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 about my house along with all the accompanying noises. 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.

I recently read a story by Pinky 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 myself 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.

I always lived in fear. Fear of my family ever finding out about who I was. Fear of their condemnation and the ostracism I may get over their refusal to accept me because of their deeply-rooted religious standards. And because of this, my male friends were selectively picked and hardly welcomed to my home. I passworded my devices and used app locks. (Still do even now that I live alone.)

Over time, I have dated and had casual hookups. I am presently in love with a pastor’s son, an intelligent young man who has become my happy place. But every so often, that happiness is disturbed by the storm of society and family expecting me to get married soon. A part of me loves the idea of getting married though, because I kinda want to and I love kids too. The other part wants for me to be free to explore and be all that I truly am. Somewhere in the middle, I am sure there is a compromise I may have to make. I just don’t know it yet.

But I am growing and I am learning to get better at who I am. To take note of all the parts me that are true. Whether it be my love for music and singing. Or the thrills of sex. Or the joys of being in love. To channel my insecurities into a place that makes me more appreciative of my humanity instead of fear. Whether it be the looming decision of marriage. Or the defiance to stay homosexual and at odds with society. Or the possibilities of parenthood.

As I grow into all these circumstances that form who I am, I try to never lose sight of one thing: That it is okay to live.

Written by Tariq

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  1. Net
    January 29, 07:29 Reply

    I feel what you feel as this is me right now, torn with the decision of getting married to please my family or being myself and 2020 isn’t funny atall because the pressure just got heightened that I’m thinking of changing my line to avoid calls from the numerous suitors my family has sent my number to lol, it’s just crazy, I feel for you and I hope at the end of the day we make the right decision.

    • Pink Panther
      January 29, 07:44 Reply

      Really??? It’s that bad?
      Ah, Net, we need to see to discuss all of this.

      • Net
        January 30, 07:15 Reply

        Yes o, we totally have to .. it’s been 1 year now

  2. Higwe
    January 29, 07:32 Reply

    I love Music mehn , but I can’t sing for shit .
    My voice can give Kermit the frog a run for his money .???

    In other news , who is also excited for the Superbowl halftime show ?
    Shakira about to mop the floor with JLO .
    Saw both of their rumoured setlists …. Shakira always had the better discography though.

    J Balvin (mi gente ) , Wyclef Jean are almost hundred percent confirmed ( as guests)
    Some say Shakira might have a duet with Nicki Minaj ( I doubt it though )
    Some others say there might be a ‘beautiful liar’ performance with Beyonce ( highly unrecommended , Beyonce will hog all the spotlight )

    Anyhow, my stiff hips are ready to lie as usual. ?

    Shakira is a motherfucking legend.
    Three world cup performances and now the freaking Superbowl !
    A queen ..I Stan. ?

    • Marvey
      January 29, 11:47 Reply

      In between shakira is gonna beat jlo hands down cos shakira is one of the world rare artist that can sing and dance at the same time. Her performances are always lit and as its knwn her hips don’t lie..superbowl 2020 all i see is!!..duet with Nikki e go maad oo..shaki does the dancing while Nikki does the tweaking too much sexiness

      • Higwe
        January 29, 16:47 Reply

        Yes brother .
        An internet friend who is working backstage @ the Superbowl told me Jlo will open the show and perform for about 4 minutes , then Shakira will take over for 8 minutes and the two will round off with a performance together .

        Shakira’s set list will be :
        Whenever wherever
        Hips don’t lie
        Dare la la
        She wolf
        Ojos asi .
        Possibly Me Gusta.

        From the details I heard about the rehearsals, he said Shakira is coming for blood .???

        No Beyonce or Nicki Minaj according to him .
        I guess we will just have to wait and see. ????‍♂️

        Jlo is a beautiful woman .
        One of the most successful triple threats on planet Earth.
        Thanks to surgeries and a killer workout , she looks about 20 years younger than her actual age.

        But Shakira is a living breathing goddess.You know you’re something when you outshine Beyonce in her own damn song ??

        • Marvey
          January 29, 21:43 Reply

          With her hour glass shape even after two boys and with Gerald dey are so cute together.. Shaki alone can man the whole stage .didn’t see any need for the merge with jlo…but let’s watch the magic come 3rd!!! Cos that choreography at Davies cup final she did was bang just same 8min performance!!

        • Gayonce
          January 30, 18:57 Reply

          oh please Shakira didn’t outshine beyoncé in beautiful liar! Shakira and Queen B no be mates abeg.

  3. NewGuy
    January 29, 07:57 Reply

    I’ve refused to travel home for three years now. Last time I was there, my sister read a text from my boyfriend and confronted me about it. Well I lied that it wasn’t for me and I don’t think she believed me. She must have told my mom cos she started asking some strange questions which I tried to be as vague as possible in response.
    Sometimes I really wonder what the next ten years would be like. Must I get married? Should I come out to mom?

  4. Higwe
    January 29, 08:10 Reply


    Life is all about compromises.
    From the moment we take our first breath to the ineluctable moment we take our last , we are always going to be faced with tasking choices .

    I had to cut off several parts of myself I presumed as weak.
    My boyfriend will always say ” you’ve always been steely , now you’re basically impregnable ”

    I can’t say if I’m happier now but I can definitely say I’m much much safer.
    *Humans are carnivores and they feed on weakness*
    That said , I admire people that are courageous enough to live their true selves.
    I think such people are the bravest people in the world.
    I’ll say it’s like watching Beyonce belt out notes in the halo song … knowing you could never attempt such a run in , but applauding the outstanding vocals all the same .?

    Sending you love and light .
    I wish you the best of luck .

  5. Mitch
    January 29, 10:54 Reply

    Tariq, the best gift you can give yourself is the gift of freedom. Freedom to be, freedom to live, freedom to laugh and love and be true to yourself. The world won’t do that for you. If anything, the world (family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues etc) would fight as hard as possible in a variety of ways to ensure that you conform, that you never fly, that you’re never truly free. They’d sell you a different life, a seemingly easier way – one that’d entail you losing your very essence.

    The difference between choosing yourself, your freedom, your happiness over the expectations of the world isthe difference between being oppressed yet happy and being seemingly free but constantly looking over your shoulder to ensure you haven’t slipped up, all while longing for a gun to blow your brains out with.

    You’ve got to choose you, man.
    And you’ve got to fight for you.
    Because it’s in your fighting that you thrive.

    I’m rooting for you, man❤️

  6. Lucky
    January 29, 15:29 Reply

    Thank you for this, it was beautiful.

  7. Omari
    January 09, 18:24 Reply

    Hi Tariq,
    I just read your story. We share so much in common and I’d like to talk about life and all with you.
    If you see this I’ll be expecting to hear from you on Twitter: @ebube_iam

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