BECAUSE OF TOMORROW

BECAUSE OF TOMORROW

I was 8 the very first time I prayed.

I mean like really prayed.

It wasn’t for lost crayons or primary school squabbles or anything.

I had been having these urges. These things I couldn’t understand but had come to believe were wrong.

I liked a boy in my class. He was a twin named Kehinde. He was cute as a circus kitten. He would smile at me and my whole world would light up. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with him but I knew I liked this boy in a way one was not allowed to like boys.

But there was another problem.

He had a sister, his twin, and I liked her too. She was jovial and sat in front of me in class, and while I was awkward, I definitely knew I wanted to hold hands with her.

I was 8 the first time I said, “God, please take the other one away.”

It was a prayer I would make quite a bit for the next few years.

It felt like there was this idea society had set out about how things were meant to be, of how I was meant to be, and I had come out of the factory a little defective, or I had done something to mess with my programming and I needed fixing. Fixing that only a deity could provide.

I had this idea that if God could just take my attraction to men away and leave the other one, my attraction to women, I could be just like the other boys.

*

I was 12 the first time I considered suicide.

Not the random passing thoughts that some people get from time to time.

I mean, really considered it.

I had knelt and wept and literally gnashed my teeth and still, every time I looked at a fine male classmate, I knew what I wanted. And when I looked at the girls? Damn!!!

I mean, it was boarding school. And I’d finally discovered what penises and breasts were, and they were so amazing to look at, even if I could only see the bulges.

The prayers had stayed the same, with minor alterations, so that if the wording was the problem, the changes would finally get God to hear me.

Still no answer. Nothing.

This life led me to feeling unworthy, dirty, dejected by a god who couldn’t even be bothered enough to fix his broken little things, and it was all draining the life out of me.

I wanted no more part of it.

I was 12 when I decided that I was so broken and unworthy that I would end it all.

I mean, I was already going to hell; I might as well breeze in a little early.

I was stuck in this boarding school at the edge of nowhere, and the only way out was to climb a hill onto the expressway. It was something people feared because the cars moved so fast, anyone could easily be hit.

Their fear became my hope.

And so, I planned for it. I would climb, run out into the expressway, get hit, and it would all be over.

I took the time I needed and steeled myself, and then, just before I could go ahead, someone else did it. She tried to run away from school using that route, got hit by a fast moving car and died.

And I got to witness firsthand what it was like to have one become the talk of the school in their absence, and my hope dissolved into fear again.

I still wanted an end to everything. Maybe just not like this. Maybe not right now.

Suicide can be a hard thing to come to terms with doing.

12-year-olds should not be contemplating suicide. 12-year-olds should not have to live a life where they think that their lives are not worth living because of who they are.

But there I was, with absolutely no self esteem, persistently cursing my very existence for even daring to like a boy as much as I liked girls.

*

At 13, I had my first major crush. Bomi. She was my classmate and the first to grow breasts in my set – well, at least the first to grow massive ones. And then in Freudian fashion, I developed a crush on her boyfriend. He was our star boy. Basketballer, ultra popular, with a hot, slim physique, he looked like chocolate in the sunlight and I knew I definitely wanted to lick all of him.

I didn’t know what all of it was. But I wanted it to be over. I would daydream about being with the both of them, sometimes separately, sometimes together. Then I’d hate myself. Then I rinsed and repeated. An endless cycle of arousal, regret and self hate.

*

I was 18 when I had my first boyfriend…of sorts. I’d broken up with my girlfriend just a few months before and on entering second year, I met this young firebrand pastor who inspired such fervor that you could swear he had a gift. I was convinced he could pray the gay away.

Yes, I know. I was 18 and stupid, but let’s focus on the story here…

Well, it turned out he was gay too, and soon, we were making love behind closed doors and he was coercing me into praying for forgiveness after. Dark times, I tell ya.

Then after some months, he asked me to date him.

It didn’t matter that I liked him. It didn’t matter that he was my best friend beyond all of that.

Liking boys was something I was allowed to do in secret without it meaning anything. But if I were to officially start dating a boy, this would mean officially accepting that there was a gay part of me.

After all this prayer?!

How can?!

So, I rejected his request. And we continued together for over a year, never making it official.

*

I look back at my life and how hard it’s been, and I know with all certainty that nobody should have to go through that.

No kid should have to consider their very self expression a crime in need of purging.

No 12-year-old should have to feel suicidal because the scriptures have told him he isn’t worthy or because society has made him feel defective.

That unhappiness. That self loathing. It is poison to mental health.

I continue to look forward to a society where our voices will count. A society where we can create change no matter how glacial.

A society where who we are is not some label. It’ll just be who we are.

A society where gradually, representation can show these little kids that they’re not alone, that there are lots of people like them and they lead normal lives.

A world where people can grow up knowing that this was who they were always meant to be and it’s perfectly fine.

I look forward to this world.

And we will get there.

Written by Vhagar

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  1. Darlington
    October 09, 08:53 Reply

    Your story is relatable in many ways… Thank God you never succeeded in all your suicide attempts.. And I believe in our own small ways we can encourage one or two people who feel this same way. Thanks for sharing your story

  2. Quinn
    October 09, 09:17 Reply

    I feel your pain boo…pls o when are we doing our own “if we die we die” protest

  3. Saucebutton
    October 10, 07:54 Reply

    Your story is relatable in many ways. Wasn’t ready for it to end 🤗🤗😋

  4. Rudy
    October 10, 10:52 Reply

    You telling your story right here & right now is the very first step to create the difference we aspire.

    Sadly this is the reality of countless number of queer identifying children and youth, some like myself and you @ Vhagar make it through the pain but an awfully lot don’t.
    Reason I am an activist in my own little way, we all should, cos one life lost is too many.

    Hopefully your experience will give yet another teenager or preteen elsewhere the courage to hang on & live to see their full potential.

  5. Mariposa
    October 15, 08:34 Reply

    This right here is Me…
    I’m effeminate, so immediately I got into Secondary School, 1st day in that Hostel, I was looked down on, Humiliated, talked about… 1st day ohhh.
    I remember and honestly I still do, it hurts so much. In Church where the Pastor says, Ask GOD for whatever you want, I hear People talk about money, Visa or material things but Me… LORD take this Gay Away with Tears on my Face…
    I’m slowly accepting myself, as they say. ONE STEP AT A TIME.

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