Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Matter Of Perspective:

Another Tribe Of One Post. A Back Story....

Daily living sometimes becomes somber and my will to persevere often wanes far too easily. Lately, I've been making the attempt to improve my life through living a healthier lifestyle. This is important for several reasons. Being healthier, whether eating properly or increasing physical activity, helps the mind to produce the necessary chemicals (Serotonin) in the brain to promote positive feelings.

For me, most of my life has been a struggle keeping my mental health and physical health in sync and in check. I've wrestled with depression and sought clinical counsel for several years. Thank God for therapy! Therapy has been key to helping with the "coming out" process.

Looking over my life, I realized I've not been satisfied with the course of my actions. I've often mishandled situations and made simple matters far too complicated. To my misfortune, I learned early on to play it "safe" and to take minimal risks. Living this way, perhaps, wasn't the wises course of action, but fear often had me immobile to take chances. I'm not exactly sure what I was afraid of. Possibly due to my poor esteem, feelings of perceived negativity, I created the illusion that in order for people to love and like me, I had to stay within the "safety zone." Most of my life I've placed others before my own needs. Call me meek. Call me foolish, but at the time, my decision was a matter of necessity and survival.

Harsh criticism was very familiar in my childhood. Being the only male in my immediate family, divorced from associating with other neighborhood children, didn't help with fostering a positive development or self-confidence. Till this day, I often feel overwhelmed and intimidated in the presence of other men. Being sexually molested several times in my youth made me skeptical to trust men, defining the man posting before you today.

Admitting my pain is easier than it has been and I've made progress with my development through therapy. Self-discovery has not been a smooth road, but of late, there a moments where it is bearable. I have further to go. Too many gaps are left in my psyche and unresolved issues with my father beckon need for enlightenment. Like me, my father was a man of "alternative" sexual tastes, a painful truth hard to swallow in youth, but a harsher reality as I developed into my own sexuality. Years spent alone, isolated, ashamed of a father that had fail me in his need to be my masculine anchor (translation = straight role model), made me feel that he was, that I was, less than a man. I vaguely remember a conversation we had where my father denounced queer living.

"It's a hard life. I wouldn't wish it on anyone." This was my reason enough for me to cling to heterosexuality long after his death. Less you think I cast all the blame on a "less than heroic father," my mother can't escape blame. With every absolution, every conviction to cross my mind, I regret to admit neither of my parents should have had children. Each was running away from something.

The clouds of youth hide much, but I remember my mother wasn't thrilled she married a man who wanted in the end to be with other men rather than her; the ultimate slap in the face to any woman's pride and esteem. My parents' fights were stuff of legend and the bitterness lasted long after their divorce. A story I often retell is the iron skillet episode where my mother hit my father after he hit her. Ugh! I laugh at it now, but it was so mentally abusing, it's no wonder I block most of my childhood memories before age 9.

Upon discovering my father's wavering sexual orientation, it became my mother's mission to eradicate any possibility of me being a gay man. My mother is not homophobic, but after the woman had been devastated, she wanted her child to be a man. From her issues, I projected this negativity upon my father and on to myself, I suppose. Unfortunately matters didn't work to my advantage to achieving firm masculinity (translation: heterosexuality). I was a behavior problem child. I acted out and had emotion disturbance (as it was termed then), was failing in school, not socially connecting well with my peers, and was rebelling at the seams. My mother, unable to handle or deal with a wild-child, shipped my ass off to live with my father in Washington, DC.

You'd think a young man, on the verge on possibly awakening into a homosexual self, sent packing to live with his gay father would be an ideal situation, right? Wrong. At least it wasn't for me. My father and I had a terse relationship for many years. We were never as close as we should have been. It's only been since he died, I can see the forest for the trees. Living with my father in my preadolescence only compounded my emotional instability and fostered far more insecurities. Being an overweight child, I was insecure about my appearance, manhood, and my very identity. Living in DC, "Chocolate City," you'd also think I'd reconnect with my African American brethren to some degree. It didn't happen. We lived in the Glover Park section, north of Georgetown, an area at the time where very few black families lived. The ones who did live there, certainly didn't associate with me. I internalized this furthering my diaspora from the community.

Adjusting took time. My weight issues were a constant source of agony and I was lectured resoundingly about the need to lose it. True conflict developed here because my father's parents lived in the South West Section of the City too. My grandmother was a Southern woman who worked hard and COOKED her ass off! She would prepare huge meals and I was all to happy to oblige in eating them. Food and I have have not been the same since....

I have horrible memories from the four years I lived in DC and didn't start to come into being orderly until eighth grade. As soon as I could beat tracks back to Pennsylvania, I did. I left portions out of the story. Some memories from the DC period are still private and too painful. DC was where the second and third time I was molested. I was well aware of the second occurrence, but trudged up another situation that happened between my step-grandfather and me. Maybe the molestation reinforced my food addiction. Maybe it pushed me further into the closet. Whatever the circumstances, my DC years are just a fraction of the Tribe Of One personification.

The tale will go on in the coming days...

1 comment:

Lady Miss T said...

E- This is very well thought out. You seem to be getting a handle on your stuff very well. I am proud of you... Love, T


While this blog is not really intended to show adult content, I can't guarantee that an occasional image of male nudity won't appear. Be advised that this blog is intended to be read by people with an open mind. I don't claim any rights to the images nor do I have any knowledge of the sexuality of persons featured (unless they are openly gay...duh). Enjoy yourself and take a small step in my every day life and pondering... Feel free to email any comments or opinions.

President Barack Obama!