Reflections

Reflections

I was standing there, in front of the mirror, tears falling freely down my cheeks. It was a stormy night. There were no clouds, and yet it was a dark night and I felt death.

The woman who had been my mother for most of my life walked in, stopping just at the door, as though she was being mindful of a contagion in the room. There was that look on her face. The look she only gave to strangers. She stood there for a while, staring intently at me.

“You know, you look nothing like my brother, Vincent. I mean, look at your flat head, your ugly toes and your very large nose. I don’t know where Vivian got you from but I am now certain it’s not from my brother. Vincent was a beautiful man, God-fearing, humble and holy. But you – you are a filth! A filthy abomination!” she spat those words at me.

As though her anger had killed her earlier caution, she advanced into the room and began to pace, the way she did when she was tense. She tried to say something else, something ugly no doubt, but the words didn’t come. Instead her tears burst free. She began crying and turned and fled from the room.

And right there, I knew I died. For even physical death could not be worse than this. I tried making a picture of something in my head and nothing came. All there was in my head, within me, was an emptiness – and then a firm blade knifing its way through my heart.

I walked slowly away from the mirror to my closet and started packing whatever I thought was mine. I had to go somewhere but I didn’t know anywhere. I didn’t know anyone. I remembered my brother was in the living room being screened for more information about his own “disgraceful lifestyle”, sharing the pain only two people who know the same secret can share.

The pain in my chest started to bite harder and I sat on the floor. I looked around the room that I had always called mine and wondered what was happening. My entire life played in my head briefly, from the earliest memories of my biological family in the village to my excitement on getting a new laptop just the day before. The memories from the village were hard, cruel and filled with the power of unexpected death – the death of my father, Vincent, to the death of a motherhood and a life I would never know. I remembered how we moved in with my aunt – the woman who became the mother I never had – and how things seemed rosy and peaceful but with dents of inferiority and prejudice.

Mother walked in again, and like before, she didn’t enter. She stood at the door and started talking, making sure every word she spoke came out with enough bitterness. “So you had the guts to bring a man into my house and commit evil. I always knew there was something wrong with you. I sensed it. So you brought a man to my house to defile it and also teach my children wickedness. You lied that he was your teacher but instead he was your evil partner. You see how God works? Who would have known that Amaka would find such things in your laptop, things I’m sure you’ve been practicing under our noses. Just look at how you’ve allowed the devil to ruin your life. How are we sure that you’ve not even gotten AIDS?”

I tried to say something, to refute the unkind allegations, but my mouth opened and the words refused to come out.

My cousin, Amaka, had gone through my chats, my entire phone in fact, and had gone on to spill her findings to her parents, an act of wickedness that had now forced my brother and I out into the harsh light of scrutiny and interrogation. I stared at Mother and tried to tell her that Mr. Ojo, the “evil partner” she spoke of wasn’t even somebody I’d slept with, let alone bring to their house. I wanted to tell her a lot of things, to correct all the wrongs she had accumulated as evidence against me for my “crime”.

But it didn’t matter. There would be no going back. They would never disbelieve what they had chosen to believe.

That night, Mother made sure we packed all we’d ever called ours, before calling her brother, an uncle who doesn’t even know the names of his late brother’s children. In the end, it was decided that when I commence school the following month, I’d henceforth go to Lagos for my vacations and stay with Vivian, my biological mother, the woman who I hadn’t spoken to in years. Vivian lived close to The Synagogue Church of all Nations, where Mother was convinced I’d get my deliverance from the “immoral spirit” ruining my life.

And thus began my five long years of depression and academic struggles. Year after year, the joy seeped out of my life. I no longer saw any worth in myself. I considered suicide several times and searched for acceptance in the beds of strangers. People always say that things like this ought to make you stronger and resolute on being somebody; even though this ideology makes sense sometimes, it doesn’t make it the absolute response to rejection.

I look into mirrors these days and I see my reflection. And I smile at him and he smiles back. And I smile, not because I’ve overcome my demons or succeeded in my journey of self healing, but because he, that reflection, is the only person that understands me and I wake up every day now, trying to keep that smile on his face.

Written by Bloom

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27 Comments

  1. Francis
    January 16, 07:59 Reply

    I pray it gets better for you and you’re not surrounded with TBs that will only make your matter worse. Hugs

    • trystham
      January 16, 13:16 Reply

      Looool. Had to be ‘TB’, not ‘gay guys’. My eyes are on you

      • Francis
        January 16, 19:53 Reply

        TBs are the time and destiny wasters of the community. ???

        @Eggsy Iwo lomo

  2. Mandy
    January 16, 08:35 Reply

    There’s so much to unpack from your story. Father dies. Biological mother abandons. You and your brother gay. Discrimination of the family you grew up with.
    The fact that you’re even telling your story so soundly shows how strong you already ate becos all that is the kind of history that breaks a weaker person.

    PS: If therapy was a thing in Nigeria, there’d be more patients here than in the US.

    • BRYAN PETERS
      January 16, 12:04 Reply

      It actually is a thing. I know clinical psychologists and patients who are on psychotherapy. It’s just a matter of awareness and access.

  3. quinn
    January 16, 08:35 Reply

    Oh my God. Is this for real? People are so terrible, to subject a family member to such treatment. I wish I could do more right now. The reflection in the mirror is the only on that matters now.

    • Pink Panther
      January 16, 08:55 Reply

      Exactly. Keeping the person on the other side of the mirror happy is the only thing that should matter.

  4. Higwe
    January 16, 08:44 Reply

    Am I the only one that feels the picture used for this story took so much away from it ?

  5. Shy-dangler
    January 16, 08:49 Reply

    Honey,I went through a similar situation, I wish I could say it gets better, you pray they’d forget but that’s not possible cos you’d still see the hate in their eyes some would even make it a point of duty to invite you for every church program they come across and wake you up at night to pray, honestly you’d have to learn to pull strength from within, my advice is to reduce interactions with family to the barest minimum…stay strong

  6. Shuga chocolata
    January 16, 09:29 Reply

    Bloom, you’d be strong because you’re enough to keep you happy.
    Stop seeking solace in beds of strangers, it doesn’t help. Rather seek comfort in one that understands you and will stand by your side everyday.
    ☺ smile always because it makes them confused and like shy-dangler said, keep your communication to family it’s minimum.

    We are here, whenever you need Us.

  7. Delle
    January 16, 11:04 Reply

    Sweetheart, am I glad you finally summoned courage to pen this down. I’m so proud of you, so proud.
    You’re loved. Family doesn’t always have to be blood-related, you have a family. A family that loves you. A family that sees beyond your sexuality, a family that cares.
    You have a family in me and I sure as hell would stand by you through it all.
    You’re the strongest person, I know (you and Mitch).

    Love you to bits, Bloom ?

    • Bloom
      January 16, 11:58 Reply

      Thank you sweetheart.
      Thank you everyone and thank you pink panther.
      Ours is a community filled with stories like this and worse but it’s also a community packed with the strongest people ever.
      I hope this story would encourage someone to at least be willing to share their story because it is one of the first steps to healing.

      • Higwe
        January 16, 14:22 Reply

        Sweetie you’re loved and you’re beautiful.
        The fact you’ve been depressed for five years and you’re still breathing makes you a winner.
        Do forgive that woman that raised you, prejudices and resentment aside, she was there when no one else was and raised you for the better part of your life, forgive and forget.
        One day when your story will be a successful one, everyone will come trooping back and the rejected stone will be a corner stone.
        No matter how you feel or think, never ever harm yourself. You owe it to yourself to prove them wrong.
        I was literally forced out of the closet myself, disgraced and shamed, stripped naked and humiliated, I left the street and left the shame ,today it is all in the past.
        You’re loved, just know that, and your story is better than most people’s.

        • Delle
          January 17, 09:34 Reply

          So Higwe, as a recent employee of PP’s (I go by the name Red Lobster), I’m mandated to seek for stories in all corners and by every means possible.
          Yours has juicy potentials (the stripping naked and street thing being the highpoint of it all).

          Do share your story(ies) with us at pantherptb@yahoo.com.

          We are always glad to hear from you. Remain queer ?

          • Higwe
            January 17, 09:48 Reply

            I know how to forward a story to pink panther, I’ve done that before .When I have something worth telling ,I will.
            Meanwhile, I love being open with people and I hate pretence. I don’t like you, I don’t get a good vibe from you, I’ll really appreciate it if we can maturely ignore each other.
            I honestly do not understand why you try so hard?
            Peace #

  8. Mitch
    January 16, 12:46 Reply

    I look at you everyday, Bloom, and I am just beyond proud of how you and your kid brother have grown into amazing young men.

    One thing I’m certain of is this: We won’t end here. One day, they’ll recall this occasion to their own shame and wish they’d acted better.

    As for you, don’t ever fucking relent. I’d keep telling you this. Fight for what you want, fight for what you believe in and you will win because you’ve got all it takes to win.

    And most of all, never sell yourself short. We both have a tendency to do this. But I’m saying stop. It’d only hinder you and you have got so much to prove, so much to do without settling. Never settle kiddo.

    I love you to the moon and back and I’d always be here if ever you need to talk.

  9. KingBey
    January 16, 16:36 Reply

    Awwwwwnnnn. Prove them all wrong by being a huge success. That’s the best payback you can give any homophobe. Be a blazing success and they will come back seeking for your attention. Never give them any reason to say “Shebi I talk am”

  10. Dan
    January 16, 19:16 Reply

    This is an amazing story. I had such discrimination in my secondary school days and everyone throws hated speech on me. Last year school reunion I took all the bills from feeding to lodging and I still remind them of their actions back in school. I closed my speech by sending them greetings from my boyfriend. They had no choice than to listen and feel bad.
    Success is the best revenge in life.

    • Higwe
      January 17, 09:49 Reply

      Boss move, kill them with success !!!

  11. KingB
    January 17, 08:35 Reply

    Kill them with success. That’s my mantra. That’s what I live for.

  12. Dunder
    January 17, 16:28 Reply

    So sorry you had to endure this much from people I am sure you love very much but also, a huge congrats on finding and focusing on what matters- the man in the mirror. Honestly, that message was for me. Let me encourage you to continue to do that. Focus on that gentleman and fight for him. Hug him for his mistakes, hold him to his promises, Lead him to his dreams and affirm his truest self. I wish you peace.

  13. Yazz Soltana
    January 18, 22:11 Reply

    Where do you get all this wicked pictures…
    Biko just where..

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