BY VANESSA NWOSU.
No one ever talks about how hard it is to unlearn years and years of mental slavery.
I had begun to question a lot of things at a young age. I struggled so hard to fit in among my peers because I loved things that the others didn’t. I read newspapers and argued about them, and I only danced to
songs by MJ and also wanted to dress like him.
Being a person who loves wearing trousers, I rebelled when the church my dad made us go to spoke against women wearing trousers. You see, when people rebel, people automatically think that they are possessed. The church was the last place I wanted to be in because my feelings were always indirectly torn apart, and labeled a demon. Watching people getting delivered from demons made me wonder if the demon they claimed was in me was stronger. Tell me the name of the demon that creates a love so pure and true and I will conjure more of that demon.
There were moments when I struggled to be like everyone else. Moments when I was in denial.I began to watch what I wore, starting from earrings. The only reason I wore them was because I didn’t want to be called a man. I hated when
people called me a girl boy because of the way I was—that didn’t make me go all girly. I struggled, and still struggle with religion and sexuality. If there’s any restraint against us it is religion. Sometimes, I imagine what it would be like if I grew up without hearing rules from the bible, but also acknowledging that there is a supreme being.
When you think of it, religion is the description of love, the love you have for God and your neighbours. A neighbour can be that woman laying next to me. The one I’d give my life for. A neighbour can be a stranger or a friendly face, no labels
I am beginning to see things a lot clearer now, and accepting myself. I am proud to call myself a Lesbian even though some people—queerphobes—find it irritating. They give that dirty look, when in fact it just describes the love and affection a woman has for another woman.
If you ask me who I am, I’d introduce myself as Ms Vanessa Nwosu, She/Her, Nigerian lesbian/queer woman.
This is what learning from the struggle does to you. Accepting yourself,
and claiming all terms.
Vanessa Nwosu is a writer, and volunteer. Her pronouns are SHE/HER. You can follow her on Instagram, @nessakem.