You all know about that world we live in – the one where we go to school, get good grades, get a good job, get married, have kids, retire and be happy. That existence is not really meant for some of us. At least, not me. I have never seen myself living out my life that way.
I knew I was different when I preferred to play with dolls. My mother bought them for me, and when I outgrew them, I played with my neighbour’s daughter’s dolls. She let me play with hers because I braided those little princesses’ hair better than any girl in our neighbourhood.
I knew I was different the moment I realized I preferred to play with girls as I grew up. I could play anything a girl could, and still best them. In fact, whenever it was time to group ourselves for the games, I always found myself as the reason for a struggle for a partner, because I gave a better chance to win. And why not? I was competitive, focused and given to winning.
I knew I was different when I tried on my mother’s wigs and some of her dresses that could fit the little me then, and liked it! I liked it to the extent that whenever she was not around, I would put them on and walk the street. Yes, outside! No one could identify that I was the boy they knew. This was years before I came to know of the word ‘Drag-Queen’.
I knew I was different after I saw Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sweating, muscle-bound body on TV, and dreamt of being carried in his arms for weeks. I dreamt that he’d came to me at home and ask me to come away with him, and be his till the end of his days.
I knew I was different when my love for classical music drove me to learn ballet and later on, belly dancing. It was no wonder I took the ending part of Beyoncé and Shakira’s ‘Beautiful Liar’ very serious.
I knew I was different when, as a young child, I began to see so many good looking men in my mind doing really intimate things with me. Dirty things. Wicked things. Things that would make the devil blush if he knew it was a child thinking those thoughts. Those very private thoughts of a child who knew nothing about the world he was born into. The careless thoughts of an independent-minded child who later grew up to ask himself why it was be considered sick to be what he wanted.
I knew I was different when the idea of being cornered by a girl in a private corner used to always scare me more than I cared to admit. Even though I talked tough and vulgar about girls back then, when in the company of my friends, I found myself in full panic mode the day Chidimma cornered me and felt for my crotch, a show of brazenness, which caused my manhood to shrink inside me with the fear of the contact that felt alien to me. She didn’t just fit. Her, me, that corner; it all didn’t make sense.
I knew I was different when while every boy was eager to play football and have the latest ‘gangsta’ fashion, my interest was in my mother’s kitchen. I learned to cook from a tender age. I disliked football; in fact, I disliked every kind of group sports. My favourite Australian gay author, Rigby Taylor, (you should read Sebastian) said that it’s perfectly normal not to like them, that a growing gay man always has a strong desire and potential to be outstanding and not mixed. Football, basketball, volleyball etcetera – they were all games of the mix, and I never found myself in them.
I’d always known I was different – that is how the world sees it, yes, different from other guys around me. And so now, here I am. Seeing myself in my chaotic society. Still trying to define myself. Struggling between my same-sex attraction and service to God. I used to hate myself. I often cried myself to sleep, asking God to help me. From my misery was born fear. I began to get scared at the mention of the words ‘gay’, ‘fag’, ‘homosexual’, because I felt that the mere mention of the words would tell the world who I am.
And then, somewhere along the line, I closed that door. The door on what the society thinks. The door that one day I may never marry a girl as family and society would want. I closed those doors on self torture and self loathing. And I opened new doors – the doors to the possibilities of what and who I am. I opened the door to the realization that even though everyone else may never accept me, the only thing I can do for myself is to out myself to myself, and accept the me who steps out of the closet.
I opened my closet. I came out to me. I allowed the beautiful rainbow wash over my face. I basked in the simple joy of the realisation that what is will always be. The Spanish made that clear. Che sara sara.
So I am all of me.
I am a Man.
I love other men.
I am a Christian – a Jesus-Loving Mary-Reverencing Catholic.
I am a sexual organism.
And I am GAY without apology.
Written by Zephallon