Sometimes, pain lets itself out when we aren’t looking, and pangs hit unexpectedly, knocking off our walls of defence with just one single blow. But, how should we handle such pains and the pangs of it?

Pain is inevitable. If it is a necessity to be so hurt and then turn numb afterwards, then so be it. However, we should not let pain change us; rather, we learn from it. We understand that things are not always going to be aligned with our plans because everything that occurs in our life and how they will come and go is never our call. The unexpected happens. The unplanned jumps in unannounced. Surprises cannot be avoided. It is how we handle the pain that matters.

Pain demands to be felt. It does not want to be denied. You fight it, it fights back. You hit it, it hits you harder. You try to convince yourself that being okay is easy, that telling people you are fine is easier than telling them you’re hurting. But maybe we should not force ourselves to be okay, at least not quickly; we do not have to pretend that we are done and over with everything that happened when we are really not.

I was at a motor park a while ago, waiting to meet some guy who was coming from a neighbouring state with a book parcel for me. I looked up from phone screen to realize that I am at the same spot I was about a year ago, also waiting for a parcel. This parcel was a gift from my ex. She’d bought a ring light and microphone to support my podcasting hobby and waybilled it all the way from Lagos to Aba. And there stood I for long hours waiting for the bus to get there. The driver had called to inform me that he’s almost there. I got there 20 minutes later, only to wait for what seemed as forever for him. My ex would call at intervals to massage my heart with soothing words and assure me that the wait is worth it.

Read ’30’ my collection of poems:

Thinking about that day and recalling how we parted ways reminded me of how we handle pain. It was a heartwrenching experience, the breakup. Pain is sometimes… softness. Something that doesn’t announce its arrival, but passes you or others by, like a passing shadow on a moonlit night. It happened unexpectedly. And for weeks, maybe months, I let the pain eat deep into my bones. Who wouldn’t? I’d let someone who terrifically rocked my world to slip right through my palms like a pinch of dust.

The pangs hit with every memory of her. I hated myself for letting us part ways. I hated that it hurts. I hated that I hated how it hurts. I was bth weakened and ashamed of how hurt I was. One could easily assume that healing would take forever to find me. I remember finding solace in anti-relationship writings. I’d attack my diary with hurt and anger and rape it with such bitter words that’d make the devil cringe— words that could be interpreted to mean that I have embraced bitterness… and healing yet piercingly far from me.

Today, I am thinking of her. Today, I am thinking of pains and the pangs of pains. And, of course, how we heal, though at a really gradual and slow speed. I was not meant to be broken, to be hurt, to be bruised. Yet these moments where I fell catapulted me to better days, because I let it. I can rise, find my footing, push forward, and begin again, because I choose to.

fall, not fatality - by Jaachi Anyatonwu
You just have to let go of the ridiculous notion that you should be eternally blamed for the failure, the fall, the fatalities, the faults.

The truth is, I/you/we will hit rock bottom, but will rise. Even stronger, better, sweeter than before. So, don’t let yourself be defeated permanently. Don’t let your mind convince you that you are unworthy of getting back up, or to powerless to change the circumstances of your life.

Pain is not meant to end you. Bad days are not all there is. Weakness is not what defines you. And the broken pieces of you do not reflect who you are. Who you are is not determined by what you’ve gone through. And you do not have to walk through this life thinking your pain was ‘meant to happen,’ or ‘meant to be.’ The feelings you have pressing on your chest, running through your mind—they are valid and real, and you should not be ashamed of feeling them. You should not feel weak for being sad, for being angry, for losing who you are when something terrible rocks your world.

Your body, your heart, your soul—they are strong. You will pull through. You just have to let go of the ridiculous notion that you should be eternally blamed for the failure, the fall, the fatalities, the faults.

You are so much more than the awful things that have happened to you, than the people you’ve lost, than the hearts you’ve broken or the ones who have broken you along the way. You are so much more than the plans that failed, than the times you messed up, than the truths that make you dizzy, than the abuse you’ve endured.

Remember, you are loved, and you belong here.

30, a collection of poems by Jaachi Anyatonwu
Jaachị Anyatọnwụ
Jaachị Anyatọnwụ is a poet, editor, and publisher living in the suburbs of Aba. He is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Poemify Publishers Inc. Jaachị is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. He is also a fierce advocate for the boy child and sexually molested.


  1. Avatar
    • Gift Michael-Mitchelle Eleojo

    • 2 weeks ago

    Thank you, Jaachị.

    1. Jaachị Anyatọnwụ

      You are welcome!

  2. Avatar
    • Yohanna Singfuri Daniel

    • 1 week ago

    You just heal a broken part of me… Thank you.

    1. Jaachị Anyatọnwụ

      It’s pleasing to know you found healing. You’re welcome, brother.

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