I was born a premature; my mom was 6 months pregnant. She had chicken pox at that time which forced her early delivery.
I was said to be red and too tiny. The doctors had looked at me and confirmed that I couldn't even last two days.
I could barely breathe. I was kept in an incubator but doctors felt it was a waste of money, time and space so we were discharged.
At home, I was prevented from being exposed to the air. The windows of Mom's room were all shut and I was swaddled in more than five wrappers to offer me warmth. There was always a lantern burning to keep the room in appropriate temperature for my body.
I lasted more than two days actually but I had developmental issues.
While other children could run around and play so easily, I found it difficult. I was grown but I was too thin.
While other children could play in the rain, I couldn't. My ears would always hurt so much.
I fussed too much as a child and was tagged "Weaver bird".
I was not permitted to run around or injure myself like other kids did.
I was always sick and would always wound up with injuries on my nose. Children in primary school often would call me "suya nose". They never understood my battles.
The sunken fontannel (i.e. the soft spot in a baby's skull) was still very painful to touch. It prevented me from carrying things on my head even up to this day. It still does hurt when you press it.
I felt weird and often wondered why it had to be me.
I would never forget the day my Mom looked at me on one of my birthdays and smiled. She said "Nzoputachukwu, I never imagined you'd grow up. Now look at you!"
Indeed, I have been looking at myself. What did I do to deserve survival?
I have never again questioned my peculiarity.
Fast forward to the days after my Mom's death. I had only finished my secondary school education at that time. We were left with a small Café and a little Bookshop to fend for ourselves.
Before Mom's death, I was made to acquire computer skills as a Typist. I never knew somewhere in the future, it would help me live a better life.
My sister and I were the ones taking care of the shop. While my elder managed the Bookshop, I managed the Café; as teenagey as I was back then.
It took a large chunk of my time and life. It was never easy on us.
Family relatives didn't send us. They suggested we sell the two little shops and share the proceeds amongst ourselves.
They never believed we could take care of us. We were alone in the world. Things were not easy. I wrote Jamb four years after I finished with secondary school.
We really struggled. Four years gone, we were still living in a room and parlour at that time. The most basic thing we could afford was food.
Even when I applied for Jamb in 2014, there was no source of financing for my schooling. I was not so disappointed I didn't get the admission. I wrote JAMB four good times.
There were some days I would wake up and begin to cry, wishing Mom was still alive. Imagine a teenager like me working her butt off to make ends meet.
Some days, my bones didn't feel like going to work. Our opening time was 7am and closing time 11-12pm. We sometimes didn't even do dinner because right on the bed you wanted to take five, you would sleep off.
Soldiers and Officers came with sweet mouths and sugarcoated promises. Some would even offer my elder sister money to take care of us as long as she would give them sex. We never succumbed!
It continued this way until we were able to raise money from our little proceeds to open a supermarket.
Today our supermarket is one of the biggest in the barracks. Our names are everywhere, not as the girls who sold their woman pride for money but as the girls who struggled to make something of themselves.
Today, we live in a three-bedroom apartment with spacious every every.
I am today a 200level student, studying Psychology at the reputable Nnamdi Azikiwe University. The sponsorship for my schooling comes from that shop.
In fact, I have two other siblings in school; my immediate elder sister and immediate younger sister, all sponsored by that shop.
I help out during the holidays. The days have not all been buttery but when I look around me, I find a hundred and one reason to be grateful.
Today, I know a few people who thinks life has all been good to me. In the words of a certain guy "privileged". Little do they know that like every one else, I have a story behind my back.
I know what it means to gather yet it appears as though you've gathered nothing.
Imagine if we had sold our bodies for money....we wouldn't be an employer of labour today.
Our chain of shops employ more than a total of six people with a great monthly salary each.
I know life is not done with me. I still have more stories to tell.
In the meantime, let these be added as a chapter to that book.