Under 12


Art by SilksRe

The researcher only wants to know what age group I belong to, he is not asking for my age. He just wants to know how matured and experienced I am with the issues about to be discussed.

Ink filled paper, the instruction reads;

Pick one of the following that best describes you

  • Under 12
  • 12-17 years old
  • 18-24 years old
  • 25-34 years old
  • 35 years and older

Under 12, I strike.

11, I thank God I am African because I will have big breasts and thick thighs when I grow up unlike those skinny white ladies I see on T.V.

10, I am ‘A Teacher’s’ daughter so I must learn to behave well and not put my mother’s name to shame

9, My Sunday school teacher preaches “The truth shall set you free” but when I say the truth, I receive a Sentence before a hug.

8, I know where babies come from. Don’t lie to me.

7,  My mother tells me the secret to learning how to spell. “Read your words slowly before writing”, and I heed. So when my Fine Arts teacher writes “Ass.” on the board towards the end of a class and I read it slowly before writing, I am amazed to hear the girls around me giggle and my teacher shakes his head.

6, When I say I like boys; my teacher gives me a strange look, the girls whisper and think of me as a betrayer, the two boys I like tell me it is inappropriate to play with them so they terminate our friendship just before french class.

5, I challenge my first bully, Kubiat. A blind fight with hands swinging in the air but I win and my brother is proud of me.

4, I learn. I learn to sing and beg flying white birds to give me white fingers. I want to be like my grand mother so I grind my teeth like she does, learn to use chewing sticks, snack on onions and hunt my brother with the lingering smell.

3, I love the rain and I hate pants so I play in the rain naked and my aunty tells my mother to let me be, “Let breeze go in there” I hear her say between giggles and a mouth full of  edita-iwa  and coconut.

2 – 1 – 0…

I am aching. My mother begs me to eat, my grand mother begs me to stop crying as she rocks me in her arms and sings;

“Sleep baby, sleep

Baby do not cry,

You will be a pretty girl

God Bless You. “


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