Nengi Nelson Photography

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Take Me To Church



     As I stood across the building, I watched others go in, one after the other, I counted and I knew which ones were there for the same reasons as me. They had the same demeanor, head hung, hands in pocket, slow steps, and you could almost see the anvil of guilt on thier shouders. I really shouldn’t be going for this I thought. My friends had convieniently convened and decided I had a problem. So I stood there facing the abandoned St. Michael’s Secondary school building on Bennett Str. –Hoodlum central and Lovers corner contemplating.

     I really didn’t want to go but in the end peer pressure had won. I still remember the smirk on Annas face when she said “just do it, its for the best”. I wore my black ripped jeans, grey loafers and my favorite black hoodie with “LOOK AWAY” boldly inscribed on it. The O’s in “look” had been replaced with blood dripping eyes, for emphasis obviously. I had my hair in a ponytail and used my black baseball cap to keep it in place. It was my typical I do not want to be noticed outfit but it somehow managed to do the opposite. The dripping eyes, maybe?

     I started walking across to the building when I noticed the lights at the Dominos pizza place were still on so I took a quick detour. The meeting was not starting till 7:00pm and it was just 6:40pm so I had ample time to burn.  Moreover, I had no dinner plans so I figured why not? I had some left over pizza in the fridge, chicken supreme, not my favorite. Besides, this was a chance to get frresh pizza and a combo I wanted, so why pass it up? I walked in and the warm smell of melted cheese hit me and I smiled from chin to chin. I think it’s a real talent, one I was obviously blessed with, to be able to walk into a pizza place and immediately distinguish every smell that breezes past my nose. I could even smell the olives, green-pepper and onion from the fresh-out-of-the-oven vegetarian pizza.

     I knew what I wanted, but I still did the customary menu scan and savoured the scents while I was at it. I finally placed my order for their two for one combo, A BBQ beaf and meatzza mix, extra cheese and thick crust.

   It was 7:00pm by the time I finished so I walked over to the building and headed down the hallway to the gym. I planned to take the most incospicuous spot but there wasn’t going to be any hiding for me, the seats had been arranged in a circle. I did a quick scan and picked the middle seat, one that would buy me time to understand their process before I had to speak up. Assuming I was fortunate enough and it didn’t start with me. Then it began and a plump lady stood up.

“Hello my name is Tracey”.
“Hello Tracey”. They replied.
“It’s been 3 months since my last time,” she started, a slight tremble in her voice. “I’m beginning to get used to it. I don’t crave it as much and I don’t have those dreams anymore”. “You know those ones where they go bad and you still want it anyways and sometimes… sometimes you even-. “ She paused looked at the crowed and seemed to remember where she was. “I work out even more now and I’m eating a lot healthier even.”

They all smiled and applauded her, round and round the turns passed. Each story seemed almost the same, almost like they had memorised it. Suddenly it was my turn, I had seen these things in the movies, I knew my lines, but it didn’t make it any easier. Reluctantly, I got up, hands in my hoodie pocket, voice as tiny as a mouse’s, I started.

“Hello my name is Debby,” I said, “and I am addicted to pizza”.
“Hello Debby, welcome”

  The moderator, a man named Ken, nodded encouragingly with a smile, urging me to say more. So I did.

“Well my friends think I have a problem, which is why I’m here. See, I enjoy a good pizza.” I couldn’t help licking my lips at the memory of the smell of the vegetarian pizza.  “I, enjoy it a lot”

I noticed a few heads nodding and I knew they understood my words. They were Kin. They really knew.

“Okay a bit too often.” I continued. “but, what’s so wrong with that?.  Like, it never disappoints, right? It’s there when things arent so great. The good and the bad times, it’s there. I guess im a bit in love with it.  So maybe, that makes me an addict.  Anyways, yeah, that’s it.”

Peter stood up and smiled at me as he gestured at my chair.

“Hello I’m Ken, thank you all for sharing your stories. I commend you all for making an effort to break out of your addiction. This is the first step, it takes just one, then another and another till you’re done. It took me a while, but I’m happy to say I’ve been pizza free for 2 years now.” A few gasps and awes washed through the room as he said that.  “Two years?” I thought. Why would anyone do that? “Seven rules” he said raising his hands and spreading seven fingers. “First you have to admit you have a problem”. His smile hardened and he eyeballed me. I shrugged.  He mentioned each rule, bringing each finger down as he elaborated on them. I was certain he felt like a holy man speaking to his congregation. A priest, who resisted the daily temptation of taking that forbidden bite for two years.  He made some good points though, I must admit. After the 4th reason I was convinced I had a problem I had been sucked into the crustless side. The one where, he was obviously King.

Finally the talk came to an end. I snuck out immediately. I definitely wasn’t going to have to go through the “special introduction” for first timers. When I was safely out, I walked slowly pondering on Kens’ words and considering all the changes I had to make in my life. I glanced at my watch, noticed that it was 8:00pm and picked up my pace. A friendly smile greeted me when I opened the door.
“Your pizza is ready, miss”.
“Thank you”. I smiled, opened the box and breathed in deep. Mmmm, cheese. I nodded my head and thought, Netflix and chill.

Two Dots and a Straight line

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I’ve never been one of those people that were great at life, those people that never seem to have anything go wrong with them and even if they did,  they’d handle it like nothing ever happened. I think I was only meant to enjoy a few things in this world. I was mostly too engrossed in books to enjoy anything else.

If you ever asked me what I thought about life,-wait, now that I think of it, at first glance you probably would refrain from asking me -if you did, I would refer you to my sister. She had a better understanding of life. One of the many that seemed to have all the pieces of the puzzle called life. She graduated top in her class, had a thriving career as the Managing Director of the firm she worked at, had also recently been approved by the firm to go for an all-expence paid trip to Australia for a professional course training. I wouldnt say she had a perfect life; she definitely had her down times because sadly as a human you already had a default dent. If you were lucky, yours wouldn’t be as visible and if you weren’t like me, the poster child for catastrophe, everyone would spot you. But the ratio of her good to down times was a solid 5:1. She had a great social circle, the kind I only dreamed of- and that’s assuming I had a good enough day to afford whimsical dreams.  This social circle I would occasionally be allowed to be a part of.  We didn’t have many social interactions but we were best of friends and even better, sisters.  I was her confidant and she was mine.  We would stay up and have conversations about any and every thing. She was the one I went to for decisions.
So as I sit on our front steps, with a blanket over my shoulder, hair dripping wet and make up smudged from both tears and water from the tub, my white shirt -the irony that I had chosen not to wear my usual black shirt today wasnt lost to me- covered in diluted blood, as I sit here I can’t help but wonder what I missed. I look down at my converse, they’re completely soaked and the lace of my left foot is loose. I bring my hands out from under the blanket and try to tie them, failing as my hands won’t stop shaking. Put me in a room with an old Parkinson patient and I’m pretty sure I’d get more sympathy.
The police want me to give a statement, but words aren’t something familiar to me right now.  I can see them dancing around my head but I can’t focus well enough to speak. I almost feel like a new-born, only this time welcomed by life’s ugliness. So all I do is stare through a haze of confusion and try to communicate with little nods. A wave of dizziness washes over me, cold as the tub water and I place my head in my pale palms.  They feel clammy against my skin, cold and clammy. That’s the last thought I recall as I wake up in a hospital bed,  -which I would later learn was 4hours later.
I can hear my Mums voice on the other side of the door, I can tell she’s speaking with my Dad; he is away on a business trip and wouldn’t be back until tomorrow. The usual softness and grace to her voice has been replaced with fear,  confusion and despair. I sob silently and try to recollect the events of that day,  the gory images of my sister flash by my eyes and I shut them tight.  Pale skin, eyes shut, slit wrist; typical textbook suicide.
I think of the days before that and tried to look for signs. I had read somewhere that suicide victims often leave signs, subtle ones maybe, but there always were. She was my best friend, we were the two dots that made a straight line and I thought I knew everything about her. At least enough to have known if she wasn’t “fine”, right?? Maybe if I had raised my nose from my books and paid a little more attention, maybe if I had insisted that her drastic weight loss wasn’t because she was “keeping fit” like she claimed, maybe if I hadn’t ignored her regular retweets of sad “sincerely tumblrs” quotes especially the one that said “Those who laugh at everything are often the saddest” maybe, just maybe, I could have saved her.  I understand it isn’t my fault but…. What if??
So if you managed to ask me what I think about life, I would tell you, life isn’t at all how we see it.

By Nengi Nelson
Edited by Eugene .O.
—————————————————————-Note: I realised how little attention we pay to depression and suicide here in Nigeria. We are mostly focused on what meets the eye and easily change topics when it comes up.  “We sometimes mistake deep mental and emotional torture for weakness and so fail to see the signs around us “. We can’t really save them all but we may sleep good knowing that we tried. To the troubled ones, suicide is never the answer.


Hello earthlings, welcome to my blog👏👏👏. Honestly I have no idea where I’m going with this.  I’ve had this URL open for a while now but I never got around to posting anything. I have written a bunch of pieces most of which get lost somehow (moment of silence for my lost iPhone and all my pieces in my notepad that went with it 😢😢). If you know me you know I have a habit of ruining things before they even get a chance to blossom. I constantly worried about what the content of this blog would be, what time I should post things, who would read it and who would not. I also bothered about how awesome the other blogs I follow are e.g ( by my Gee Tobore 😎), how their content seemed to have a pattern and those that didn’t still managed to be pretty kick ass.

So this morning around 6:42am I woke up to the push I had been waiting for. It was a complete Eureka Moment, my sister had started hers and she had sent me a link. I smiled in total awe at how she had jumped head first into this and didn’t give a care, I thought maybe she probably had no clue about what she wanted her blog to be about ,but knowing the kind of person she is she probably has a grande plan, a huge white board with detailed info ,pie charts and graphs for her M.O. So I’ll just use this medium to say congrats mami “you Don did it” lol and I’m glad we can make this journey together. Sadly I haven’t still opened her link since my data plan has been exhausted this I will fix once the cock crows. Here’s a link to her blog so you can tap into her Awesomeness

I’m Definitely going to have posts about my photographs and tell the stories/struggles behind taking them , I have no fashion sense if you know me but I’ll still take your 2cents and dish out fashion advice because I can 😒😒. I will rant. When that boss decides to pay half my money again, I will rant!!! When the movie I pay 600naira for or 1500 turns out to be shit, I will rant!! When I can’t find an awesome filter because First World problems…..I will definitely rant! I’m pretty sure Anna my dear friend, confidant et therapist has gotten tired of listening to me go on and on about these things, so when my therapy time with her expires I’ll come on here and do the rest. Whenever I get a new idea as to what would be introduced on the blog I’ll let you know also.

At first I was going to make this a “about myself” piece but I figured why bore you with all that. I’ll just go with the flow for now and hopefully with time and consistent posting you can all get a peak into my life and deduce what sort of person I am…or not (assuming you don’t already know) 😇. So like, share, comment and relax for my next piece.

UPDATE 11:31pm 
The cock crowed, the sun came out and went away and I didn’t get to post this as planned because when I did finally get my data (I actually bought a new Glo sim because excess data) setup the network was crap.

Your favorite weirdo Nengi Nelson…. Peace!! ✌✌✌

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