The First And Many Other Times

The First And Many Other Times

I wish I could tell that exact moment I discovered I was attracted to guys. I can’t. I remember when I was in shorts, my mates and I would go and urinate and I would stare southward, fascinated by how the liquid waste dribbled from that part of their bodies. It wasn’t the urine itself that fascinated me, no; it was where it was coming from. Those years, I felt something was wrong with me. It was a year after I lost my mother to electrocution from our refrigerator. During the funeral, I couldn’t cry. I spent most of the day tapping my foot on the floor and watching as other people shed tears. So when those feelings of attraction for boys came, I felt that maybe I was being punished for my behaviour at my mother’s funeral. I wasn’t exactly a social person, but after I discovered my fascination with my fellow man, I became more withdrawn. The razor became my friend, and lord, it felt so good. It made me feel alive.

When I was growing, I had a teacher in Primary One called Mrs. X. I had a learning disability at a young age and everyday Mrs. X would rain insults on me as I stood in front of the rectangular blackboard, gazing at it with no idea what to make of what was written on it. The funny thing was that it wasn’t the insult that affected me. It was her telling me to go call my sister who was in Primary Four every single time I failed to pronounce or spell things incorrectly. Then she would ask my sister, “Are you sure this is your brother?”

I did get better though. It was years later and it was in another city. It was the month my mother died that every book I touched started turning to gold. The week before she died, we had written our last exams and were supposed to get our report card the following week. That didn’t happen for me and my siblings, because we traveled to the village for my mother’s funeral. So we didn’t get ours until after we returned. When I opened my report card, it was to see that I had taken the second position in my class.

Months after my mother’s death, I would wake up at night crying out. My father would soothe me and rock me back to sleep. Those memories help me a lot these days, because the relationship between my father and me no longer exists. We stay in the same house when I’m home from school but we do not exactly interact. Just greetings, small questions and smaller answers. It’s like we have absolutely nothing talk about. There used to be a time when we were pals, my father and I. But I cannot remember much of that time. It hurts and not in the way most people would imagine. When I talk about it, the family member I’m talking to would say it’s me. “You with your Hollywood way of life,” the family member would say. My father kills rams every Eid celebration and when the time comes to work on the ram, he won’t call me. Instead he’d call my younger brother. Even if my brother is not at home, he’d call him while I sit there. I guess the moment I became effeminate, I became invisible to him.

I’ve never met another gay man. Maybe I have, but I’ve never met one I’m aware of. My love life is at ground zero. I have met people online, coming and going in the digital hemisphere, with only a few qualified enough for me to call friends. People would always tell me, “You look beautiful”, some saying it like an insult. My straight former roommate whom I had a crush on would say, “I love your long eyelashes”, and his compliment would excite me sometimes and at other times make me feel terribly self conscious.

Some of the online gay acquaintances I have wanted to meet – tried to meet – and then nothing came of it. I end up questioning myself out of the decision to meet them. A part of me would wonder: “What’s the point?” What exactly is the point, especially in a country like Nigeria? What would such a real life acquaintanceship amount to? Yes, for a while, I may be happy – but for how long will it last? These social media sites and sites that connect people give a lot of insight of things. But they don’t encourage my sense of safety.

However, I guess I could try. To be honest, I’m giving it a trial right now. I’m stepping out of my shell. I don’t know how long it is going to last or how far things are going to go, but I think I’m ready now.

Written by Rogue

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14 Comments

  1. Foxydevil
    September 14, 06:53 Reply

    Such a sad story.
    It is tragic how your mother died and no one can blame you for creating that protective shell .Losing someone you love is hard enough, couple that with coming to terms with what you are and that’s a whole lot to take in.
    I’m glad you are finally ready to explore, you’ve waited your whole life for this, please do not rush it.
    Online hook ups has never appealed to me, most of the people online are thrill chasers, they bang and run…. I don’t know how someone with your sensibility will handle such. Although you’ve come of age ,you are still relatively inexperienced.
    The fact you are mentally ready is a plus, in time you will find who was meant for you. And when that happens, you’ll be happy you waited.
    Always remember this, ” the truly beautiful are never desperate ”
    And sweetie, anytime you get that urge to cut yourself ……..think of all the prominent gay men in the world, people who were once in your position, thinking that they were worthless for being different, but today they are anchoring biggest news shows, producing hit TV shows, running successful businesses and making a whole lot of impact in the society.
    Read up on their lives, their struggles and how they overcame. Set meaningful target for your life and set your mind towards achieving them….. You’ll get a lot of chances to date, you’ll have tons of sex that you’ll probably get bored, just do not rush into it, to avoid coming out worse than you already are.
    I look forward to reading about your progress here.
    Be safe.

    • Mandy
      September 14, 07:05 Reply

      Beneath all that thorny exterior lies a sensitive center. Who knew ??

      • trystham
        September 14, 08:47 Reply

        Bwahahahahahaha Prolly one of those rare moments sense jams brain.

  2. Mandy
    September 14, 07:04 Reply

    This was such a heartbreaking and poignant read. To think you lost your mother, and then your father… *sigh* You’re a survivor. Take baby steps in coming in on your own and claiming the world. You’ll be fine.

  3. Colossus
    September 14, 08:56 Reply

    This is truly a sad read. I wish you the best as you move forward, baby steps are still steps.

  4. Delle
    September 14, 17:43 Reply

    The minute you became effeminate?

    This statement doesn’t go down well with me. It seems you’re saying you were once manly and suddenly, spontaneously, became effeminate.

    Or maybe it’s the English.

    You’ll be fine anyway. You seem like an ’emo’-TIONALLY guarded person already so I’m not terrified for you. I’m just hoping, really hoping, you have stopped the wrist-slashing! That’s some disturbing shit.

    The odds be in your favor, child.

  5. Tomi
    September 14, 21:08 Reply

    just a shy onlooker that wants to be kept informed..

  6. John Adewoye
    September 15, 15:28 Reply

    Well written. Good mix of emotions. You are a survivor you can also thrive

  7. cedar
    September 15, 17:24 Reply

    Happy to read you are now ready to embrace yourself, but pls, don’t get your hopes so high cos Nigerian men are heartless. And honey do stop the cutting.

    You will be fine

  8. Troy
    September 15, 18:53 Reply

    Just keep thriving. And please be careful about who you choose to go down with.

  9. Yazz Soltana
    September 18, 19:11 Reply

    I’ve never understood cutting oneself with the razor….. I have identified with depression but never understood the need to slit wrists…..

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