Home by Ope Adedeji
Is intricate, peeling off layers on notions about being home within others and one’s self, shedding fractured light on fluid love, body acceptance, trauma and sexual abuse. It moved pieces of me inside me.
Read it published on Arts and Africa.
These men, I later think walking to campus, would never stop at your body, they want all of you, the crown of your head, and the sole of your feet. They want you, the mysteries you are moulded with, your soul, your silent resilient spirit, the arch of your body. They will not stop until you are stripped of all you have, until you are vulnerable and cold, until you are dust. Only then, will they leave you to find their next victim.
She quotes Warsan Shire saying, I cannot make homes out of human beings.
Every woman learns to own her body embody love from others. Then deal with the world robbing her of her body autonomy at any time. And she has to search, find, love and protect herself over and over again.
There are pretty weird places to find yourself and reclaim your body but nobody will tell you this. Television adverts tell you about evening you skin tone, and your mother talks about sitting like a lady, but no one will tell you that if they steal your body, it is not your fault. No one tells you that your vagina is yours. These are things my mother did not tell me, because her mother did not tell her. These are things I learn myself.
This masterful creative non-fiction piece explores unlearning negativity about one’s vagina and sexuality which the narrator goes through by its end. The quoted portion above makes me so grateful for my mother and other women in my girlhood and now womanhood who encourage(d) my body acceptance, confidence and sexual pleasure.
I remember my mother asked me during my childhood to stand over a mirror she’d placed on the floor to see my vagina. She said, ‘always look, care and respect her. She is you.’ That experience rooted my body confidence and self preservation. Almost a decade later, I named my vagina. Once I wrote, unlearn shame women. Remove the shame stuffed in your vagina. Let her breathe.
I shared this piece with some friends and on social media. Because hellooo I’m here for online fiction and creative non-fiction reviews! This is what people had to say:
“Loved reading the article… Great theme, beautifully written and captivating with every sentence.”-Anon
“I understand what the poet meant when she said it felt like she was looking for her body because I looked; for years. I understand what it means to look for answers you know you aren’t gonna get from places you long to get it from.
That’s why I tried not to cry, because it reminded me of things I’d rather not be reminded of. It was sad but I like how victorious the poet was at the end.
You own you! Not anybody else. Thanks, I loved it!!!” -Anon
Victim Blaming, Slut Shaming, Self Denial, Sexual Abuse. Toxicity need to go!
Image source: “Oh Georgia” by Logor published with Home on Arts and Africa