THELMA NWOSU “Writing is my way of sobering up from emotional highs”
I am Thelma Nwosu, a poet.
I take photos and I sing too but ask anyone that knows me well and they'll call me 'the
Born into a normal African family, Nigerian. I've always loved writing. I'd tear up pieces of paper and staple them to make my own book, then I'd just scribble on it and tell my mum, it's my book. I developed an appetite for books at a very young age.
My dad travelled a lot and each time he came back, he'd buy me the Supa Strikas comic magazine, I was fascinated by the concept of seeing images on paper and knowing what they were saying, thinking and doing. I used to read all the stories in my English reader then. My mom noticed and started buying me storybooks as gifts. She would go to the market and buy small chops and snacks and sweets for my other siblings but would add a book or two to mine.
I was an introvert growing up, still am. But then, I loved to stay with me, myself and I because I felt I was different from other children. Basically, because of my eyes, I suffered from low self esteem because of my eyes.
Let me tell you about them.
They are brown irises, white sclera’s and normal sized pupils just like everyone else's.
They move, I know everyone can move their eyes. Well, that's the thing, I don't move mine voluntarily all the time, they have a mind of their own.
So everyone would ask about my eyes and laugh at me. And because the defect comes with many side drawers, each one that was pulled out contained things to laugh about, the eyes became self acclaimed clowns. They didn't care that a little girl was losing herself with each laughter directed towards her.
Being lonely made me embrace books, novels and all. I remember the first poem I wrote, (THAT PLACE FAR AWAY) I was reading a poem in my brother's English reader and that infused a desire in me. I wanted to also write like that, I wanted to write books children would read in secluded corners of their houses, on the bus, at weddings that were none of their concerns. I wanted to write poems that would be incorporated into English textbooks. I just wanted to write.
So, I took a pen and paper and changed the words of the poem and I was delighted with the results.
Few years later...
I started writing about nature and feelings. Whenever I was angry, I'd write about my anger and like water to a fire, I would be at peace again. I started keeping diaries in Js2. Since I had no friends, I decided to tell my all to the pages of a book and doing that made me better in English and literature at school.
Writing is my way of sobering up from emotional highs. I remember one time a neighbor insulted my parents, telling them they gave birth to disabled children (two of my other siblings have eyes like mine). It was like someone hit a gong in my head, mad with rage I didn't know what to say or do been conscious of the fact that I'm not very good at oratory. I find it somewhat difficult to express myself verbally, vocally. I went straight to facebook and tool out my anger there. I spited anyone who would ever insult anyone with an eye defect like mine and after I did that, I became calm. I even told my diary later.
I wanted to feel better about myself, to love my eyes the way they are. I wanted people to like them at least and there are some who do. Isn’t it wonderful?
I started writing creative non-fiction. I didn't show it to many at first but someone stumbled on it on my phone, liked it a lot and told me to never stop writing.
I remember someone in a market calling me a black albino. That name never left my head. So, I took it and made it a coat of seven colours. You can read the poem on my blog at oddlenses.blogspot.com.
Talking about my eyes made me defensive and sad, writing about it made me feel special and rare. Still does and I'm working on not letting it be a source of unhappiness.
I've created characters with my kind of eyes just to tell myself that it's real and that it's okay to have eyes like mine.
Writing gives me a special power to step into places I'd never visit bodily. I love writing stories in first person point of view because it helps me experience the story firsthand. I've visited countries and become a thief. I've been a politician's daughter, a victim of domestic violence both as a child and as the woman, a rape victim, a "sugar-boy" in the city of Adbijan. I can tell to an extent what these persons feel like being themselves. It's true that what I picture in my head may not be entirely true but through research and networking, I could say I have garnered enough information to translate those characters to my personal experiences. Now, here is the downside.
Writing has dragged me into blackholes.
Being a creative, being a writer is not all vegetable soup and fufu sometimes; it's a bucket of dirty water with spoilt eggs. I have gone down dark paths in a bid to create. Call me spiritual but I've battled demons I let into my mind because I was trying to create a nether-world character. Maybe I've not grown to the point of total control. I threw away the prompt.
Okay, confession: what I just said was a lie.
It's fiction. I haven't tried creating a character from the netherworld but as I type, ideas take shape in my head and drags me to places.
Being a creative, in this case, a writer gives you the ability to delve into the experiences of others and make it your own, the pleasant and the what-the-hecks.
Writing about pain (especially if you've mastered the art of imagery and description) can make you feel like you've never known peace or joy. That's how bad it is.
If my art has been destructive, the last two points would be how.
But regardless, I'm proud. The pen is actually mightier than the sword. It can make men pick up the sword, it can make men drop the sword. Words are mordsiths.
I love where the Arts has placed me, this is who I am.