Ghosts/Burial Sites: I was told a weird story by my mum many years ago. I have tiny, almost invisible marks on both sides of my cheeks. No one knows who exactly gave them to me. Tale is: on the day my late dad was laid in state in the family’s large living room, I suddenly sprang up from my erstwhile sitting position and started running and screaming “dog! Dog! Dog” Of course there were no dogs anywhere around and by the time I was calmed, they noticed blood streaming down my face and after it was cleaned off, there were two perfect marks/incisions seated on both sides of my face. Who dunno it? Theory was: the spirit of my late dad came to give me those marks. Why? I can’t even remember the reason. Yes, I hate burial sites. I always feel the ghost of the body buried in there could spring out and give me the chase of my life. It’s so bad that I’m thinking of asking to be cremated rather than buried when I die. Ain’t gonna join a bandwagon of people-chasing, mark-giving ghosts.
Financial Dependency: This came about as a result of my mother’s experience and phobia. It happened that father felt she was too beautiful to work as other men could snatch her away from him (insecurity of the highest order). After father’s death, she witnessed hell here on earth and we had to walk with her through it all (story for another day). She would often tell me that no marriage for me except I started working which was exactly what I did. When I started the marriage journey, I thanked me for heeding that singular piece of advice.
Aside this, I grew up learning not to ask ‘boys’ for things or collect from them. I recall the first time my mum and eldest brother saw me in a pair of denim trousers which mother did not buy for me. Where the hell did I get the means to obtain this luxury? Immediately, I was ordered to remove it and return it to wherever I got it from before being asked to explain how and where I got it from. My fiance, now husband, bought me a wrist watch one time. I proudly wore and flaunted it. When mother saw it, she gave a verdict: return it and never bring in anything a man gives you into my house until you are married to him.
Naturally, these instances shaped me and I was only able to buy things with the money I saved. I started to believe that you should get what you can afford by yourself through hard work. Now thinking about it, I just realized that I come from a family of hard working females, both business-wise and domestically. Is this sharing in Adam’s curses?
Believe me, I have started teaching my children-in words and in deeds, to have a mad love for making their own legitimate money rather than depending on someone else.
Dogs: When I was 8 years or thereabout, mother sent me to go grind pepper few houses away from ours. On my way back, this crazy dog escaped from its duty post nad decided to have some fun at my expense. The idiot gave me the chase of my life! Picture this scenario: a short and stout girl carrying a bowl of blended pepper with both hands and wearing only pant running wildly on the street with a crazy local dog like the ones used to appease the spirit of the god of iron, on her heels. At some point, I looked back and felt what the Israelites must have felt when they were being pursued by the stubborn Pharaoh and his army. I had no option at that point than to use the only weapon at my arsenal – the pepper. I emptied the whole bowl on the damn dog! Do I need to relay what I went through at home in the hands of koboko for bringing back an empty bowl?
Public Announcement: please do not invite me to your house if you keep dogs. Thank you.
Worms & Snakes: the following conversion ensued between my cousin and I when we were aged 8 and 7 respectively:
Me: Inu nrun mi o, o da bi enipe nkankan nja mi je (I’m having stomach pains, it’s as if something is biting me in there)
Cousin: ha! Ejo-inu ni yeeeeeeen....o nlati ya kuro ninu e o; ti o ba ya, o maa maa dagba si ninu e ni o (ha! It is a stomach-snake (direct translation)....you need to expel it o; if you do not, it would start growing up inside of you)
Me: yeeeeeeee, mo gbe o! (Yeeee, I’m doomed)
Mother gave me worm expellant. Anyone who grew up in the 80’s or before would recall that the worm expellants available in those days would make you expel the worms whole, sometimes, alive unlike what obtains now.
I started feeling uncomfortable; I needed to use the loo but my cousin’s diagnosis of a snake growing up inside of me scared the sh*t out of me. Of course it got to a stage that I could not hold it anymore. I eventually went to the loo and with a lot of trepidation, started the process of expelling the ‘snake’. Immediately, I felt a crawling sensation around my anus. Ha! What is this? I made a mistake of looking down and saw it: pinkish, slimy thing; I lost my mind and rushed out of the loo naked with the half expelled ‘snake’. I started screaming and doing a 360 degree run around the compound. It took some mothers in the compound to pin me down and help remove them (yes, more than one eventually exited my stomach).
This is one phobia I doubt I would out-grow.
Rats: this is simple: a hole that can allow a rat pass through, can also allow a snake pass through. When I see a rat, it raises an alert that a snake must be lurking around. More so, I’d had the flesh of my toes eatenby rodents a few times. Why did God create them anyway? As food for other animals? Couldn’t those other animals eat something else? Dear God, if only you could eradicate snakes, rats/mice, wall geckos, mosquitoes.....they terrorized my life while growing up.
Child Birth/Parenting: if there is any aspect of my life that confirms God as being merciful and gracious, it is me being a parent to three beautiful children. I had each without searching. I got pregnant each time without trying to. The pregnancies were difficult but delivery was safe each time. Where I am is clearly different from my views and attitude growing up. I never for once thought of having a child. I recall telling my husband once after the birth of our first daughter that I did not want anymore; his reaction was murderous! While growing up, I saw a lot of children who were birthed because their parents thought that having children was some sort of a life achievement. The parents lived in a room apartment with the kids and they were having more babies; hardly able to feed and clothe them properly. A lot of the children dropped out of secondary school and while some ended up as half-baked artisans, some ended up utterly useless with no training at all. My family’s lack did not also help. Men, did we suffer! There and then I just formed an opinion that it was better not to have a child than have one and make him or her suffer. When I was diagnosed of a divided uterus which would definitely hinder me from getting pregnant, I never bothered. I was bothered with something else: fear of having the children I would not be able to properly care for.
I am not trying to counter God’s command that we should multiply and replenish the earth but people should do this with wisdom. I have told my Church secretary, there is a category of women in my Church that should consult with some of us before becoming pregnant again. Haba! Six children while in your 30’s and living a life of a classic pauper? You wan cook and chop these pikins?
Disclaimer: please don’t take everything said here too seriously.
Oh thanks so much for this F. I love nothing more than when readers make submissions and contributions to the blog. I have no phobia whatsoever, none that I've discovered at least. I used to have a fear (not phobia) of flying, but not anymore. To think that the flight I took yesterday was very turbulent and the man, yes MAN, across the aisle from me was actually crying, my seat partner who later admitted to me after the flight, that she thought we were going to die, was feverishly praying her rosary... and my heart didn't even skip one beat! Like, I dozed off sef. LOL, I'm proud of myself!
Share your phobias guys, and are there stories behind them? If yes, please share those too.