“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
~ Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay
For much of my life, I struggled to discover who I actually was.
I lost myself in relationships, in family and in friends. Instead of living the life that suited me, I became a chameleon, constantly changing to suit each environment and desperately trying to sit on each high pedestal that others had placed out for me.
I compared, compromised, blended and sold my soul time and again.
I searched frantically for answers to unlock the secret to my unhappiness and in doing so I accused, blamed, demanded and found replies in all the wrong places.
So, I turned it around on myself. If others weren’t at fault, was it I? I had choices. Everything that was in front of me was there because I, and I alone, had put it there. It was time to call myself out and to face myself.
Looking in the mirror I had no idea who I was. How could I possibly expect anyone else to value me when I was a confused and distorted mess, a mixture of everyone I had allowed to penetrate me, along with all the negative self-beliefs I had somehow inflicted on myself.
My insides ached with under-nourishment and I realized the reason for this was that I was not living the life destined for me, I was living for everyone else and was doing a pretty bad job of it.
I needed to change and in doing so, I needed to figure out how. I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight—I had taken a long time to become who I was.t Change, wasn’t going to be an easy process. I didn’t expect miracles.
Meeting Roland was a dream come true, I’d just filed for my personal independence from a phony life and without a road map as to how to achieve what I wanted, I willed myself to fate and decided to go to a shopping mall for a spot of retail therapy. Roland, a tall, muscular guy of 26 with bald head and chocolate complexion saw me fiddling with different brands of tea where I stood by the tea stands, I noticed him staring at me but I was too deep In my own personal travails to bother about anyone, He walked up to me and apparently feigning mock shock, called me Feyi which wasn’t my name
“What a surprise to see you!”
I glared at him with a puzzling look, sizing him, I told him I wasn’t Feyi, he apologized and told me how much I looked like Feyi—his ex boyfriend. I almost choked on the saliva I swallowed.
He smiled and told me to relax as he could see right through me that I was queer,
“How could you tell?”
I asked and he responded,
“Let’s just say my gaydar is sharp and on point”
I nodded nervously, telling him I’d been fighting it and touching my hand on the tea stand lightly, he told me he had a listening ear. When I was done shopping and with a heart of gratitude followed him to the restaurant area where we talked like old friends catching up over lemonade and snacks. After almost an hour of chatting about our lives and what we wanted out of life, we both realized there was more than a spark of chemistry between us, I felt so happy to have met Roland, we agreed to date, we shared contacts and promised to see each other on the next day and before we parted for the night, he placed his succulently soft lips on mine and holding my face, kissed me passionately in his car. I’d never felt so alive like the way I felt then, my body quivered with emotion, my eyes got teary and my countenance was of gratitude.
I tossed on bed all night, replaying the whole episode with Roland in my head and smiling sheepishly to myself. The next day, early in the morning, I got dressed up and waited for Roland’s call to come through asking me to come over. It didn’t come until hours later, around 10am, while I was dozing in front of the TV, I got up, checked myself to ensure I looked cute and started on my way to his house.
Immediately I got to his house, he treated me with much courtesy: he had breakfast of bread and tea with fried egg on a tray placed on the fluffy rug of their large sitting room, and turned on the laptop with a selection of films in tow. Much as I appreciated his efforts, it made me smile in wonder on how romantic a guy could get with a fellow guy, I thought heavens must really favor me. During our meal whilst chatting in-between watching movies on his laptop, our eyes got locked In a gaze and slowly our head drew close and we started kissing, it felt like heaven until a shrill cry jolted us and we drew apart in a flash. Roland quickly jumped up, shaking and asking the fair and plump woman who apparently was his mom to be quiet,
The woman glared at me then told me to pack my stuff and get out of her house.
“This is wrong, young man. It is an abomination and a crime in this country. I reject you in the name of Jesus and want you to get out of this house and never come back.”
She spat. And with my head bowed in shame, I trudged slowly towards the door and I thought, “Just when I thought I was getting real with myself and my feelings, I got sent crashing again. Why would the real me, my real feelings be a crime? Hated and abhorred? Why should my love be labeled a crime?”
With tears, I walked slowly to the bus stop as I imagined my life starting all over again—back to the beginning of this post.