See no evil, speak no evil

I was a little girl, a beautiful and innocent one. Those who loved me would tell me everyday “don’t let anyone sweep dirt against your feet, or you won’t marry!”

They would scream “look down when you speak to your elders”. They would say “don’t speak ill of your uncle. He’s a bit naughty, but you cannot say that.”... sometimes, it would not be about me, but the women who raised me.

Mothers and aunties would hide the bruises the next day to cook a hearty meal. They would cry in private and come out with a perfectly tied doek, and the courage to keep nurturing.

The evil was hidden to save me and hurt me all at once. I now face men who want to control me. I now face a world that wants to make me pretend I can’t see, when I can.

It’s a blessing and a curse, because even though I was asked to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil... everything I pretended not to see and hear... I can speak against.