Hey my name is Tayo, a 25 year old woman born and bred in North London and of Nigerian heritage. I’m a Chemical engineer living a pretty good life and I can’t complain. I often reminisce on my teenage years and things that I could have done differently, from relationships to friendships and business decisions, so we’re going to take a trip down memory lane and start from the beginning.
So, I grew up in a single parent Christian household with my mum and older brother Dapo. My dad had left when I was 3 and never looked back, he later went on to have kids with random women and acted like we never existed. Now, I still have this man on WhatsApp and try to always reach out to him but I guess he’s not interested as he just gives me one word replies or ignores my messages. As I’ve got older I’ve learned to cope with it, I guess deep down I still think that one day he’ll reach out and fight for a relationship.
My mum is an accountant, and also had her side hustles. She is the definition of a strong independent BLACK woman FOR-REAL lol. I’m mean not having a father figure did affect me, but financially we were good and I definitely weren’t missing no meals lol. We did everything, from going on family holidays every year to getting the latest trainers, Dapo and I basically got whatever we wanted so it wasn’t that bad.
So, fast forward to secondary school *sighs*… these years really were tough lol and Year 10 is when it all started. I had a close family friend called Remi and we were the same age and had known of each other our whole life but re-connected when we were in Year 10. We went to different secondary schools but saw each other every weekend without fail. Remi was really pretty, she was a tall brown skinned girl and on the chubby side. She was kind to me and we instantly drew close to each other, we honestly had a bond like no other, she was basically the sister that I never had. We shared what ever we had and always had each other’s back. PERIOD !
A few months had gone by and Remi’s parents were struggling and during this time Remi’s family house had got repossessed. Her mum and dad had fallen behind on their mortgage payments and could no longer afford to look after their 7 kids. At the time I didn’t really understand what that meant, I thought that the council would just re-house them in the same area, but it wasn’t that easy. Due to all of the stress, her mum and dad decided to separate which in turn meant that all of her siblings had to be split up. My mum liked Remi because she saw how strong the bond that Remi and I had, Remi always had my back and was always willing to help me, and so when my mum found out about her family home being repossessed she let her stay with us. Words couldn’t describe how happy I was, because not only would I be able to cheer her up but I felt that I could make her forget about what her family was going through.
I was used to having Remi stay over and share my space and everything, so everyday was normal. Remi would get ready and go to her school and I would go to mine. Every evening we would come back home and gist each other on how our days went, from the teachers with bad breath to beef that we had and the latest relationships in our school, that was the norm. Remi had a close friend that went to her school called Angela who she spoke about often, we had all planned to go to West End together one weekend where I would finally be introduced to her. I noticed that 30 mins before we met Angela, Remi decided to warn me about her being unattractive, weird flex 🥴, I ignored it as I felt that Remi was just acting out due to what she was going through. Anyways, we finally met up with Angela and we clicked straight away, she was a quiet girl and seemed like a really genuine person and had a heart of gold. So… that was us the three musketeers.
After waiting on the housing register for a few weeks Remi’s older sister was able to get a flat from the council so she moved into her sisters house with the rest of her siblings and her mum. I was happy for her because I could tell that she was missing her siblings, nothing changed as we still saw each other almost every weekend.
Summers and weekends were lit as we always linked up and after school we were always on MSN and myspace with each other. Now, I was always a nerd, and the only thing I was good at was studying and school. I never knew how to do makeup and I was somewhat of a tomboy so no one was checking for me in school lol. Whenever Remi came to my house she would do my hair and makeup and make me look pretty, I didn’t really think there was even a point in me knowing how to do make-up because I never knew how to talk to boys in that way. The only boys I spoke to were the boys in my maths class who were nerds like me and the only thing we spoke about was maths! Remi used to laugh at me and ask why I found it so hard to talk to guys but I didn’t know why. Whenever guys spoke to me I felt uncomfortable and sick to my stomach, I can’t explain the feeling haha.
Remi was way more confident than me and would get annoyed at me for not being able to speak to guys on the phone. She would constantly call me pretty and always try and take me around boys that she knew to make me more confident but I always found a way to leave and go home. Remi was speaking to guys in there mid-20s when we were just 15, I just didn’t understand it, she had so much confidence when she was taking to guys and I really admired it. Although Remi was confident in talking to guys, she wasn’t confident in other things … she was hiding something other than her age.
The girl in Remi’s profile pictures wasn’t her, Remi was a catfish, she never used her picture and used a picture of a girl that was half Asian and half black. I always wondered why she couldn’t just use her pictures but she would always say that I didn’t understand, so I just left her to talk to her many guys until 3am every night.
Later on, Remi started taking pictures of me after she had done my make-up and kept them on her phone, I didn’t think anything of it as we took lots of pictures for our Myspace accounts. However, one time she had left the computer screen unlocked and there I was but with my name being Kyra! Kyra ke, Kyra ko. I found out Remi was using my pictures to talk to guys, I was shocked and confused at the same time, but is it weird that I wasn’t angry? I was scared but deep down inside I was happy, I was happy that I was desired, and men found me attractive. I started getting a lot of attention on her hi5 account and guys seemed to flock to me, it was a nice feeling. I guess Remi wasn’t happy though, because she deleted the account shortly after and I didn’t think there was any point of me making my own profile as I couldn’t speak to guys, remember? lol.