From the very first day I had discovered my sexuality I knew that I had to hide it somehow. I grew up in a strict Christian background and one of the things that wasn’t allowed was any other sexual orientation except straight. So I definitely knew that my parents should never find out about it. All my life I grew up around boys. All my female cousins were in boarding schools or maybe out there somewhere just living their lives. I grew up to love almost all manly activities and I admired their dressing. They never had to worry about sitting indecently or anything because trousers covered everything. Somehow that evolved and my hate for feminine clothes just grew.
After my brother was born I was whisked off to boarding school as I had already outlived my baby life, but to me it didn’t feel that way. It felt as though I’ve been thrown out of the family and they no longer loved me, they loved my brother instead and so I grew to hate him. I remember when I started performing quite poorly in my papers and my father thought it’d be interesting to call me a failure and to make sure I went to school with no shopping so I had to borrow from other people. My brother on the other hand was always a success to my father. I mean none of us ever failed the colouring exam but the pride in my father’s eyes and the joy as he spoke of him just made me realize that I didn’t belong.
While in an all girls boarding school I discovered that my feelings towards girls were not those of friendship only. I wanted more than just being friends. I wanted something more sensual from them but I never acted on it. Between the sermons of how God hates people who are same sex attracted and how much I just wanted to make my father see me with the same eyes he saw my brother, I couldn’t act on it. I tried everything I could to make sure that my grades went up and I even participated in extracurricular activities but still he was only proud of my brother who couldn’t even kick a ball right.
When I got to high school I decided to do everything he said to do. Maybe that would make him feel like I’m his child as well. I’m sure y’all have one question in your mind by now. Where was my mom. My mom is the all submissive type and secondly she always loved her boy more. Don’t get me wrong, my parents are amazing but partial in our upbringing and I came to accept that later in my life. So back to high school. I took subjects that I was never interested in just to make him proud and I studied them hard. So hard that I passed except a few times when I was in form 2. I remember handing in my report card that day and the way he looked at me when he realized I had failed. That didn’t hurt but his words did. “You are a failure and I don’t want failures in my house. You better shape up or leave.”
That semester he never paid fee for me and I studied like the charity case I was by depending on people’s assistance. I put in effort so as not to be a failure in his eyes again but even with the improvements he still looked at me with disdain. In my final year of high school, a friend told me to take her over to see her male friend that she didn’t want to go alone. I understood what she meant but I didn’t mention it to anyone. On that Saturday afternoon we left my house throwing a random lie in the air of where we were headed then went to visit this guy’s place. When we got there my friend excused herself said she had to get something from the market that I should wait for her there. Being a naive girl I said okay and sat patiently scrolling through my phone while waiting. One moment I asked the guy for a glass of water and the next moment when I came to I was gagged and tied up with five guys taking turns with me with my friend just sipping juice on the opposite end with a smile on her face. After we left I couldn’t speak and I started keeping to myself more and even blaming myself. But then in my final semester of form 4 I met this girl who rocked my world. She was pretty with cute little eyes and a nice tongue coz she convinced me on a lot of stuff. And I fell for her.
I took ill one day and had to go home for treatment for about three days only to come back and find that I had a new nickname. The bi girl. I trusted my girlfriend with my secret but she whispered it to the ears of the whole school and somehow I became a plague in everyone’s sight. Somehow my parents found out and after I completed my exams I was locked up in the house till the day that results were announced. I didn’t perform very well and so that day they decided to unleash all the anger they had been building towards me. The broken bones and swollen parts of my body didn’t pain me as much as all the words they said to me. I remember my mom saying that she’ll break all my bones and feed me from a wheelchair so I’d stop being a shame to them. I remember when my dad kicked me right in my ribs with nothing but hate in his eyes and said he’d kill me and replace me with another child of his own.The beating went on for some time until I apologised for the mistakes I didn’t know I had committed.I was bloodied by then and every part of my body ached but as I dragged myself to my room I heard dad say, “We love you. We are just disciplining you.”
So when my first boyfriend hit me I knew he was expressing love and when my second one verbally abused me, I knew he wad showing me love somehow. I felt they were both expressing their love for me the way parents did. And even when my girlfriend told me how worthless and unlovable I was and how I should stick to dating men I knew she was right. And somehow I stuck to a narrative that became my mantra. Everyone is right but you are wrong. You are the mistake. As I bought the pills and smiled cheerfully at my family I knew they were always right. I locked my room under the pretence of showering and then took out the pills and a bottle of water from my bag. This day it all came back to me.
“You are going to hell for liking girls.”
“ Hey bi girl do you like me as well.”
“ Don’t tell anyone about this or we’ll kill you.”
“You deserve it.”
“We are disciplining you and we love you.”
“You are a failure.”
“You are worthless and unlovable”
“You dress like a hoe"
“You are not attracted to girls, you are just pretending to be so that people will love you.”
“I’ll kill you and replace you with another child. Your mother and I aren’t too old to give birth again"
“I’ll break all your bones and make sure you stay on a wheel chair. “
“You are such a burden.”
With all those words swirling in my brain I took a bunch of pills in my hand and downed them with the water. I let the tears flow and waited for the darkness to fully consume me. It did. For a few days I was gone but I don’t know why I came back. The pain was still there no one had noticed that for 3 days I hadn’t left my room. I was still as invisible as I was before taking the sleeping pills and still as miserable if not more because even death didn’t want me. No one wanted me. Maybe even God didn’t. I mean God already hated me for liking women as well as men so why would he want me now.
So everyday I just grew numb to everything. No words hurt me. No physical pain amounted to anything. I was far much broken to be fixed and loved and I accepted it. I accepted everything thrown to me coz I thought I deserved it. I thought I didn’t deserve anything until I met the one person who knew what I was going to say even before I said it.
“I know you are going to say you are too far gone,” he said, “but I assure you I’ve come too far to get you and I won’t go back alone.”