Nigerian lawyer's Awele Ideal's inspiring story
Awele, a Nigerian Facebook user, shared an inspiring story of forgiveness. It is a victory to rise above the hurt from a person who was supposed to protect you and become a better person.
In Nigeria, the word "stepmother" carries a certain kind of tag, baggage that sets most people on edge when the word is mentioned. Especially in the context of caregiving. A few factors have contributed to this. The singular way the role of a stepmother has been portrayed by Nollywood is a contributing factor. And then there are the real-life stories that sometimes surface and validate that portrayal in Nollywood movies. Nigerian lawyer Awele Ideal has told a story of her survival in the hands of her stepmother.
According to Nigerian lawyer Awele Ideal, she was abandoned by her mum at just seven months of age, left in the care of her father and his wife, her stepmother. Awele described her grandmother as "mean". She would go on to endure all the inhumane treatment her stepmother dished out. And there was a lot of that. Awele went hungry for days on end, starving to the point of visualising death.
"My stepmother was mean," she wrote. "I endured all manner of maltreatment she meted at me. Sometimes I went hungry for days. She would so starve me that I would be seeing death."
The highlight of one of these hunger streaks was the day Awele had to eat the dog's leftover eba and egusi. A neighbour's son caught her eating the food and told his mum about it. His mum invited Awele to ask if what her son had told her was true. But Awele was more terrified about her stepmother learning that she ate the dog's leftover instead disposing of it.
Awele further wrote, "I was so terrified that I begged her not to tell my stepmother, because she will kill me if she knew I ate the dog's leftover instead of throwing it away. The woman wept and promised to give me food every day without my stepmother's knowledge, a promise she kept till we left the compound."
Other inhumane treatments Awele received include being tied and left in the bathroom for days. Having her eyes, neck, armpits and privates peppered. But she stuck with her education and kept climbing.
"So you see, I have every right to be hateful, bitter, jealous, arrogant, sad, negative, and toxic but I chose not to," she concluded.
We are different in the way we are wired, therefore, forgiveness might not come so easily to people. But you have to remember that you are the captain of your life. It is important to let go of things that could harm you mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Forgiveness is a brave step. And, Awele's inspiring story of forgiveness and rising above hate shows bravery. It is also a suitable comeback that you do not become the thing that hurt you. However, urgency should not be placed on forgiveness. People who have been hurt deserve time to come to terms with what has happened to them and sincerely let go of the pain. Take the time you need to heal. See a therapist if you can. But never let others reduce the quality and happiness in your life.