Life is a tragedy, you know this because you have lost people to it, to the finality of death. Your eyes are tired of crying, your mind is tired of asking questions you don’t have the answers to, so you pick up your pen and put it to paper, that is how you heal.
You are angry at Nigeria and the frustrations it has caused you, and in your anger and depression, writing is like therapy, so you put fingers to keys and bleed on a Word document.
You feel that familiar ache in your chest, you take slow deep breaths and you feel your heart breaking. It has happened again, love made you vulnerable. You have no one to talk to, at least no one that may get you. So, you let your pad become your therapist and you unleash and let it soothe your pain.
You want to impress a lover, let her/him know the depth of your emotions, so you write a note and you relish in the pleasure and happiness you know you have brought to their heart. There’s happiness in life, and you want the world to know about the happiness in your life, about your support system, the people who have got your back, so you write about them and let the world know about their amazingness.
You have a longing, an itch to write, to call out, to be heard, to be seen, to be felt, you give in to this longing and scratch the itch, and put it out to the world.
Then, you find it on a Facebook status or a WhatsApp BC without acknowledgement. Your words, your experience, copied and pasted as if it were their idea. After hours of sitting in front of a screen and trying to make words come, after the painstaking effort to edit and re-write to make it better, you end up with no acknowledgement.
It feels like you have been raped, that a total stranger or a friend has robbed you of something that belongs to you, has claimed what is yours as theirs, the way the powerful intrude the bodies of girls and take without asking, and they don’t even see anything wrong with it.
They say imitation is a form of flattery. There’s a mix of anger and sadness as you see your words being claimed by another. Anger for the time you spent willing words to come, the sleeps you lost as you struggle to meet deadlines, you do not feel flattered because this is not an imitation, it is a theft.
These people that do not know what it feels like to create, these imitators that are quick to take what’s not theirs, these parasites that may never understand … And the worst? Are the ones who say they are writers but yet they do not know no to #copy, how do you get over them?
This is to the ones who rob us: