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Tales Of An Insecure Girl

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All my life, I’ve always lived for people’s validation.

Growing up, I was always conscious of being watched, being talked about, being judged. My biggest teenage fear was getting it wrong and failing everyone.

I worked really hard in school and made the right grades so mom and dad would be proud of me. I lived for dad’s rare half nods whenever I showed him my report sheets, an action I interpreted as pride; I wanted to give mom something to really smile about as I hated the gloomy look she always wore.

My parents probably had the worst marriage ever, yet they chose to stay together. They were not abusive or loud, just made sure to avoid each other like the plague. Mom would spend hours looking into space and daydreaming about God-knows-what, a wishful smile popping on her face every now and then, while dad did his best to leave home as early as possible and get back when we were both already asleep. I rarely saw him.

Sometimes I wondered if they stayed together because of me. I also wondered what really went on behind their bedroom doors, as I almost never heard a sound coming from it on the rare occasions I gave in to my curiosity to listen in. I knew parents got divorced as some of my friends’ parents did, and stories of couples going their separate ways was all over the TV and internet.

I somehow taught myself everything I knew, because mother was almost always lost in her sad little world and dad, let’s just say dad wasn’t exactly sure how to be a dad.

I struggled with bullying in school for so long until I learned to give the bullies exactly what they wanted; my loyalty. I became their errand girl, helping them deliver hateful messages to poor new victims, taking the blame when they got reported. I felt sorry for our innocent targets sometimes, but my health and sanity was more important to me.

A few years after secondary school, I was still trying hard to win people’s love by every means possible. I practically bought my university friends. I flashed daddy’s wealth every chance I got, getting gifts for ‘friends’, even boyfriends. I struggled so hard with my self-esteem, I felt I needed to do something to win people’s love. Money and sex was my solution.

Life after the university was a different ball game entirely. My low self-esteem affected everything, from how I related at work to how I actually did my work, even my love life. Oh, how my love life suffered.

I fell into bed with every man that said hello to me, and that’s how I managed to have had sex with exactly 234 men at the age of 27. Yes, I keep record.

Sadly, I fell into bed with every man that said hello

I wasn’t even sure what I wanted. Marriage didn’t appeal to me, as my fear of failure wouldn’t let me stay with one person for longer than a few weeks. I somehow managed to push everyone away, including the ones that genuinely cared about me, especially those.

What if I didn’t get it right? Look right? What if I said the wrong things, wore the wrong outfits? I had woefully failed at making my parents love me after all, so what were the chances a random stranger would just fall in love with me and all of my flaws?

Sigh. I was already getting impatient sitting in the fancy restaurant waiting for Emeka – the guy – I was currently seeing to arrive. I watched him finally stroll in, his to-die-for good looks causing attention as usual. I wondered for a minute what he actually saw in me in the first place.

As he approached, I noticed he was wearing a weird smile which looked both familiar and strange at the same time. Familiar because I’d seen it on someone else’s face in the past, strange because he’d never smiled at me like that. I sincerely hoped it wasn’t what I was thinking.

He finally reached me. We exchanged greetings, chatted a little before he mentioned he had something important he needed to discuss with me.

My heart started pounding.

‘Chinwendu’, he started a bit nervously. Another red flag. He was the most confident man I’d ever met, and thanks to him, I was slowly learning to love myself.

‘I think I’m falling in love with you’, he said in a rush.

I looked at him without saying a word. I thought about all the good times we’d already shared in the five weeks we’d been together, all the genuine feelings he made me feel, so different from all the other guys I’d thought myself to be in love with before.

I smiled at him for a brief second and imagined myself really being happy for the first time. Then I thought of failure. What if I failed at this? What if I disappointed him again? What if he realized a few weeks later that there was really nothing to love about me? What if we somehow started to hate each other? What if we got married and ended up like mom and dad?

My happiness died instantly as all these scary thoughts hit me from every angle. I knew at that point exactly what I needed to do. I’d always been a coward after all.

Nigeria News.

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