May 12

Freedom.

Many people want freedom but freedom doesn’t usually come freely. Lol.

It doesn’t come from doing the bare minimum. It comes from sweat and sacrifice. And that’s because freedom is precious. Precious things don’t come easy.

A discussion on gay men marrying women came up here on Wednesday. Dennis Macaulay was trying to point out how these men could be allies. It however quickly deteriorated to whether it was right or wrong to do so. I probably contributed to that in my own way though it was never my intention.

Dennis’s point is a very valid one. I agree. But it doesn’t show the whole picture. To me, the whole activism thing from that angle is shaky support at best. But beggars can’t be choosers.

What I’m trying to say here concerning the undercover allies thing (also agreeing to what Dennis said…sort of) is that as much as this fight needs cunning and stealth, it also requires bravery and sacrifice. And I believe in the end, it’s the bravery and sacrifice that will count to getting us the freedom we want. Straight people can fight for us all they want and MGM can lend their voices. But it is OUR fight, not theirs (MGM are technically included. Being married doesn’t make them any less gay).

Then, on the philosophy of “live and let live”: I am a huuuuge fan of it. Why? It allows me to live my life without a lot of headache about what other people are doing. It however sometimes borders along the line of cowardice, selfishness and apathy.

Yes, it sucks when a gay man is pressured to settle with a gender he doesn’t want to settle with, and we should be empathic about his plight and wish him well. But what is the point of ALL THIS if in the end, gay men keep marrying women. I feel like that is why we have to speak up against it. Forget moral grounds of cheating and all of that… A gay man marrying a woman doesn’t move us forward. That’s personally why I think it shouldn’t be encouraged.

I can’t blame us however. In Nigeria, we’ve been taught to survive instead of thrive. Nothing great has ever been done by just surviving.

My father taught me to always offer solutions whenever I come up with problems. Will not staying married help us? I don’t see how really especially when we still keep mute about our orientation. I believe one way we can fix things is to come out. Come out to yourself honestly, then to people around you. Keep a lookout for the receptive friends or family and come out. You can work your way up from there.

I hope the younger ones also get to read this one way or another. I wish someone told me much earlier that there was more to being gay than the sex and that I could be a huge tool for change if I wanted to be. If you’re reading this, strive hard to be the best you can be in whatever field you are. Read about your sexuality as much as you can and be educated. That way no one can make you feel inferior.

As for me, I’m playing my part. I might not run an NGO or go around bailing people out of jail or wave a rainbow flag, but I’m doing the little I feel strong enough to do. And I fully intend to do better than that with time. It’d be a tough call but I hope to be the small light of hope I never really had when I was younger.

*

I often find myself reminiscing about my first year in the university. How things took a really interesting and drastic turn. I was away from home, away from the prying eyes of my mother and surprisingly she didn’t constantly call me to ask me where I was or what I was doing.

I remember the first person I had sex with. He looked like a lizard and he was rough and I bled (*shudders*).

I remember the first person I played Top with. I’d always wanted to be on the other side of the role spectrum, but for some reason, everyone I met was Top. So it was surprising when I was supposed to be just hanging out with this guy and he kissed me. I told him we couldn’t have sex. I didn’t feel clean. He then asked if I wanted to fuck him instead. Lol. Basically it was over in three seconds for me. Three blissful seconds. Lol.

It was in that guy’s same room I met John. In between my random hookups, there was someone I was “dating”. I’m not even sure what I was doing with the guy. I think I was basically his booty call except we never had sex. We’d just make out. He leaked massive loads of precum from his stout horn-like dick.

Anyways, that was over after I met John. My sweet, sweet John. The one who took me up high, and then threw me carelessly to the ground. It started simple enough. I wasn’t even sure I had feelings for him but a few months into it, I was crazy about him.

I actually feared for my sanity. I remember going to visit him while one long strike was happening and crying like a baby for a reason I can’t remember. He just held me, looking perplexed as he questioned me about what was wrong. I think at that point, everything was – no, felt wrong with me, and it was aching me and the floodgates opened when he was there.

It happens from time to time with me. Then when it’s over, I’d wonder why I was acting stupid.

John started to keep a Lebanese friend. They’d chat into the late hours of the night and John would talk about him and gush, and I’d be glad he had such a wonderful new friend. Till one day, sincerely out of boredom, I picked his phone up to read his messages. I always did that and he did the same to me. I was going through the chat with his Lebanese friend when I saw the words: “John, I love you.”

It didn’t irk me. I wasn’t even irked when I saw that John’s reply was “I love you too.” I tell my besties I love them. Besides John was probably being nice because the guy was mentally unstable and had been known to cut himself.

Then the next words from John were: “And that’s what confuses me.”

I felt something drop in my chest. That type of love was meant only for me. That was when I realised things weren’t as innocent as I thought. I confronted John, hoping he’d give me some explanation. I may be reading unnecessary meaning into the situation. But John said that we needed to stop having access to each other’s phones. I was speechless and bewildered. He was serious. The solution to the problem at hand was to further conceal things?! I couldn’t believe it. I felt crazy – an all too familiar emotion when it came to me and him. Like I was wrong for feeling the way I felt. Like I was wrong for feeling jealous when he told me he’d totally cheat on me with his best friend’s ex. Like I was wrong for refusing to agree to an open relationship. He accused me of trying to out him because I was constantly in his room, the room he asked me night after night to not leave when we first met.

Many, many things like that. I think I was emotionally abused because some of those scars from the things he did still seem to haunt me quietly. Even when he ended it with me, he still hurt me and with no regard to my feelings whatsoever.

It was a Monday. Things were bad between us, but the optimist that I was (still am though), I went to his room to talk to him, to beg him to let us start over. I remember how it was when it was the beginning and I felt we weren’t supposed to end like we were ending. He told me he didn’t like when I got emotional and that he regrets telling me he loves me and that he doesn’t think he can tell anyone that again if the kind of love I showed was what love was like.

Sigh. Those words still hurt when I think of them. It seems to have sunk into my head that my love is poison. It would drive the other person away when I love them completely and with every fibre of my being. Maybe it’s because I demand so much when I give so much. And heaven knows I gave whatever I had to him – the good, the bad and the ugly.

I blame myself mostly. I probably shouldn’t. But I do. I was young, in my late teens. I had no idea how to maneuver a relationship and he hadn’t even been in one before. Maybe I could have been a little less intense. Maybe then he wouldn’t be scared away.

And I usually wish I’d had somebody to look up to or ask for advice. Many of the people I knew were my age mates or didn’t do relationships or were even still struggling to accept who they were.

Maybe I wouldn’t have had to learn the hard way that to put your happiness in another man (or woman) was folly, that there was such a thing as the honeymoon period, and that even when you’re ready to work on a relationship, the other person may not be.

Anyway, I was injured but I’m now mostly completely healed. There’s however still scar tissue. But all will be well in the end. That’s all I can hope for.

John – the same John who was jittery with fear of being outed when I suggested him meeting members of my family and even my female bestie who knows I’m gay – he started dating a guy who was out to his family and they’d have dinner together and stuff. That was a kick in the balls. Lol. But I think he’s happy now, and though I wonder if he sometimes thinks of what happened, I wish him well.

Written by James

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