Ok, before we dive in, I would like to say that my life was not always as fucked up as I’m about to narrate to you. I was my dad’s favourite – hell, I still am. But things tend to get harder as we grow, just like my dad’s love for me. I come from what you’d describe as a fucked-up, dysfunctional family (although I’d like to think the traditional Nigerian family would pass as dysfunctional). My family is so fucked-up, you’d love to hear all about it. But I’m not writing to unburden myself about them.
I will like to describe myself as someone with multiple personalities and blame my zodiac sign (Gemini) for that. But deep down, I know I subconsciously created these personalities to mask myself. It was about the age of 7 that I knew had a thing for boys, although at that time, I didn’t know what it meant to be gay. I remember the day I had my first and only kiss with a girl. It was at that age. Seven. She was a very close friend and we were supposedly acting a play. The cast of this blockbuster drama starred me as the husband, she was the wife and her fine brother was our son. The script contained a scene where my wife and I would be under the sheets and our son would be at school. That was the scene where I grabbed my first kiss. We were under the sheets kissing, and the actual madam of the house – her mother – was in the next room folding clothes. We’d sent our “son” to go distract his biological mom while we made out. Her lips were succulent and we were inexperienced, so there was a lot of spit, but luckily no biting. I don’t know why, but during our hot and non-hormonal session, I almost asked my “son” to come join us. I wasn’t feeling the kiss at all, and at a point, it began to feel like a chore. If I was ever asked when I first knew I was gay, this would be the story. I never kissed anyone again till I was 17, and this time, it was a guy who was way older than me.
Growing up, I was teased with a lot of names and I used to care up until a point, I was like “Fuck it, people are always going to say what they want.” But all those taunts left their mark in me. In Junior Secondary, my mates would tease me over my effeminacy because of how high my voice sounded and my curvy derriere which, according to them, shook like a girl’s whenever I walked. I remember how I always tried to make my voice thick and change my gait in order to escape these taunts. (Now though, my voice has deepened and I have grown so tall, so none of these things bother me much.) I tried so hard to change what they said about me that I constantly went in and out of depression. I guess that experience made me very good at “acting straight”. Boy, you wouldn’t know I’m gay unless I wanted you to.
Recently I’ve been struggling with living. You can hide who you are for so long. I’m frequently depressed and I read a piece that said that depression can be managed by writing. That’s where I got the motivation to write this piece. I think I have internalized homophobia and I’m so scared of people finding out who I really am. So oftentimes, when I get depressed, I push people away until something pulls me out of the darkness. My social life keeps fluctuating from hundred to ten, and sometimes, I feel like a sadist. I recently left a relationship (my first), my family issues keep getting worse and it doesn’t help that I’m in the university where I’m supposed to be living my best life but I’m having a sexuality crisis. I am caught in a conflict of hope for the future when I watch all these gay couples on Youtube (big shout-out to Tarek Ali; huge fan here) and despair over the fact that every gay guy I meet just wants sex, making it difficult to see where this journey of my homosexuality is leading to.
When I say I’m having a sexuality crisis, I mean I believe I’m gay but I often wonder if maybe I’m bisexual – or perhaps even straight. Sometimes I watch straight and lesbian porn and I’m turned on for real. It’s so confusing and sometimes it just makes me feel like going through the stress of being gay in Nigeria isn’t worth it when I can just be straight. I mean, the evidence is in how I react to the porn, right? But then, I think about how it may be a facade or me trying to convince myself of my nonexistent heterosexuality, and everything just keeps viciously recycling itself.
I am constantly in a state of dilemma, and through it all, I search for something that’ll make living worth it.
Written by Ben