Guarding You Against You

Guarding You Against You

Some days ago, I saw a post on Facebook by a woman who’d been hitting on me a while ago. She was getting married to my cousin.

And the first thing that hit my subconscious was, ‘He’s now ahead of you with his marital status under his belt.’

And just like an avalanche, a multitude of thoughts began crashing into my mind, one of which was: ‘Why don’t you get married as well?’

The reality of my age began rumbling inside me, gathering amongst my thoughts like a dark cloud, threatening to drown all awareness of self that I have built up all my life as a gay man.

And just as I was about to yield my mind to these urges, these reckless thoughts, I remembered that I have my own reality. My own definition of life. My own reason to live. My own purpose.

I smiled to myself.

Getting married to a woman just to fit in with my peers would surely make those around me (family and society) happy. But what about me? Would that happiness extend to me?

I think not.

And I was startled to realise that as far as I had come in my journey as a self-accepting gay man, these moments of unguardedness, of weakness, of yearning for something that is ultimately not my story, would ever happen to me. To entertain the idea of getting married to a woman when I have resolved that that path of deceit was not for me unsettled me.

When I brought up this issue among friends, Pink Panther had this to say for himself: “For all the self-acceptance I’ve actualized, this insecurity is something that sometimes creeps up on me whenever I learn that someone I know is getting married. I begin to wonder about being married, about how that friend has ‘achieved’ something I could achieve if only I’ll just focus on wedding a woman. I start to think of all the ways life would be easier if I just marry a wife.

“And every time, it is at this junction that my mind will reset itself. Because I would immediately recall how life will undoubtedly be difficult if I marry a woman.

“You’re not alone, brother. The heterosexual conditioning is strong. And a constant battle to overcome.”

Knowing I am not alone in this is comforting. It also makes me realise the reason why some gay men get married to women. The feeling that life is somehow passing you by, leaving you behind because you are not celebrating to the attention of the world something that society is usually expectant of. There are no pre-wedding photos happening for you. No announcements on Facebook about your engagement. No big wedding day to cause your family to celebrate. No bouncing baby boys or girls to hold up as your pride and joy. These are the things that heterosexual people take for granted, but which you realise will never be your lot in life, because you’re gay and living in a prejudiced society. And so, whenever you see those beaming couples on Facebook, whenever you see that your friend has changed his relationship status to “Married to so-so-and-so person”, whenever you attend a relative’s nuptials or child dedication, you feel like there’s something missing. And in the absence of any reassurance that gay people can have these things too in Nigeria, a person with lesser determination to stay true to himself will toe the line and do like others have done.

But ask yourself this: behind the shine and razzle dazzle, behind those moments you sample for others to see, could you handle the stress of living a life that you are not configured to live? Could you be able to compartmentalize the expectations of being a married gay man and your needs as a man who is into men? Could you endure a life where you are never truly yourself, where you can never really put down the mask, where you are in constant alert of being found out?

I couldn’t.

And like Pink Panther said, realizing that there is much more struggle behind the front presented to the world serves as enough deterrent for me to not cave to the thoughts demanding for my conformation. I have to always keep in mind that it will be a greater burden unto me if I were to give myself against my will to those who only want to feed fat on my flesh and quench their thirst with my blood.

And realizing that this battle is not just fought against society and external forces is important. Understanding that oftentimes, you also have to fight you to stay true is important.

For those who are scriptural among us, here’s something I will leave you with, a verse from Proverbs. Chapter 4 verse 23 instructs for us to “guard your mind with all diligence, because from it, does all issues of life proceed from.”

Written by Joe Alex

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  1. Francis
    January 06, 09:20 Reply

    So far so good this one hasn’t been my portion and hopefully will never be. ? I simply wish them the best and hope to tap into some of their happiness. To enter their shoe never crosses my mind for one fleeting second. Maybe being a loner helps with that sha ?‍♂️

  2. Richie-Michie
    January 06, 15:46 Reply

    Before I reached acceptance I used to imagine myself in an altar with a woman saying our wedding vows, but now, I can’t imagine that nonsense,i can’t even create a mental picture of it.
    Marriage to a woman is an absolute no to me. Thank God I have many siblings, there will be no much pressure from family.

  3. Oludayo
    January 06, 19:15 Reply

    These are exactly the way I process my thoughts. What’s the alternative?

  4. Bee
    January 07, 00:47 Reply

    I loved this. I’m not sure I can relate with your ordeal specifically (I can’t even think of it), but I can relate with the problem that is fighting demons raging within you. Keep snapping back and resetting your mind; these things get easier with time. ❤️

  5. Black Dynasty
    January 07, 09:50 Reply

    I can relate 100% with this, but I catch myself everytime i start to think these thoughts and know i cannot/ will not marry a woman for the sake of fitting in.

    Recently had the discussion with the folks re-marriage and the disinterest in marriage…. they took it surprisingly well. I suppose coming out is the next step.

  6. ken George
    January 07, 11:13 Reply

    Ok so after my last fight with pinkpanther i decided to cut off all ties with him, including this platform.
    But u know, eventually time fades the hurt and moreover my pastor says i cant make heaven if i continue to hold a grudge. lol. so today i stumbled upon this piece and i will just say this:

    With regards to those who have resolved never to get married, i appreciate your decision. it is important to know yourself and make decisions that will secure your happiness. That said, i want to point out that history is rife with many brilliant gay men who went on to marry and father many children. From the greek hero achilles to the greatest roman emperor -Alexander the Great, leonardo davinci etc.
    My point is sexuality is not always a determinant of marriage. There is more to people than their sexuality. Now am not saying all gay men should marry, heck no! But as i said, its important to know your self and make decisions that will make u happy on the long run

    • FJ
      January 10, 01:11 Reply

      Exactly my thoughts. Thanks for taking the words out of my mouth. Weighed my options and finally settled for marriage. Never regretted since then though always prepared for any eventualities. I doubt if i would be happier if i didn’t take dis step. Once again, different stroke for different folk. Know yourself and decide on what will make you happy

  7. Stretchy
    January 23, 21:26 Reply

    @Ken George. While I appreciate your sentiments. Your examples were rife with privileged men living in an era where the male reigned supreme. Alexander the Great could afford to get married to a woman and fuck as many boy lovers as he wanted. Who dared questioned him. Likewise the same for Achilles a war hero. Our current clime is a tad different.

    @FJ I am happy that your found happiness in your hetero marriage. I am glad your wife accepted you despite knowing you are predisposed to men/women. Wish you the best

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