Content Warning: Sexual assault, rape, mental illness, trauma, racism

I have spent a long time trying to articulate what it's like to live as a dark skinned mentally ill bi black woman. I don't think I've quite managed but the more I write about it the more I am able to parse out.

I am a survivor. I have been coercively raped and violently sexually assaulted. These traumas have almost killed me more than once. I have come dangerously close to suicide more times than I can count and they had nothing to do (largely) with my being bi. They were just a consequence of existing as a black woman in 21st century Britain. The last time I was assaulted was not long before I started to come out as bi and my well meaning sister continues to attribute my bisexuality to my trauma. Sometimes I don't know that she's not right; my early adolescence was traumatic, albeit in different ways.

Being bi has not directly caused much of my trauma, but it is very isolating. Black men don't want me because I am a dark skinned woman. White women don't want me because I am black. Black women don't want my queerness. White queers don't want my black womanhood. Black queers don't want by bisexuality. Even that aside, no one wants to be represented by a mentally ill person, before it means we are all labelled 'crazy'. This does not mean that I am friendless, but it does mean that I have to chop off bits of myself for different people; no matter how hard my straight/white/light-skinned/non-black friends are they simply cannot understand what it means to live in my world.

A thought I've had for some time but am only now beginning to be able to write is that I am living in a world that, at best, ignores my existence, but is more often trying to kill me. Murder aside, too many people like me are a dying prematurely. The suicide rates amongst bi people and black women are already elevated; I can only imagine what the stats for black bi women would be. Rates of addiction and substance abuse amongst people like me are far too high. Poverty is another killer, with too many women, bi people and black people living on or below the poverty line. Even if I were to leave the UK and go to a majority black country, colorism, misogyny and heterosexism are everywhere. Even if I return to my homeland of Nigeria, my bisexuality would attract anger and hatred.

If I could have one wish in this world, it would be to have a truly safe space I could go to when the world got too much for me. But that will almost certainly be impossible in my lifetime.

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Second generation British-Nigerian fat agender person. Style enthusiast, decent baker and lazy poet.

Find me on instagram @mazisahedgehog