Before True Love Arrives

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This is the 60th story of Our Life Logs.


 

Much of my early life, I was told that I was strange and dumb. I never had a good self-esteem. As I grew up, I had terrible experiences and nearly got raped a couple of times. I felt like I would never find happiness. Then I found Kingsley.

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I was born in the summer of 1993 in Suleja, Nigeria. My mom is a teacher, and my dad is a business man. I struggled with a sense of inferiority from an early age. My mom always said that I had a strange personality and I was abnormal. I grew up not believing in myself because everything I did was criticized. The way I walked and talked had people view me as a weird, senseless person. I also had bedwetting problems until I was 17 and felt it was disgraceful.

IMG_20160120_00223822 (me and my sister, 1 year younger than me)
Me (left, about 3) and my younger sister.

I thought I would never get over my struggle with bedwetting. I remember my parents took me to various churches for deliverance sessions as it was thought to be a spiritual problem, but nothing helped. I planned to live with it for the rest of my life. I decided that I would adopt a kid and be a single mom in the future, because I didn’t think I was going to ever get married. Nobody would want to marry a lady who wets the bed, I convinced myself.

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Fortunately, the bedwetting stopped right before I went to college. What a wonderful surprise! I finally felt some relief. However, college life didn’t start off great. Just like in my childhood and early teenage years, I was mocked by people in my university who thought I was stupid, senseless and dirty. I placed my primary focus on studies and not on my looks, and apparently that had made me a target for mocking.

The encounter with my first love, Richard, however, made it all different. I was 18 when I first met Richard in college. He is a tall, dark and muscular guy with a rough face. He loved me the way I was. He was the first and only one who truly understood me in the midst of all the misunderstanding that people had about me. It was a breath of fresh air.

He told me how my presence in his life had consoled him. His mother died when he was little. Shortly before he met me, he lost his father, too. We helped each other heal.

We had a truly romantic relationship at the beginning. I remember he took me out on a motorcycle ride one day. Even though the high speed scared me, I enjoyed the ride thoroughly. I felt safe holding onto his back. I was so in love.

We had our first kiss, but we never had sex, and that unfortunately challenged our relationship. Richard started having doubts of my love for him. He believed that I was not proud of him because he was an orphan. He felt that I didn’t trust him enough to give him my body. I argued that I loved him, but that obviously wasn’t convincing enough and we got into a fight. We both felt hurt and eventually, stopped talking.

During our break in communication, he had gone into fights and had been in jail for several times. I was unaware of those incidents until a few years later when we got in touch again. I knew that the future held nothing for us and we broke up for good.

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In my third year of college in 2013, I had to do an industrial training (a mandatory internship required by the school) for six months. During that time, I got to know a guy named Samuel. He called me, and we talked many times over the phone. Nice and harmless he seemed, so we became friends.

On a faithful Saturday after my internship finished, I decided to go and see him. He was quick to make sexual advances on me and I declined. As it was getting late, I couldn’t go back to school, so I slept over, which was a mistake.

Around 4am, I wanted to get up but was quickly held down by Samuel. It was like he was possessed by a demon. I fought against him, but he was strong. He tore my underwear and was determined to have sex with me. I cried to God to rescue me, and he did. The mighty aggressive lion which was on top of its prey, ready to devour, stopped, as if it were dragged up by a mightier power. Samuel climbed down from my body, and I sprinted to the toilet, locking the door behind me. He banged on the door. My heart pounded with fear. I could feel his anger. I started crying and praying while I held back the door with all my strength.

A sudden knock on the front door by his neighbor came to my rescue. After his neighbor left, Samuel started regaining his senses. He begged me to come out and promised he wouldn’t hurt me.

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After the near-rape incident, I was depressed for a whole year. I didn’t graduate in 2014 as planned. It turned out I had to stay for an extra year to retake a course. I struggled with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and indigestion caused by depression. To pick myself back up, I read motivational books to build up my mental strength, so I wouldn’t feel as shameful for what had happened. I regained confidence, and in 2015, I graduated with honors.

After my graduation, I went back home and awaited my posting for NYSC (National Youth Service Course), a mandatory one-year service that all graduates must undergo before they could do job search. It was delayed for a year or so as my name was mistakenly omitted, so I didn’t go for it until October 2016. I was sent to Kaduna, a three-hour journey from Abuja where I was living. I was posted to a private school and was paid $55.48 a month, for which I was quite pleased.

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At the beginning of the NYSC program, November 2016.

Section Break-Mountains

At the beginning of the NYSC program, we had a three-week orientation course at a camp, where I met a fellow colleague. He expressed his love for me, but I didn’t give him the opportunity. I knew guys like him who roamed about, looking for girls to ruin. I didn’t fall for it.

After the camp, I was in search of a place to stay. The same guy was nice enough to help me with my search. My guard was lowered. At the end of the day after our fruitless effort, he took me to the lodge where he was staying. When none of the girls in the lodge would give me a place to sleep, he told me I could sleep in his room for the night.

He made sexual attempts towards me, out of my fear. I told him that I was a virgin, but he didn’t believe me. He demanded that I give him what he wanted.

I tried to run away, but he ran ahead of me and got to the door first, locking it. He pushed me onto the bed. His eyes were bloodshot red. I was terrified and started praying, my tears falling fast. I watched him weaken, a sudden pity taking over. I prayed for the morning to come quickly, scared of the monster beside me. He didn’t touch me. The night was long. I swiftly left as soon as the morning arrived.

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After that second experience, my heart saddened. I had always had male friends who were nice and respectful. Those two awful experiences opened my eyes to the evil side of the world. The pain lingered as if it just happened yesterday. I became more careful and less trusting of men. I closed my heart.

I closed my heart until I met Kingsley.

Kingsley was God sent. We got to know each other through my hometown group on Facebook towards the end of 2016. He is a tall, built guy and a nurse. We started as friends. His love became open in early 2017. He was loving, passionate, and protective of me in an endearing way, and I felt safe with him.

The first time he visited me, which was a four-hour journey from where he lived, he brought me food. I loved how thoughtful he was. I told him everything about my near-rape experiences and he was empathetic. Our love grew stronger over time. He treated me like a queen each time we met. Though our relationship hit bumps in the road just like any other couple. He was stubborn, and we would get into fights, but he was always the first to apologize, even when it was my fault.

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Toward the end of my NYSC program, October 2017.

Section Break-Mountains

In the beginning of 2017, Richard, my first love, called after a long time, pleading for me to let him come and visit, but I said no. I was in love with Kingsley and I didn’t want our love to be disturbed.

After about half a year, Richard called to tell me that he was in town and wanted to see me. I lied and said I was out of town. The following day, Kingsley paid me an unexpected visit and we went to a garden. While we were enjoying our time together, I heard my name and immediately recognized it was Richard’s voice.

He was laughing darkly as he approached us. I was scared and shocked. It seemed like he had been watching us for a while. I stood up and left but Richard followed, harassing me. He was shameless and didn’t mind creating a scene. I wanted to leave but he dragged me back. Kingsley heard the noise and came out. He started asking Richard why he was doing that to me and Richard became hot with anger and pushed him. The security men quickly came and took Kingsley out of the premises as he was becoming violent.

That was the last time I saw Richard. Later, he threatened me over the phone that he would destroy our relationship because he couldn’t watch me be with another guy. I was scared. I didn’t dare to tell Kingsley, as I wanted to handle it myself, peacefully. Richard was becoming more violent in his threats. I had many sleepless nights, the burden sitting heavy on my heart.

When I finally told Kingsley, he dismissed the threats as empty, which made me feel better and protected. Months later, Richard stopped bothering us and left.

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Kingsley and I will be getting married soon. He stood by me through everything, and I’m so lucky to have found him. I believe true love and God do exist. Kingsley has made me a better version of myself, healing the pain and bitterness caused by my terrible experiences. People around me never thought that a man could truly love me because they thought I was stupid, but Kingsley changed that perception.

My near-rape experiences brought out the tough side of me and made me stronger, but it was the encounter of true love that made me a complete person, more loving, daring, confident, and compassionate. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage,” as they say.

April 16, 2018

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–This is the story of Marvelous Nwakozo–

Marvelous currently lives in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. She is a graduate of Library and Information Science. After a lot of criticism in her youth stemming from her supposed “strange” personality and bedwetting problems, she struggled with her self-worth, thinking no one could ever love her. As she grew up, she had two altercations where she was nearly raped but was lucky to have not. Through her hurt, she met Kingsley and fell in love. Through love, she has begun to heal from the dark events in her past.

Marvelous is a creative writer and girl child advocate. She is also a business person and librarian. She is a talented actress, too. She is the oldest child in her family and has three siblings. She loves travelling and is drawn to the beauty of nature. She is currently working towards writing an autobiography about her life experiences.

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Marvelous Nwakozo, March 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

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This story first touched our hearts on April 18, 2018.

|Writers: Marvelous NwakozoKristen Petronio | Editors: Colleen Walker; Manqing Jin |

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