The Struggle With Validation

singles 19Like every other homosexual person, I had a truckload of esteem related issues. As a child, I always sought validation from my dad, who I never got along with. Looking back, I think on some level, he knew I was different and felt he could beat it out of me. So I struggled to earn the love that I wasn’t getting by trying to change and conform as best as I could. My life became about seeking validation and acceptance. I stopped living and started existing for family, friends, and community, and in a way, the society.

I lost myself in the process.

My dreams and aspirations took a back seat. I became obsessed with doing things that the world considered as “normal and acceptable”, from what to study and eventually studying a completely alien course, to just doing everything it took to be considered as one of the boys. I lost me.

With my obsession to please came a deep sense of loss, depression, paranoia and the feeling of constant bitterness. I became dark and moody. I morphed into a loner and kept to myself because I got frustrated with trying to please, but never doing enough regardless of how much I tried and sacrificed. I became good at playing the role of Number 2. You know, the good boy who is good friends with the notorious guy in school or in the neighborhood, the guy who rolls with the It crowd in class, but still manages to blend well with the geeks. All this was to help me not stand out. Standing out would attract attention, and attention would show that I was different.

Fast forward a couple of years, I managed to achieve a little degree of independence, decide that I deserved to live a little; years of denial did me no good. I did the whole ‘pray and fast away your gayness’ thing, but there was shaking off my sexual orientation. I was losing my mind from trying so hard to keep up appearances. I wanted the gay me to breathe.

Prior to this period, I thought gay people would be the most understanding, loving, and tolerant people ever. So imagine my shock at how downright cold and cruel a lot of ‘us’ could be. I realized that I equally have to prove myself among people who were supposed to be brothers. Seek validation and acceptance with people who were supposed to share my journey, my struggle and a common truth that binds us. No matter how thick your skin is, nothing really prepares you for how members of the LGBT community, folks that you are trying to identify with, would treat you (like dirt). Your weight, looks, social and financial standing, mannerism, and even level of sexual experience are part of the parameters used to consider you for smash, pass or date. Yes! The same issue is applicable to heterosexual relationships, but knowing and sharing an almost similar truth, you would think ‘we’ would be more tolerant.

In the beginning, men would swerve as soon as they learned that I was a ‘newbie’. (Since when did that become a crime?) So what if I was a late bloomer? Just because I arrived when you were having your “been there, done that” era means I don’t deserve a shot at happiness or breathe the same air as you do?

And then, there is the whole looks and body issues. For a guy who weighs 84kg and stretched up 5ft11, I was once called fat by the some romantic interest. He was white and entitled, and we hung out a few times, and never got around to sex. Then we went our separate ways, but not until the word he qualified my body type with had made me so eager to please that I starved and worked out just to look good for him. The next guy after him said I was too thin. According to him, he liked them burly. Expectedly, we didn’t last long.

I now ask, am I expected to weigh differently or change body sizes for every hookup or anytime I stumble on a new dude, because we all know that gay affairs, particularly in Nigeria, have a big ‘unto the next” bumper sticker on it. I have been around men who make wisecracks about fellow gay men. Men who think you are beneath them because they have a higher social status than you do, or own you because they have some change to splurge on you.

And for all these lists of unending requirements you have to fulfill for a chance at love, happiness and freedom, the sad thing about it all is that it is summed up as “just sex” and nothing more at the end of the day. How do you struggle with yourself your entire life, then one person comes along and sums up your entire journey, fight and struggle as just nothing but sex? We treat “us” like vagrants, cheap meat, by acting like our sexuality is nothing more but the mere need to act on our animal instincts, then move on. Whatever happened to being there, being comrades and ancillary, having a sense of brotherhood, being friends if we can’t be paramours?

In my haze of confusion, I once asked a guy, “Why do guys constantly tear each other down?” And he answered by saying, “It’s because we are always competing.”

Competing for what, I’d like to know. Why would my ‘kind’ make me feel inadequate, question myself and constantly make me seek validation to show that I deserve to be loved? For how long are we going vitiate ourselves, cover up our self-hate and hurt with reckless sex, random hookups and our “I don’t give a fuck attitude”? These are some of the questions I have been asking myself a lot lately. We may see ourselves as the CEOs of our lives, but how we treat ourselves and others has a ripple effect on the community. For every poison we put out and every person we break, he/she either becomes suicidal or too bitter and twisted to the point where they start having random sex (since that’s what their entire existence has been reduced to) and expose themselves to risk of HIV or STIs while viciously poisoning other members of the community with their toxic brand of misery, hence continuing the endless circle of “trying to find a home among your kind but getting burned and thrown out”.

First, there was the society, and then there was the community. The struggle with validation begins to seem unending.

The next generation of LGBTQ men and women are emerging every minute – our sons, daughters, nephews and nieces could be among them. What are we doing today to make their existence & journey less painful for tomorrow?

Written by Peak

57 thoughts on “The Struggle With Validation

  1. I could totally relate with that part about your dad. In my case I don’t think I’m ever going to be on his good side. I’ve all my life been trying to fit in but I’ve failed at it. I’ve come to love being different. I can’t fight me and win.

  2. This sounds more to me like that type of preaching you hear from scripture union people in those days.they preach against stealing,malice,double-dealing etc but they end up doing the same things they preach response to all who desire change is to be an example in our little corners.

  3. Honestly Peak, it’s crazy! I get where you’re coming from, but note that it’s really important to have enough self-love and be a strong-minded person, no matter where you find yourself.

    Never change who you are to conform with someone else’s standards, especially when that change is a source of discomfort to you, it’s never worth it in the end. I honestly think that’s what the next generation should learn, self-love with a sprinkling of humility. No one should make you feel any less, on the other hand, looking down on people is wrong.

  4. Spot on! I ask myself over and over why most of us accept random hookups as a way of life. I thought we’d value ourselves more and respect each other.

  5. Nice write up!

    I can totally relate to d body image part. Someone actually told me I was too skinny nd should go eat/add flesh! Like WTF?!!! Am a size 32″(waist) nd 6ft.4″, I’d rather die than go beyond 34″! If u dont like me the way I am, u can go to hell nd build an igloo there!

    We definitely can’t please everybody but we definitely have someone out there who is pleased by our sight!

    As for competing, they r so on their own! I rather compete with my own will on how to b a better being rather than compete with individuals over inconsequential stuff!

    • Conversation,you say?.I fear you may have to wait till kingdom come ere we have such conversation.A lot of regulars will give this thread a wide berth,I trow.That’s how deep we are.

      • It wasn’t meant to make you or any other person reading it happy,cherié.It was meant a challenge,just like the post itself.We’ve been living shallow for too long

  6. Ok, Men are very sexual beings. Go and ask a heterosexual if he’d love to hook up with every girl he likes, and the answer is “Yes”, it’s simply easier for gay men!. So these so called random hookups will always remain..

    Now, unto the more important topic. Gay men are absolutely one of the most superficial, vain people I’ve come across. And that’s putting it nicely… The emphasis on physical looks is too damn much.

    I’ll tell you what needs to be done, what you need to do is “not give a fuck”… That’s what’s gonna get you by, you need to learn to feel comfortable with yourself, if you feel good, then you look good. It’s that simple, if you think the “gay community” will have a total change of heart or thinking, you’re still in dreamland!.

    Again, maybe you need to learn how not too give a fuck, there are people out there who aren’t too keen on physique either

    • @Tobby, the fact that every body seem to be doing something doesn’t necessarily make it OK. I consider my self as a very liberal fella, and if I ve get around to do the whole relationship thing, I would give my BF a pass if he slips up occasionlly(that’s just me). Why do I hear u ask? Becos like u, I appreciate the fact that men over the centuries ve created this excuse why they ve to cheat and makein a fuss about it is like giving urself unecessary BP. In other words I don’t (really) give a fuck. That doesn’t mean I would put up with his BS if he decides to estbablish himself as a repeated offender. Like I said I am a liberal man.
      Not giving a fuck u say? Incase u don’t know bro, almost every gay man, is born with that chip. Some ve a well developed chip than others.
      The point of this post is geared towards being more tolerant to one another, be nicer, more accepting. I personal think if someone expend way 2much energy “Not giving a fuck” then he/she has something to hide or seriously insecure about.

  7. Hmmm. For my own brand of seeking validation, as I didn’t know how to do all that ‘manly’ stuff,.I would kuku struggle to help in that ‘motherly’ way. Chai!!! I have bin stupidly broke and gone very hungry in this life because of ‘acceptance’ sha.
    My dear if ANYONE says u have a problem with a waistline at 32,…no make me talk am. Your fan here dey over work, dey overblow breeze biko. U too mush

  8. The gaybourhood is one big meat mart and only the freshest and best meat gets picked up. I have had some of these issues in the past, but I always say do it for yourself and not for anybody. I am very happy with my body, seeing as I am very physically active. I however do it for myself, to love what i see when i stand naked before the mirror and not for some guy.

    Men are sexual beings; gay or straight. Monogamy is a societal imposition, men were created to run wild. Now monogamy cannot even exist on our side of the road successfully because of the choking homophobia that makes relationships come with a besy before date. You meet a guy over 30, best bet is that he is looking for a beard to drag to the altar, a long term commitment with you is the last thing he is looking for.

    I stopped seeking validation in anyone, love yourself and live your best life. Be successful for yourself, take care of your body for yourself and you will see that this life can be awesome!

    • “Monogamy is a societal imposition,men were created to run wild”……I would that you’ll speak for yourself,DM and not generalize on that you cannot prove empirically.From the get-go,all my associations have been monogamous.Some lasted for long,some as short as only four months on the average.More importantly,while engaged in them,I’ve felt no need to look outside for any physical gratification.Now tell me,was that imposed on me by the “society” or just the way I am?.

      • Sweets there are always exceptions to the rule. Men are polygamous by their biological nature. Now because you can doesnt mean you should! They are two different things. Do you get my arguement now?

      • And I still say your argument has no basis in
        fact,just something you pull out of thin
        air.Using myself as an example,I’m trying to
        tell you that there are many who are
        monogamous by nature,so stop generalizing.
        By the way,have done with the
        condescension.It ill becomes you and it
        don’t wash with me.Wasn’t even subtle.

    • Hmmmm **deep in thought** would 2014 Dennis be bashing monogamy in the gaybourhood, like 2015 dennis is doing right now?
      I’m not advocating 4 that sef. All of you who thing that’s what this is all about. I don’t strongly believe in it (just being honest), but I appreciate it when I see/read about it.
      The crux of the matter is ve we really sat down and asked ourselves, why we feel the need to pass through everybody? Becos at the end of the day after passing through everyone, u still endup empty and alone. So dennis, why pass through everyone. Straight guys thinks it makes them cool, appear more manly, it gives them the feel that they can conquer, gathering of trophies etc. What does hoeing around do 4 you? What are u trying to prove? To who? For how long?

      • When people have multiple sex partners, I don’t think they do it to impress. Most people do these things secretly. I understand all the talk about competition and trying to impress. Its merely the figments of the imaginations of people. Its normal with people. You buy an SUV to suit your needs your colleagues accuse you of showing off etc. If I decide to relate with a lady or a guy,i have my reasons and until I say them,its cheap for people around to start putting forward all manner of things

    • I won’t say men are polygamous in nature but I get Dennis’ point. Men have a higher level of testosterone than women and so it makes us more sexual than emotional. The fact that you chose monogamy doesn’t mean you don’t have the tendency to be polygamous. We are moved by what we see and its who we are. It takes maturity to decided to be monogamous and stick to one person. Do you understand, MacArdry?

    • Word Dennis!! I am sure at a point we are all going to experience this but we never let it hold us down. I see every disappointment as a blessing after which you just keep on moving. I personally have the I don’t give a hoot attitude as I find it has helped with me seeking validation from anyone. Does that make me seem mean sometimes, no I just have my walls up immediately I sense negativity and sashay away!!!

  9. Wow! So finally something like this has come on KD! Peak thanx. I think it’s long overdue.

    We have the innate hunger to compete wrongly and sad o say but if the competition was wholesome it would have been ok. However you will find pipo who see themselves as pros who must be taken care of AFTER the sex!…hmm sometimes even BEFORE..una know una sef! Then you find those who must watch your every mistake and then highlight it for the world to see that YOU MUST be the worst gay man to have been born in NaIJA while the same persons do the same behind your back but just coz no one has, how did he put it again…aha, ‘karma ed’ your ass you think u still are the cleanest and sanest Gay there is!

    Also this very ugly bit about UNFORGIVENESS! Infact its so rife and I think is the major culprit or reason we just kant seem to see eye to eye….

    So I agree with a lot of the things you said up there and what got me most was the last comment about the up and coming ‘colleagues’ who will inherit the kind of clime we are spewing and weaving now. So sorry for them but maybe it would prove too little too late for them if we can’t NOW begin to quench out this selfishness that’s so connected to HOMOSEXUALITY!

    • As smart as I am, I still struggle to understand your comments… Maybe I’m not as smart as I think… Or maybe something’s wrong somewhere

  10. The gaybourhood would do nasty things to the weak at heart.

    I wish I could could say the random hookups would end but that’s not about to happen. In fact none of above stated ills would stop until we realise that each of us individually make up the gay community and unless we change ourselves then nothing will change. This is the issue with Nigerians.. They love to play the blame game. Blame the leaders for everything wrong with this country, blame lack of jobs for using your hand to go go steal.. It’s always another person’s for what is wrong. Things won’t go well even in the gaybourhood until each and every one of us decides to change our bad habits. Look inwards.. Find out what way contributing to the poisonous clime of the gaybourhood and consciously try try to change it. Nothing will change unless we change..

    And most importantly we need love and acceptance. Haba! Straight people are saying something is wrong with you because you like the same sex and you throw fits and tantrums but when someone says they are asexual or they cross dress of they are flamboyant you start telling them something is wrong with them. Hypocrisy. I’m not saying go and hug the gay sister next door.. I’m saying that we should learn to accept that there are some things that we can’t understand and instead of judging just let it go!!

    Another thing.. Common with Nigerians again. Someone would mention a problem.. We would agree that there is a problem.. We would rant against the problem.. Then we will go home without offering solutions to the problem. I don taya seff.

    • Bless you,James.
      We complain much about “choking homophobia” in our clime,yet no positive that I know of has come from our community to enrich the society.Day that happens,when we can point to a certain positive as come out of the Nigerian gay community,that day we’ll start seeing society’s perception of us change.

      • I didn’t mean us trying to convince society to accept us just like that,Tony.I mean,what positive fruit(s) have we borne that’ll get the larger society willing to bend an ear to us?.Heck,we’re not even united.We even discriminate against the effeminate,the lesbian,the bisexual,the people of faith among us.
        A truth you can’t dispute,mention anything same sex among the seemingly tolerant of the society and the first image that comes to their mind is fickle-mindedness,unbridled lust n promiscuity n sadly,HIV/AIDS.That’s what we’ve projected thus far

    • I remember mentioning this in one of my comments but someone ‘rightly’ reminded me that this was not a board meeting where issues are SOLVED….just a blog where ish is discussed! Ha!

      • Um Lord, when you were suggesting this comment that someone rightly shut down, did you go ahead to suggest a solution to whatever problem was on ground? Or are you of the school of thought that clamouring for there to be change is the same thing as actually effecting change?

      • No P. However I think we should rise from just conversing and discussing here…we should strive to project a STAND and a Decision that would BIND us all to obedience and action at the end of d day in such a way that we would be known for it on the outside…then we can know who the newbies are apart from the members!

      • Seems you’ve forgotten the mantra of the KD community,Peak.It’s all about Me,Myself and I.There’s no Us,or you didn’t get the memo?.

      • Oh MacArdy put a sock in it. Who ever put up such a memo. Because you are selfish doesnt make everyone same.

      • I’ll advise you read the comments Brian ere you jump in,know what the trend is.Read the post too.
        You may address me or whatever it is you don’t agree with after.
        I’ll let your faux pas lie,for now.

    • James you have spoken well. I wish to see the change you advocate from you first. I look forward to your journals in this regard. Please can you explain this concept of cross dressing to me?

  11. Human beings are flawed, it’s a fundamental rule. Choosing to accept another person for his flaws, now that’s an individual matter.

    Be an example of acceptance and you’ll attract like minded minds. You might also attract guys who feel you’re the perfect candidate to date because you see, at the end of it all, guys are still attracted to a sense of normalcy.

  12. I get the more sexual than emotional bit,Tony.My grouse is with the “polygamous by nature” bit,that’s a flat out fallacy.If he’d said there’s a tendency to be polygamous,I wouldn’t have quibbled,but to generalize based on unproven assumption……….assumption is the basest form of knowledge,you know.I expected better from him.

  13. I love this article, Peak! Well done!
    Nature has an intrinsic rhythm that is responsible for the phenomena that occur within it. This rhythm is also responsible for sexual preference. You cannot make a person become sexually aroused by something he or she isn’t naturally drawn to. In fact, it is natural effortlessness in sexual appeal that drives and should drive sexual activity. We should make it okay for a person to tell us they aren’t feeling any sexual attraction. Are you sexually attracted to everyone who is sexually attracted to you? See? Nature at work, guyz!
    Having said that, we should a person doesn’t become less human just because you don’t find them sexually appealing. If you don’t feel a stir, you can still tell the person in a kind, considerate tone, knowing that he/she is human and can be hurt by careless words. And besides, you can still be friends!
    If you have placed your happiness in the hand of your partner (whether real or imaginary), it is likely that you are a disaster waiting to happen. Your partner is a human being and is likely to do the human thing one day i.e. FAIL YOU. Don’t put your happiness in the imaginary boo (the boo that is yet to come). You would just feel sad and incomplete till he shows up and then he’ll probably do the human thing (crush your heart and leave you empty). Then you’ll lick your wounds, thread your shredded heart together and wait in sorrow again, until the next boo (possibly heart breaker) shows up. This may not always happen, but its very likely to happen. This doesn’t mean you should stop wanting love. For me, it just means you should not base your happiness upon the actions or inactions of another. Want love, but don’t look for it. Love comes when you are not looking. You don’t find it. Love finds you. Its like the rain; unresponsive to entreaties and appeals. But when it rains, it pours!
    Do you feel empty because you are boo-less? This emptiness is imaginary. There are monks and nuns who have been celibate all their lives but are happier than you have ever been. How did they do it? THEY MADE IT OKAY TO BE ALONE and choose to be happy alone. Happiness is a choice. It is an inside job. Happiness is not something anyone can give you. It is something you give yourself. If you have said, “If I don’t have his/her love, I will never he happy”, this is your law, which you have created out of nothing and will obey. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    Want love, but make it okay to be alone.
    Dream of love but let the dream bring joy to your heart not sorrow.
    An encounter with the love of your life is the event of a lifetime. It is always effortless, natural and mutual. Anyone who doesn’t return your love IS NOT THE ONE. Open your heart and set them free. What is yours is yours. Effort is useless. Allow your happiness to blossom when you are alone, so that when he/she comes, they will share in it. If they leave, they cannot take what they didn’t bring. Your happiness will remain…and blossom.

  14. Standing ovation
    Way to go Sensei!

    See what i said guyz, he always and does shrink ”all” arguements to a fullstop(.)…

    I know it might sound weird and ”stalky”,i think i need just a tini lil bit of you brain in a jar(probably a cell,stem or tissue) which ever you can afford….
    Pls send thru DHL….Pinky has my contacts!


  15. We are neither monogamists nor polygamists, we’re just human. Society (in most cases) didn’t impose any of those, rather it imposed marriage – I didn’t say relationships. Your standing against people who “whore” defeats the whole acceptance movement. Are we not to accept Kunle because he prefers a salad to a slice? Most animals only keep a mate during the mating season, next season brings a new mate. If I’m single, there’s nothing stopping me from screwing the mind outta any willing party. When I’m dating, it’s me and my boyfriend. Some people screw, some people don’t. Some people are gay, some people are happy. LOL. To the hammer ‘his’ nail, and to the screwdriver ‘his’ screws.

    About appearance and attraction… A man likes what a man likes. We can never get to the truth of this. Today it’s about the man who felt debased the manner he was rejected, we support him. Some other day it’ll be about the man who rejects a guy who’s pestering his life away, of course we’ll support him. Again. A relationship is never assured. I’m not a people person most of the time I love it, sometimes I think I can do with more friends. A lot of us due to environmental factors have lost our sense of worth, when we get around hating ourselves, we aggressively seek people who would help us love ourselves and that’s where we fail. Over here isn’t any different from the jungle. Even as much as I’m accepting, sometimes it’s breaking. I’m human, just like you I’m flawed. You may have met me at a bad time. That doesn’t excuse the douchebags who feel better by putting people down, they actually have it worse than you. If you’ve seen Warm Bodies, they are the Skeletons who never got saved. I can never make you happy, I can only complement your happiness. That’s the difference between a laptop with a working battery and a desktop computer without a UPS.
    *That other person is the AC adapter to your laptop, he complements your battery. When the Power is out, you’re still powered (happy). But say you have no battery (self happiness), once the power fails (I fail you), you’re dark and lost. Only you can love you, we can only help. Only you can find you, we can only hold the light.

    About building the LGBTI-space, we don’t need to do that. We should rather build ourselves and our friends. When all groups of friends and individuals within the LGBTI fully developed come together, we have our perfect world, then we can take on Jericho.

    Be liberal, be gay…because we’re happy.

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