The Unapologetic Self : An Open Letter To Eric Effiong of Sex Education

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Dear Eric, 

I saw your most iconic clip in which you said, “Wash your hands, you dirty pig”, and if I am being really honest, that was the moment I knew I had to binge-watch Sex Education. Very occasionally do we find Black people in a lead role but to me, you stand out. Your vibrant, colourful and high-spirited personality is contagious, not a moment goes by when I watch the show and do not fall in love with your energy. You are brave, funny, caring and most importantly, you found solace in being different. Eric, each moment of your friendship with Otis has redefined what the world understands of masculinity. You were unafraid to hold his hand and dance with him in front of the entire school, you were emotional about your yearly birthday traditions and you were unafraid of admitting so and gave each other piggybacks! I am sorry some guys assumed their right to assault you for being yourself, when you just wanted to adorn a costume and enjoy your birthday with your best friend and I am sorry that you had to live with the same trauma. 

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I still remember the scene where a stranger asked you to tell him the way to a wedding venue and how you were so surprised to see a reflection of yourself in him. That very moment, I saw it in your eyes when you realised that it was okay to be yourself; that it was okay to have your nails painted with fierce colours; that it was okay to line your eyes heavily with an eyeliner; that is was nothing but beautiful to embellish in jewellery, despite being a man. While you were appreciating every bit of the stranger’s attire, I saw you appreciating yourself. You taught me that self-love does not happen in a day, it happens across several moments to find and accept yourself as you are. Thank you for teaching me the importance of getting back at the world after a tragic incident, thank you for showing me that letting go of yourself is worth nothing in this world. 

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I hope to all the questions like, “Why do you have to be so much?”, we all can learn from you and answer, “This is me”. You refused to change your out-there personality for anybody in the world and honestly, that was the first reason I fell in love with your character. Thank you for unapologetically and unconditionally, being yourself, Eric.

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