Chinenye Nwenye

Contributed by Chinenye Nyenwe

Dear Chinenye,

Wag'wan bruh? Boy... you've done some dumb shit up until now and it's embarrassing. Don't worry though, there's worse to come yet.


So you've conjured up one or two impressive stories about your “sexual experience(s)”, and some people have bought them, others aren't totally sold, and sometimes you end up with egg on your face. Again, don't worry; you'll meet a lot of pubescent boys just like you with the skills to rival George Orwell. Exaggeration wanes drastically as you get older, but who knows when it will completely disappear. Men will always love to compete.

Your first real sexual encounter won’t be for another year and a half, and remember that thing about “egg on your face”? Brace yourself, 'losing it' means a poultry farm is about to be thrown at your brow, at pace. Your heart will run faster than Usain Bolt - don't worry, you and the rest of the world will know who he is in a few years - and you'll realise women are a lot greater than you appear to give them credit for. You'll have a fair amount of these encounters, 'your performances' (oh dear) improve, but it'll be another seven years until you meet the woman deserving of the sexual and emotional maturity you've developed, and she triples it; a goddess, and eventually the mother of your amazing and stunning daughter.

You mentioned how hard it was to be African in school and in your area. The kids at school playfully mock your name, the way your people talk and look, but don't go too far in your reaction, as they saw you successfully defend your self during your first fight at school. Don't let that fight gas you, you'll see that you're a softy and there is nothing wrong with that. As for the African thing... boy, you've not had a single lesson at school illustrating the achievements and contributions made by people like you. Don't sweat it though my dude, remember that goddess I mentioned earlier? Yeah, you two discover the wonders of the Egyptian civilisation, the people of Timbuktu, Patrice Lumumba and the infectious sounds of Fela Kuti and Burning Spear. Here's a little secret… from 2009 onwards it will be 'cool' to be African, but you'll get vexed about how the world has and continues to treat your people.

You're bothered by the violence that surrounds you at school and in your local area. This concern turns into anger because you're going to be stopped and searched in just less than twelve months, and twice more before you write this letter. You're not a criminal yet you feel like one nonetheless. History will show you that the British police forces are not totally innocent, but on the whole pretty, pleasant angels compared to their cousins across the Atlantic. Anger turns to confusion when a close friend brings a gun to your home, expecting your approval and to be lauded. Don't do either, but don't judge him, he and you are subjects of toxic masculinity that plagues the black community, and like most diseases some survive, some don't.

This toxic masculinity is something you'll come across on several occasions, but it takes on a new dimension when you kiss another black man in a stage production in your late twenties. Yes blud, you heard me. You become an actor, and you do something “chich” (gay). I know you've got a slender hope of playing for Arsenal but in a couple of years they're going to turn shit and you don't have the connections anyway. Back to the kissing thing; I know you're shocked and don't want anyone to think you're a “battyman” but the truth is you don't engage in homosexual activities in your private life, but what you do for a living helps you understand and empathise with people that aren't exactly from the same walk of life as you. Acting is very interesting, financially unpredictable, but its cool job bro, trust me. And before I wrap it up, your homophobia makes you look like a dickhead. You won't catch AIDS if a gay guy comes near you, wasteman!

It’s a weird time in your life right now - you're confused, you want to be yourself but it’s hard. Society tells you what you can and can’t be, but fuck society, it’s been a mess for centuries and it continues to worsen. The truth is, you'll probably never be comfortable in your own skin, but I'm saying you'll get better at it. The daughter I mentioned will go through some of the same things and knowing you as long as I have, I'm sure you'll be there for her. Good luck to you and the little one... you're going to need it brodie!

Sincerly,

The Older you

Contributed by Chinenye Nyenwe

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