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I’m a young girl, and I have a double life.

I have slept with numerous men and women, I drink, I smoke, I party. I’m a cool kid to my perception of what the world considers cool.

I am also a virgin, very religious,hold many positions in my church, a role model for the younger children, head of the charity department and the best child a parent could ask for. I’m the poster child for every parent in my church.

Very strict, traditional and religious parents often end up having very cunning children. Ever since I can remember my parents have been ridiculously strict. Even though I’m allowed to wear trousers, they have to be baggy boy trousers that have to cover my ankles and I can only wear them once in a while. My parents aren’t pastors or preachers and our church allows jewelry, however I was only allowed to wear dot earrings, clothes couldn’t be too tight and hair was always all back, no beads, no other styles. I was younger, I didn’t know any other life, so I was fine with all of this. Until my father was promoted at work and we moved to an affluent area of Lagos.

I became friends with rich men’s children and I yearned desperately for what they had. They wore the most amazing clothes, had freedom I couldn’t even dream of, they ate rich. My father is very frugal when it comes to spending, he detests the idea of eating out when he has a wife and daughters and so I was forced to taking home cooked traditional meals such as porridge, beans and the likes to school for lunch while my friends would have Mr Biggs snacks and Sweet Sensation meals, just imagine how this made a little child feel. My anger and resentment started growing, I hated going home because it was only; read your don’t watch too many not cartoons, no friends over and no visiting friends.

Things got worse when I got into secondary school, I went to a secondary school that had even more rich children than my primary did. I was in class with senators daughters and ministers sons who were living the life. They had expensive appliances, the coolest clothes, the best stories of night outings and they visited each other at the snap of their fingers. My esteem dropped, I was the child whose parents that didn’t want me to have friends for fear of my becoming corrupt, parents that when I wanted new clothes for an end of year party got a tailor to sew me baggy Ankara clothes and thought I looked good even though I was a head scarf away from looking like a maid (not that maids aren’t human or cool people too.). I was frustrated, no one would talk to me in school because I was the outcast, the uncool one.

I wanted so bad to fit in with my peers but was also terrified, scratch that, I was petrified of my parents. My father would belt me if I was late for bible study at church and I remember the one time my mother whipped me with electrical wires when I told her a family friends son told me he liked me. However I soon discovered that my parents rewarded me handsomely when they perceived I was being extra religious and doing good, and my school mates to a certain extent approved and accepted me when I was being bad.

It began with lying and stealing. I would steal money from my father to go and flaunt in school. I would lie about excursions and trips so I could go for parties. There was no harm in any of what I was doing, the things my parents warned me against were the best things in life. My mother warned me against sex so I had to know what sex felt like. She warned me against smoking, I had to experience that high, she warned me against clubbing and partying and the next week I was in a club getting drunk with men I barely knew. But when I got the warnings, I would reiterate them with the utmost conviction on my face and vow that never in my life would I indulge in such sinfulness, my parents would approve and I would be rewarded. I was winning both ways.

Things got worse when I was sent to my Aunty’s house in America for university. The land of the free! My Aunty was a little like my mother but more permissive than her. I went over-board, I was doing things that would give my parents a heart attack if they heard, I was free and enjoying every minute of it, I was eating my cake and having it. My Aunty wasn’t so church-centric so my church attendance dwindled, I spiraled out of control and yet I still managed to keep up the good girl front at home. I could go on and on about how much I did and how it all went down, how I was with a different man every weekend, how I tried all sorts of drugs and all the grievous things I did, but the bottom line remains I over did it.

The one factor that you can never prepare for when you think you’ve gotten away with a double life is yourself. Young you always believes you’re living the life, you can’t get caught and you’ll be fine. Reality then starts to dawn on older you and how much you’ve messed up yourself. You start to realize how you’ve spoilt your chances for your future and how the once brilliant life you thought you lived becomes your main undoing. You start to think of things you want to achieve and all of that becomes clouded with the amount of baggage you are dragging with you. You tend to forget that the world is a small place and that the thing you did and thought you got away with is somewhere down the line waiting to remind you of why you can never amount to anything and you’re always going to be worthless. Nothing really prepares you for the fact that when you’re older and wiser, you’re going to bitterly regret the decisions you made when you were younger.

I’m back to square zero, my confidence is shattered, my self-esteem is non-existent. I really want to right my wrongs but I’m in too deep and the only way to retain my sanity I believe is to continue the double life that has turned me into this shell of a human. I am jealous when I see my friends who have deep connections with God because I know that my actions mean I have broken all ties with him, and even though I’m on the outside very religious and spiritual I don’t know how to pray anymore.

For a long time I hated my parents and all the restrictions they put on me, now I wish I had listened, maybe I would be that poster child, would be successful, and would be found worthy by a good man. But even though I don’t hate them now, I don’t believe the upbringing was entirely proper. I believe they sheltered and over protected me and as any young child I desperately wanted to know those things they sheltered me from. I don’t blame my parents for ruining my life, that one is all me. But I wish they could have done things differently. Or then again maybe it’s just me as a person, after all my brothers and sisters turned out good and virtuous.

I’ve perfected the double life but I think my realities are soon going to merge into one catastrophic cataclysmic nightmare. Let’s wait and see.

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“With a false name, I can be anybody. Old man, middle-aged woman, anybody, as long as I am careful about the way I write. All that anyone would see are my words, my feelings, me.”

– Orton Scott Card, Ender’s game, paraphrased.

This writer is female and uses the alias miss 30 stories.