Life slew its tantrums at me early, there were no sign or clue for greatness when I was born, I struggle to breathe at birth, would he survive within eight days of being born into a turbulent world as premature baby, struggling to open its eyes inside the incubator. He is underweight, the doctor professed, my father was doubtful asking if I am going to survive; scary, yet I fought to live after eight days, I was back to live, I was back to the hand of my mother. I was not aware that life was not rosy, unconsciously as a child I lost my esteem over my personality, I had no friend, no mentor, no hero neither could I trust anyone for anything.
My name is Ayodeji, a Nigerian youth living under the shadow of my parent objective, thoughts and observation towards my personae, I was born, bred and raised in Lagos, the city of hustlers, enduring the struggles, anxiety and stress we encounter in our daily pursuit for survival in the cosmopolitan city of Lagos. The story of my life is not complete if I discard my past, the troubled child I was, seeking for love, admiration, attention and acceptance. The world was passive to my request, I began to fight against physical molestation, I struggled to fight against the physical and emotional abuse from my childhood, I thought I was not smart, I thought I was stupid, flawed and hopeless, endearing to the mediocrity of a life without happiness.
I was living, no one around, he is a loner and being around him is always sad, the commentary was injurious, I had to visit hideouts, joints and bar, calling for beer for its desire of getting tough and vocal, I was wrong yet no one could tell me rather they mock me if they observe I was drunk and I had no shame to utter such statement. Looking out my window, I thought my lonely self on the couch would be satisfactory, unknown to my conscience I was depressed, to be denied in life meant no existence but what can I do to overcome the traumatic feeling I engage my emotions with.
I began to embrace anger, I turn my ears away from the voices of people around me discarding the positive and negative tone, you are too stubborn, mum would always profess, the question was how I had lived as a child, denial was a bitter omen I could not condone, yet I was not certain of who I was and what I was set out to achieve. I failed at every point in my life, where do I look, where can I go, who can I talk to and who can I confide in for help.
The world is cruel to me, I said this sometimes in ignorance, regret and sadness all paint an horrible picture of a cast away, I was stoned in the eye by street kids because I was strong enough to counter and fight back as expected; I cheated to pass examination because no one told me I was brilliant and smart enough to read. You are not sharp, Yomi, the teacher would reiterate, my esteem would be down because I felt; I was not good enough, thinking I was like Tayo or wish to be handsome like Ifeoluwa but I felt ugly.
The world was clumsy, I see faces yet I am not identified to be human, in spite of my skin and body texture, the oxygenated air along my lungs to my nostrils i am not their brother, I wail, cry and scream to the wall of our room yet nobody listen.
I was professed to be gay and abnormal, no accommodation nor food, i am without a friend because I don’t acknowledge their ideology neither do I possess their skin. Outcast, this was the identity I struggle to live, my passion and pride is their pain in disguise, and they seek for my tears, happy to see me depressed because I had failed to acknowledge their doctrines and rigid principle.
Each rejection was new and I was told I would not make it alive, disregarding my emotions and feelings that ensure I am human; I am subjected to their agony, am I a man, do I feel satisfied with my being, if I grumble with myself; I began to see it effect while I was growing ,in spite of these challenges I ask how I was able to survive been maltreated and physically abuse,
I survive, in spite of their torture, Ayodeji how did you survive in this volatile and dangerous? A question that was asked out of grief and doubt by my relative whose thought were introverts and bisexual don’t survive in the city of Lagos, I felt the mockery but within me I was happy I had come a long way to overcome this battle of unhealthy lifestyle, low self-esteem and doubt over who I was.
This is my story as a young, timid and pessimistic youth searching for its identity in the city, I cannot commune in their language, their culture was different from my values and belief, they said he is bound for fire, he deserve to tortured, punished and threatened. I fought for what belong to me, to live and not die beneath their rage of hatred.
It was difficult my soul starved for its body and spirit, I could not breathe in my skin walking along the suburb of Oshodi in the city of Lagos, it was a moment of discovery, who am I, my relevance that does not exist is neither a tune the world dance to. I fought, facing their guns, endured their pain of being stabbed, running away from their arm, seeking for solace irrespective of the scars, to tell a story, seeking that they are healed.
I ran out of their cave, embracing my freedom in the heartbeat of loneliness and grief, my soul imbibed the pain for strength, my body incurred its sorrow for endurance yet I realize how the bitter demeanor had built my mind for the rigor of surviving amidst their toxic atmosphere, I would live to explain these torture I professed, in confidence someday I would be celebrated for overcoming my challenges.