I was lounging on a three-seater couch in my portable apartment, playing around with my favorite apps on my phone. I do not live in a fenced compound, and so, it is very normal to have children play and run around with all the accompanying noises about my house. In fact, the noise these children make had become so part of my environment, that I hardly pay any attention to them.

But I heard him that day.

He was singing, with scales and riffs too beautiful for a little child. I love music and I’m a good singer, and so, I know a good voice or singer and can appreciate good music when I hear one. I couldn’t help the joy his voice was serenading me with as he kept going at Jessie J’s Flashlight. I simply had to know who he was.

I sat up on my seat and positioned myself in such a way that I was facing the open window that looked out in the direction the singing was coming from.

And there he was, in all his glory, sandwiched by two others like the Beyoncé of a potential Nigerian version of Destiny’s Child. They were three of them, five years old or so, because I recognized the third as my friend’s eldest child – who is, by the way, no singer. In fact, Mister Beyoncé kept on pausing to correct his bandmates over and over again, while they kept working hard at ruining his efforts. And I sat there, their unseen audience.

Naturally, I was drawn to Mister Beyoncé because of the innocence and beauty of his light. I watched him with some intensity as he went on with his beautiful riffs while habitually gesticulating. He was glorious and pure.

That was what I saw. But many would say he was acting too feminine for a boy.

He reminded me of me.

As a kid, I played more with girls than I did with boys. I played with dolls. I played the Mother in dad-and-mom games, and I cooked for the other kids. I sang in the choir (Still do). I initially played Nintendo and football but quickly lost interest as I grew.

And even though I was a boy child, my brothers and most everyone else never failed to point out, by their endless mockery, how girly I was.

A few months ago, I read a story here that was penned by Pink Panther that I found so relatable, and I was reflecting on how much I have done to change me over the years. How I tried to talk and walk like the societal model of a man during my formative years, and how distraught I initially was when my voice would not break.

I hated it when I was called “woman wrapper”, “sisi” and “yawo” by my brothers and schoolmates. And yet, I kinda liked it when I was told, “If you were a girl eh, I would have married you” or “You are fine like a woman” or “I like you… I love your dimples… Your eyes are beautiful…”

However, these distortions of who I was made me to build walls, thick and high, so I could feel safe within them. I wanted to be seen and perceived as the ideal African man. As I grew older, I began to work out to keep me chiseled and muscular. I began to keep around me a fair share of female admirers. And I talked dirty and all amongst other guys so they wouldn’t guess that I never really had sex with girls. Because I read a lot, and as such, have depth and content to contribute to most conversations, I could comfortably switch to the personality of a sanguine when I was expected to – even when all I wanted to do was to relish the comfort of my solitude.

It was hard work. Still is.

A part of me was been suppressed over the years, just to meet societal expectations. I like boys and I love girls, but I never allowed myself to explore my interests until I left my home in the South when I was in my twenties. So scared was I of my family ever finding me out and the accompanied condemnation and ostracism I may possibly receive due to their deep-rooted religious stands. And so, my male friends were selectively picked and hardly welcomed in my home. I passworded and used app locks. Still do, even now that I live alone. Guess a kind of paranoia was built up over time. It’s there like a danger alarm, sometimes unnecessary.

Over time since I left home, I have dated, had flings, fallen in love. But ever present in my mind is the knowledge that society and family expects me to get married soon. A part of me welcomes the idea, because I kinda want to and I love kids too. The other part wants to be free to explore and be all that I truly am.

And it is for all these experience and knowledge of what I have been through to get to where I am today that I looked beyond my window to this gifted child with the beautiful voice and the feminine mannerisms with some melancholy. He was now climbing a pitch on Beyoncé’s Halo, and I just wanted him to soar, high up and far away from the pain that would be sure to ruin that beautiful innocence that seemed as untouched and as pure as the lyrics he was belting out.

Written by Tariq

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  1. Delle
    February 21, 09:37 Reply

    In other words, you’re still battling internalised homophobia?

    • Leeman
      February 21, 11:35 Reply

      And how’s this scenario internalized homophobia?

      • Delle
        February 22, 15:08 Reply

        Read again. If you have the range, you’ll get it.


  2. Ken
    February 21, 10:04 Reply

    Seriously story of my life!

    I like to tell u it gets easier, but in truth, it doesn’t. The time will come when u reach the cross roads and must choose how your life be. None of the options will be easy or 100% likeable. You will make compromises and live with the consequences thereon. Such is our life in this world.

    I hope am not sounding too moody tho. Bcos there are good good times

  3. Jinchuriki
    February 22, 08:01 Reply

    I’d give a lot of things to go back to that feminine boy with poise and class that I once was, the one who could whistle like Mariah. I sound like a drug dealer and look and behave like a dilf these days because I fought what other people scolded me for. Friendly advice, come out to yourself Amigo.

  4. King
    February 27, 08:38 Reply

    Why does Society have so much influence? I wanted to be societal normal. I fought and did all sorts in front of mirror. I let efeme me go now I miss it so much and admire the ones I found around. I encourage them to be them and never let their joy be lost.
    The writer of this story have not completely found himself in the power of his will. When you do you will be happy and not seems to be happy. Draw closer to the child lead him with confidence and all manners of self beautification and acceptance. you will help him thread cautiously and gloriously in his beauty. If you can, please do!

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