Foreword (from the writer): Following the harsh criticisms of the previous entries on the James’ Journal, I would like to remind the readers that these entries are neither fiction nor the narration of particular salacious real life experiences. Instead, they are the musings of a twenty-something year-old male. Remember that, and try to be kinder the next time you want to drop your comments.
My mum found out I was attracted to men about three years ago. You know how women can do better jobs than FBI agents when they set their minds to do a bit of investigating. She happened to snoop around my phone and saw some texts and she called the number and a dude picked up. It’s more complicated than that but that’s another story.
She didn’t say anything about it for a while. Then one Sunday, at night, she called me into her room, asked me to shut the door and started to fire questions at me. Foolish me hadn’t deleted any of those texts and she asked me to call the number and put the call on loudspeaker. I felt so cornered and I was terrible at lying to her then. In the end, naive me admitted that I liked dudes… hoping it wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it might be.
She prayed for me, we prayed together. But inside me, I knew the prayers were not going to work. I had been praying for most of my senior secondary school years to not be gay. I had cried and fasted and read my bible just so that I would not be gay. I was born again but almost every night I’d fall asleep thinking of the hottest boy in my class, thinking of his lips on mine and his dick in my hand and fantasizing about different ways I could find out if he is gay. It was maddening and depressing. I’m thankful I didn’t think to commit suicide though… I always consoled myself that as long as there was life there was hope that I wouldn’t be gay anymore.
Anyways… The next one year of my life saw a drastic change in the relationship between my mum and I. I used to be her sweet caring son, always in the kitchen with her (I don’t know how to do a lot of cooking still, since I was mostly there to keep her company), always there to cheer her up. But it was no longer like that. When she looked at me, I could see the hurt and betrayal in her eyes. She no longer trusted me and that hurt so-so-so much. Little things I did that she would have ignored, she would pick on and begin to harp on and worry and start to pray and fast. The only time I travelled to England with her, I commented on how I found a man’s tattooed arm cool and she snapped, “So you want to get tattoos too, abi?”
I tried to explain that just because I liked them didn’t mean I wanted them, and she said, “I don’t know what you can do anymore.”
It was then that I began to resent life. That I wondered how much of a pain threshold I could bear and if I should take my life. I’d see her so depressed and I would be depressed because I knew it was because of me. But I managed to keep my sanity thanks to an amazing best friend.
I’m sure many of you think “Oh, you should have gotten a girlfriend or at least convinced her you’ve stopped.” I did try that tactic… heck, I even tried to stop. But the lying and everything was too much to handle. That was how I saw myself the second year after she found out learning not to care too much about it. It was for the sake of my sanity. I figured that it could have been worse… she could have told my dad.
And she told my dad. But the old man didn’t say anything about it to me. Nothing whatsoever changed in his attitude toward me. He still made jokes and still punished me accordingly when I misbehaved. My mother would frequently ask me if he has said anything about it to me and I would shake my head. I began to wonder if he didn’t care so much about me that news like this should bother him, and so did my mum. She went and asked him why he hadn’t talked to me (I didn’t have a problem with him not talking to me… let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist)
So my dad took me for a drive and he said things that made me love him even more. I don’t know, maybe it was because he didn’t spend most of his time watching Africa Magic and actually read books other than the bible and listened to the news. He said to me, “I know most people don’t choose to be this way but it’s a taboo in this country, so you need to discipline yourself.”
That was it. His words. There was no “You’re going to hell if you don’t stop!” or “You cannot be my son if you’re doing this!” And in that moment, I felt at peace.
Nothing was said about it for awhile. I also no longer thought about ending my life much.
My brothers also knew about my desire for guys. My elder brother is a womanizer and a homophobe… but when I gathered courage to ask if he hated me, he said, “Of course not. You’re my brother… there’s not much I can do about it but please just try and stop cause it’s a sin.”
I laughed and asked him if fornication wasn’t a sin.
He said it was but the society didn’t mind fornicators.
My younger brother would have been mostly indifferent to it but because it affected my mum badly (and she, like most mothers, was responsible for the emotional climate of the house), he resented it and always asked me to stop. One time, he even got access to a conversation I had on my phone and was so angry, he threatened to tell mum and dad but I begged him not to. I think he still told my mum in the end but I wasn’t at home to see how that played out.
Then this year, after I told him about how I asked a girl out for the umpteenth time and she turned me down for the umpteenth time, he asked me if I was gay or bi. I didn’t answer but he said he didn’t care about it much anymore, that we were brothers. So I explained to him that I liked girls but definitely not as much as guys. And he was cool with it.
My extended family also knows… at least my mum’s side. She felt she needed prayer buddies and all her sisters (four of them) are quite spiritual. I don’t care much what they think but I am mad as hell that my mum went to tell them. I think that’s why one of them hardly let’s her children stay at our house now… cause I’d probably molest her sons. Urgh.
Well, after she told her sisters, her sisters asked my cousins if they knew anything about it. One of my cousins did, but she played dumb. It was about this time last year that I told her I was gay and she said she had always known (she saw gay porn on my phone) and explained how my mum had called her mum and her mum had asked her if she knew anything about it. Did she care? Not at all. But like most others, she wished I would stop.
My mum still tells me till now to be a good boy and not do anything that God will get angry at. I also no longer assure her that I’m no longer gay so she doesn’t get her hopes up too much for them to be crashed. I just give non-specific answers when she asks about it or ignore the questions all together.
Do I wish my family never found out that I am attracted to guys? No, not at this moment. It’s rather freeing believe me. They are not happy with it… not completely but they still love me and that’s what mostly matters. I also don’t have to worry that they will find out or cover my footsteps ever-so carefully from them. Sure, it was hell the first two years or so… but things got better and I got stronger. And in some ways, it has shown that even if everyone else turns away from me, I still have most of my family who have got my back.
Written by James