Abused as a child, she thought herself as not beautiful and guilty, unlike other girls, who were beautiful and innocent.
Until she accepted God, the only father figure in her life, did she feel innocent again.
Singer and photographer, Toyin Bello popularly known as TY Bello was a guest on the recent episode of the King Women.
She talked about her childhood, how she lost her father at a tender age, how God was sold to her and he became the father figure in her life, her children, nd her career.
Read excerpts below.
ON HOW SHE KNEW GOD
I had this young girl, her name was Ibironke Rhodes, I remember we used to stay in the same hostel and Ibironke became my closest friend in school but I didn’t know that Ibironke was dying and then one day she called me and said, ‘Toyin, I have a secret for you.’ She said, ‘I’m dying but I’m not afraid because I know I’m going to go to heaven.’ My friend had leukemia and we were all 11-years old. It was in 1989.
And she said, ‘do you know why I’m not afraid? Its because I’m a christian and when I die, I know I’m going to go to heaven,’ and this was where my christianity came out from.
I don’t think Ibironke lived another three or four months after we had that conversation. Ibironke did die and Ibironke did lead me to God and tell me about God.
ON HOW SHE WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED
I was sexually abused as a child and because of this I felt like there was something ugly about me that had me encounter this. This wasn’t the abuser’s fault, this was me. I used to see other girls as flowers and I saw myself as dirty cement, hard and ugly. So I never felt beautiful. I never did. I thought everything was wrong with me.
My brows were a problem. I was hairy, and it was a problem and I always attributed everything that was about me to be the reason why someone took advantage of me. There was something wrong with me. If the other girls were like me, perhaps, they’ll be dirty like me. They are flowers, they are pretty and they are beautiful. Nobody does that to a beautiful girl.
So, for a long time, when Ibironke told me about salvation, she told me, ‘old things will be passed away and all things will become new,’ it was as if God will wash that cement, that thing, that stench that caused that thing to happen to me as a child; salvation could take that away.
Then I could be a girl because I didn’t feel like a girl. When I grew up, I felt like an impostor. The girls were innocent so I always had to behave like I was also innocent.
So, imagine my shock growing up to find out that, one out of every three or four girls that were in my school had been through same and I would tell them same thing, ‘hey, old things are passed away,’ ‘this Jesus thing,’ come with me he can take that away.
You don’t wanna know how many people I had to tell that. so it was a relief for me to find out that I wasn’t the only one but it was also shocking for me to find out that nobody talks about it. This is my first time I’m actually talking about it.
That’s why salvation worked, I had a daddy and I was going to be a flower again and I was going to be a girl and I was going to be beautiful because God was going to wash my sins away. Imagine what that means to an 11-year old.
So, I wasn’t really into boys because I was a fresh flower and I just wanted to stay a fresh flower, they should just leave me alone. And even afterward I never felt beautiful but at least I didn’t feel dirty.
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