I was in a pretty good mood for the most of last week. Then my mum came in like a wrecking ball and spoilt it for me.
I bought a flip case for my phone. It is sea-green with a black and white zigzag pattern. Not simple but not too complex, and I liked what I saw. It was on Amazon. So I bought it and sent to my mum to bring down to me when she returns. She received the package and beeped me. She said, “Why did you buy that kind of case for your phone?”
I was bewildered, wondering what on earth could be wrong with it. I showed a few of my friends the picture I saw and I trusted they would have told me if it raised red flags.
I ask her to send a picture. She replied with, “Why should I send a picture, didn’t you see a picture before you bought the case?”
I went back to my account and looked at the picture and I couldn’t figure out what on earth she was talking about.
Just then, she beeped me saying, “It has a chain on it like a bag, but I have removed it.”
I was sooooo confused then, because there was no chain on the picture I was looking at. From confusion, my mood changed to annoyance, then disappointment, and then sadness, when she typed and sent, “I will keep praying for you.”
And then, she went on to add, “I love you but remember God loves you more.”
I got so angry, I wanted to cry. I was so upset. I didn’t do anything wrong. I like some stuff considered girly but I wouldn’t see a full-on-female accessory and buy. And she didn’t even ask me questions, she just judged me. That it was the ‘gay demon’ in me that was acting up, that it was that evil spirit that made me decide to buy a girly phone case.
I wanted to scream: “I don’t need your prayers because there is nothing wrong with me! And if this is what your love is, then I don’t think I want it anymore!”
But I couldn’t. I can’t. As much as it seems twisted to me, I know her heart is in the right place. And that’s what hurts. She is just so ignorant. Fucking ignorant. And it annoys me. Her sources of information are in the Bible and Africa Magic. She’s a doctor but she hasn’t read a normal book in years except devotional.
She still thinks being gay a choice, a bad habit I just happened to pick up, even after I told her the attraction was there as far back as I can remember. She says if I pray hard enough, it would go away. Well mum, before you found out, I had prayed and fasted and all that, but it was still there and the guilt was eating me up inside. I wasn’t suicidal but many a night, I hoped I wouldn’t wake up the next day as I fell asleep, just so that burden would be gone. Then she found out and I became depressed. I just wanted life to end.
I’m so good at pretending. They think I’m happy at home. They don’t know of my dark days in school when I remember that they are expecting me to turn into something I am not or could possibly never be. Yes mum, I could fuck girls and shii, but in the end, deep down, it’s a guy’s arms I want to be in. Isn’t that enough to send me to hell by bible terms? Isn’t it because of the inherent nature of sin that God sent His Son to die on the cross? So that His blood will wash it away and make it like it was never even there. Isn’t that why we cling on grace and not what we do, to escape from hell that you’re so desperately afraid I will go to?
And why isn’t she harping on my brothers? Why isn’t she complaining that my elder brother fornicates? Why is it always me, me, me? Is my sin greater than theirs?
I think I know why though. She’s a woman who worries what the public would think. She was the same one who complained about my dad not building a house when his mates are erecting structures and stuff like that. She can’t bear the thought of a gay son, especially her favorite.
I ended up sending her a picture of what I saw. And I told her I was upset. Very upset. And she said she was sorry. But ‘sorry’ doesn’t seem to be doing anything to stop my bleeding heart. I’m sad. Is all she sees when she looks at me ‘the gay son, the son who is going to hell’? When I just want to be is her son, the loving, caring son who thinks the whole world of her and would instinctively jump in front of a bullet if she was shot at. A friend of mine said we gay people tend to overcompensate due to guilt, but even if I were straight, I’d still love her as much as I do now.
The next day was a Sunday. She asked if I went to church. I told her no. She asked if I was still upset. I said no. But I honestly was. I think she has realised she has created a small rift between us. I think it’s going to get larger. I’m not the type to want to live my life to please other people.
I’m sure she thought I didn’t go to church because of her earlier censure. When I think of church now, I don’t see it as somewhere I can be free. I cannot go up to the podium and say, “Hey people, I like guys… I’m gay”, and not get judged. Prayer meetings will be arranged in my favour and deliverance from what I’m not even sure of. As if it’s just being gay that will send me to hell. What of the lies I have told, the malice I have kept, the fact that I am still angry with some people who have done me wrong… All that should take me to hell, not so?
I do find solace in my younger brother sometimes. He (apart from my dad) is the only one who has decided not to judge me. He says it’s between me and God. I was trying to explain to him that I can’t change truly. He asked why not, and I gave the classic example of asking him to become gay, that could he? Would he ever? Then that’s what he’s asking of me! He said he had never thought of it like that. And I realised more than ever that it is ignorance that is killing my people. They don’t know.
I showed a couple of people my conversation with my brother and they recoiled, asking how I can talk about something like that with him. And it left me wondering: If we gay people don’t talk to the straight people about it, then how are we going to let them see us as humans? If we keep quiet, how will we prevent lynching and murders on the basis of being gay? I have quietly made up my mind. My family doesn’t need to come and meet me before I talk about gay issues with them. I will bring it up, softly and gently, to help (not make) them understand. Hopefully, if my brothers fully get me, when they have kids, they will teach them not to discriminate against us and those kids will have kids and a sort of chain reaction will occur. A change doesn’t have to be big, like in Stonewall or wherever it was that gay pride started from.
I said a mouthful. Some of my thinking is probably flawed. But I’m just 20. There’s enough time to grow with experience.
I just finished a pharmacology test. Very easy. But I have a microbiology test and some stupid general studies test where I have only attended a single class and spent most of the period looking at funny pictures of cats. So there’s that.
I saw some pictures of my secondary school classmates doing their NYSC thingy and I thought to myself, ‘Meanwhile I have three more years in a public school, studying a course I’m in a love-hate relationship with’, and I felt kind of down, sort of wondering if I’m failing and shii. I mean, I’m not spectacular! Especially in this course. I struggle most times, to be honest. During the test that was simple, I drew blanks at first and was getting into full panic mode before I whispered a prayer, took deep breaths, and then pictured my note.
Well, I’m living my life, not other people’s. Just because some people are ahead of me doesn’t mean I’m not where I’m supposed to be. Where I am has helped me meet wonderful people, learn valuable lessons and taught me to be content. But I will not be complacent. I will still strive to be better and all that motivational crap.
I remember one time, my dad asked if I wasn’t worried that my classmates were ahead of me in education (as if he wasn’t the one who forced me to do A levels). And the honest truth was that I wasn’t. One way to be unhappy in life is to compare yours with other people’s lives too much. And I’ve got enough to make me unhappy already.
I’ve been getting these migraines, especially in noisy environments or bright lights. It could be normal headaches or it could be glaucoma, which very unfortunately runs in the family. A relative has almost lost sight in his left eye because he didn’t let people know in time that he was having headaches. I don’t want that happening to me. I should also check my HIV status, just in case.
Today, I began to feel less resentment toward my mum. It’s 5:30 am and I’m reading about viruses. Well, I was. Nothing else wants to enter my sleepy brain. The mosque close by is doing that their call to prayer thingy. I’ve often found that sound quite comforting, I’m not sure why. Maybe because of the way it drones on and on…
We’ve always been talking about Christianity and sexuality. Hardly anything has come up about being Muslim and gay. Is Pinky scared of being blown up to pieces? Lol. I’m going to bed. And remember, if you don’t love yourself, how the hell you gon’ love somebody else? Can I get an “Amen” up in here.
Written by James