I’m a singer in church. Godwin is the guy who sits in the front row of the church because God loves those who wait for him in the front row. He looks at me sing every Sunday without saying anything to me. He won’t talk to me but would talk to people who know me about me; “Judy this and Judy that. I think I like her voice. She makes the choir thick.”
One Sunday after church, he got up and came to shake my hand. He said, “You made the difference today just like always. Have you thought of doing music professionally?” I shook my head because music is what I do for fun. He said, “It’s about time the world hears your voice. God didn’t create such a huge voice for only this small church. If you’re ready, there are people I can make you talk to.”
He had my number but I didn’t have his. He gave it to me and said, “Let’s talk. We can make something out of this great thing you have.”
At first, it was about my voice and how angels dance when they hear me sing. And then we moved to what I do with my life when I’m not singing. Later we talked about love and the individuals in our lives. I told him I was single. He said the same thing. The question then was, “Now that we have found each other single, what are we gonna do?”
He proposed and I said yes because you don’t say no to a man who sits in the front row of the church every Sunday. One Sunday, he brought his music friends to church so they could witness the power of my voice. After church that day I met them. They loved me and wanted to work with me.
I’ve told you about my voice and how I make angels dance. That’s just one of the things God blessed me with. There are others. He blessed me with a great voice and also gave me a body you can’t overlook. I don’t know the reason behind this combination but I think God might have thought, “Those who won’t find her voice attractive should find her body attractive so they keep looking at her until they fall in love with her voice.”
My body is a special musical instrument. It doesn’t sound in the ears but in the eyes of those who look. When Godwin and I became lovers, my body became something he always talked about. He talked about it with admiration and one day thanked God right before me for giving him a body like me. He was happy about it until one of his music friends looked at me in a way that didn’t please him.
When we closed the meeting and I hugged his friends, he looked away. On our way, he told me, “Don’t hug them like that again. You’ll give them ideas. We belong to the church. They don’t so you have to be careful about them.”
I found it strange that he would say such a thing but I listened. When the guy who sits in the front row of the church talks, you listen. I was singing in church one day when he looked at me and frowned. I was confused. He left the front row and I didn’t see him again until later when I realized he was sitting at the back of the congregation. Right after church., he rushed to me and said, “What is this?” (pointing at the dress I was wearing.)
I answered, “Obviously it’s a dress. What about it?” He whispered, (maybe he didn’t want the holy ghost to hear him talk about my dress) “It’s a dress but don’t you see anything wrong with it? It looks like you are naked. What are you selling? Your body?”
He made me feel so bad about myself I didn’t go into the church auditorium again. I just picked up my bag and left. That day wasn’t the first time I was wearing that dress to church. I’m thick so whatever I wear hugs me and it’s good when clothes hug my body. A human’s hug is ephemera. They hug and later break you. When the clothes you love hug you, it feels perpetual. It feels like home. It feels like confidence.
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So Godwin started policing the way I dressed just because someone eyed me the way he didn’t like.
We started beautifully, the way he wanted me to become a star with my voice, but because of what that guy did, he stopped me from meeting them and told me he would get new people to listen to me. Those new people never came. Instead, he consistently policed what I wore and where I wore them to.
When we settled our differences, he told me, “Maybe I should see the way you dress before you come to church. Send me photos.” I loved him so I listened to him. I didn’t only send photos. I sent videos doing 360′ turn and asked, “How do you check me out?”
He said, “It looks like all your clothes speak one language. Wait, I will get you new ones.”
I followed him around while he shopped for clothes for me. The ones that would hang on me as if I borrowed them from a fat friend and the ones that hide my features as if I wasn’t proud of what God gave me. I didn’t wear them. He started asking questions. I started giving him the answers that fit his questions. We fought. He called me carnal. I called him insecure.
We found ourselves in front of our pastor one day. Godwin made a case out of the way I dressed and told the pastor about it. That day, He went on and on about how ungodly I dress and how I’m becoming a stumbling block to the lives of other men in the church because of the way I dress. I answered, “It’s not the way I dress that’s the problem. I haven’t changed anything about me since I said yes to him. He’s finding problems where there’s no problem.”
Again, he complained to the choir president. Telling him not to allow me to sing in church if I don’t dress well. The president called me on the side and said, “Solve your issues with that guy before he comes in the way of the choir. I don’t like the way he wants to interfere in our stuff because of you.”
It was becoming embarrassing. Tiring. Stressful. I told him, “If you don’t like the way I dress then there’s no need to do this with me. Let’s call it quits so you’ll find a woman who dresses the way that suits that God who lives in you.”
So we broke up. He stopped sitting in the front row. He eventually stopped coming to church like he used to. He said I was a distraction. When he fell sick, he sent for me. He accused me of being the reason for his sickness. “I want you back. I’m sick and not able to worship God the way I want because of you. You left and left with a piece of me.”
We talked things over and agreed to take each other the way we are and also take the relationship a day at a time. Three months later, he started talking about marriage. “When you left me I couldn’t survive a day without thinking about you. It only means I need you in my life forever. Let’s get married.”
I don’t have any problem that stops me from getting married but I have a problem when it comes to Godwin. He hasn’t shown enough change for me to know he has changed his perception of me and the way I dress. I feel he’s trying to get married to me and later suffocate me. When I marry him and live with him, he’ll have the upper hand to dictate everything including my movement, who I talk to and what I wear to where.