In the biblical book of Genesis, God told a certain man named Noah to build an ark because he was going to destroy the inhabitants of the world by a flood. We all know how the story went, how he gathered all the animals in pairs (even mosquitoes, big mistake Ogbuefi Noah) and the inhabitants of this world met their end in a watery grave.
The ark sailed for months even after the rain had stopped and he had to send out a raven and a dove to ascertain the situation of things. After they had found dry land, he and his family built an altar to God. The most important part of the story to me is the rainbow, I love the symbol of the promise not to destroy the world again by water and it has a separate, personalised meaning for me.
One evening in July, I was chatting with my favourite coconut head aka Hero and although we rarely say things like “how are you?” the question came up and I couldn’t bring myself to type fine, so I said “I don’t know”.
I had been depressed, very depressed. There were many times that week that I held a pack of sleeping pills and wanted to swallow them, so I could wake up in the hereafter. There were many factors that coalesced to weave the black shroud that wrapped me so tightly, I was overwhelmed by everything and I wanted to curse God and die. My friend stayed on my case that evening, talking to me, listening to me, sending me pictures and being just annoying enough to jolt me out of my pity party.
This week that depression came back with reinforced energy, it began on Sunday and has steadily increased in intensity. Yesterday I imagined holding a gun in my hand, putting it in my mouth and blowing my brains off. I have had suicide ideations since I was eight, but I have never thought of using a painful or messy method. I crossed a line that afternoon and my heart fell into my stomach, I was very afraid because I wanted to live too.
It rained on Monday and Tuesday in Lagos and everywhere has been wet and dreary but yesterday evening when the bike I was on turned the corner into my street, I looked up and saw a rainbow in the sky. I squealed with joy, I love rainbows and hadn’t seen one in a while. I saw my dad washing his car as I opened the gate and I showed him the rainbow that was shyly peeking from the gray sky.
“Don’t let it damage your camera” he said as I tried to take a picture of the rainbow.
I smiled and continued fiddling with my phone, unfortunately my phone’s camera disgraced itself and the entire Lenovo family, the pictures I took couldn’t even capture a tenth of the beauty of that rainbow.
“See the long arc of the rainbow” my father pointed and I saw the full arc clearly, it had been hidden by the clouds and I remembered what seeing a rainbow meant to me. When I was in the university, I struggled with fear- intense fear. I’d always had panic attacks from childhood, sometimes they were so intense that I would choke and gasp until it passed but in the university it worsened. I can’t even remember all the things I was afraid of but it got a lot worse during exams, I would wake up covered in sweat and sometimes when I was reading, the fear would grip my heart like a vice and the words would blur. Just after the toughest exam I had ever written at the point in my life, I was walking down one of the many roads in Uniben, I desperately needed to clear my head. It started drizzling, and when I looked up to gauge the sky and make a decision about continuing my walk, I saw a rainbow. Peace filled my heart instantly and I knew then that God wouldn’t abandon me halfway.
Until my fifth year, I would see rainbows during exams. I only saw rainbows at those times in all my years in Benin City, at that times when I was afraid and depressed (from year two, prolonged menstrual bleeding also became a main staple of the exam period). I eventually learned how to ride the fear, I would take other books (especially my chicken soup for the soul series) and read them when my school books became overpowering and the other fears resolved themselves with time.
As I climbed the stairs, I shivered at how an awesome God intervened in the matter of an insignificant me. He reminded me of his love and guidance, of his promises to be with me when I walk through fire and rain.
Today I discovered that a lady I have known for a while also has PCOS, her story nearly broke my heart when she accidentally mentioned that she had PCOS and we traded stories. I was surprised to find myself murmuring words of comfort and she was grateful for them, I wonder if that had happened yesterday and how I would have responded. I’m glad I got my rainbow and I’m getting to share it with someone who needs it.
PS: Obianuju’s latest post ís one of the most interesting posts I have read in a long time even though she used a good part of the post to look for my trouble. The title is epic! I wanna write like Uju when I grow up.