ONE AFTER THE OTHER (Part 2)

ONE AFTER THE OTHER (Part 2)

Previously on ONE AFTER THE OTHER

*

“Then what is it?” my mother asked me.

At this, my heart started racing and I had to take a deep steadying breath. This was it. I wasn’t ready and here it was.

“Yes, I was once depressed,” I said, “and it was a long time ago. But it’s linked to what I want to talk to you about later on. But since you want to hear this, I would suggest you take a seat, as it will be a while.”

I started on my life story, from my first crush in Primary School to entering the boarding house in Secondary School, to age 12 when I realised most of the boys were talking about girlfriends and I didn’t feel the same way. I talked about when I first heard someone called a fag (he was a JSS2 boy); he was beaten up and eventually expelled along with his roommate after they were caught making out. I talked about the fear I felt when I realised I was very much like those boys, how much that incident caused me to retreat into my shell. Then there was the first time I heard the word “homosexual”, and checking the dictionary to quickly realise that it was a word that defined me. The hatred preached by the church on people like me, and how quickly it pushed me away from God. How this started a stretch of self hatred, low self esteem, descent into depression, years of prayer to take “it” away, years of being the first in the line for deliverance, and finally an attempted suicide when nothing else worked and I was convinced I was unlovable and of no use. How I got saved from the suicide attempt. How I got pulled out of that very dark place and my hope was rekindled. How I started the journey to peace, happiness and closeness to God. How I was able to accept myself, and years of research and understanding was able to help me reconcile my faith and spirituality with who I am.

When I was done, I realised I’d been talking for over an hour. I was feeling emotionally drained from reliving all of it for the first time to someone who really mattered to me.

Mum stayed quiet for maybe thirty seconds. And then she said, “Thank you for opening up to me. Don’t worry; it’s something that can be fixed. We just need to pray. God can do everything and nothing is too big or small.”

Upon hearing this, I felt a mix of surprise, anger and confusion. I quietly replied, “Mummy, I didn’t tell you that I had a problem or wanted a solution. I’m simply opening up a part of me that I’ve hidden for so long. I’m in a very happy, calm and peaceful state of mind, and I have no interest in changing that.”

But it was though she didn’t hear me. She went on to talk about how much happier I’d be if I prayed to change this.

I stood my ground. “I love you,” I said to her, “but I will be saying no such prayers, as it will require me to believe that there is something wrong with me. And I know for a fact that there isn’t.”

The conversation ended there.

The next time we spoke was the following weekend, and no sooner had we started with our weekly gist, than she started, “So, who initiated you into this thing?”

I laughed out loud, and then asked her to explain what she meant.

And she reiterated, “Who had sex with you to make me a gay?”

In response, I explained that being homosexual is not about sex. It is about attraction. I pointed out that as she is heterosexual, she doesn’t go about sleeping with men. Instead, she is with my father because as attracted as she is to the opposite sex, she just wants to be with the one man she loves.

She had a light-bulb moment when I explained this. She obviously didn’t know anything about being gay, other than the stereotypical nonsense she’d heard at church.

However, she maintained her stance that I should pray on it. I stated firmly that nobody and nothing would ever take me back to that place where I thought this was wrong.

“If I ever tell you in the future that I am straight and want to marry a woman,” I said, “then please know I am telling you a filthy lie.”

When I said this, she hung up, and we didn’t speak for about three weeks, including on my birthday in February.

The weekend before my birthday, I called Dad, and he said he was just about to call me but he looked at the time and figured it was too late for that, what with the time difference. We proceed to catch up and gist about our favourite topics on theology and finance.

At the end of it, he said, “So, your mother has been rambling incoherently about something. Is this anything to do with what you wanted to talk about in June when you’re home?”

I said yes.

“Well, that’s okay. We’ll talk about it when you’re around.”

But I wanted to talk about it now, since it was out in the open.

And so, I proceeded to tell him the same story I told my mother. His response at the end of it all stunned me. He said I shouldn’t have gone through all that by myself, that he wished I’d been able to come to him to talk, that he would have listened and supported me. He sounded like he was feeling guilt over not being there for me. He said that had I come to him, he would have explained to me that the human spirit is born sexless and who you are attracted to whilst on earth is not a big deal, that he wishes he’d taught us (his children) more about spirituality whilst we were younger; that way, I’d have known enough of myself to not let depression seep through. He finished by saying that I am fine as I am and he loves me all the same.

I’m not an outwardly emotional person, but as I listened to my father talk, I was moved to tears. I had never even dreamed of getting accepted by my parents. My expectation was respect at the very most; I knew my father well enough to know he may not agree with my sexual orientation, but he always respects people’s decisions. This was an early birthday present and one I didn’t even know I needed.

June soon came along, and I traveled home to Nigeria for a week, to spend time with my folks and catch up with friends. When I eventually got around to talking to my parents about the elephant in the room, Mum’s stance hadn’t changed. And she had apparently gotten to Dad, because he changed some of his words and occasionally quoted the bible, which was out of character for him, seeing as he and I regularly discussed theology, including just how much of the bible was wrongly translated. I felt betrayed by this, and was really in my feelings, until halfway through the talk, when I realised he was pandering to Mum’s point of view. I noticed that whenever he said anything that seemed discriminatory, he would leave his words open-ended, as though inviting me to jump in and counter it. When I caught on to this and started doing it, he would then back me up, but not too strongly so he wouldn’t seem like a traitor to my mother. After all, it was just the two of them at home, and he was not about to make the rest of his marriage miserable by outrightly disagreeing with his wife over something she felt so strongly about.

Throughout that talk, I stood my ground, not letting my mother browbeat or cow me into retracting my position to stay gay and free. To her credit, she didn’t hit out at me with any negative or deeply hurtful comments. And so, at the end of it, I was resolved to simply accept that this was who she is and life would continue.

But alas, she wasn’t done.

The next day, as I was getting ready to go to the cinema, she came to my room and brought up the issue again, this time, attempting to emotionally blackmail me. Clearly, this woman didn’t understand that I got my strong will and stubbornness from her.

My father was recovering from an illness at this time. So, she said, “So, this your thing” – (yes, she called it a “thing”) – “you know, it is stressful to think about, and your dad worries a lot about you. It could raise his blood pressure and make him fall ill again. And we don’t want that to happen.”

I looked at her, very pissed off. “Let me stop you right there, mummy,” I began. “I love you and daddy very much. I would do anything for the both of you, you know this. But I am not responsible for your thoughts and I am not responsible for your happiness. I am the way I am, and if you can’t accept it, that’s okay. But what you will not do is to emotionally manipulate or guilt-trip me. This is simply not an option I will accept!”

She stared at me like I’d just slapped her.

I continued by asking her which of the Ten Commandments I was breaking by being gay. She had no answer to that.

But she said, “You may not be able to see the long road and what’s best for you.”

I retorted, “You mean, like when you wanted me to do medicine and I chose my dream instead, knowing full well what I’d always loved, and it worked out great?”

She knew she was beaten at this point; she said nothing and left my room.

In late August, on a Friday by 9.03 PM, I’d just woken up from a 2-hour nap after a long grueling week at work. I got a call and it was Mum saying my father was in the hospital and that it was critical. The doctor had apparently said it was touch and go, and that he had maybe three or four days max.

I got on a flight that night at 2 AM, and was at the hospital in Ikoyi by 7.50 AM. I went up to my father’s room, and the way he looked broke my heart. He had the appearance of those starving children you’d see on the UNICEF TV ads about African children. He was very frail. He had partial kidney and liver failure and couldn’t even sit up unassisted, let alone walk. Mum helped him do everything, including going to the bathroom for both Number 1 and 2. She bathed and fed him. Everything! During the entire four weeks my father was in the hospital, she stayed with him, sleeping on the floor on a small mattress, in spite of the fact that our house was twenty minutes away. (Look, make sure you marry someone who truly loves you and who you truly love, because situations will come when that person may have to prove just how much they love you. You would want them to come through for you. Witnessing my mother’s sacrifices made me realise that.)

Fortunately, my siblings were around for the summer and rotated shifts on who would keep them company and help out. I could only stay for a short period, as I had to leave a couple of days later; it was a busy time at work. But I made sure everything was well taken care of before I left, including being the best source of laughter and ebullience for my parents as we faced the grimness of my father’s ailment.

I included this into the story, because this incident – my presence and dedication to the welfare of my parents – made my mother realize that being gay made no difference to who I was as an individual. I think this was when she realized that nothing had changed. That I was still the son she knew and loved. That family would always come first to me and I would always have their back, no matter what. I suppose this made her move away from her denial of my sexuality, because she has not mentioned anything about it since, nor has she tried to dissuade me from my “lifestyle”.

In September, I was on my way to Doha to see the world athletics championships, when my youngest brother video-called. We talked for about an hour. And then, I told him there was something I needed to get off my chest. I was a bit anxious as I proceeded to tell him I’m gay. After opening up to him about that, he was one hundred percent supportive, assuring me that nothing had changed and that he wished I didn’t have to go through all I did alone. He said he was happy I trusted him enough to tell him. After that, I gisted him about my experience with telling Mum and Dad, and he actually face-palmed himself when I talked about the antics of our mother. In the end, he was full of nothing but love. So, that remained one sibling, my immediate younger brother.

In November, I took a trip to London to switch off properly and catch up with some of my closest friends, eat good food, dance in a gay club –

And come out to my other brother and final family member left in the dark about my sexuality.

After friends and the club, I took a train to his city and we met up for lunch on a Monday. I thought the restaurant would be empty, so we could talk well, but it was so busy that we had to queue for about ten minutes to get in. eventually, we were seated and chatted for a bit, talking about this and that.

Finally, when I felt it was time, I wrote something on my phone’s notepad, which I turned to show him.

I wrote: So, there’s some interesting news we will discuss shortly, and maybe you had a clue or maybe you didn’t. But I’m, err, gay. Yeah, like Cam and Mitch on Modern Family. (My brother is a fan of the show.)

When he read this, his eyes widened in surprise, and he blurted out, “Oh wow, I had no clue at all!”

Like my youngest brother, he was fully supportive and accepting, saying nothing would change between us, that this was just additional information and that it was all good. We gisted about a lot of other things, including (of course) how it went down when I told our parents, and we enjoyed the rest of the day.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how the Coming Out Tour 2019 came to a wrap. When the year started, I had no idea that by the time it would end, I’d be in this place of complete transparency with my family. I’d never imagined being this free was possible; I never even had the audacity to dream of hoping this was possible.

And yet, here it is: I AM FREE and open to the people I love the most, including my closest friends. I didn’t realise how much I needed to do this; for awhile, I’d often been plagued with anxiety whenever I was around strangers or in crowded places. After this tour however, my anxiety around people seems to have disappeared almost completely. Coming home in December last year felt like a whole new experience, because I knew that there was nothing to hide. I was able to be my complete and authentic self at home; it was surreal.

“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming of that freed self was another.”

Toni Morrison said that.

I’m still trying to figure out what next to do with this freedom. The unknown can be scary, but it can also be exhilarating. I hope it manifests into the latter.

Written by Black Dynasty

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37 Comments

  1. Black Dynasty
    March 16, 06:39 Reply

    Thank you Pinky for posting both parts and your excellent editing skills too!

  2. Fred
    March 16, 07:16 Reply

    I read and sometimes watch people’s coming out stories and I get thrown into mild depression because I’m 100% certain my parents and siblings won’t hear the last of it (despite being the first born in my family).
    It is very stressful that gay people have to go out there just so they can find out why they (read WE) need to be comfortable in their (OUR) own skin.

    I’m glad daddy loved and supported you. I’m even more stunned by his thought on sexuality. That’s something I assume people know.

    Enjoy your Dynasty (freedom)

    • Black Dynasty
      March 16, 08:52 Reply

      🙂 thank you Fred, it was admittedly stressful but i think I’d gotten to a point where i wasn’t interested in asking for acceptance but making it a point that it’s ok to disagree etc but the respect must be there and was genuinely emotionally/mentally ready for the response to swing firmly into the negative.

  3. Mandy
    March 16, 07:56 Reply

    What next to do with your freedom?

    Hmm… 🤔🤔

    How about get a boyfriend and bring him home during one of those family December get-togethers?
    Or get married. To a man.

    That oughtta shake things up and get another story going for KD. 😀

    • Black Dynasty
      March 16, 08:55 Reply

      😄😄 i can’t even imagine the look on their faces if i brought a man home to say we’re getting married.

      Lol fate has been kind to me thus far, one step at a time….

  4. Mitch
    March 16, 08:41 Reply

    Congratulations, Black Dynasty.
    I understand how gruelling this journey must have been for you. And I’m just glad all of it worked out well.

    You’ve got a good family.

    About what to do next, nnaa, just live your life as honestly and authentically yourself as possible. The next phase will unveil itself. Just trust that you’d have the wherewithal to navigate its paths, drawing both lessons and great memories from it.

    Until then, live freely.
    Live happily.
    And don’t stop being fabulous.

    • Black Dynasty
      March 16, 08:57 Reply

      Thanks Mitch,

      Amen to that, making the best of it and getting on with life as usual. It’s still surreal sha but living life with more confidence and much less fear 🙂

  5. Peace
    March 16, 09:31 Reply

    Sigh…. I’m glad everything went well in the end. I’m sorry if I’m prying but what of your dad? How’s he? He’s better right? I was very scared when I read that part about his illness.

    • Black Dynasty
      March 16, 10:30 Reply

      Thanks Peace 🙂. Dad is doing really well, recovered fully and back in good health 😁

  6. OBA of Benin
    March 16, 11:39 Reply

    The fear of the unknown could capsize a ship… I wish you all the best.
    For me, I dunno about any other, I think coming out to your family with little or no drama at all often happens in a solid (rich) background especially if the #coming_outEE is independent

    • Black Dynasty
      March 16, 14:44 Reply

      Thanks Oba, it is true @ fear of the unknown. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid, it’s just a bit surreal to be free as i hadn’t planned for this as a reality.

  7. Peace
    March 16, 11:43 Reply

    Awwww I’m glad he is. Well I hope mine goes well when I’m finally ready to leave the closet camp. Thanks for sharing your experience with us❤️❤️❤️❤️

  8. Bennet
    March 16, 12:38 Reply

    “If I ever tell you in the future that I am straight and want to marry a woman,” I said, “then please know I am telling you a filthy lie.”

    I’m currently going through serious heat at home with my folks and I never actually thought of using this line on them when they start their wahala. All it might do is sting but at this point, I’ll lash out with every weapon in reach because I’m so done. Pink Panther, story’s still loading lol.

    So happy for you, Black Dynasty. So so happy.

    • Black Dynasty
      March 16, 14:52 Reply

      Oh damn @ currently going through serious heat @ home with the folks. I hope you’re holding up ok?

      I will be frank and admit that I said that with the intent to both and drive home a point whilst a bit hurt. It was in response to her being insistent on it as a phase, that i could be happier if I prayed it away and one day she would hold my child.

      • Bennet
        March 17, 07:34 Reply

        I understand. I’m doing fine, thank you. I was kinda prepared for all of it.

  9. Rudy
    March 16, 13:05 Reply

    One Word, “Beautiful”.
    I have literally gone through almost all the process of coming out to my family just as you’ve written here including coming out over a text to a good friend of mine whiles we sat face to face at a restaurant.
    This was a good read for me and a trip back to memory lane.
    Eventually, we shall all get to that point of peace and a tranquil state of mind and find love as well in this hopeless world.
    Thanks once again Black Dynasty, for giving me that hope.

    • Black Dynasty
      March 16, 14:54 Reply

      Thanks and Amen Rudy, i hope we all get there somehow.

      Hopefully family and friends have been accepting of you as well.

  10. Randomreader
    March 16, 15:51 Reply

    Damn such a refreshing story to read. Some people sha are lucky in this world. I know for a fact that my family would never accept me when they finally get to know the real me, that I am already prepared for **no be to stop to come naija ni**. It gets to me every now and then but then again, I didn’t create myself. So I am living life and making myself happy regardless😊😊. Kudos to you black dynasty and I wish you well in your future endeavours😊😊😊

    • Black Dynasty
      March 17, 09:35 Reply

      🙂 thank you. Ah hmm…it might look like i was lucky and i admit it could have been much worse but there was an uphill battle to get to this point and I suppose I’d been dropping subtle hints over the years.

  11. ken
    March 16, 17:42 Reply

    This is such a positive story. There is hope afterall, not all coming out ends in eternal pain. Somehow i think fathers are a bit more accepting of their kids than moms. But moms are more aware. Anyhow, best of luck in your future endeavours and congrats on your load becoming just a tad bit lighter

    • Black Dynasty
      March 17, 09:38 Reply

      Oh yea, my mum knew and even admitted to this @ some point during a conversation in February timeline. I had flashbacks to some of the most random things she said over the years and it made sense that she’d always known… but was firmly in denial.

      Thank you Ken, the weight has indeed been made lighter.

  12. bamidele
    March 16, 20:34 Reply

    This is really an amazing story. You’ve really got the mind to distribute the story. Wow! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Jinchuriki
    March 16, 22:43 Reply

    I’m glad this had a happy ending. I look forward to when we won’t have to “come out”, it’s exhausting honestly.

    • Black Dynasty
      March 17, 09:42 Reply

      I know and sadly it’s never just one coming out if one decides to do it… family, old and new friends, situations etc etc. It can become a bit draining.

  14. Astar
    March 17, 06:01 Reply

    You have a lovely family. Damn! I know Mommy would do that.😀
    If she didn’t love you very much, it would have been easier for to accept that there might be no grandbabies😀. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    • Black Dynasty
      March 17, 09:46 Reply

      Thanks Astar, yea the love runs deep and i think she’s at least left the denial stage and will take a while to come around…. she is known to be resistant to major changes. Let’s see what life holds 🙂

  15. Modd
    March 18, 00:45 Reply

    Reading coming out stories like this makes me want to text “I’m gay” to my siblings now at 1 a.m in the night. I think I should put the phone down and back away slowly before I do something I might regret.

  16. Dee
    April 04, 15:27 Reply

    Thanks for sharing. Quite hopeful but at the same time saddening that different endings awaits us all. I’m at that stage now when i feel like screaming “I don’t wanna get married” to my folks. Just clocked 30, highly independent but going through that rough phase cos my folks wouldn’t let a week pass without aggressively asking that “when will you marry” question. Honestly I’m tired but ready to see this through. Thanks for giving hope!

    • Black Dynasty
      April 18, 09:51 Reply

      It was my pleasure. I definitely understand where you’re at, it’s mentally and emotionally exhausting to keep being asked that question and having to think up what to say each time.
      Hang in there though, hopefully you get to a point where you can do something about it.

      • Dee
        April 18, 17:15 Reply

        Thank You Bro! Hopefully i would and i sincerely hope it doesn’t break me further…Cheers👊

  17. Bickersteth-K7
    April 05, 23:01 Reply

    Thanks for the Story.Stories like these get us prepared for one of the most life-altering events of a Gayman in Nigeria.

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