ONE STEP AT A TIME

ONE STEP AT A TIME

barefoot_walkingI grew up with my fair share of insecurities. Insecurities over my complexion, my writing, parts of my anatomy, my personality and eventually, my sexual orientation. However, unlike most acquaintances I’ve made who spoke of the demons they fought over their sexualities, torments that pushed them to extremes like fasting and attempting suicide, I never once let the fact that I was different bring that much darkness inside me. I had bouts of depression, yes. But I was basically still a child, loved, pampered and blissfully unaware that my difference could pose a real problem in my adulthood.

However, I got older, and became more aware of the world around me. I began to realize the extent of society’s disdain for my kind of person. I fell prey to a homophobic opportunist; I was kito-ed. I heard the stories. I shuddered at other people’s experiences. I began to know the fear. Depression threatened ever so often. Questions about the future began to plague me: Do I want to be this person? What about my family? Do I want to risk alienation from them by staying true to myself? What about marriage? Can I stand marital eternity with a human being I feel no sexual attraction for? Can I live that lie? Do I want to? Shouldn’t I want to? Does not getting married mean I’ll lack companionship as I age? What about children? What about old age? What about the continuation of my legacy?

I was in my early twenties, and suffering the torment I shouldn’t have to at that age. And I grew so alone, even in the midst of the love and dynamics of my family.

As I grew older and more independent, graduating from school, relocating to another city and getting a job, I began to get jealous over my identity. Selfish over my life. Less inclined to please anyone with ideals that didn’t suit me. My defiance was subtle, a rebellion over the fact that I couldn’t simply say to the world: Hey, I’m gay, now can we get on with our lives!

I used to live in fear of my family discovering my secret, so much so that it came as a mild shock to me that when my brother found out, I felt not even the slightest twinge of unease. We had a fight over it, and he was especially riled when I refused to be apologetic about what he now knew about me. He made veiled threats about outing me to the rest of the family, and I simply gave the ‘It’s up to you’ shrug. I was conflicted in that moment. On the one hand, I wished he wouldn’t tell; I didn’t think I was ready to know my parents’ disappointment of me. On the other hand, I really wished he would; it would be like ripping off a Band-Aid, you know, let’s get it over with already so I can live.

To the best of my knowledge, my brother didn’t go through with his threat.

We drifted apart though, and after a while, reconnected, and never once talked about my sexual orientation again. I wanted us to, but I could understand his need to act like he didn’t know what he already knew.

The feeling of liberation I got from that encounter with my brother emboldened me. It made me realize that there existed a future for me which involved me having the kind of personal life I wanted, one that wouldn’t be muddled by the interference of family. A naïve, utopian thought to have, I knew, but I had to believe in it. Getting to that future was going to be a long journey, and it would require me embarking on that journey one step at a time.

Yes, one step at a time.

When the calls started coming about my marriageability, with my mother wondering aloud if I had a girlfriend, and my grandmother telling me about how my grandfather married her when he was aged 23, I felt no panic. I felt so impatient with the entire issue that when a close female friend of mine quizzed me about marriage, and I told her it wasn’t for me, and she asked me why, I snapped, “Because I’m gay.” And just like that, I outed myself to another person in my life.

One step at a time.

My father recently visited Lagos for some business, and I spent an evening with him at his hotel. We talked about a myriad of issues, and for the first time, the man asked me, “So what about marriage, my son?”

I looked at him, gave a small sigh and said resolutely, “Daddy, I will not be getting married. Ever.” And then I braced myself for the thunderstorm.

It didn’t come. He simply stared at me and asked, “Why?”

It was on the tip of my tongue to tell him the God-honest truth. But I still wasn’t ready. So I said instead, “Because I don’t want to. Marriage isn’t one of the things I want to accomplish with my life.”

“Have you told your mother?” he asked.

“No, I haven’t.”

“You will, won’t you?”

“Yes, in time, I will.”

“Ok then.” He nodded and segued into another topic, effectively ending his interest on the issue of my marital status. I had a feeling he had left the battle to the better warrior.

One step at a time.

I haven’t figured it all out. I still have some fears about the future, about growing old alone. I’m positive I don’t want children, but I’m anxious about whatever legacy I’ll have. I have love in my life currently, and that makes me realize I have something to lose. I’ve got great friends and family who I constantly hope will tighten into a support group when the chips fall down.

It’s all just one step at a time. And the intrigue of the journey is in the not-knowing what the destination will be. Satisfaction can only be gotten from knowing that you’re doing all you can to justify your pursuit of happiness.

Written by Pink Panther

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53 Comments

  1. Lord II
    December 20, 04:53 Reply

    Wow….you told your father? And that marriage not for you?? Wow that was brazen and bold!. One person that I can never come out to even in d subtle way you did is my father…..oh no!!! Don’t have those guts and may never have d balls!!

    • Mr Kassy
      December 20, 05:28 Reply

      Lord II I understand what you mean.But don’t forget that some fathers today also felt the same way we are feeling now;just that they were not informed*in Patience Jonathan’s voice*so the psychology behind it is that some gay fathers already knew their kid was gay from day one.So it doesn’t turn out to be a surprise for them.Unless they want to pretend and start shouting down havens!*avoids eye contact with pinky,thinking he may misunderstand me*

      • Mandy
        December 20, 05:34 Reply

        Mr Kassy, that was quite inappropriate. If you wanna shade, shade the individual. don’t insinuating things about family that you don’t know the first thing about.

    • shuga chocolata
      December 20, 05:32 Reply

      @lordII Never say never nd just like pinky wrote one step at a time. Your dad might surprise you with his reply contrary to your expectations. My family members are just waiting for me to open up to them. They have seen it all, even accused me but I bluntly denied.

      • pinkpanthertb
        December 20, 05:35 Reply

        They are giving you an out and you are rejecting it? Why? Unless you think their reaction would be negative if you confirm what they know?

      • shuga chocolata
        December 20, 05:44 Reply

        @pinky that pretense is so fake like KK battery that doesn’t last and when I was accused I knew how everything played then so until and 70% sure I won’t fall off those high cliffs mapped out for me then I will surely come out only then will I walk out without looking back.

    • FKA Chizzie
      December 20, 06:56 Reply

      Your father might have a hard time swallowing the fact that his son is married w kids but yet indulges in bareback orgies w members of the same sex… so yeah, best not come out to the man and give him a heart attack.

      • Khaleesi
        December 20, 09:44 Reply

        Chizzieeee!!!!! **rushes over to the King turned Lord with a large pack of banadages*** LMAO …. ***The heavy bleeding wont stop ooo**** Chizzie .. diaris God ooo, and he’s watching you!! …

      • Colossus
        December 20, 16:39 Reply

        This is old. Stale and old, let it end.

  2. Khristopher B!
    December 20, 05:48 Reply

    “I had a feeling he left the fight for the better warrior”…lolx so true! I will surely get married. It is not an option. Will love to have my own brood, family and leave a legacy etc… Wouldn’t want to be limping at 62 whilst searching for dates on Grindr (lolx). By then I should have had my own family, who will be there for me through thick n thin… Gay or Not. Mind you i’m not that attracted to women… I have a thousand n 1 chance to bleep a chick, but I always shy away from it, cos the attraction is really subliminal. However, when the time comes I know it will work. It’s a thing of tuning the mind.

    & wwhoever I finally settle down with must be very open minded, forward thinking n civil

    • pinkpanthertb
      December 20, 05:53 Reply

      You mean, the wife you marry must be open-minded, forward thinking and civil?
      Most people are that, until you bring the ‘gay’ in the room.

      • Max
        December 20, 10:01 Reply

        Human beings are just a bunch of scared wittless worms… That’s why we think being single is somehow bad.. Or you’re gonna be lonely when you’re 2000 years old.. And also the unnatural fears put in you by your family about leaving a legacy. Children aren’t legacy please!!! Nigerians are hugely under-achievers so they try to make up for their inadequacy by getting married and shooting out kids!!!.. Wake up..

      • Khaleesi
        December 20, 10:34 Reply

        am inclined to agree with you Max, the whole brouhaha about leaving a legacy is a throwback to our primordial past, to a time when there were no concrete records to remember a person by … then, there was no way to capture your image or voice or permanently preserve the essence of who you were. I dont know if cyberspace will remain in existence for the rest of mankind’s existence – am inclined to think it will, hence, there will always be pictures, videos and generous amounts of data regarding most humans floating around cyberspace for a very long time after we are gone. its much more rewarding and far more contributive to be remembered for your contributions to humanity/mankind than for reproduction – a thing that even street lunatics do with unremarkable ease …

  3. Ace
    December 20, 05:59 Reply

    And again, KD brings up this topic of marriage. i guess i have to use this my footloose period wisely (widely). Go to gay parties, bars, travel for hookups and give my body to every Tom, DICK and Harry (emphasizes on dick for obvious reasons) because at the end i no go marry who i love so what’s the use, right guys?

    • Mandy
      December 20, 06:11 Reply

      But this isn’t a marriage post, is it? To me, its about a lot more about the typical life of a Nigerian gay man than the issue of marriage. Those questions raised by Pinkie –

      ‘Do I want to be this person? What about my family? Do I want to risk alienation from them by staying true to myself? What about marriage? Can I stand marital eternity with a human being I feel no sexual attraction for? Can I live that lie? Do I want to? Shouldn’t I want to? Does not getting married mean I’ll lack companionship as I age? What about children? What about old age? What about the continuation of my legacy?’

      All these are very real struggles in the mind of a gay man. Struggles about the future inside which marriage is just another capsule. Pinkie, my wish for you, as it is to my other brethren, is for wisdom to make the right choices and to rise swiftly from the mistakes when the wrong choices are instead made.

  4. Masked Man
    December 20, 06:06 Reply

    Kristopher, you are bisexual. I don’t think a gay guy would want to have anything intimate and sexual to do with the opposite sex.

  5. Mandy
    December 20, 06:12 Reply

    And oh, that part about the better warrior, LMAO, you best believe. Your father must feel that your mumsie is better equipped to knock sense into you. Do update us here on KD when that battle goes down, you hear? lol

  6. supercharged69
    December 20, 06:32 Reply

    A good read, ingested everything wholly. Officially adopting and applying the ‘One Step At A Time’ principle. This is very enlightening.

  7. FKA Chizzie
    December 20, 07:01 Reply

    I dont plan on coming out to my family ever. Maybe my elder sis someday… Hopefully when I am 38, and unmarried, they’ll get the hint.

    • Khaleesi
      December 20, 09:47 Reply

      Exactly!! even if you aren’t outed by what is happening in you life, you will eventually be outed by whats “not” happening in your life ….

  8. A-non
    December 20, 07:27 Reply

    Hmmm…pinky, you had to bring it up this morning??!!

    I woke up this morning with these same thoughts in my head and it was bound to happen based on events of the last couple of days: about to move into my own crib, coincidentally have two weddings today, there’s a girl who is crazy about me, my career is in a very good place, I am the first son and a few months shy of 30…

    The battle for my identity has been an ongoing battle and some days are good, some days are not so good with my career and academic trajectory seemingly the only things I have all figured out.

    Family is one of those that are highly respected in the village, whose combined assets makes them one of the most prestigious and powerful. There is also the fact that it boasts of the most religious – the Bishop always graces any family-church occasion.

    Once the bout of depression led to wrist cutting as a teenager and the first suicide attempt, I told my dad about the serial sexual abuse that went on under his roof in my formative but he swept it under the carpet, denied it but went ahead to pay for my several sessions with a clinical psychologist and went on to pay for the anti-depressants I had to live on for a few years.

    He has never asked me if I have a girlfriend or when I intend to get married but has in my presence asked his friends to find a wife for me…my mum is late so no pressure there.

    Having shared this now, am a bit lighter and hopefully more clear headed to enjoy today’s weddings.

    Thanks Pinky for the avenue to once again give myself some reprieve.

    Great day guys!!!

    • Peak
      December 20, 09:03 Reply

      The whole highly respected and regarded in the village community is like a heavy burden I ve to deal with too. My dad already has a couple of failed marriages under his belt, so marriage is a very sensitive topic in my house.

      Like pinky said one step at a time! I decided late last year to stop leaving a lie and explore that part of my life (on the low) to keep me from going crazy. Its been one bumpy ride most of which involves me dragging my feet, Cos the gay dating/relationship I spent years fantasing about is a far cry from what is obtainable in real life.

      Marriage will definately happen but I don’t see it happening any time soon. I’m hiding under the umbrella of being career oriented and furthering my education but the storm of being close to 30 and a 1st son is about to wrenching it from my clutch.

      I don’t know how but we will all get there so long as we keep it moving. #1stsonshaveitthehardest.
      Thanks pinky and A-non for the free therapy!
      And pinky u ve no idea what this blogs does 4 me. Its in the top 3 list of the biggest thing to happen to me in 2014. #freetherapy. #lowerlevelofdepression. Bless u bro

      • Khaleesi
        December 20, 09:51 Reply

        Hi A-Non, the “carrier focus and furthering education” shield can only last so long, eventually, time will chip away at those too and you’ll still have to face the “monster” you’ve for so long tried to run away from … Goodluck when that time comes bro …

      • Max
        December 20, 10:12 Reply

        @Peak, the same sex dating scene is messed up..but… There are still people out there.. People who’ll make you believe in love again.. People that’ll make you not wanna have anything to do with a lady ever!!.. Most ppl never get to experience this. That’s why they call it “this gay thing”,. To them it has little meaning.. But that’s exactly who they are. Bring true to yourself is better… Two straight friends of mine came this morning to my place and I was watching plenty youtube videos about gay relationships, about four of the windows were still open. The usual me wouldve closed them immediately, but something different happened, I just didn’t care. They were here for a better part of an hour and I was just browsing in front of em… You live a lie for so long that it gets tiring… I only feel normal when I shut the world out and think for me and me alone..
        Living a lie ain’t easy. Its something to think about deeply if you wanna spend the rest of your life with someone youre nevr gonna love the way you’ll love a guy…

      • Peak
        December 20, 19:19 Reply

        Thanks Max for the words of encouragement. Like pinky said one step at a time. If that guy that can get me to switch into crazy in love or dangerously in love mode comes around, then we will have to toss every other thing out the window. Until then, we are on jeje mode

  9. Dubem
    December 20, 07:39 Reply

    And you have love in your life currently, eh Pinkie? Hmmm. Where’s the amebo tea club, Dennis and Chestnut?

  10. Absalom
    December 20, 08:09 Reply

    MEN! We can be so unwilling to touch emotionally heavy subjects. Your father tried sef. My own father has never directly addressed the possibility that I’m gay, despite the hints he’s gotten over the years. When there was a gay rumour circulating around me once in my teens, he left my mum to do all the talking and crying. He wasn’t even at home when we had that discussion. This was 8 years ago oh.

    Last year, after we discussed some family stuff, I told him how hurt I was that he didn’t say anything about that gay rumour. This is 2014; I’m still waiting for my father.

    They both suspect the truth – I know – but I guess parents of gay kids can live in far more denial than the gay kids themselves.

    Nice one, Pinky; one-step-at-a-time has worked for me a lot of times. 🙂

  11. Dimkpa
    December 20, 08:49 Reply

    You are a strong man Pinky. The real Dimkpa. You are not among the ones just existing.
    My thoughts on legacy is that children don’t make one. In the days of our forefathers where all you could do was cultivate your land, they were important because if you didn’t have them your line ends and your land and all will be taken over by relatives. Now it is not so important. We build a legacy by what we do on earth, how we advance the wotld or help our fellow men not by spawning children which anyone with half a brain can do. We will remember people like Einstein, Alexander Bell, Alexander Flemming, Steve Jobs, Alan Turing (as per our own person) etc because of what they contributed to humanity and not because they were able to produce children. How many children did they have? Where are they? What are they doing? Who knows and who cares?
    I regret that I have denied myself on several occasions like Peter in the book called the Bible. Your story gives me hope that one day I may start living like you.

  12. Handsomely Inclined
    December 20, 08:50 Reply

    I can relate with this post….
    Although no pressure on me about marriage since I am the last child and I have other siblings but something happened few months ago,my eldest sister who has been in the US for 21 years,who hasn’t called me in years,just called me one night,the first statement I heard after exchange of pleasantries was WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET MARRIED?
    na so I just Kuja oooo.
    I told her that I am waiting for my immediate to get married first.
    That calmed her down.
    And I could remember vividly when I was in my early secondary school,each time my father comes to visit me or I go for holidays,the first thing he asks was that HOPE NO BOY TOUCHED YOU IN SCHOOL?IF ANYONE DID,I SHOULD JUST TELL HIM SO THAT HE WILL REPORT TO THE PRINCIPAL.
    funny thing is that I went to a mixed school,if na all boys,who knows what would have happened.

    I wonder why so much concern about me,it then dawned on me that its because of everyone says I am fine like a lady should……..No wonder my native name *mmasinachi*..

    And it still amazes me that the only time my sisters gets to call me in years is to first ask me if any guy has been toasting me.Dem no go call me to send dollars but na to know who dey toast me or who wan try to touch me…Smh

  13. xpressivejboy
    December 20, 08:59 Reply

    Yaay!
    I saw it coming.
    One-Step-@-A-Time…The path to tread.

    Nice one, Pinkie.

    I’ve always known that your Dad’s civility pleasantly assumes the entire air space. He’s a great Dad, one I wish I had…and not the one I have.

    As for Mom, her current location will make her not the ‘Better Warrior’ as tho’t; by now, she must have learned better ways to fight by understanding what makes a man’s stance. She’ll have to adjust her ‘gele and blouse to accommodate some sleeky evening gowns.

    I must commend your bravery…at least, you’re learning really fast.

    #OneStep@ATime

  14. Handsomely Inclined
    December 20, 09:15 Reply

    Yea @Pinky….lol….You go fear na….Have you seen where they say a guy has the beauty of a lady..

    Nb-Just face beauty oooo….not in body shape ooooi
    Maka ndi asili…hahaha

    • pinkpanthertb
      December 20, 09:20 Reply

      Careful how you advertize yourself o. Lord aka king is always on the prowl.

  15. Max
    December 20, 10:19 Reply

    My situation is the worst…
    Only son
    20+
    And occasionally overbearing parents. They pop the question like everytime.. Somehow that has made me immune to it. I’ve told them severally that I don’t wanna get married. But they don’t know why.
    I might want kids later.. But not through marriage.. I can even stand living under the same roof with a lady I’m screwing..
    I’m what they call “platinum gay”.. Never slept with a girl and was born through C.S.. I’m untouched by the female genitalia..
    I know what I want and what makes me happy, marriage isn’t one of them.

    And for those who think getting married somehow makes you get right with God, you’re deceiving yourself. Any gay person who’s married to a woman is a liar!! And lying is a sin.. Deceiving unsuspecting people is a sin.. So you’re still going to hell fire.. This is purely rational thinking . Being true to yourself will make you feel a sense of liberation and peace. A peace that comes from within.

    • Khaleesi
      December 20, 10:40 Reply

      Wow @ Platinum guy,… that’s a new one … am sure some people with internalized homophobia issues will start drawing a line between the fact that you’re a platinum guy and your deep aversion to vaginas … some of us are that dumb

      • Max
        December 20, 10:52 Reply

        Lol @ Khaleesi… They always draw up such lines…

  16. Brian Collins
    December 20, 12:40 Reply

    Awwwwww, I so love this.
    No need to rush right? Well no one is rushing me yet even though I am my mum’s only child but then I’m just 22 & still an undergraduate. 8 more years then I’ll know where they reAlly stand.
    Ps: I really want to come out to my best friend this Christmas but I am a bit scared.

      • Brian Collins
        December 20, 21:40 Reply

        We talk about anything and everything but when relationship issues come up, I totally shut him out all the time. He was upset about it in the past but he learned not ask I guess. I feel like it is unfair that I haven’t come out to him especially when I think he is ready to know. He is not a gay lover but he totally likes the idea of ‘same love’ by macklemore. I also think our friendship would be the better for it. And he is so not a judgmental person & I know he loves me as a friend. I hope to not be wrong about him, dat’s where the fear come in. The news will change him forever; I just hope it is for the better.

    • s_sensei
      December 21, 20:28 Reply

      @Brian: how you break a news to someone is VERY IMPT. There is a way you can tell him and KEEP the friendship

  17. Khaleesi
    December 20, 16:16 Reply

    Dear Pinky, i honestly salute your courage and i dont know if i’ll ever have the courage to do what you’ve done, the terror of contemplating the consequences is more than i think i can bear. Its well and good to seek to be true to yourself, but on deeper reflection, i have come to realise that you honestly cannot fight or change a people’s “culture” without severe consequences (note that i used ” with culture), homophobia is such an integral part of Nigerians culture, its become so deeply embedded in their DNA and psyche, its all around you, you dont have to dig deep to find it. This society deals harshly and ruthlessly with non – conformists, the norm here is when you’re of age, get married, bring forth children, raise them, get fat, get old, die (of course, in between, you struggle with the daily grind that is the reality of life for most Nigerians) – you’re expected to follow this laid out script whether you like it or not, dare to break the monotone and you’re guaranteed to be made to regret it. This is why, 99.9999% of of us here will eventually succumb to “the pressure” and this is why i am an advocate for getting out – the longer you stay here, the more complex and the more difficult it is to tear yourself away. The fate of unmarried men (and women), in their late 30s, 40s, and up, is too miserable and unpalatable. The tongue lashing and condemnation you receive from family, friends and the larger society is guaranteed to suck your soul dry and empty it of every trace of joy and happiness. Yes, no one will kill you for not getting married, but they will often make you wish you were dead – they are that brutal and i dont see them changing anytime in the near future. Life is too short to spend it perpetually cloaked in such a depressing state … Like i said earlier, God’s earth is a big and beautiful place with lots of tolerant, liberal spots where you can live free of all this crap (which you dont deserve), find your spot and embrace it!!! ***pushes hair back, takes a long drag from bottle*** ***depressed***

  18. beryl04
    December 21, 15:07 Reply

    i have since succumbed to the marriage wagon, after series of threats from family and society .i now live with a woman i have no iota of love for .my mom told me categorically that it;s either i get married and have my own children or she makes sure i loose my own share of the large family fortune.that came when i told her that i’d go for adoption as she already know that im gay.my gayness is an open secret within the family and mother will do anything for the world not to know or hear about it.
    can’t forget her words that day as she peered into my eyes ” my son u are not bringing any bastard into this family as an adopted child ,i will not allow that.your father got married to me and i had seven of u with u being the eldest and u want to disgrace me by this.i don’t care who u go out to sleep with in d cover of darkness but i’m definitely gonna make sure u live with a woman”

    that’s my story and she made sure of that.all i want to do now is get out of this hell-hole as fast as i can.mum still prays with me to wait and get her pregnant but i’m tired.impatient and angry at the whole thing.

    • pinkpanthertb
      December 21, 19:27 Reply

      Wow beryl. Wow. I have no words for that. Wow. My heart really goes out to you.

    • A-non
      December 21, 21:04 Reply

      No words either…just a mixture of shock, surprise and pity.

      Hmmm….

    • s_sensei
      December 21, 22:37 Reply

      Mehn, I weak. Just terrible! Stay strong abeg. I’m sorry but I would like to know how you are coping with the wife. How is the sex? Does she complain? Does she suspect? Sorry to pry…

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