Secondary school was horrible, my goodness. It was not a good place at all. It was quite literally the place where my soul went to die.

My secondary school experience culminated into a thing I had with this boy – let’s call him Jonathan. He came into my room in the middle of the night and jerked me off till I woke up. I didn’t scream. I didn’t make a fuss. He took that as encouragement, and began coming to my room and to my dick many more nights after that. Then, one time, I stayed up late in the common room, pretending to read because he was also in the common room, awake. Then he said to me, “Come to the toilet.”

And so, we graduated from that to this.

But it all came abruptly to an end one night, when our house father barged in on us. He threw the door open and there we were, caught in a very compromising position. The next day – or was it the same day? I don’t know if it was after midnight – my parents were called to pick me up.

That was how that ended.

To be clear, I was a willing participant during those nights when Jonathan snuck to my bedside to touch me. I wasn’t molested or forced to do anything. We were the same age in the same year. In fact, I looked forward to those nights when he’d come to call me.

My mother would eventually show that she had a different point of view.

So back to the present; it was a week after that second clash with my parents, after I was made to write “Get thee behind me, Satan” a 100 times, and I had a meet-up. I’d paid someone to custom-make a bracelet for me. The bracelet was to have my name in rainbow colours. That was my main reason for going for the meet-up, aside from the fact that I was so very lonely and was craving any form of human interaction with people I shared any sort of interest with.

And for church the next day, I wore the bracelet. See? I told you I wasn’t very smart. The bracelet was handmade, so it wasn’t some sort of fashionable piece you’d see on the cover of Vogue or anything. But it was my name in rainbow colours and I’d paid for it with my own money, so I was going to wear it, goddamn it!

And I almost made it the whole day – until we got home and my father saw it on my wrist as I went to open the gate. He didn’t say anything then, but later, after they went out and came back, my parents called me to their room. My father apparently knew what the rainbow meant but my mother had no idea. When I was asked about the bracelet, I said something about how I just wanted to wear it for no reason.

Well, when they went out, they’d gone to buy a new bracelet. “This one is three times as expensive as that one,” my father said as he handed me the new one.

It was a fine piece of artwork. I still have it.

But they took the rainbow bracelet from me in exchange for it.

The next day, I was seated at my spot in their room, doing my schoolwork while my mother sat reading the bible.

Then she had something to say to me. “So you decided to go and display your stupidity in church yesterday?”

Of course! How did I dare think I’d get away with doing what I did yesterday?

My mother’s words however hit me harder than I thought they would. I was used to being called stupid. I’d been called lots of things for the most mundane reasons. “You don’t know how to do anything” is the phrase I blame for my complete and utter lack of self-confidence and faith in my abilities. Once, I was called wicked because I’d written a short story where the protagonist called her father paranoid.

But, it never failed to hit me hard whenever I was called these ugly things. And when my mother said what she said, it hit me hard. And I was immediately exhausted. And it’d only been a week since the last dustup. And so, I didn’t have the energy to fire back. I just sat there, wanting to get along.

Then she brought up that incident in secondary school. You see, at the time of our expulsion, Jonathan and I had denied that we’d been doing anything other than heavy petting. “We were only touching each other,” we’d said. Retrospectively speaking, how was that lie supposed to make the situation less grievous? Lol. Anyway, that was the lie we told – even though it didn’t change the consequence, we were still expelled – but a few weeks after I was kicked out of the school, I came clean to my parents. I told them the truth, everything Jonathan and I did.

So, they knew.

And this was why I was really confused when my mother presently began talking about how the Holy Spirit had revealed some things to her about that secondary school incident, and when she began talking, she was basically telling me the things I confessed to her and my father seven years ago.

The Holy Spirit didn’t tell her these things. I did.

I tried to tell her this, to tell her that I confessed these things to them, but she was insistent, and so, I shut up. I was going along with it, so I let it go.

She asked if I was angry at Jonathan. I said I wasn’t. Why would I be angry at him? What did he do? To be honest, for a while back then, I thought he should have been super pissed at me, that he should have hated me. It took me awhile to realize that he wouldn’t have a right to be. I didn’t do anything to him that he wasn’t doing to me.

But my mother said I should be mad at him. That he’d abused me. He did not, but I was going along with it, so I let it go.

Then upon her insistence, I had to agree with her that I was simply mad at god, and that was why I’d said that I don’t believe in him. That I wasn’t gay; instead I was craving what I’d experienced in secondary school.

It was very hard. Having to repeat those prevarications was really hard. I could barely get the words out of my mouth.

At some point, she said, “You need to tell everybody,” and I was scared that she would make me go online and tweet these insanely homophobic drivel.

When my father came home that day, he hugged me, feeling celebratory over what my mother had told him was the “breakthrough” I’d made.

How deep was this denial that my parents were determined to live in, that they’d hold on to any lie that would cushion them from the cold, hard reality of my truth? I wondered.

But I was going along with it, so I faked a smile and gave all the right responses to the things he said.

And everything was fine for a long time after that. My sister came home from her university. I got my phone back. We had a good Christmas at this good place that I enjoyed. I mean, I was in constant turmoil and I hated my life and the fact that I was living in this pretense. But everything was fine; at least everyone thought everything was fine. There were days, few and far in between, when they expressed their worry that I seemed to be going back to my old self, those days when they caught me in my unguarded moments of sadness. But I got better at hiding my depression, and it was all okay.

But then, what better day could it be for everything to almost fall apart again than the last day of the year?

Written by Dimeji

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  1. Delle
    May 27, 09:06 Reply

    I just hope there’s a scriptwriter around to put all this into a movie script because Lord knows what a blockbuster it will be.

    This is such a rollercoaster of events and to think it’s nonfiction gives me the chills. Woah!

    P. S: I’m actually serious about the script thing. Won’t mind being featured in it sef.

  2. trystham
    May 27, 10:01 Reply

    You and James should meet up for coffee and compare notes. I have never seen this kind of mental abuse from mothers.
    PLUS, did the expensive bracelet have YOUR name on it? I dont know why ppl won’t leave well enough alone.
    At this rate, I’m tired of all those forced affirmations for you. I’d rather just look at you in silence and allow u think what u will. Ki lo kan mi?
    Do u/Have u get/gotten in touch with Jon?

  3. Ken
    May 27, 11:47 Reply

    Omg! The second paragraph described my exact same experience in boarding school. Except that in my case we were never caught. I can still smell the thick heavy scent of pure unadulterated teenage cum. Good times, good

    Back to reality, I think the biggest motivation for homophobia is religion. Religion forces people to live in denial with lies and fake lives. Nigeria takes it up a notch, adding Stark ignorance plus hypocrisy to the mix. Same daddy that will be secretly pursuing anything on skirt, will still be preaching for his gay sons repentance. Smh

  4. Harold
    May 27, 15:06 Reply

    Reading this reminded me of my own experience in secondary school, maybe I’ll share it here soon

    Dimeji after reading everything so far I think everyone here can agree with me when I say you’re a very strong person, not everyone can tolerate everything you’ve been put through honestly I dont think I could and I hope there’s a happy ending to this everyone deserves happiness and I hope you find it

  5. IBK
    May 28, 09:45 Reply

    That feeling of exhaustion when your mother speaks to you about your orientation. I know it so well. I’m sorry this happened.

  6. Dunder
    May 29, 20:08 Reply

    Dimeji. The more you’ve explained, the more I see that you were in a really dark place just a while ago and the more I reconsider my earlier perception of you. You write very well and I am sure this is cathartic for you.

    You are not stupid and you are smart- these are not fuzzy affirmations but an objective statement. It is your passive acceptance of these lies, due to your internalising of your parent’s statements, actions and approach that is causing your subconscious to revolt by rebelling in ways that hurt you.

    Keep writing, keep a journal, keep pouring out the bile BUT, please seek professional therapy and map out a freedom plan. 5 years, how and where you need to be in life to be safe and sure-footed.

    Your parents may be willing to pay for therapy or buy books like that by Shahroo Izadi titled The Kindness Method . That way, you can build the emotional resilience to survive your present situation without deep scars, pursue life goals, earn your freedom and create the life that you desire.

    I know I’m sounding like a broken record but you need to hold your nose and finish school. I speak from experience, personal and of otherwise. You need a certificate that would open the doors of buildings and organisations in which your skills and talents would shine through. You won’t gain anything by revolting against your parent’s control and coercion by self-sabotage. That puts you further in the hole. If you thought you could create a safe space in northern Nigeria, bro, you can bone everything and obtain a degree you don’t give two shits about.

    It is much easier to obtain a “Pali” and rely on the contacts you have in your church or family etc to earn a decent living from a stable well paying job. That way, you’d earn and save enough to finance your path to freedom.

    Think of it this way: earning minimally and saving peanuts would take longer and make it harder to find your own place, compete professionally, improve your CV or buy a flight ticket. You don’t have the luxury of following your passion and hoping to blow. You’ve burned out most if not all your “fuck it”. You can’t even rely on grit forever- as it is, you are breaking down and the seams are showing. This is why you are back to lying against yourself, saying you are stupid.

    Bro, you’ve fought hard and dared greatly. You’ve endured a heavy burden, you’ve opened up and been filled with manipulation. You’ve put up walls and have been beaten down. Your only salvation comes with YOUR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE. Would your trip have been cut short if you really did pay your way? Would your phone and laptop be seized if they were truly yours? Would you be squatting in your parent’s room to type assignments if you could drive your car to your own one bedroom castle and tell the mai-guard not to let anyone in? Had you relocated to saner climes, won’t they just see your bracelet on Facebook and send you an additional one via DHL? Your sanity and freedom is sure if you just fulfill all righteousness and earn this flimsy degree. Up to 95 percent of people go to school and finish in courses they’re tired of. They do a 9-5 that helps them do a master’s degree they are better suited for and online courses that lead to their dream job. They save to finance their business or create a network that would help build a bullet proof CV. It’s not a bad thing accepting the present reality then using it to create the one you want.

    Akinwunmi Adeshina started off with a degree in agriculture but now heads the Africa Development Bank. Chuma Nwokolo is a lawyer, author and publisher. Folorunsho alakija does not have a degree in petrochemical engineering. Beautiful Nubia is a vet doctor. Abba Kyari started with sociology then bagged a law degree, had a stint in journalism then became a banker and then worked for an oil company. Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson) has both a Bsc and Msc in electrical engineering- a degree is no dictator of your career path. If the Nigerian (and truly, even the international) hiring system requires the damn latin-garnished paper, give them so you can get what you want.

    Imagine if Fela had given up on himself at secondary school- he would have been a hungry and frustrated reverend or civil servant, having songs in him he couldn’t write. Pushing himself to pass courses he hated got him to UK where he was able to form his band and finish an even harder music degree. That education set him apart from all other African contemporaries because he learned to write music and therefore create a genre even if he hated the kind of music he was taught. Your parents won’t have any other excuse to keep you caged and monitor your personal and private life as a graduate, corper or worker.

    The guy who wrote these submissions we have been blessed with, turning his pain into something beautiful, is more than cerebrally capable of obtaining a degree in astrophysics. The jobs you’ve been offered won’t go away if you get this one degree. You’ll be able to make your own choices and get your parents off your neck with your certificate. There’s the chance that your earnings can go up with time and that you can finance the CV and life that you want. Please do it before those lying voices you entertain that call you stupid and lie about your not being smart get louder. Dimeji, you are too gifted to give up. You’ve fought too hard not to claim your prize. You are too close to freedom to love your chains. Please set yourself free. I’m rooting for you.

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