MY ESSENTIAL TREMOR

*Hello everyone, this is the first post in the ‘One Pic; a Thousand Stories’ series. The idea is that I take a random picture and try to make a story out of it. However,  mine is just one in a thousand stories that can be made out of the picture. So, if you have another interpretation to the picture, you can send it to me via oadeboro@gmail.com . And i will post it on here for you! Enjoy!*

I just sold my last camera to some funny looking guy who kept looking suspiciously from side to side. On a normal day, I would not have sold my dear ‘Blessing’ to him. (I named my Canon EOS 1D Mark III, ‘Blessing’, because it was given to me by an acquaintance. Plus, it is so expensive, I can only see it as a blessing).

But, on a normal day, I would not even be selling my cameras. I would not be selling my most prized possessions.

My interest in photography began to develop at the age of 10. My step-dad was a photographer. I first fell in love with his work when I saw the pictures he took of my father’s funeral. He had captured the sad atmosphere so well that my younger brother, who was only a year old when our father died, still cries whenever we see the pictures at our family house at Ijebu-Ode.

My step dad was not a rich man, in fact, he was not educated. But he did what he loved and loved what he did. On Saturdays, he would take me to his ‘developing lab’ to develop the films of pictures he had taken during the course of the week. He would explain to me, step by step, every single time. He did not know the names of the chemicals used and so he coined Yoruba names for them.

 I got my first camera when I was 18 years old. I inherited it from my step-father. He died when I was 18 years old.

Since then, I have not looked back. Photography has been my life. It has been the air I breathe and it has choked me. The life I live and it has killed me. My sustenance and my deprivation. And my comfort and distress. It has put food on my table and sent my wife packing. (She believed I was cheating on her with the models I photographed).

However, despite all these, I have loved photography like I love my life.

But, what do you do when your life and the thing that makes it important are suddenly snatched from you at the same time?

Just last month, I noticed that my tongue and my hand kept shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t draw a straight line, even with a ruler and dressing up was an uphill task for me. I visited my family hospital and was referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital; LUTH. There, I was diagnosed with a disease known as ‘Essential Tremor (ET)’.

They said its cause is unknown. They said my fingers, hand or/and my head and other parts of my body are going to be affected. They said I would have to employ for me an aid (Nanny); to help feed me, dress me up and basically help me live. They said, I would be alright if only I rest and try not to engage the affected muscles in any activity.

To me, they said my life was over.

Now that I sit in my ‘comfy chair’ and I hear mama Teju announce to me that my food is almost ready, I shudder.

I shudder, not because I’m having a manifestation of ET, but because I realize that as old as I am, my life is as empty as though I’m just beginning to live it.

I shudder because I finally realize I would die soon. I would die from essential tremor; my essential tremor.

And my essential tremor is that the absence of my photography is the absence of my life.

*Image gotten from graphicalerts.com*

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