my child? Aren’t I a mother too? Don’t I want the best for all of you?”

I remained silent.

“Your sister is very slow and naïve and doesn’t even have extraordinary beauty to boost her prospects. Do you think life is easy? Look at me. Look at how miserable I am despite my beauty and brains. No one has ever helped me. And your father’s family never once asked about us or stepped into this house since he died. Despite their wealth, they never cared about the orphans he left behind, just because he refused to marry the woman of their choice.”

“So that’s your reason to get rid of her?”

“I just want her to be settled in her home before I leave this world. I am not so worried about you. I know you can face anything that comes your way…but Hanaa…she is too weak. Sometimes we have to help her in making decisions that will be good for her in the long run.” Her voice shook.

We sat there for a long time without saying anything, tears in our eyes.

Being a secondary school student, I was still powerless to do anything to help Hanaa. I had no one to turn to. Hanaa had given up on herself too. It seemed she had bought to mama’s belief that she had no prospects in life, so she readily followed mama around as they shopped for the upcoming wedding.

“At least I’ll be a mother. I’ll be useful for once,” she said to me one night as she stared at her green and white hijabi wedding gown.

“You’ve always been useful Hanaa. You’re kind and thoughtful and a great friend and sister. It just takes another kind heart to see that.”

She chuckled.

“You will be visiting me often, right?”

“At your palace you mean? Of course!” I laughed. “You always wanted to be a seamstress. I hope you still try it out. You have great ideas for clothes.”

“Haha, well, now it depends if Mr Husband lets me do it.”

“He better! Your talent shouldn’t go to waste. Once you become a mother in shaa Allah you’ll be the one to make pretty dresses and clothes for them.”

“And for your children too in shaa Allah,” she winked with a smile.

“I have a long way to go. I have to finish secondary first, then go to college, then find a job to help mama in shaa Allah.”

“Maybe then she’ll stop being so bitter,” She laughed quietly.

“You do know that she loves you right? She’s just had a very rough life…and baba who was her only support died so young. I am not justifying her actions of course, but never think that she doesn’t love you.”

“Well, I just hope our children never grow up doubting our love for them.”

I moved to where she was seated and hugged her for a long time before we finally retired to sleep.

A few days later, a small, intimate nikah was performed at our house. The only people present were mum, our aunt who we rarely ever saw, and two of our neighbours who were friendly with mama. From the groom’s side were his elderly mother, his sister, and his two brothers. The ceremony was short and sweet. The visitors were glowing from all the gold they were wearing and all seemed jovial. Even mama shed some tears. We all had a buffet of a variety of Arab and Swahili dishes for lunch and there was laughter and merry in our small house. Hanaa looked like a midget seated next to the tall and built Ismail, her husband. She had a sweet smile and it was almost painful to look at her innocent face.

Before Hanaa left, mama took her most loved golden necklace and put it on her neck. I could see the surprise in Hanaa’s eyes, and the tears that followed shortly after that. We all then kissed her goodbye as her in-laws escorted her to her new home. I almost believed the wedding wasn’t such a bad idea after all…until several months later…

Being a bride looked good on Hanaa. Ismail was away most of the time and she enjoyed her freedom. She was living in a luxurious home and could afford most of what she wanted. The best of all was that Ismail allowed her to take up a sewing course at a nearby college. Soon enough, she had her butterfly sewing machine at her home, making cute tiny dresses as trials. I would visit her often enough whenever I knew Ismail wasn’t around. Even mama seemed happy visiting her, and sometimes, being mesmerized by all the kitchen equipment Hanaa had, mama would even offer to cook for her while there.

However, after a while, it became clear to me that Hanaa and Ismail never really had much love or affection for one another. Hanaa rarely mentioned Ismail unless necessary, and when she did, it was like she was referring to a neighbour she knew.

One time I asked her whether she was happy and her shoulders fell.

“It’s the same story, you know.”

“What same story?”

“Same cliche story we’ve heard over and over again. He loves his first wife very much. Even when with me, he still keeps calling her. I believe his family pressured him to marry a second wife just to get kids. It is clear I am only here as a birthing machine.”

“I am so sorry Hanaa,” I held her hand.

“But I am okay, don’t worry about me. He does fulfil his duties as a husband, at least the majority of them. Plus I am more at peace can’t you see? Mama is no longer stressed about my grades, Fatma and her gang are far away from me now, I am eating well plus I get to do this!” she pointed at a cute green and white dress she was still working on.

I sighed loudly.

I looked at the dress keenly and said, “You should start selling these you know? They’re too good to remain in suitcases under your bed.”

“I will! Let me perfect the art first,” she winked as she continued sewing.

Within the first year of marriage, Hanaa was selling elegant and stylish clothes to her neighbours. During the Eid and wedding seasons, she would get super busy with client orders. Ismail started getting frustrated with the frequent clients coming into their home. Moreover, Hanaa hadn’t conceived yet. The man was getting impatient.

Every month, Ismail diligently asked about her menses and would sometimes refuse to eat when Hanaa confirmed that she got her periods. Soon enough, he was breaking plates and cups at every minor mistake that Hanaa did and would disappear for more days than he did previously.

At the time, I had already started attending nursing classes. Every weekend I would visit Hanaa and find her trying out new recipes to win over her husband. But Ismail had become even more distant than before and his art of breaking cutlery was getting more intense by the day.

“I am unsettled about this man. What if he harms you?!” I exclaimed one evening as we shopped for new plates.

“Majaaliwa yangu.”

I rolled my eyes.

“You deserve better. And you need to stand for yourself now. Don’t just allow things to happen to you!”

“Mama shouldn’t know about this, please. She is already stressed that I am not yet pregnant.”

“I won’t. But maybe it is also for the best. You should enjoy your youth before you become a mother.”

“Enjoy what youth? I am already 18. I want to be a mother. That will be enjoyable for me.”

“That is because mama made you believe that is the only good thing you’re capable of. You’re more than that. For one, you’re a very talented seamstress!”

“Yeah well…”

“Hasn’t Ismail been tested? Doesn’t he know that everything has turned out clear for you?”

“He knows but I wouldn’t dare ask him. He could break a plate on my head. Plus the doctor will question him about me. How will he explain marrying a 17-year-old girl at this year and age, who could as well be his daughter?”

“That is a good question. I would love to hear the answer to that.”

“Must be painful for him to marry a girl he didn’t even want and couldn’t give him children either,” Hanaa looked down.

“Hey! Don’t allow that pity of a man to make you his punching bag! You are a dutiful wife and again, the doctor said nothing is wrong with you. If he really wants kids he should put his ego aside and get tested!”

“We’ll see about that in shaa Allah. Let’s get going. I have an engagement dress to make.”

“Oh look at you! Soon enough you’ll be selling wedding gowns as well!” We both laughed heartily.

The first time Hanaa suggested that Ismail should get tested, she was given a black eye and her sewing machine was taken away. The whole week she avoided my calls and kept excusing herself that she is busy with some orders. I had to pop up at her home unexpectedly on a Friday afternoon for me to find out what was going on.

She avoided eye contact the whole time I spoke to her and her voice was barely audible. Ismail hadn’t apologized and hadn’t been back since he had left.

“Please don’t tell mama.”

“That is your worry right now? We must tell mama. You should come home with me right away.”

“Come back and do what? Overwhelm mama once more with my presence? Our relationship has gotten better since I got married. I don’t want to go back to what we once were.”

“But…mama wouldn’t mind your return. It is still your home after all. You’re not safe here.”

“This is my home now Sarah. Ismail won’t do it again, don’t worry. All I have to do is avoid asking him about getting tested, khalas.”

Although I insisted, Hanaa refused to return home with me and made me promise to not tell mama.

However, despite Hanaa’s attempt to cover up for her husband by using make-up, mama finally noticed that something was up during our next visit. This time there was a fresh mark on her arm. Apparently, during one of his plate-breaking sprees, a piece of the glass mistakenly hit Hanaa’s arm.

“That is the fate of us women, my daughter. From birth we are made to carry the burdens of everyone; our parents, our children, our husbands, and our community. Subiri…just work harder at getting pregnant, he will be okay once he has a baby in his arms,” she said slowly as she looked outside the window.

“But Ma!!!” I exclaimed.

“We can’t get involved in matters between a husband and his wife. This is beyond me now,” she sighed.

“She doesn’t have to carry this burden. And she shouldn’t! Hanaa is still very young and beautiful. She can get her divorce and open her boutique. She can still get married when she is ready in the future.”

“Hmm, which world do you live in? Who will accept a divorcee who hasn’t even gone beyond primary education? Plus do you think it is easy to open a business?! Look at how we’ve struggled all our lives. We depended on well-wishers for your school fees throughout. We don’t have any savings at all. We can barely make ends meet.”

“Sarah, it is okay. Mama has a point. I’ll see a herbalist about the pregnancy issue, perhaps the outcome will be different this time.”

“In shaa Allah, and I am praying for you every day, that you may get a child and be happy in your marriage. Right now, he is blinded by his first wife’s love…but once the child arrives, he will finally appreciate you. That will be the game changer.” Mama said.

As we left that evening, I could feel a pinch in my heart as I saw the sadness lingering in Hannah’s eyes. When our eyes met, she spread her lips a bit and waved me goodbye.

Hanaa was now sleeping through the day and night. She had lost more weight than she had ever before. Ismail hadn’t been to her home for an entire month and when I’d visit, the entire house would be dark with no curtains or windows open. I’d be welcomed by the stench of dirty utensils, rotten food and body odour. When I realized that she was bed-wetting again, I packed her clothes and went with her home without informing mama.

When mama first saw Hanaa, she gasped but never said a word after that. I opened a warm water shower and let her inside. Hanaa was simply performing robotic movements and hadn’t said a word since I found her in her bed. After that, I made her some hot soup and fed her before laying her to rest in her old bed.

“My God! What should I do about Hanaa?! Ataniuaaa ataniua huyu mtoto.” Mama lamented when I finally sat down with her.

“You don’t have to do anything. I will take care of her, don’t worry. At least I will put my nursing skills to use.”

“That is not what I meant, come on. I can take care of her as well. I just don’t understand where I went wrong with her. Why is she so different from you?!”

“Please let’s not talk about this. She might overhear you and she already has enough on her plate.”

“Fine. But what will we tell her husband when he comes searching for her?”

“Are you…are you afraid of him?!”

“No, but he is a noble man. We shouldn’t interfere in their marriage.”

“Noble because he comes from a known, rich family? What nobility is that? He and his family can all go to hell,” I said with finality as I went back to our room and closed the door.

Ismail turned up at our house one week later. In his hands were a bouquet and Hanaa’s butterfly machine.

Mama welcomed him with a nervous smile and explained to him that Hanaa had been unwell, that’s why she was brought home.

“I was worried about her. Her phone has been off. I figured she must be here. May I talk to her?”

“No, you may not and will not!” I interjected.

Ismail stood up with puzzlement.

“Hanaa is not your punching bag for your infertility. Go to a gym or go break all the remaining plates in your home if you want. But you’ll never see Hanaa ever again. You’ll never get the chance to harm her anymore!”

“What are you saying?! Hanaa is my wife!” he trembled with rage.

“And I am his sister.”

“Okay okay, let us calm down for a minute. Hanaa is unwell and we all care for her well-being. Let us talk calmly,” mama said.

“Watch your tongue young lady,” Ismail waved his finger at me.

“I want a divorce,” Hannah’s timid voice interrupted us.

We all turned around at once. She was standing in the hallway with messy hair and a flowery dera.

Mama gasped.

Ismail clenched his fist.

My heart was now drumming.

Ismail slowly approached Hanaa with an intense look on his face.


“You heard what I said. I am exhausted, I can’t do this anymore. I want my divorce right now.”

“Hanaa, you’re not thinking clearly right now. Let us go home and we can talk carefully.”

“No, I am sure this is what I want,” she said, still in a low voice.

“Did they…did they ask you to do this?!” Ismail pointed to mama and me.

“Ismail…” Mama started.

“This is purely my decision. I can’t give you a child so divorce me. Find another wife or adopt one with your riches if you want but if you were a real man, you’d seek treatment instead of dragging your wives into your misery.”

Ismail instantly grabbed Hanaa’s neck and pushed her to the wall, his grip tightening. “Did I not tell you to never mention this stupid treatment thing to me?! Are you still doubting my manhood?!”

“Ismail stop!!” Mama shouted. Both mama and I rushed to him and tried pulling him away. But both of us were two feeble women while he was a tall, built man. Mama was now crying as she cursed him. Hanaa was choking as she pushed her palms on his face.

Without thinking twice, I grabbed the nearest heavy pan from the kitchen and struck Ismail’s head. Within that split moment, and as his grip loosened around her neck, Hanaa shoved him.

The loud thud that followed startled us.

Still glued to the wall, Hanaa breathed heavily.

My entire body was shaking.

Mama’s mouth was wide open with tears in her eyes.

“There’s blood,” Hanaa murmured shakily.

We turned to where Ismail was lying still. His head had hit the edge of our glass dining table and a pool of blood was forming beneath him.

We stood silently in our places, only our heavy breathing could be heard.

“Sarah, do something!” Mama shouted.

I looked at her in a daze.

“You’re a nursing student, aren’t you?!” She continued.

Hanaa gave me a nudge and I cleared my throat uncomfortably. I slowly placed the pan on the floor and bent to where Ismail was lying and felt for his pulse.

“Bring a clean towel or cloth Hanaa. Quick!”

“Is he alive?”

“His pulse is weak but I think he is. Move!”

Hanaa brought a small clean towel which I pressed firmly on his head where the blood seemed to be coming from. But the blood kept coming and coming, and I kept adding more and more pieces of clothes. The blood just wouldn’t stop.

I looked at my trembling, bloodied hand.

“We have to call for an ambulance Ma. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know!” My voice broke.

“Haven’t…haven’t they taught you how to save people?”

“Ma! He will bleed to death! I am still very new to this! I don’t know what else to do!”

“They will arrest us,” Hanaa said, still holding the wall for support.

“Ma please do something!” My tears now mixed with the blood smeared all over my arms and clothes.

“Okay okay… Hanaa call the ambulance. Tell them there’s been an accident, he is bleeding heavily. Tell them to rush and give them our address. Don’t say anything more. Do you hear me?”

Hanaa nodded. I could see the wet patch on her dera, still frozen in her place.

She started sobbing loudly.

“Hanaa make the call!! He can’t die!”

“I don’t think he will survive this Ma…” Before I could finish my statement, Ismail’s body stiffened and started shaking violently, his arms and legs jerking repeatedly. Mama rushed to him and held his limbs down.

“Just make the damn call!” she shouted to Hanaa.

Startled by her voice, she rushed to the next room and talked in a shaky voice.

“Here’s what we will say,” mama said when Hannah joined us again. Ismail’s seizure had stopped but he was still unconscious.

“We will tell the truth from the beginning. Then we shall explain what he came to do here today and he tried to choke you when you demanded a divorce. You were struggling to breathe, I had to save you or else he would have ended your life. I am the one who hit him with the pan and pushed him away from Hanaa.”

She turned to me, “You were helping me stop the blood thus the mess on your clothes. Don’t say anything else.”

“You don’t have to do that Ma,” Hanaa cried.

“It was a matter of life and death. It can’t be that hard to convince the judges in court. They will understand, right?” She looked at me.

“Ma…”I quivered.

Mama slowly picked up the pan and wiped the handle with the leso she had on. She then held it with her free hand before placing it next to her.

“What are you doing Ma?” Hanaa stared.

“The pan handle has to have my fingerprints, no?”

Hanaa sat down on the floor, her hands on her head. I held mama’s left hand as her tears fell freely.

“I am sorry. I am very sorry…I was supposed to be your mother and protect you and be there for you, but I always failed. Please forgive me.” She cried, looking at Hanaa, then I.

My one hand still pressing on Ismail’s head, mama knelt and embraced me. She then signalled Hanaa to join us. So we sat there in the pool of blood, our heads close together, each one of us weeping.

Ismail’s limp body lay in front of us, with barely any sign of life. As we heard the sirens get closer, our crying became more vehement. Whichever way this went, we were doomed. We all knew it- our lives would never be the same again.

Young people are rebellious. Hot-headed. Insubordinate. Secondary school teachers have especially a difficult time dealing with adolescents. Universities are sometimes over-powered by angry youth during riots. They have their demands. They want freedom.

We could never deny the challenges the youth bring into educational institutions. However, one crucial matter that is sometimes overlooked, especially in Kenya, is the kind of influence the teachers have on their students.

It doesn’t matter if one is a secondary teacher, a university lecturer, a home teacher, a trainer, all those in a position to educate young people from the teenage years to adulthood play a very crucial role. They spend most of the time with the youth. They are the ones who get to spot when one is going astray, hanging out with the wrong group, or slacking around.  They are the ones to notice when a child is being discriminated against or picked on or depressed. They are the ones who either become role models to the youth or crush them entirely according to how they deal with them.

The youth are fragile. They are still trying to contemplate what life is all about. They are still shaping their identities. Yet how many times do we see educators being the nightmare to the youth? How many times have we seen educators call students failures or give them embarrassing nicknames or harass them or call out on them for their looks or tribe or their body weight? How many times have we seen educators abuse the youth; emotionally, physically, mentally? How many times have university students failed their exams because they refused to be sexually manipulated by their lecturers? How many youths have been scarred permanently by their educators?

There is this intriguing and thought-provoking story about the Solomon Islands which is in the South Pacific Ocean. The people in the village use quite a unique way of logging; ‘yelling and felling’. So how this goes is that whenever the villagers want to cut down a huge, thick tree, they’d curse and yell at the tree powerfully for thirty days. After this period, the tree surrenders and dies. The villagers believe this method has always worked. When the villagers curse, their whole intent to break the tree’s spirit is so strong that they successfully make it die. While there is no scientific validity to this story, it should make us ponder. Think about this: how powerful are words then that they are able to kill a tree? And if it can kill a tree, what about the spirit of a human that is filled with hopes, dreams, goals, and fears? (The story of Solomon Islands was first mentioned in Bruce H. Lipton’s ‘The Biology of Life’. Read more at https://www.newsgram.com/power-of-words-the-story-of-the-solomon-islands/)

Without a doubt, teaching is a very noble profession. These are the individuals who make us grow and strive for greatness. They are the ones who push us to dream and explore. We could never downplay their very important role in our lives. Yet sometimes, these are the same people who bring us down entirely. Make us detest ourselves. Make us hate the idea of seeking education and want to drop out entirely.

It is indeed high time that our educators, whether in institutions or even in workplaces, are properly evaluated and properly trained on how to deal with human beings using diplomacy rather than abuse. The young people, from teenage years to pre-adulthood are like clay that is still being molded. The clay is in their hands. They have the power to shape it into something extra-ordinary or over-water it till becomes lifeless dirty water.


As you may have noticed, the above does apply to parents as well because they too are educators; the most important ones! It can also apply to each one of us and how we interact with other human beings, sometimes very carelessly. May we always be conscious of how we talk and deal with other people. Ameen.

To every teacher doing their job whole-heartedly and striving to make a difference, however small, we salute you and appreciate you!


Photo Courtesy: pinterest.com

As I write this, I know I am speaking for so many people who have been victims of bullying and thereafter became either of two; a doormat or a monster they created. Being treated like a doormat sucks. It can happen for no apparent rhyme or reason; people using you, treating you like a dogsbody, walking all over you or not thinking about what you want or what’s best for you. The trouble is, the more it happens, the more you feel like you can’t change it; the more it happens the smaller you get.Being a doormat makes you become a people-pleaser; You do everything to please everyone. As for the monster created; a person becomes so bitter about life and people and just hate the idea of having to deal with human beings. They become like an angry lion who doesn’t want to speak to anyone and just wants to be alone because people can’t be trusted and are just too evil.

For a long time my personality fluctuated between being a doormat and being the bitter monster. Between trying so hard to please people and pushing them away at the same time. I read this from an article called, ‘From Doormat to Bitch In 5 Seconds Flat; Assertiveness: The Happy Medium’ about another victim who says, ‘Those of us with Borderline Personality Disorder ( a condition characterized by difficulties in regulating emotion. This difficulty leads to severe, unstable mood swings, impulsivity and instability, poor self-image and stormy personal relationships) often think in black or white terms (all or nothing), or dialectics. In the case of being passive versus assertive, in the past, I saw no middle ground. I’d either respond in a completely passive way, allowing others to take advantage of me, or I’d turn into a complete and total bitch, full of anger, hostility, and judgment. I would go from feeling like a doormat to exploding in response to the resentment, and I could be quite cruel. There is a middle ground, and the journey there is paved with learning boundaries and self-care.’ And I too go through the same extremes being submissive and being too bitter. You just get too moody and trust me, it’s not the life you’d wish for.

I didn’t even know that this is the consequence of the childhood bullying I went through and I kept asking myself, ‘what is wrong with me?’ This question can be so damn irritating and annoying because you don’t know if you are the problem or the rest of the world.

The seeds of people-pleasing are usually planted in childhood, according to Jay Earley, author of Finding Your Life Purpose. “Often, parents will simply tell kids what to do and never encourage them to assert themselves,” he says. “When the kids obey, the parents give them conditional love.”

Such an environment sends a subconscious message to children: The only way to feel valuable is to comply with others’ demands, give others what they need, and “go with the flow.” The pattern only solidifies as children grow up, fearing that if they do not strive to please, people will not love them. They respond to this perceived threat by becoming obsessed with meeting others’ needs. Because girls are typically trained from an early age to accommodate and defer to others, a disproportionate number of people-pleasers are women.

Once established, such behaviors become self-reinforcing which makes them difficult to uproot. They get rewarded by bosses, co-workers, and friends just as they do by parents, prompting pleasers to assume doormat postures over and over again in hopes of receiving more kudos.

A doormat typically thinks he is below everyone else on earth. He/she apologizes a lot. And by a lot I mean A LOT. I have been apologizing my entire life; saying sorry for things I didn’t do, taking the blame, apologizing to people who don’t even deserve a greeting let alone an apology. I said sorry like it was the only vocabulary in my dictionary. And even when saying this I feel sorry for myself; for having neglected myself for too long. No, this is not for you to feel pity for the ones with doormat syndrome/ personality. It is for you to watch up your actions when dealing with emotionally ‘weak’ people rather than taking advantage. Nonetheless, doormat personality never really made me weak; it made me stronger and a survivor. It made me know how to cross oceans on foot and how to walk on cactus. It made me value the true people in my life and appreciate humanity.

A doormat easily gets walked on by others and is a victim of mistreatment. He/she believes she is always in the wrong somehow and thus the continuous apologies. They often feel life is unfair and wants people to feel sorry for them. They need approval from others because he/she doesn’t approve of herself. I for example have been seeking approval of everything I do and say; of every single thing with the exception of going to the loo maybe lol. My friends are my witnesses. I always needed someone to tell me ‘you have done the right thing’, ‘yes you should do that’ ‘Yes you are not wrong.’ And even when I do something without an approval, I would still seek it after. It’s depressing because you will never miss someone opposing your thoughts and in turn, it makes you start feeling guilty that you did the ‘wrong thing’. As such, doormats are very poor decision makers and being put in situations where they must make a decision is a great dilemma. This does not only go for great life decisions but also simple issues like choosing a dress. This makes them go for anything and accepting being kept as the last option because they don’t really know their worth.

A doormat complains to others the unfairness of others because they get comfort in sharing their pain with others. They are easily taken advantage of and are afraid to confront people in their lives. They can rarely say no when asked to do something by others and they usually find their power by making others feel guilty. Lol, the latter has always been my number one weapon to deal with wicked people (followed by my number two weapon of using sarcasm). And the more bitter I was, the more i’d make you feel guilty. Well, it’s never on purpose. It just comes automatically. Yes, I will re-tell what you did to me, how you hurt me, how it damaged me and how you are going to regret 😀 Yes, you are definitely going to regret especially when you see my 50 messages and 20 missed calls 😀 Yes again, I am that paranoid but I have always believed that confronting people who have hurt you is always best than telling it to other people. So I usually write to the people involved; I’d write until the pen goes dry and my hand aches. I’d make sure to describe my every feeling at that moment and send it to the person who hurt me. When I am too angry, I could write it in both paragraphs and point form. You know, to make it more interesting 😀 The ones who have fallen victims of my very long paragraphs will vigorously nod at this and be like, ‘damn she can write!!’ 😀 Trust me, it makes you damn satisfied. That you were able to make a heartless person have a pinch of guilt in their heart is not a joke you know? 😀 You feel accomplished; like you have put that person in their place and now let karma and guilt deal with them. Well, making someone feel guilty has never been the right way to deal with villainous people because even their guilt is never long lasting, but when you are a doormat, you barely have anything to make you feel better. To make it worse, very few people actually understand what you are going through and the support is little so you just do whatever makes you feel right and for me, it has always been to write you a detailed description of the state of my heart. Oh yes, it works miraculously. Always made me feel like super woman, cat woman or something like that 😀

So how does a people-pleaser end the cycle? While perpetual pushovers often lack self-worth and clear direction in their lives, breaking the cycle is complicated. The cure is not abstinence—neglecting others’ needs entirely means crossing the border into narcissism. Take a close look at what situations trigger your pleasing behavior and why. “People-pleasing behavior comes from fear, from an assumption that others are in control of you. Healthy behavior comes from genuinely wanting to be connected to people,” Earley says. “Ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing this? Is it because I really care about this person, or because I’m afraid I’m going to lose them?’ ” This kind of questioning can help you uncover the source of the fears underlying your people-pleasing bent. Did your parents’ conditional love lead you to dread abandonment? Did the pain of a past heartbreak make you overly anxious about offending or disagreeing with your new partner? Consider the answers and discard fears that don’t make sense anymore.

Be receptive to others’ concerns, but don’t leave your own by the wayside. How to make sure you’re the one manning the controls:

1. Start with you: Change starts with you dialing up your self-worth; something that can be started in the following ways:

a. Really give yourself credit for your achievements—all those things you’ve done and gone through in your life.
b. Get to know your values—those things that are woven through you and are the cornerstones for who you are.
c. Prioritise the nourishment of your body, mind, and heart—nobody else can keep you nourished and caring for yourself.

2. Start teaching others: “You teach people how to treat you“. If someone is regularly treating you like a doormat, their behaviour is not okay. Your task, and I get how scary this might seem, is to change your response to start giving them that message. This doesn’t have to be a big, dramatic showdown; it can be done gently and with the same respect that you want. You might be scared, but you know what you need to do.
As the famous line goes, help them help you.

3. Stall for time. If someone puts you on the spot, politely defer: “I’ll check my calendar and get back to you tomorrow.” Then you can assess whether the request fits in with your schedule and goals.

4. Examine your motivations. People-pleasing seems like the epitome of niceness, but pleasers may assume their submissive postures because of what they expect in return. Being a people-pleaser might begin with the best intentions, but if you’re not careful, you keep on doing so because you want to see how pleased they are with what you’ve done or even to hear those magic words: “Thank you”. Being a people-pleaser can turn you into a bottomless pit—that not only sees others take advantage of you, but seriously damages your self-esteem. People-pleasing is not a selfless act; it’s a selfish one. It’s a flawed way to feel good about yourself, so stop it. How can you be more generous with yourself? And how would it be if you could be generous for others, not because of any validation but because there’s value in the very act of giving?
If you grant someone a favor, do it because it fulfills you—not to get something back. As a famous quote says, ‘when you do someone a favour with expectations, it’s business not kindness.’

5. Role-play to practice asserting your needs. Get a friend to play a pushy boss, parent, or acquaintance—whoever triggers your people-pleasing. Then practice saying no to unreasonable requests until it starts to feel natural.

6. Apply confidence: If you’re used to people walking all over you, it’s likely that you’re not used to asserting yourself. Natural confidence is being able to trust your behaviour with implicit faith in your abilities, so when you’re doing something, there’s no doubt about your ability to do it—you have full confidence. Applying that same sense of confidence to a new situation is what allows you to operate right at the edge or just out of your comfort zone, and this will feel uncomfortable. That feeling of discomfort isn’t the enemy and it doesn’t mean you don’t have confidence, it just means you’re someplace new. Trust yourself to do what’s best.

7.You’re Not Alone: If your ill-treatment has been happening for some time you might be feeling isolated in your experience, so it can be extraordinarily useful and important to talk about it, or even to ask for some support or help. Other people are going through what you’re going through, and you don’t have to do this alone.

Asking someone you trust to talk about what’s happening is not only a great way to offload a little, it just might allow you to step back enough to see a fresh perspective or another way through. You don’t need anyone to fix things for you, so don’t let that be your motivation here—the point is to connect with another human being so that you’re supported through this.

Think about it this way: if a good friend of yours was going through the same thing, wouldn’t you want to hear about it and support them in attaining something better?

8. Raise your expectations: There’s a massive cost to lowering your expectations to that kind of level, and the act of lowering your expectations and accepting bad treatment can be more damaging in the long run than the bad treatment itself.

Don’t ever make assumptions about what you should put up with or what you should expect. If you’re going to have any expectations about how things should go, base them on what you’d love to see happen, not what you wish wasn’t happening.

9. If All Else Fails
If you’ve truly done all you can to change things and to stop being treated like a doormat and nothing seems to work, then get the hell out. Life is way too short to have your experience of it and your self-esteem damaged by someone else, and sometimes you need to make a brave choice.

If you need to, be willing to remove yourself from the situation or relationship and start building the kind of life you’d love to live.

10. You deserve better: You don’t need to “keep on keeping on”, and you don’t need to put up with being treated like a doormat.

You deserve better, so make a start.

It’s not easy, I very well know but this is our journey to self-love, to happiness, to healing and to have wings. Let those demons out. Do not let all the bitterness, anger and pain destroy you. Again, do not forget, you are not alone. Seek help and most importantly, learn to forget. It may take time for you to forgive the people who made you what you are but do know that forgiving people is good for your soul. Do it for yourself. Do it not because they deserve it by because you deserve the peace of mind. Because you deserve better.

Also do know that not everyone will be happy that you are changing. For now people may shower you with praises and say you are the best but that’s just because you are always there for them and ready to serve them in whichever way. Well who doesn’t like to play the queen/king role? They are glad to have you because you can easily be manipulated and controlled. Perhaps this self discovery journey is what will make you know your true friends for they are the ones who will support you to change and to become assertive and firm.

Before I end this, I’d really like to thank my family and very few friends who’ve been SO patient with me; my mood swings, my bitterness to the world and my low points. And to my best friend; for always pushing me to be assertive and for fighting for what I deserve from other people. Thanks for trying to understand me and for encouraging me to seek help. My most sincere gratitude to Mrs Salma Bashir for leading me on this healing path.

Psychology today

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When you have been a victim of bullying for a greater part of your childhood or even adulthood, the effects of it can be long-lasting. We often take for granted what we say and do to others; very much such that we ignore how much we have affected their lives. My mum told me her story of when she was very young of maybe not more than 10 years. So she was living with her aunty and cousins and one day her aunty trusted her with some money to go deliver to a teacher in her school, who was also a family member. She was so proud of herself. You know the feeling you get when you are trusted from a crowd and given the honour of delivering an amanah. As young as she was, she felt so confident and she walked into the staff room full of teachers with her head held high. She gave the money as expected but unfortunately, the teacher didn’t count the money when she received it (this again shows the importance of checking and confirming what we receive as soon as we get the amanah). Later on, the teacher reported that she received less money. So mum was summoned and asked why the money was less and she obviously defended herself that she gave it as it was. Three of the family members started interrogating her one after another taking turns. One would ask if she had taken the missing money and beat her up in the process, when he got tired another would come and do the same. They kept beating her and beating her until one of them said, ‘we won’t stop beating you unless you admit you took the money.’ Having no other way out, mum confessed of a crime she hadn’t committed and it was only then that they stopped beating her. Although she was let go, she admits that to date, that is one thing she will never forget in her life. That she was declared a thief and harassed and hurt badly for something she hadn’t done. While growing up, she kept saying that she will never forgive those who did that to her. No I don’t blame her. I have several people that to date I say I will never forgive. It’s not easy as one may presume. One side of me really wants to forgive and forget but there is that bitterness you live with for the rest of your live. You become just so annoyed with people and life. You really can’t wait for karma to get back at them. In fact you wish that when it all happens, you be right there to remind them, ‘remember what you did to me? Now this is karma paying you back.’

In psychology, bullying is a distinctive pattern of deliberately harming and humiliating others. They couldn’t exist without victims and they don’t usually just pick on anyone; they single out people who lack assertiveness and radiate fear far long before they encounter bullying, which is so true. I have built walls as big as the great wall of China around me. Its defensive mechanism on always. You don’t wait to be attacked, you are already keeping guard. Most people think bullying is just the physical; pushes, shoves, hitting, kicking and punching yet there is the verbal one of name calling (which I’ve been a victim of), taunts, threats, ridicule and insults. There is also the psychological/emotional manipulation whereby someone blackmails you emotionally so that they can get what they want, a tactic which is mostly used by girls. They keep you close by, discovering your secrets and weaknesses then pap! using you by that. So girl bullies mostly use intimacy as a medium of control. Oh please don’t ask me what I have had to do because of girl bullies. They sometimes spread vicious rumours, mock you; mock you really badly at your looks, your tribe, race, your name, just anything they can mock you about; openly and secretly but since some girls can barely shut up, word will always get back to you. They tell others to stop liking you, they try to dominate you, look at you like crap, Intimidate you, threaten to withdraw friendship in order to get their way or simply giving you the silent treatment. As for boys, their aggression plays into goals shown to be important to them such as physical dominance, have things or instrumentality.

Something like what happened to mum happened to me too in my primary school. It was a boarding and day school but the rules were so strict that no day scholar should ever share or bring food to the boarders. Well it is an absurd rule but they say it is for ‘health and hygiene’ purposes. So my ‘friends’ yes, in quotes, used to borrow me food nonetheless. And since many know of how it’s hard for me to say no, I still used to buy them food or share the one from home as well. So there is a day the boarders were summoned to name out all the day scholars who offer them food. Majority of the boarders in other classes refused to mention names but apparently that wasn’t really my lucky day. So someone, from among’st the ones I used to give food to, mentioned my name. Don’t ask me how I was punished that day. Ask me what my skin colour was by the time I left the office. I had been caned below the knees and the place had turned greenish black such that my aunty had to come to school and complain about the severe punishment. Then you go to class and someone simply says ‘sorry?’ SORRY?!! Seriously?? No, you are not about to say sorry and expect me to forgive you. Some of you will probably think it’s silly to have not forgotten such a small thing. It may be a small thing to you but for me it wasn’t. It was betrayal. Betrayal that made me unable to walk comfortably for a number of days. You know, when you have been a victim of bullying for a long time, you become submissive, so did I. So yes, I still kept sharing my food with these same ‘friends’. I still kept doing homework for people, still giving out my book for people to copy, still giving and giving out more, still doing so much for people I called ‘friends’.

You know, it is so unfortunate that we come from a society that doesn’t value emotions or at what stage of our emotional make up we are at. All we care about is how far we are in material life and the only other important issue we ask about is why or when you are going to get married. It is so unfortunate because people keep their calm in these issues and be like, ‘who in Africa commits suicide because of bullying? I mean, we are born in a scorching sun continent in a hungry continent in a miserable continent where slavery took place. You have no right to be in pain, hurt or even say what you really feel. You have no right to be suicidal, I mean did you forget that the Maumau fighters died for you to live in this independent country?! You forget that what goes into your stomach is more important than those silly thoughts and complaints you have about everything and everyone? You forget that Mandela was jailed for 27 freaking years in jail confined to a small cell, the floor his bed, a bucket for a toilet, he was forced to do hard labor in a quarry. He was allowed one visitor a year for 30 minutes. For you; people like you; for Africa and Africans, for racism to end!! Grow up kid, grow up!!’ And then after that we are surprised when we see people become monsters. You made them so. You, who keeps being reckless with your words and actions. You who keeps complaining whenever victims talk and write about it. Oh, today, for once I won’t bother what anyone will say about this. Please, if you are in pain, if you feel like your world is crumbling by, if you feel like you are just being used then talk about it. Take a speaker and shout it out if it is what makes you feel better. Write. Write many many paragraphs as you wish. Write because it is the only thing that will make you relieved. Draw, shout. Do whatever you want. Please do it but just don’t kill yourself. Do it because you are the only one who knows how much pain you are in. You are the only one who knows what is your drug and what can make you feel better. Let them call you an attention seeker, they called me that several times but are they any better being egoistic judging you by your pain? NO. So let them call you what they want but do what it takes to make you feel better.

Never underestimate the effects of bullying and manipulation. It is like a ghost haunting you forever and unfortunately for me, it took me so long to realize that my ugly past made me end up to be a door mat in my adulthood. So heal yourself in your own way. I usually take these breaks from the world I call, ‘self discovery/realization breaks’ where I just sit alone and think about my life, how I have been and how to be better. I cut out communication with people and log out of social media. Trust me, it is healthy. People will think you are just being a weakling but again, never mind. They know not what your journey has been or is.

There are several reasons why a bully becomes a bully and why a victim becomes a victim. A bully is someone who hasn’t learned kindness, compassion and respect. They usually don’t need a reason to hurt others, they just want to feel stronger, smarter or better than the person they are bullying. They direct their frustrations, hurt, anger and difficulty to others. They just like to feel tough for most of the times they are more physically built than the victim. Sometimes people engage in bullying simply because they are part of a group and not because it is their behaviour. But since they want to feel part and parcel of the group, they participate in anti social behaviour. Well for those who know Miss Agatha Trunchbull of the Matilda movie, then she is definitely the perfect example of a big bad bully. And as for the victims they usually fall into the bully’s trap probably for being at the wrong place at the wrong time i.e. working in a place where the bully considers you a threat, being competent i.e. successful, innovative , creative…you are just prone to envy. Being popular, having strength in character i.e. honesty, integrity, trustworthy, having vulnerability i.e. low assertiveness, Revenge i.e. sometimes a person responds to bullying with bullying or having raised concerns about bullying, fraud, safety or any matter where the bully feels implicated or at risk as a result.

Most of the times, victims cry and assume defensive postures. Being submissive is one of them. Not only do they not fight back, they hand over their possessions, handsomely rewarding their attackers psychologically and materially; powerfully reinforcing them. Perhaps another worst memory I have of my past as a child was how I sometimes used to really convince and persuade my sister to give out her stuff to ‘my friends’ even when she didn’t want to simply because they liked the thing. It haunts me to date for in turn, it made me a bully to my sister.

Bullies’ ultimate goal is to get a response. When they manipulate you psychologically or emotionally, they want to use you to get something i.e. ‘You know you are my best friend and I have no other friend but you, please help me do this…or give me this thing i really like it’ and when they get physical, it is usually to get to your nerves. They want you to fight back and most importantly, LOSE.

The best way to handle a bully is by avoidance; just know when to walk away. You don’t have to listen to them. Sometimes you can use humour to defuse a bully who may be about to attack i.e. ‘guess who is talking? The one with a D at school wants to give me life lessons’. Well maybe not exactly humour but sarcasm. Trust me, sarcasm has been my number two weapon. Well you will know of the first weapon in my next article where i will write about the door mat personality in shaa Allah. Anyway, another way to handle a bully is being assertive i.e. ‘Just back off please…’ or ‘Get a life’. Also you can recruit a friend. Having a friend is one of the most powerful protective measures. Oh ask me about it. I’ve been hiding behind my best friend in forever and she is just untouchable lol. She is God sent trust me 🙂 Another way, you may seek friendly people to be one of them. It helps when you have people to support you and help you stand up when you fall.

As for parents, you need to ensure your children have assertive behaviour. Ask them how their peers treat them, model good relationships at home because bullies are not born, they are made and it starts from the home they grow up in. Instill in your children empathy and compassion; let them learn how to be humane from a young age. One other important thing we should know and let children know too is that bullying is bad for the bullies themselves more than anyone else. It makes them angry and furious people which later on greatly affects their relationships i.e. they become batterers. They usually make identical cognitive distortions and attribute hostility to others where it doesn’t exist. This misinterpretation gives bullies and batterers alike a way to justify violence. It is the greasy gear with which they typically shift onto others the blame for their own misdeeds. Bullies also tend to have their children becoming bullies for they feed the next generation with a belief that the world is an uncaring place, an excuse for another go at hostility.

This thing is very real. Just because we rarely have suicide cases in Africa for bullying as in Western world doesn’t mean people are not victims. Be careful how you treat people. You may have forgotten something you did to someone which you may as well be taking so lightly or silly but someone out there is so bitter with you and forgiving you is not in their dictionary. As for you my dear who has or is a victim, learn to stand up for yourself, and this message comes back to me for I am in my healing stage; trying to calm down all these demons that have been long hidden. Seek help, talk to people you trust and not just anyone or ‘friend’, write do whatever makes you at ease. This is in the long run your journey and no one else’s. This is your shoe that no one has worn so own it by standing up for your rights, your thoughts and your happiness! And share this, share as much as you can. Let others know it is okay, that you are in a journey, that you are growing, that you are healing. Let others know it is okay to seek help and talk of it. And by help I mean going for therapy to a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. Don’t let them swallow pills. Be there for victims and most importantly be understanding. I am going to be forever grateful for all those who stood by me when I was too weak to stand up; my family and close friends. Those who forever encourage my healing. Do the same to someone else please. Make a difference today in someone’s life.

References: www.psychologytoday.com

Photo Courtesy: Unknown

The over-flowing rays of the sun overwhelm my face, a beautiful feeling it is. A feeling that makes me awaken from my hilarious dream; I can see the beautiful, colourful birds scatter in the bright sunlight, children are busily playing as their voices ring in the bewilderment, laughing and running after each other. In the farthest corner, is a small girl hunching with her hands on the tiny pretty face, facing the wall. She looks lost, in agony that is sweeping her away with the fast moving wind. Another girl appears, a huge and well looking girl, just mercilessly, throws a stone to the other. The small girl hunching, stands up, waving her tiny hands in the air, puppeting them and crying out in her timid voice,
“Who is that?”

The huge girl laughs loudly, throws another stone and elegantly walks away. Suddenly, everything becomes dark. The rays of the blooming sun disappears and the children’s’ laughter fades away. It becomes so dark and the once ever swaying trees now become like skeleton structures all around the small girl. She starts crying loudly, confused, terrified and agitated- all at once.

The trees are whispering loudly, in a grotesque manner, ‘welcome to reality!’ and yes I turn back to reality. The reality of being in dark always, then I see the familiar face of the timid girl again. This is me, I think to myself. This has always been my life; a life without even a glowing splint in the darkness of misery and stigma. A life of loneliness. A dark never ending life, the life of a blind girl.