TO THE 21ST CENTURY SOCIAL AND MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE: YOU TOO NEED TO HEAL




Many advocates of healthy social systems and mental health enthusiasts of the 21st century were introduced into the world of advocacy only after experiencing personally, the social ill that t
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Dear Papa




Dear Papa,The sun is gradually setting, and on this evening I can faintly hear your voice being carried in the wind of the dusk as you sing out loud and dramatically; “row, row, row your boat&he
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LOVE WOULD NEVER BE ENOUGH – and that’s a fact




Love would never be enough and that’s a fact.It is because of this understanding that I don’t buy the message that if he or she really loves you, they will or will not do some certain thin
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Age is nothing but a Number




You most likely might have heard this phrase at least once in your lifetime that ‘age is nothing but a number’. If you’re unlucky in this regards like I have been, you may have heard
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THIS IS WHAT A DEEP/WOKE CONVERSATION IN MY HOUSE LOOKS LIKE




My father is in the legal/judiciary field by profession, is knowledgeable in politics and history, and I like to see him as a gifted teacher – well he is a teacher and he teaches Christian theol
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THE WITCH THAT HUNG FROM THE TREE




“So tell me; what do you imagine when you look at the tree?” I ask and wait expectantly to hear what she would conjure this time.She smiles as she stares up at the tree from where we sit u
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THERAPY SESSION – short story




therapist – tell me your namepatient – my pronouns are they and themtherapist – okay. I’ve read your file and…I’m sorry butI can’t
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ARTS IS THE NEW HUSTLE




In a country where some vices have ‘levels’, where a heist is the most effective when applying for a leading position, one would understand how easily the honesty of a man could slowly lea
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Ignore the Bad Guy, Blame the Victim – the society’s guide on how to eliminate evil




A friend of mine texted me a while back.She in recent times added some weight, and although I think it looks really good on her, that is beside the point.  She sent me a screenshot o
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Dear You




Dear you,You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are an epitome of uniqueness and you need to see it too.You are like a perfectly crafted piece of art in a very large gallery, and no matter how much y
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WHY I WON’T BE IN A HURRY TO SEND MY KIDS TO SCHOOL – would I even send them to school?




If I do have kids in future, my kids after completing their secondary/high school education would have to spend one year (or more) at home before proceeding to pursue higher education through whatever
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The King Solomon Parody




Allow me to sound like King Solomon for a while, for I have noticed a pattern under the sun.I have noticed a pattern under the sun, or maybe not really under the sun and all it touches, but at least i
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The Concept of Immortality




Let’s mess around with the idea of immortality, and imagine a world where the concept of death doesn’t exist; a world where death and dying is impossible, and where ageing ceases after a p
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Updates


PENIEL AND THE SPEAKER OF OYO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

March 25, 2021 11:12 PM


The meeting with Peniel and the speaker (Ogundoyin) wentwell. They discussed a lot of things asides HIAC. They talked about goodgovernance, the roles youths have to play and their participation in government.They encouraged young people to always be advocates of good governance and alsoparticipate in the affairs of the country because it helps to reduce the crimeand corruption rate of the society. Also, they are advised young people to knowtheir Civic responsibility and adhere to them too.


TRUTH ZOMBIE SPONSORED EVENTS

Artist:

December 13, 2020 11:44 AM


TRUTH ZOMBIE SPONSORED EVENTS


HIAC 2020 OUTREACH

Artist:

November 09, 2020 11:08 PM


Happiness Is A Color (HIAC) is a charity organization whichinspires children to become great and successful individuals in the society.HIAC is mostly concerned about orphanage children because most of the orphanshas lost hope. on their dreams and desires because they feel they don’t haveanyone to take good care of them, give them quality education and also solvetheir financial problem. Happiness Is A Color has organized enrichment program,movie night and end of year party for their beneficiary orphanage home.Although, the enrichment program didn’t take place because the period of timestipulated for the program to occur was when the corona virus was increasingrapidly, so, there was no physical gathering as at that time. During the end ofyear party, the children had a lot of fun; they played games, there was dancingcompetition, spelling competition, Santa was there also and other funactivities were performed too. Happiness Is A Color also gifted the managementof the orphanage home.


HAPPINESS IS A COLOUR CHARITY EVENTS

Artist:

November 09, 2020 11:20 AM


HIAC is the philanthropicarm of Truth Zombie Concept. Its aim is to use creative arts as a means ofcharity to reach out to young and less privileged children within the agebracket of 6 and 17 years in order to enhance their mental development. 


WHISPERED SCREAMS BOOK LAUNCH

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

March 13, 2019 03:00 PM


Whispered Screams the novel, was officially launched on the 27th of January2019, and has since gone on to receive massive reception and positive reviews. Authored by Peniel Okwuchukwu and sponsored by Truth Zombie Concept, Whispered Screams is a thought-provoking story on sexual assault and a child’s journey to freedom.  Here are some of the reviews it has gotten: The beauty of this work is in the nuances it paints. Whispered Screams is refreshingly different, itis one strong voice that will keep echoing long after you are done reading. JIDE BADMUSAuthor of There Is A Storm In My Head &Paper Planes In The Rain  You would read this book and wish it never ends. With its compelling storyline properly embedded in talented writing, Peniel makes sure this is inevitable. DR MRSIRENE CHIMAPrincipal Secretary To The Governor Of Imo State  This is a game changer! An Award-winning masterpiece!Peniel’s dexterity with words and mastery of the art of storytelling is one not only rare, but nearly extinct. This book is everything and more. DEBORAH FUNBUNWHE Author of I Died On A Friday & Founder of Daughters Of The Alter  This book is highly recommended not only to teenagers and youths, but also to all parents. It will also be of immerse benefit to schools and literature, guiding and counselling.RT HONALWELL ASIFORO OKERE (Ph.D)PDP State Chairman, Abia State Chapter.  Peniel Okwuchukwu touched my heart in two ways through this novel; first as a young adult writer, second as a male writing a novel on rape and sexual abuse. These are remarkable feats we mustn’t take for granted given the extent of decadence amongst our youth today and then the poor socialisation of boys which results in unhealthy expressions of masculinity. Whispered Screams unearths one of family’s darkest secrets, paternal dysfunctions and our society’s failings. An interesting read indeed! KINGSLEY OBOM-EGBULEM Author, Teens Mentor, Radio Talk Show Host and Head, Junior Church, Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos  Peniel Okwuchukwu has done a great job by opening the space for us to discuss one of our most kept secrets. As someone who endured sexual abuse for years, I understand what it means to lack the courage to scream let alone the strength to whisper. This book resonates with me, and I can only hope every person going through sexual abuse gets to read it and find the courage to open up and find help.ANTHONIAOJENAGBONEntrepreneur, Child Protection Advocate, Anti-rape Activist.   Every character in this book is a daunting reflection of its readers and the society. Whispered Screams is a rare book that creatively dares to scream out loud the topics that have been silenced far too long. If your mind has never been on that astral plane, read this book. It is AWE-MAZING!MARTHA OMODUNNIWriter, Social Justice Advocate, Political PunditTo order for a hardcopy, send an SMS to 08078005551. Nationwide delivery available Whispered Screams is also available as e-book on Amazon Kindle and Okadabooks    


Articles & Stories


Dear Papa

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

Dear Papa,The sun is gradually setting, and on this evening I can faintly hear your voice being carried in the wind of the dusk as you sing out loud and dramatically; “row, row, row your boat…”I know all of this is in my head as you’re dead and have been dead for a long time now, but the memories of your drunken voice even years later still warm me up and cause tears to gradually etch down my face.Papa, I miss you.Everybody thought I was stupid when I didn’t distance myself from you even as your alcoholism worsened and you were barely ever sober. I defied every psychological theory that expected me to be traumatised by your new drinking habit and the fact that you distanced yourself from everybody, and became the laughing stock of the village. Maybe it was because of those precious moments I was the only one that witnessed; those moments in the morning when you sobered up and woke to find me sitting by the door, partially asleep.Those moments when you would moan in pain from the hangover that weighed on you, look at the empty bottle of dry gin by your side and then curse it as tears welled up in your eyes. Then you would gradually turn to look at me, and then begin to frantically lament about how you hated what you were, and how you loved me and mama. I believed you papa, I always saw the pain in your eyes and they were too sincere to house a lie. The way they moistened and glistened with sadness, as you would lament on how desperately you wanted to stop drinking. Your habit didn’t wound anybody more than it did to you. It was during those times that I would cry too and hug you, enduring the repulsive smell of liquor and mouth odour.Afterwards, you would beg me to sing for you.You were the first person who thought I could do something major with my vocal talents.While everybody seemed to know you only for your intimacy with the bottle, I knew you for the muscular arm you wrapped around me, and for the presents of smoked fish and oil you used to buy for me, before you changed.The day you died changed me; I was the first person to see your dead body sprawled helplessly on the floor in your hut, and what pained me most was the fact that I had chosen for the first time in a long while, to sleep with mama in the other hut instead of with you. Perhaps if I had been with you, I would have been able to confront death on your behalf when it came in the middle of the night to take you away.Everybody said it was the gods who punished you for neglecting your family and being irresponsible.Now that I know it was alcohol poisoning, I feel after all that the gods indeed had a hand. Alcohol was your god.Papa, do you know what happened after you left me? Mama mourned your death as was tradition, though I sensed that she didn’t miss you one bit. When the period of mourning was over, mama began to see uncle Maduibike the idol carver.I used to lay awake at night while pretending to be asleep when I would hear him come into the room as mama giggled. Afterwards in the dark, I would hear unpleasant squeals from mama, and annoying moans of ecstasy from him as they would vibrate beside me, shaking roughly from whatever they did.I hated those moments, but the moments I hated the most were the ones that usually followed, when for some reasons, they would argue and suddenly uncle would strike mama with the same energy that you used to strike firewood. Those were the points I usually snapped out of fear.No longer able to pretend to be asleep, I would burst into loud sobs and uncle would complete his mission with one or two slaps on my cheeks before he would strut out of the room, leaving me and mama wailing.Mama never comforted me after this; she would scream at me, telling me that all of this was my fault and yours. She would claim that uncle refused to marry her because she had me, and he didn’t want extra responsibility. She would then wish she had met him before she met you. I used to wish she had never met him, that she had enough confidence in herself to pick a man worthy of her. I stopped when I realized it meant that she would never have picked you too.Papa, do you remember the thing I told you that uncle Madubuike used to do to mama at night? One day he did the same thing to me. He moaned the same way, and I felt the urge to squeal just like mama did; the pain I felt between my legs was unbearable.That night, uncle came around and when he and mama were done, they quarrelled as usual, but this time he didn’t beat her. Instead he lurched at me and spun me around from my fake sleeping position, and before I could gather enough momentum to cry or scream, he pulled my wrapper up, and pushed a part of himself into me, wounding me from within..  Mama only sat by the corner and cried.When he was done, he pushed himself up and went to Mama’s side, and after some dialogue that I didn’t hear, they hugged. That’s when I began to hate Mama. The next day I turned fifteen.I ran away from the village when uncle did it again three more times, and I ended up in Owerri. You remember Owerri? The place you told me that everybody that left the village went to and became rich easily. It wasn’t easy o, Papa. I begged and sang to make money to eat, and it was two years later, while I was begging and giving up on life simultaneously that this man came and told me that I could use my voice to become rich. Let me not bore you with too much details Papa so that you can go back to resting with the ancestors. This man, uncle Okonkwo took me in and enrolled me for a music competition.While I lived with him, he came to my room at night and did the same thing that Uncle Maduibike did, but I did not stop him. Things never felt the same after uncle Maduibike, so what was the point? Besides this time I felt it was my little way of repaying this kind man for giving me hope.Papa, I won the competition, got a scholarship to further my education alongside a car, a house, and a monthly payment as well as a record deal for when I turned eighteen the next year. Uncle Okonkwo said he was proud of me, but I would have to give him something before he let me go, and so I gave him the car, and a lot of the money I won.That was a while ago.I’m a big girl now Papa, I’m twenty two now, and doing well in the music industry. You might not be having any grandchildren though, considering that I don’t like men, but I’m very rich now if that’s any consolation.This is not even the real story that made me wake you up from your sleep; guess what happened yesterday Papa?I was coming back from a performance and was heading home with my manager when I saw the site of a ghastly motor accident. A taxi had collided with a trailer, and because it was in the middle of the night, very few people were still on the streets and those who drove by refused to stop because of fear of criminals looming around.I knew I had to be humane and help them, so I told my driver to pull over, and together with my manager, the three of us ran over to the other side of the road to help.Papa, guess who the taxi driver in the taxi was?A very old uncle MaduibikeHe is in the hospital now getting treatment and I have his bills all covered. I’m scared to ask him about Mama’s whereabouts, I don’t think I will ever ask.Sigh,I miss you Papa, I love you.

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TO THE 21ST CENTURY SOCIAL AND MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE: YOU TOO NEED TO HEAL

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

Many advocates of healthy social systems and mental health enthusiasts of the 21st century were introduced into the world of advocacy only after experiencing personally, the social ill that they became committed to fixing. Oftentimes than not, a person who is passionately championing a social cause and looking to dismantle a system, started off on that path after they experienced an abuse stemming from that faulty system.Of course, this does not and cannot apply to every social and mental health activist. I’m not even of the opinion that for one to be an activist hoping to correct any of the many ills in our society, they must first of all have experienced its horror as a sort of initiation.Matter of fact, the very nature of human empathy avails us the grace to be dissatisfied with and take a fecund stand against an anomaly without having to first of all experience its darkness. But nonetheless it still remains a reality that many advocates first became aware of societal ills as a result of personal experiences that facilitated their venture into the life of advocacy. It is this reality that I am led to address today.If you as an activist was first hurt or harmed before embracing activism, then you equally need to heal from the hurt that birthed your activism. Intentionally, dedicatedly, and completely, you need to also find your healing and peace.There is a misconception whereby activists who were once victims, subconsciously believe that to rediscover their sense of self after their own ugly encounter, they need only to take down the system that gave rise to their abusers. While this life of activism that we’ve chosen is godly and beautiful, this misconception is what it is; a misconception which we should get rid of. Activism – advocating, championing and instituting positive reforms won’t solely heal us. We won’t find healing exclusively from helping others heal, and we won’t be liberated from our pain simply by getting rid of the people that cause pain in the society.On a very broad categorization, people who experience abuse and is not presented with a chance to heal from it, deal with it in two ways – they either allow the abuse to open up a world of darkness wherein the abused becomes the abuser, or they, in a warped sense of self sacrifice, choose to be the person who confronts the abusers on behalf of others who have been abused or is prone to being abused. Sometimes these two categories intersect somewhere in the middle and a victim turned activist would find themselves giving love and positivity to one group of people, while hurting and abusing another group. How ironic and self-defeating. The problem with whichever of these paths you choose to take (as a result of your lack of healing) is that so many years down the line, you might one day wake up to the reality that despite what you did with your life – whether good or bad, you are still without happiness and salvation. Many people who pick up a cause and pursue it wholeheartedly unknowingly do so as a coping mechanism, a way to deal with their own pain. Now while there is virtue in creating something positive out of your pain, there is no honour in choosing to live with your pain instead of overcoming it.While you do what is godly and try to champion the freedom of others from the shackles of abuse, you too need to allow yourself to be saved, if not you risk a total inevitable breakdown at some point. Abuse is like a wound that starts out small but when left unattended to after a while, starts to fester. The source of the wound might have been taken out and even destroyed, but destroying the source of the wound would not guarantee that the wound be healed.The 21st century activists who themselves were once victims of an evil social system is in an even more delicate situation, because social activism can be very engulfing and energizing that it keeps them going, soothing their pain albeit only temporarily. It’s like that high that keeps you floating, keeps you focused on others and their plight so that you don’t feel the burden of your own pain and darkness festering within. To the 21st century social and mental health advocate, there is an instant undeniable rush that comes from seeing someone become better because of their effort, and yet it is this fast-tracked nature of their superhero life that is dangerous, because it projects a false sense of wholesomeness unto the activist.Dear mental/social health activist that has once been hurt or abused:You need to know that in spite of all of the activities happening at the surface of your life, underneath it all is a wound that continues to fester. Perhaps at unguarded moments you feel it – the frightening jab of your soul by an unexplainable but negative feeling; the sudden rush of emptiness; the overwhelming and negative emotions that periodically threaten to strangle you but don’t shimmer to the surface; the lack of peace and true happiness.And when you feel these indications of a pain that is still alive, you don’t acknowledge it because after all you are supposed to now be a master in this terrain.  Or maybe you acknowledge it, but when you do, you acknowledge it only to intellectualize it and depersonalize the experience to just some talking points at your symposium. If you’re an artist, then maybe you romanticize it: sugarcoat it with fanciful words in your poetry or some compelling visuals in your work of art. You give your audience enough to brood over, but not enough to make you feel vulnerable, not enough to threaten the remnants of yourself that needs to heal to be made whole again.Personally I’ve found wholesomeness through my faith in Christ Jesus, and I encourage every advocate of healthy social systems and mental health (whether you’ve ever been a victim of social ills or not) to not neglect your wholesomeness as first, an individual.Always make the distinction between your well-being as an individual, and the well-being of the cause and path you have chosen. Seeing outstanding results in your advocacy against any social issue you’ve chosen to tackle doesn’t necessarily equate to the healing and salvation of your soul. It is a delusion to try to find salvation from saving others.It is counted as greatness unto you if you dedicate your life towards the selfless service of others, but first, do not negate the fact that your soul needs to equally be made whole, healed and at peace.I pray for each and every advocate championing any cause -gender equality, mental illness de-stigmatization, campaign against all types of abuse, against poverty, against exploitation through, against ethnic targeted dehumanization, against substandard educational systems, etc. I pray that you would be provided with the grace to persevere to the end of your time, and that you would also find  true happiness because you too, deserve to be happy.Thank you for reading!As usual, here is completely useless information: I’m in love with fancy and stylish pens in a very emotional way. I currently have two pens that cost tens of thousands of naira, and they are totally worth it. They are fanciful, made of wood, have my names engraved on them bla bla bla.  The pens are one of my most valued possessions not only because of how sophisticated they make me feel, but also because of the story surrounding it.This probably makes me a man of low standards but one of the ways to get into my heart is to get me a really exotic pen, I’ll appreciate it more than I would appreciate millions of dollars (okay not really sha)Anyways, thanks for reading. Love, light and free food!This article was written by Peniel Okwuchukwu for Truth Zombie blog.You can connect with the author via email: peniel4u270@gmail.comYou can further connect with Trut Zombie via social mediaInstagram: @truthzombieFacebook: Truth Zombie

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Dear You

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

Dear you,You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are an epitome of uniqueness and you need to see it too.You are like a perfectly crafted piece of art in a very large gallery, and no matter how much you search from one end to the other, you would never see another like you, neither would you see another, molded with the same glorious intents that you were molded with.You are different, very different but in a beautiful way, and it’s not your fault if the society do not see it this way.Dear you,You do not need to confirm yourself to the oppressive and imprisoning standards of the society; those stupid and fake standards of measuring beauty and self-worth that the society seems to live by. You are bigger than that, you are more than all of that and I’m sure you feel this greatness tugging at you at those discomforting times that you try to force yourself to fit into the small box of the society. Stop trying to fit in any longer, it’s time to break out and let go, time to be free to express all your inbuilt potentialIt’s time to be happy.Dear you,It’s time to ease out of all these pressures to be this and that, to get gratification from the society and to crowd source your self-esteem. It’s time to find gratification from within you; it’s time to make something better of yourself than that empty day to day individual that the society is trying to make out of you.Dear you,You deserve to be happy, and nothing you’ve done should doom you to a state of unhappiness; no mistake, no decision, no regrets, no experience should rob you of your happiness.Dear you,I understand the pains that you feel and can’t say a word about because the society has taught you that expressing emotions and vulnerability is weakness, and that being strong is about stifling pain and denying its existence.That’s a lie.Beneath all your toughness is still a ‘You’ that is weak and yearning desperately to be given expression to, to be given a room to cry out and breathe at the same time, and I think that is fine.Hey, I hear when you say in the silence of your head that you wish for once that you can be allowed to be weak, to breakdown and cry in someone’s arms and not be judged for it and believe me you are not the only one.You see, it takes strength to acknowledge weakness and tiredness, and I believe there is certain strength in weakness. You are permitted to be weak; when you feel the last bits of will power and energy draining out of your pores and all you want to do is stare into nothing and let the first tears slide down your face, please do, it doesn’t make you less of a human beingHey,It must be painful to not have anybody around to listen to you, it must be painful to have lots of people around, but yet no one to look you in the eye, connect with your soul and sincerely say: “I understand”That must hurt like hell.It must be painful to have a heart filled with words that you have to keep swallowing over and over because everybody around seems so engrossed in their own lives to spot you clinging desperately to the edge of the cliff, finding reasons to not let go. Please don’t let go, please don’t let go. It would be worth it at the end.Hey,Step down from that scale and shake off those lying voices that are telling you that your worth is measured by the scale. You might not have the model body, but at the end of the day when the real things of life matter, you would be relevant not by your body size, but by the condition of your heart and how it fueled you to make the difference that mattered in the long run. I mean it. I mean it with every ounce of seriousness within me, you are beautiful. Anybody who tells you otherwise or makes fun of your body is blind, and you would just be how surprised as to how many blind people are out there.Hey,It’s sad that you are beginning to convince yourself that the only way out of your predicament is death; it wounds me to know that you think so. I mean, how can someone as amazing as you believe that the best option for you and all your gorgeousness is death?Death is not as fulfilling as you might think, and I’m here right now telling you, no pleading with you… please don’t die. I’m on my knees right now telling you to hang on to your life, because there is another way out, there would always be another way out, even when you can’t see it. No, I’m not downplaying on the intensity of your pains and your struggles, I’m not looking down on the fact that life has become synonymous with agony, and you seek desperately for relief, but I’m assuring you that you can find relief while still alive. The world would lose a very big deal if you stop breathing.Hey,I heard that you feel your demons calming down only when the cold blade finds your skin and opens it for your blood to escape along with the demons of the moment. You get relief from cutting, but when you are done you realize how harmful this is, and you want to stop. Believe me, I have an idea of the type of emotional pain that can push a person to seek solace in physical pain, the stings of a blade, and I can’t push this aside, but I urge you to fight. Fight through your challenges, confront your demons and come out tops. You would come out tops.Hey, ‘I know you’ve been through a lot, we’ve been through a lot, and that’s why I want you to stop sulking and self-pitying and take a stepLet’s fightLet’s ridicule the wrong standards of the society.Let’s make mockery of the same things that once depressed us, let’s yank falsehood out of our lives, and let’s reinvent our living. Let’s remake culture and eradicate labels. Let’s eliminate stereotypes and let’s redefine the meaning of words like beautiful, to encompass true beauty. Let’s arm our voices with reviewed ideologies of unity, love and true worth, and let’s challenge the same practices that bruised us and left us in need of mental healing. Let’s unsubscribe from these stupid tenets and let’s dictate to the society, the right ways to treat us.And when we speak they would listen to us because we wouldn’t be whimpering from our dimly lit rooms, but we would be roaring from the mountain tops and organizing coups on the same stages that were once used to feed us lies and corrupt our images of our self.Let’s shake our hurts and remake ourselves, then let’s remake the society to make sure that our children don’t experience this same crap.Yours with loveTruth Zombie

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Ignore the Bad Guy, Blame the Victim – the society’s guide on how to eliminate evil

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

A friend of mine texted me a while back.She in recent times added some weight, and although I think it looks really good on her, that is beside the point.  She sent me a screenshot of a conversation she was having with someone, or to put it in a more correct context – an unsolicited advice she was getting from someone, about her weight.  The speaker urged her to lose “the extra weight” before she gets back to school, because it doesn’t look good on her and whatnot. The speaker was rude and invasive.  She showed me the conversation and asked me if she was supposed to find it offensive that is, what the speaker had said. She wanted a sincere answer from me.  Her question was frank. She wanted to know the right way to feel about what had just been said to her. She wanted to know what was expected of her in that situation, if it was okay to be upset or not. She, who had just taken the jab of someone’s bellicose comment, was indirectly enquiring from me, what the generally accepted reaction is, so that hers could fit in.  It bothered me, because I understood where her concern stemmed from: it stemmed from a societally induced consciousness that what matters the most in many situations, is what the victim did to warrant being victimized, and not necessarily what was done to the victim. Of even greater importance to the society most times, is how exactly the victim reacts after an abuse has been meted out. It’s like there is a code of conduct that all victims must abide by, in order not to make the world an uncomfortable place for the rest of humanity.  There is need to also understand that although what she asked was if she should be upset by the action; her question in essence was if it was okay that she was feeling an already existing hurt.  In my own understanding, her contemplating if to be upset, was actually her processing a subtle smidgen of hurt within, and wondering if to acknowledge, nurture and give expression to it, or if to push it away.  So I responded, trying to guide her to the truth of her current feelings. I told her that the important question isn’t if she should be hurt, but if she is hurt.  She tried to reply by analyzing her feelings, a bit rather evasively “well I don’t know… I feel he was rude with how he said it, but at the same time he is expressing his opinion so I don’t know if I should find that offensive I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know…”  I had to cut her short again and explain to her that the question needed a direct yes or no answer and that she should confront her feelings and give me a response “Do you feel hurt by what he said?”  And she said yes.  “So it’s simple then. Go ahead and tell him that you don’t like what he said, and that it upsets you, and that he shouldn’t say something like that to you again. What matters the most is how you feel, and not how you should feel, at least in this situation.”  End of conversation.  But isn’t it worrying? How we shift the responsibility of the consequences of ones negative actions from the person who committed the actions, and then try to place the responsibility on the victim who was merely unfortunate to be on the receiving side?  In another recent past in a community in which I belong in, a Ponzi scheme erupted and it swept across rather quickly. As is expected of Ponzi schemes, people began to lose their money at some point. As the issue continued to unravel, quite a number of people became more focused on making the people that had fallen victim to the scheme the center of scrutiny, rather than focusing on the wrongness of a Ponzi scheme in the first place. They were more preoccupied with why the victims would be so gullible, than with why someone should start a Ponzi scheme. It was ludicrous how hardly anybody questioned the intent of the person who started the scheme.  You see, we hide the perpetuators of vices most times, and put their victims on display. This is a total misplacement of priorities, and a wrongful channeling of our energy as a society.  One thing I’ve come to know that victim blaming does is that it protects evil. It shifts the light away from the evil and the evil doer, and casts the full beam on the victim. This is most ironic considering that darkness is simply the absence of light.  Maybe this collective attitude of ours is as a result of years of travail in the hands of malefactors, that we have resorted to self-preservation and self-protection as the only solution. What better way to ensure our safety than by forcing everybody to continually look within themselves whenever they’re dealt badly, so that they can make adjustments that would prevent a reoccurrence. Now inasmuch as I understand the place and importance of self-preservation, it is imperative to understand that self-preservation isn’t even living; self-preservation is merely surviving. Self-preservation and all the ways that we manifest it only ensures that we keep dodging bullets in order to stay alive, while overlooking the fact that we could just take the bloody gun off the hands of the assailant pulling the trigger.  What is argued that victim blaming achieves, is that in pointing out what the victim did wrongly, it highlights what the victim needs to do differently in order to avoid reliving such unfortunate experience.  At the end of the day however, evil is fluid, evil has many faces, evil comes in many forms, and we can only know so much on how to prevent evil from befalling us if we decide to always be on the defensive.  Instead of playing hide and seek with this many faced entity of evil, it we should redirect our energy into quelling its vigor, by identifying and crushing it whenever and wherever it manifests. It is time we channel all the efforts we put into fortifying ourselves against the reach of malefactors, into reaching out to them ourselves and exterminating them, one after the other.  “Man up and develop a tough skin so their actions won’t hurt you anymore…”  “Stop falling for men and their tricks. Love less and hate them; that’s the only way protect your heart”  “Stop letting your peers’ hurtful jokes get to you; look at it as a joke too if not you will be miserable”  “Next time do not wear that skimpy dress, so nobody rapes you again…”  And while we make excuses for the culprits and put all the blame on ourselves, the very nature of their perversity would ensure that their darkness keeps thriving and blossoming until it overshadows us again, and again, because we choose to keep ignoring itHow is your day going people? Thank you for reading!This is totally unrelated, but do you know ‘Mask Off’ by Future is actually a sample of the original song ‘Prison Song’ by Tommy Butler released in 1976I actually find it a bit off that a song that paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr and addressed slavery and black liberation, was remade into a song talking about drugs and ish.But anyways, do have a beautiful day!This article was written by Peniel Okwuchukwu  Connect with Peniel on Instagram: @peniel____ Connect with Truth Zombie on social media for more exclusive content  @truth_zombie on IGTruth Zombie on FBTruthZombieTV on YouTube 

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WHY I WON’T BE IN A HURRY TO SEND MY KIDS TO SCHOOL – would I even send them to school?

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

If I do have kids in future, my kids after completing their secondary/high school education would have to spend one year (or more) at home before proceeding to pursue higher education through whatever means they decide is best for them in their pursuit of knowledge.It mustn’t even be a University – frankly I don’t care what institution of knowledge  they submit themselves to, so long as they are acquiring tangible information and developing their God given skills. The goal would be the acquisition of knowledge, not the acquisition of a degree.Spending at least a year at home would not be optional. This would be a necessary part of their growth process, and they would grow up understanding the importance of this break so that when time comes, they would happily welcome it, understanding its purpose and what it would accomplish for themThat one year would be a necessary part of their mental formation because during that period, they would be compelled to take a break from the society to figure out what exactly they want for themselves and understand how they want to go about it.The goal would be to withdraw them from as many institutionalized societal systems as possible, so that they can be able to listen to their innermost yearnings without all the external opinionated voices screaming in their ears. While they ‘on the mountain’, they would be provided with objective knowledge and general information that would aid them in their decision making.Of course a year or two is not enough time to totally have the rest of your life figured out, but it is enough time for one to get to understand the basics in order to build the foundation that every other choice would subsequently be based onMy own experience when I left high school, coupled with a lot of other people’s experiences that I’ve read about, is what has influenced this decision of mine.I graduated high school in 2015, and spent a year at home after not getting admission to the university. I eventually got into school in 2016.Back then, that year was hell for me because everything and almost everyone reminded me that my mates had gotten into school while I hadn’t, and I felt miserable because of it. But now I look back at that period, I’ve come to realize that it was the best year of my life so far, despite all of its painThat year was when I was pushed into discovering what exactly I wanted to do with the rest of my life because  of circumstances that withdrew me from the society and in that uncomfortable isolation, forced me to listen to my own heart ( because there was nothing else I was doing with my life other than waiting to get into school).This is why I also don’t support the idea of always sending children and teens to learn a skill or get a job as dictated for them whenever they are out of school for vacation. Sometimes what a child needs is enough free time to explore things on their own terms, that will aid their path to self-awareness2015/2016 while I was at home, I went kamikaze on writing as a coping mechanism for not being in school yet. I also watched my love for arts grow from the subconscious mind to a place of consciousness that I could hone, and in the midst of all this, I began to understand for the first time what exactly I wanted to do with my love for arts.All of this happened because of that one year break from society I was forced by circumstances to take. Now imagine if I had that year to myself to pursue further self-discovery, but with encouragement and without the negative energy from not yet being in school which had its own adverse effect on me thenIf I am to go back to 2015, I would spend that one year at home again, but this time with a conscious understanding that this break is a necessity and not a mistake. That way I would get the complete best out of that period of sober reflection and isolationYou see, our current society doesn’t give us so much space to figure ourselves out, except we do it through blood and sweat while trying to break out from the general norm and carve our own path. That is if we even get to a point of self-discovery. Many people actually waddle through life doing only whatever their current situation allows them to, without ever discovering purpose and passionFor those of us who have to struggle to carve our own path despite unfavorable societal odds, the battle to do so inadvertently affects our mental health. Even if we eventually succeed, the demanding process of resisting and conforming, struggling and giving up, breaking down and picking ourselves up again wears us out so much that when we finally get there, we are already exhausted and dealing with so many scars meted out to our psyche. This is what I will like to protect my kids from if I am ever blessed with any.From nursery to primary to secondary to university to NYSC to becoming a working class person, there is no break, no space. It sounds like life in this part of the world is more or less a sprint than a marathonFurther on the issue of self-awareness, it is important to note that Secondary/University level is usually the time teenagers begin to have an idea of who exactly they are meant to be. This is because the age bracket that places a person in Secondary/University level is usually the age bracket that witnesses the mind, developing to a stage where it begins to accommodate the thought processes that seek to understand one’s self.“What do I want to be when I grow up? Who am I? What do I like and dislike? Am I sure I really want to be a pastor or doctor or lawyer like everyone around me keeps telling me I would be?” These are the questions that a teenage mind begins to process at this juncture.Essentially, the formation of identity and a desire to become starts at this point.But with the way our society is designed, chances are that a teenager who has gotten to this juncture of self-awareness that needs processing (which takes time) would already be in the system doing something that doesn’t reflect their person or passion, because they have (been) rushed into it.And point, the next thing society and its soldiers begin to tell these teenagers, is that they just have to see it through even if it’s not what they want, because a lot is at stake – expectations, resources invested into them so far, lack of courage to admit they’re on the wrong path, and the biggest nemesis all, “Time”The fact that we are extremely conscious and fearful of the progression of time is one of our greatest undoing as a peopleThe way we use time as a defense for this detrimental rush we’re all in is something I’m beginning to find more and more appallingYou see, while time really does play a vital part of our existence, the place and relevance of time as we now know it has largely been exaggerated.Time is more or less now, a social construct, than an independent entity.This time thing is wielded by the society to mandate you to be at a certain place at a certain time, even when that’s not where you’re supposed to be or neither is it where you want to be, considering that we’re all unique individuals with different goals and plans.And  it’s so easy to preach that everyone has their own time, but how many of our decisions actually reflect this understanding? Back to this crazy rush to the end, running against time with no breathing spaceBy the time you’ve conformed and fought your way through the institutions and you think you finally have time to figure yourself out, ‘time’ yet again provides you with responsibilities that are expected of your age and you conform yet again to foot these responsibilities, but this is usually the last opportunity you get, because from this moment till the end you’re likely going to be saddled with responsibilities and expectations that come with the adult world.If you become financially successful in the process of living a lie, then you’re even less likely to break through your prison because money answers almost everything except of course the yearnings of your innermost voice which you will desperately try to ignore because chasing it at this point might require you starting from the scratchThis analysis of our toxic relationship with the society can go on and on, but having made my point, I can end this here.My point is simple: we all need that necessary break from the society to step back and look within ourselves long and hard enough to decide what exactly we want to do with the rest of our life. MY children deserve that, and if I have some in future, I will give them that.Thank you amazing people for reading this piece. You are the reason I write.As usual, here is a completely useless  information: I never liked mathematics and I still don’t like math. No. If I want to be sincere, the problem is that I don’t know math, and believe me I’ve tried but I just never get the hang of it and still don’t. I don’t want to embarrass my father on here, but I know I got this deficiency from him. stifles a mischievous chuckleBut then as I like to joke with my mother, I don’t believe I need to know math to know how to count money, so I’m all good.*insert all the winking emoji here and all that blogger kind of thing* This article was written by Peniel OkwuchukwuConnect with Peniel on Instagram: @peniel____Connect with Truth Zombie on social media for more exclusive content@truth_zombie on IGTruth Zombie on FBTruthZombieTV on YouTube

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LOVE WOULD NEVER BE ENOUGH – and that’s a fact

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

Love would never be enough and that’s a fact.It is because of this understanding that I don’t buy the message that if he or she really loves you, they will or will not do some certain things simply because they love youThey might love, but still lack the willpower to effect necessary changes despite their love. This is because it isn’t always about love, but beyond.One might love, but have their love overwhelmed by self-indulgences that they were unable to drop in the course of growingLove in its singleness, would never be enough a force to create picture perfect, or to keep things moving in the way that it should beTo start with, everybody has a different idea of what love is and isn’tSo what exactly then is love?Maybe love isn’t an isolated notion with an independent meaning; maybe the very meaning of love to each person, is woven into and derived from their experiences such that it is these experiences that shape their perception and expression of love which in turn shape how they view the world.People’s interpretation and expression of love would always be subject to multiple factors, and if the very interpretation of love is relative and dependent, how then can we trust a notion as plastic as this, to single handedly stir the ship of our relationships at all times?For example, it is the plasticity of love interwoven in culture amongst other factors that would cause a parent in Africa to frequently spank a child senseless, and another in Europe to always desist from laying a finger on their child, both actions inspired by what their understanding of love is, thanks to their predominant culture.It is for this same reason that I believe that love generally exists, but pure and uncontaminated love does not exist in the realm of humanity.In simpler words, I don’t believe human beings are capable of practicing and expressing true love.Besides, what would be uncontaminated to you, would be blemished in the eyes of another because the nature of our very diversity as a race would make sure we hold love to different standards of appraisalAnd even when we hold love to the same standard, the nature of our imperfect humanity would still corrupt the purity of love whenever we wield it. If you love your partner, you will give them space and let them go VS if you love your partner, you will fight for them at all times.If you love those around you, you won’t do what upsets them VS if you love yourself you would do what makes you happy even when it upsets those around youThe confliction, the confusion, the chaotic assemble of diverse opinions on the same issue!Growing up, the church preached that if someone really loves you, they would never want to have sex with you outside of marriage, and if someone wants to have sex with you before marriage, it is because they explicitly do not love you.Growing up, I met people and realized that there are those who would want to have all kinds of sex with you because they genuinely believe that sex and the intimacy that comes with it, is one of the forms through which love can be expressed at any point in time.Let’s also talk about how everything is done and preached under the guise of lovePain and happiness, destruction and construction, empathy, sympathy and ruthlessness all called love whenever it is most convenient or applicable, and yet with this insane chasm that goes on under the name of love, we bestow love enough confidence to hold our lives together all the time and to hold our relationships together?Love in its singleness would never be enough to hold a relationship togetherAnd personally, I think that the role that love plays in bringing and keeping two or more people together is highly overemphasized and overratedBut we don’t see this, because most of the time we are convinced that we know exactly what love is, at least to us, and it is enough to keep things in order.But to you who strongly believe in your version of  love,  take time out and ask yourself: “what are the things shaping my idea of what love is?”Because the idea of what love is, is always widely influenced by many societal elements – so influenced, that the presumption that you independently created your notion of what love is, might just be an illusionReligion, culture, environment and immediate community, family, peers, social influencers and public figures, your country’s political state, matters arising, ethnicity, etc. etc. etc. are all constantly lending a voice into the construction of what love is and should be.Which have you bought into? How certain are you of its authenticity?Love would never be enough, so you need to start complimenting it with other forces in order to create a balance that will hold things to the center.Other forces such as fear, rationality, common sense, discipline, understanding, information and knowledge, realism, pragmatism, convictions, principles, selflessness, ruthlessness, empathy, value system, vision, and many others that would serve as checks and balances to love’s unbridled natureHello beautiful people, thank you for reading this. It’s a beautiful Saturday.Totally irrelevant information: do you know I totally do not eat any kind of swallow and soup except it’s a matter of life and death? I’ve never enjoyed the taste of eba and soup, but God will epp me. As a child I used to think it made me sophisticated, as an adult people doubt my heritage when they realize this  This article was written by Peniel OkwuchukwuConnect with Peniel on Instagram: @peniel____Connect with Truth Zombie on social media for more exclusive content@truth_zombie on IGTruth Zombie on FBTruthZombieTV on YouTube

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“A SOCIETY THAT FORGETS ART RISKS LOSING ITS SOUL”- CAMILLE PAGLIA

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

When art travels beyond the realm of expression and into there alm of imposition, only then is its power unravelled. Art is art when it expresses, but art becomes power when it influences. Creative Art can be likened to a master manipulator, the type that gives the illusion of choice and freedom by asking the instruction as a question. But then that is the beauty of arts, the fact that it magnanimously projects its power unto its consumer and allows them to call it theirs. For instance, the young man trying to give his lover aromantic evening while Okay by Adekunle Gold plays in the background. The youngman would feel proud as he watches her overcome by emotions, would even pat himself on the back for being so romantic. All this while, Adekunle Gold’s song would continue to play dutifully, not complaining about the misplaced credit, but allowing the man to take the glory for being the romance expert. What did the lover do apart from press play while blandly muttering “I love you”? Put it into context; if the man mutters ‘l love you’ without the song playing in the background, the difference would be clear. An ‘I love you’ is not bad when offered with nothing, but an ‘I love you’ when offered... Written by Peniel Okwuchukwu, this article first appeared on the Guardian Life NigeriaTo read the full article, click the link below https://guardian.ng/life/how-creative-arts-shapes-society/

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Age is nothing but a Number

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

You most likely might have heard this phrase at least once in your lifetime that ‘age is nothing but a number’. If you’re unlucky in this regards like I have been, you may have heard it many times more than you really want to. The question however is if you believe it; if due to constant repetition, you’ve  starting passing it off as the truth, or maybe you’ve really always believed it, that age is indeed nothing but a number.People argue that this statement holds truth and I agree too, that in some peculiar situations, its truth cannot be contested. But what of the other times this statement is completely taken out of context to defend a certain degree of silliness and absurdities?In recent times, the phrase has been adopted by a lot of parties, and it is no longer unusual to see this phrase being cited in situations where it shouldn’t even hold any level of sound logic.As much as someone would argue that there is reason in that statement, there is actually a level of ridiculousnessin this statement too, or rather in the way it is used sometimes. You see, it’s not logical to completely invalidate the importance of age and drop it to the point of it being just numerical figures, because you’re trying to justify why someone of a particular age should be allowed to do, or not do something.Age is many things, but a numberI remember the first time I heard this statement used in a light that made me question its message. It was in a Nigerian movie, and in the movie the main character a little over twenty five and wasting his life in the village, was confronted by his elderly father. The father unable to fathom why his son would prefer to chase teenage girls in the daytime and drink palm wine in the evening, pointed out his age to him, and the mother who played a role where she always pampered her son came to his defense. Guess what her defense was? Yes you guessed right; age is nothing but a numberI never got to finish the movie so I never knew their intention, theme or how the story eventually played out, but I remember for the first time, noticing how ridiculous that argument sounded in that context.I also remember calculating in my head, that if age is really nothing but a number, then these numbers shouldn’t be closely synonymous with our body’s growth and maybe somehow, we could separate the both of them so that these numbers would never mean that we are close to death. I mean why do mere numbers have so much to say about our nearness or distance from eventual death?If age is really just a number, then it shouldn’t be out of place to see a good looking teenager who would be let’s say a hundred and twenty years old, but still young and energetic all the same with that really sexy youthful look and body.If age is nothing but a number, then age should have the ability to run into infinity the way our number system does, and not stop us from enjoying life by the time we clock eighty, ninety, or hundred, as the case may be.Age is many things, but a number.Age is the consciousness of the existence of time. It is the consciousness of the steady moving hands of the clock, drawing us minute by minute to the end of our lifetime.Age is the reminder of the fact that immortality does not run in our blood stream.Age is that concept that was naturally invented to put us in our right stage of life at every given time, the concept that makes sure we get the full package out of life, while being conscious of when exactly we are required to leave one stage and proceed to another.Age is the check that would instigate the society into putting everyone in their categories to ensure that both the young and old are treated to what is best suitable for them.Age is why it is wrong to have any sexual affair with a minor, because age points out to us, that the minor is not developed physically, emotionally and psychological to deal with such activity.Age is the reality that rations out responsibility, and is supposed to make sure that no one carries less, or more than is required of them at any moment.Age is the mantle that would grant the older ones the access to privileges, which would in turn spur the younger ones into desiring to grow.Age is what instills a certain level of order, discipline, and sanity to our already insane society.What is age to you?                                                                                                   Age shouldn’t just be a figure you remember for document purposes, it should be what would inspire you to get to work, understanding that age is mortality and mortality is limited time for you.The awareness of age and ageing should be what would motivate you to pick up speed, running down the track of life, realizing that you have only but a short time to achieve all you have in mind to achieve, to change all you desire to see changed, and to build that legacy before your time is up. Age should be your reminder that you have been allocated a limited time that has already begun counting down.Age should be what would spur you into reflecting soberly on the beauty and futility of life, and the reality of death.Age is what would eventually bring you face to face with death, and death…what would death usher you into? Ever thought of that?  Age shouldn’t just be an ever increasing number to you, it should be the reminder of life and living; age should be the reminder of the existence of time.Time – every second running into the next, combining to form minutes, minutes coming together to form hours, then weeks, then months, then years, endlessly running, unable to take a break not even for once.Numbers must not be coherent or chronological at all times; age never breaks its flow pattern. Numbers increase and decrease, age only increases.Age is not a number; age is only represented by numbers

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THIS IS WHAT A DEEP/WOKE CONVERSATION IN MY HOUSE LOOKS LIKE

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

My father is in the legal/judiciary field by profession, is knowledgeable in politics and history, and I like to see him as a gifted teacher – well he is a teacher and he teaches Christian theology (most especially in the area of Christian discipleship) as a passion.My mother is in the field of theater arts and educational psychology by profession, is knowledgeable in entrepreneurship and business, and I like to see her as a gifted counselor – well she is a counselor and she counsels teenagers and youths as a passion. They both organize marriage counseling too.Me? I am a lover of politics, history, arts, psychology, and entrepreneurship. I also think I would make a good teacher and counselor someday, and no; I don’t think I would organize marriage counseling at any point in my life.My immediate younger brother Jedidiah is the first one in the house to be science inclined by virtue of the university course he is studying. What little the rest of us know when it pertains to science is largely from one or two items we’ve read because we are avid readers.Jed is also the first in the family to like sports on a deep level. He also likes entrepreneurship.My last two brothers Beracah and Eliel who are still both in secondary school…well it is too early to concretely tag what their inclinations would be although by a broad categorization one seems interested in arts and commerce while the other, in science.So it is a morning in the household, we’re all together at the family house because the covid19 pandemic is ravaging outside and before we get into the business of the day, we are having some family time.It starts off with a typical conversation but soon gets intense and interesting.We start with a mixture of theology and history, and my dad shares how he is coming to believe that God established the earth in such a way that it responds violently when its inhabitants begin to abound in wantonness and injustice. We cite historical examples to affirm this standpoint and by the time my dad is done highlighting instances both in biblical history and beyond, I have goose bumps because of the factuality of his theory when compared to the instances he has highlighted. The example he gives that settles with me deepest is perhaps the simplest and earliest of this instance in play; the murder of Abel by Cain. He exemplifies the murder of Abel by Cain and how God explained to Cain that as a result of Abel’s blood which was crying out in vengeance from the land, the land was revolting against Cain and had become cursed to him (see Genesis 5 of the Holy Bible)My brother Beracah inputs at this point, alluding to some things he has been reading that agree with my dad’s theory. It is something about the timeline of human plagues in history, and something about a hundred year interval between these plagues that proves that there might be a systematic nature to these plagues breakout. I didn’t properly grasp everything Beracah explained (mental note to self: Follow up this conversation with him at a better time) but I’m glad he is reading and not succumbing to the multitude of misinformation circulating

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THERAPY SESSION – short story

Artist: Peniel Okwuchukwu

therapist – tell me your namepatient – my pronouns are they and themtherapist – okay. I’ve read your file and…I’m sorry butI can’t help youpatient – Yes you can and you will.therapist – and what can I do exactly? I’m as clueless as you arepatient – I’m not clueless. I know exactly what I want.therapist – and what exactly do you want?patient – I want to stop being clueless.I want you to help me find purpose in this agony.I want you to anoint me, single me out, open my heart, plant a cactus in the granite you find there, and then weld my flesh back together with burning sulphur.therapist – You do not speak the words I can understand.patient – You don’t understand the words I can speak.therapist – Okay, let’s go back to the top. It says in your file that you’re addicted to the taste of dexgdie7%&vs.What does it taste like?patient – Like the moon when it’s back has been peeled off, like water after it has shed its skin at night, like incense from hell’s alter when it rises before the mighty throne bearing forth baskets of caskets of brittle bones, spiced fleshes, praise, and worship.therapist – I’m sorry, but this is vague. I need something I can work with if you want me to help you. Okay, what does your obse#@fjw6cb look like?patient – like the clouds that protect heaven from being contaminated with the cries of the oppressed, like Lot’s wife who smiles underneath her expensive garment of salt, like the expensive jewelry that strangles its owner, like the wedding ring that promises a future but ties the marital womb from ensuring posterity.therapist – do you love he^befashe4)+=?patient – Yes I do, but only as an enemy.I love her like David loved the songs that forced him to dance naked even when his lover scorned, like Achilles loved his heels that saved him from drowning in the pool of immortality, but later opened the gate for the enemy’s arrow, like Lucifer loved his pride that enthroned him King of the world but ruler of the damned.I love he^befashe4)+=, Like I love you. You, who I shall confide in now, then kill afterwards so that my secrets stay safe forever.therapist – you frighten me. Who are you?patient – a drowning shadow, an arch angel, a pillar of fire extinguished by alcohol, an apocalypse, a sleepwalker, but none of this matter anymore because this is my cue. I never answer this question without closing the chapter.And one last thing therapist: when you cross over, please do not tell any of my exes that I now attend therapy. Tell them that one day I will be reborn as a crippled Phoenix that rises from its cold.

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