It all started on the day you screamed in discomfort the minute your mother pushed you out into the fluorescent light of the hospital room. First, you were given a name - glorifying someone you do not know and have never met. And then, a few months after your birth, you’re dedicated to Him as His child without your consent or what you think about the whole situation.
And then, you’re taken to church, to Sunday school every Sunday. Sundays you could’ve spent watching cartoons or taking a nap after a long hard day of running around and playing with sharp objects, rigid walls and death. Still, you’re given no choice. You’re supposed to like it because this man you have been introduced to - men - a group of 3 men who are one, as they say, is going to change your life and take you to a place where the streets are made of gold, and everyone is clad in spotless white. But you hate white. It’s your worst colour.
One day, you’re 16, and your life is falling apart, and the word at church is that “he” can help you, and he can be your friend. And then you tell him to come into your heart, wondering how a white man can stand amid blood and not be uncomfortable. But you welcome him anyway as they said you should do and hope the feeling they say will come, will eventually come. It didn’t.
For the rest of secondary school and then most of university, you read your Bible cover to cover, sit in words and seek comfort from them, pray for your life to stop falling apart, but it never did stop. It kept spiralling and making you dizzy, but you kept at it, hoping that the feeling they said would come would.
They told you about the Holy Spirit.
A spirit who is also a man, who is supposed to envelop you in a big hug and you’re supposed to speak in another language. The only other language you knew was Yoruba and some French from primary school. You couldn’t find the words and couldn't find the energy to throw yourself on the ground and hope that it might activate what people did when this man hugged them.
A year before you get your degree, you meet a man at a uni rave, and you go home with him, and you fuck him. Once. You never did see him again. That singular act sent you into an existential crisis.
You find it hard to believe that this was the turning point for you - the point where you decided to see things for what they were and what they have to do with you. You start to question everything.
Like many other young Nigerians, you were never given a choice about faith or a safe space to decide if it was what you liked.
You wondered why a religion brought into your country through colonisation that has wrecked your country beyond repair is celebrated and upheld.
You wondered why we were worshipping men - a deity who is a man and white.
You thought about the senseless wars and killings that have happened because of religious differences.
You wonder why gay people are being killed every day in Nigeria because of a law that has come from religious beliefs that have now become the culture of Nigerian people.
What happened to the culture of your people? Who were they before everything got destroyed?
Who am I outside of this faith? Do I really believe in this, or do I only care because I was told to?
You decide that you want no part of it and start a new life free from colonial thoughts, religions, and archaic beliefs.
There is a lot of pushback.
Your parents say that you are no longer welcome into the intimacy of family, and then strangers ask you to give them a good reason for your departure from Christianity. You have none to give.
You tell them that you found the space to choose, a space that everyone born in this country deserves.
You tell them that you have made your bed and that you’re going to sleep in it. Nigeria already feels like hell, so you’ll know the ropes on surviving when you do get there.