UP AND DOWN MEMORY LANE (Episode 7)

UP AND DOWN MEMORY LANE (Episode 7)

Life has been about growing up. And whether I liked it or not, I have being growing with it.

Back in primary school, I was the girly guy who liked to play oga with the girls, not because I desired to but because my fellow boys wouldn’t allow me play football with them. I wasn’t good with the sport anyway. The girls on the other hand loved me; I didn’t just know how to play their games with them, I was better at some of them than they were. Because of this, I got mocked and teased a lot by the boys. I was never physically bullied; first, the girls would never stand for it, secondly I was pretty big and strong then.

And then, a day came when I was embroiled in a heated argument with some of my male classmates about me not playing football with them. I said in my defense, “You people don’t select me to play for any of the sides, which is why playing oga with the girls is what I get to do during break period.”

“Okay, no problem, come to the field today and I will make sure you play for me,” one of them replied.

Break time came and I moved to the field. And true to his words, the classmate selected me to play for his team. A few minutes into the game, a goal was scored and guess who was responsible – ME! Crazy, right? I know. A corner-kick had been played, followed by an attempted clearance from the opponent defender. It was a poor one and out of the possible twenty-two players on the pitch, the one person the ball chose to land at his feet was me. Hmm. I sha trapped the ball and unleashed a furious kick that sent the ball flying through the opponent’s defense and into the left corner of the post. I was ecstatic!

Another few minutes passed and I scored again. It was the same scenario. A corner-kick was played, and clearance was attempted this time through a header the ball wheeled toward. The boy sent the ball my way with a head-shot and I dispatched it again into the same left corner of the opponent’s goal post. I was basically the man of the match that day.

The next day, it didn’t take much to get me back on the team. This time however, my shine lost its luster. I was only able to conjure up a less-than-mediocre performance, which unfortunately was not enough to earn me another chance the next day. I gladly returned to my girls who were beginning to wonder if they had lost me.

Soon I graduated from primary school and became a junior in secondary school, and I did well to take my brains with me because it quickly became apparent that that would be my only selling point in this vastly different environment. Secondary school was a lot more different from primary school. There was a larger number of students, which translated to more verbal bullying. A few weeks as a junior passed, and I quickly identified with the girls. And this earned me the mocking wrath of the male students, mostly the seniors.

With each class and taunt and play, I grew.

*

I am the only child of my parents. And that means I’m both the boy and girl in the house. When my mother observed that she had missed her period after fifteen years of marriage without a child, when she realized she could be pregnant, in the midst of her jubilation, she nursed the hope of having a baby girl. My father on the other hand expectedly wanted a son.

So when I finally popped out after nine months of kicking and living on just fluids, at exactly 5:06 pm on a Thursday, my mother was at once the happiest woman alive and quite disappointed. And so, she determined to raise me in the manner a daughter would.

She made me learn how to cook, clean, wash. I remember running in and out of the kitchen during the preparation of dinner to ask her what ingredient would be next in whatever it was I was cooking. Anytime I came up with the excuse of not knowing how to perform a particular task, she would simply say, “Come and learn because those who do it are not doing it with their heads turned upside down.” If I complained that the task was a girl’s work, she would be like, “So what? When the job is done, won’t you partake in whatever gain that will come out of it?” Or she’d ask me to go get her a girl who would do it. In moments like these, I’d loathe her and wish she was never my mother.

Last year December, she got really sick with liver abscess. When I travelled to take care of her in the hospital, I couldn’t hold back the tears when I first saw her in that hospital bed. All my life, I’d known her to be this strong woman who’d wake up by 6am every morning and prepare for her morning marketing. I cried as though she was already dead. When I think of that day in retrospect, I realize how unprepared I was for her possible demise. She is strong again now, or at least that’s what she said the last time we talked. I have taken to praying for her to live long.

This has made me realize that family is important, ultimately so. I understand that there are people in the LGBT community who are justified in thinking of the family unit as an overrated thing. But…

Family is important.

Written by Michael

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20 Comments

  1. simba
    April 30, 06:34 Reply

    More Prayers for ur Mum darling.. most of us never had interest in football lol. I ‘ll rather play hide and seek or suwell,tunbom tunbom…

  2. Mandy
    April 30, 07:10 Reply

    Family is important? Why don’t u try having that conversation with those whose families have maligned, turned away, shamed and driven to suicide because of the discovery of who they truly are. Try telling those who’ve lost the love of their families that these people who abandoned them are important to them.
    I think you should singularize it. Family is important TO YOU. Not everyone celebrates theirs.

    • Pink Panther
      April 30, 07:19 Reply

      Mandy you sound deep. Like this is coming from someplace personal. Care to share? 🙂

    • Delle
      April 30, 10:18 Reply

      Mandy durling, don’t be a stingy fish…I’m interested in this.

  3. pagxy
    April 30, 08:34 Reply

    Yep family is definitely important

  4. Delle
    April 30, 10:21 Reply

    I think it’s a double-edged sword thing. Family being the closest and most loved unit of life, can make or break any individual. If your family turns on you, it’s the worst feeling in the world. However, if they are for you, the world wouldn’t be any more wonderful.

  5. Dickson Clement
    April 30, 10:31 Reply

    I never played football or any other sport for that matter, during my service year, I learnt how to play volley ball. I became better and towards the end of service year( last 2 months exactly) , I tried football. I was a total mess, everyone will laugh tirelessly at my effort. Quite frankly, the game is energy sapping. If I had more time there, I know I would have been better with that one too.

  6. INDIGENE.
    April 30, 11:59 Reply

    No matter how it turns out family remains the best!….

    Who wouldn’t react to knowing who you truly are,? When I realised I was more gay than I think! I hated my kind! It was as if am going to loose it!…. but because its me, I had a rethink and am now in full acceptance of me.

    you don’t expect your mother or father to start jumping up that you are gay! that son who wont get married and have grandkids for them.. you of all people should know how our mentality stands in Nigeria… I condole this homophobic folks at times thinking that maybe if there was s switch;That I came out straight I might not understand what it is to Be A Homosexual! ….

  7. INDIGENE.
    April 30, 12:02 Reply

    I would say I had this effete style then but I started on time… played ball with guys, Do all necessary sport! Box the wall with our fist… and I must say it freaking helped me! my classmates back then never seize to ask what changed whenever they see me now…

    Just lock me in a room with my kind and I would loose Adaobi in me and take in Okechukwu!

    • Wayfaring Stranger
      April 30, 14:50 Reply

      I’m confused. You used to be ‘straight-acting’ when you were younger, and then became effete as you grew older?

  8. Wayfaring Stranger
    April 30, 14:57 Reply

    Back in high school, I would play football in the hostel rooms in the day. And then dress up for pageants at night.
    It was such a mess.

  9. ambivalentone
    April 30, 16:21 Reply

    Like Delle says, family can be like a double-edged sword. I say family is who u make dem to be. Much like friends are.
    I hated soccer. Had this evil neighbour who had a library full of Fairytale books and comics, didn’t read them, but always made me play soccer before he allowed me access to his books. I sucked. I tried athletics, they cheated me. Now I play Volleyball. Its ok…when we are not screaming ourselves hoarse on d court

  10. façade
    April 30, 16:41 Reply

    Me play football? Hell might as well freeze over before that happens. Regardless of how effeminate I was in secondary school, I was never taunted, guess that’s part of the perks of being the school’s top bitch n having 80% of the seniors as school fathers so I guess I just go about grooming girls on how to walk that runway during school pageantries

    • ambivalentone
      April 30, 21:30 Reply

      hmmmmm. *files nails and smacks lips* School father eh kwa???

      • posh6666
        April 30, 21:49 Reply

        Lool am sure he meant older guys he was sleeping with hahahahahha

  11. façade
    April 30, 16:48 Reply

    N yes family is sweet when mum makes jokes of u wearing a red brief to go see “a friend” or when she always wants u to help her colour code her outfits until she starts screaming how ur secondary school irritates her n wants to pull ur younger brother from the school before they corrupt child of hers whenever u sit in d same room with her or how u r the witch holding the family back whenever u refuse to attend that night vigil with her

  12. posh6666
    April 30, 19:33 Reply

    Having understanding family members can be really nice especially if u are kinda feminine but they dont point it out at every argument you have and just love you for you…But honestly I have come to a stage where if I notice as a family member you are trying to do me wrong,i will dump your sorry ass asap and continue to love myself after all like Rupaul said…

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