I just want to love and be loved

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I’m not sure when it started. 

When my cousins and I played Mummy and Daddy at 5. 

When I began to read erotica at 13. 

Or when I finally kissed a girl at 16. 

All I know is that I love women. 

The softness, the curves, the scents, the quirks and even the stress (because women are stress). Alas, I am a woman too and this is apparently a problematic state of affairs. 

I also love men and most of my history is filled with relationships, of whatever kind, with men. I am however quite fed up with them. As I said to someone recently, I don’t think there are any advantages they have that their philandering and casual cruelty does not negate. 

I inhabit a kind of greyspace that I believe a lot of queer people in Nigeria try to remain in: not closeted but not exactly out. For instance, I do not have any obvious tags on my social media (where I am not quite anonymous) but I tweet statements that hit the sweet spot of ambiguity: just gay enough to make sense to those who know and open to heteronormative interpretation by those who would rather see the world myopically. 

This balancing act, though I have become adept at it, is a strain on my sometimes fragile mental health but it also, counterintuitively enough, helps keep me sane. I am a person who cannot hide her convictions, beliefs and most importantly, loves. When I love someone, everyone knows. If they choose to think I love the person as a friend and not a lover, I will not assume the burden of correcting them. 

This year I decided I was going to fully explore my queerness, which involves; understanding what it means to me as a person, learning how to navigate the minefield that is being queer, Christian and Nigerian and understanding how same sex relationships work in this society. It has been quite the experience, to say the least. 

In conclusion, I might not know where it started but I know where I am now: embracing the part of me that doesn’t care about labels or presentation or any such thing (as a pet peeve I’ve developed is women asking me if I’m a stud, stem or femme). I only want to love and be loved, no matter what skin (or clothes) my lover wears. 

To find out how you can share your story with the Quietly Queer Collective, please send an email to forcolourfulgirls(at)gmail(dot)com.

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