Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Come Undone

"The problem with pulling at the loose, untidy, threads of our past is, often we end up unraveling and destroying the tapestry of our soul."----Anonymous

Been contemplating my past lately. My post on Stefan touched upon other unresolved childhood trauma I keep sequestered in the back of my mind. Drama usually too painful to deal with. But as I indicated yesterday, I want to open up the closed rooms of my soul. Air myself out. Let light where darkness is, and become whole.

I'm placated by the past. Who I am, choices I made, avoidance and defense mechanisms, often leave me wanting. It's difficult to put the emotions into words. I'm still getting over shame, but residual embarrassment lingers. Torn and separated from the ones I loved, the community I struggle to have embrace me.

Sometimes the isolation is way too much to handle, like I'll never be accepted. My sexual orientation and my relationship to my family, my culture, and my faith, have faced schisms and challenges. I'm angry about it. Ashamed about it. I don't feel like I belong. Like I'm not black enough because I'm same gender-loving. Well, there's more to it than that, really.

I'll give you the back story in a moment. In my life I've been afraid of the scorn and judgment cast from the Black community. I've been called "boojee," arrogant, a sellout, a snob, a wanna-be, Oreo, blah blah blah...and it irritates me. Do you even know who I am? Know the struggles I've dealt with? Just because I don't fit the mold of what you think a Black man should be doesn't make me any less of one. Sadly though, some of my guilt comes from believing those very same things about myself. Some days I do feel like "imitation black man."

If you're an "out" gay, bisexual, same gender loving, or however you identify yourself, Black man or person of color, I applaud you. You've made a choice to be who you are regardless of what others might speak against you. Unfortunately, I'm not that courageous. My entirely life has been a role of subservience. It's been conditioned given the situations of abuse, but nevertheless, subservient. I'm not proud of it. I tend to do things to please others, to keep the eye of judgment away from me. I don't like being the center of attention, less scornful words come my way.

Being a queer, homo, yadda yadda yadda, has been not easy for me. Too many friends and family I know strongly believe being gay is a weakness and a sin. If you're Black and gay, well, you're not even a real man. These thoughts have been ingratiated since I was a child. A whole heap of issues stem from this negative message.

For a long time, I exiled myself from my culture, my God given heritage. The shame and the pain, the reluctance to deal with harsh words and judgment were too much. High school and College years were a bitch and a half. But I did, I suppose, what was necessary for survival. Why though? Why hate your community, and further, Black men, your straight brothers? Are you that self-loathing?

Not self-loathing. I've been scared. You'll understand.

I've never had any problems with Black women. Like their white counterparts, sistahs love a gay "husband" just as much. The Black women in my life have been mother figures, sister figures, best friends, who've kept me anchored. I'm thankful for them. The trouble in my life comes from trusting and feeling comfortable around straight men. Men of all walks of life bothered me, but brothers (both Black and Latino) have terrified me. It wasn't racist, but self-preservation. Again, you'll understand my point of view.

My adult life has resolved much youthful strife, but I'm a work in progress. I've been in therapy since the early 90s, particularly after my meltdown coming home from grad school. Today, I live my life and am healing. I can trust and feel comfortable in the presence of men, especially my brothers. But early on, "they" took something from me. Too much wasted time was spent being fearful.

Regular readers know I was sexually abused as a child. I've blogged about it previously. I'm not sure if I've ever spoken on who the perpetrators were. It's tough because one was my paternal grandfather. I don't discuss the situations too much. It cuts too close to home. The biggest shame, however, comes from the first time I was ever attacked.

I have two sisters. My younger sister "S" and I are close. The case is not the same with my older sister "P." I dance around the issue when people ask about her. "She's an evil bitch," is my usual response. We haven't talked in many years. I avoid her like the plague. All our burnt bridges stem from childhood, when her then boyfriend, now husband, Emilio and along with a group Black boys cornered me one day after school and forced me to sodomize them.

Translation: they jumped me and I had to suck their dicks. Plain and simple. To add insult to injury, "Sissy" knew about the incident, but denied it happened. That's reason why I have no contact with her. She married him, that mofo, knowing what Emilio did. She denies it and pretended it never happened. Bitch.

Feelin' me?

My rape happened when I was a little younger than Hester's son Robin's age. He's 10 now, so I was probably 8, 9 or 10 years old. I was used to the verbal abuse. Faggot, queer-bitch, fat faggot, Fat Albert, were all common derogatory remarks used in my presence. As I said, I got used to it. When the neighborhood punks attacked, I honestly don't think they gave it a second thought. It was just them "smellin their piss" as my mom would say. They got off on the power trip and my subjugation. I wasn't afraid of them up until that point. I could deal with the name calling, but forced to give head? Come on. I was no older than 8 or 9! This was the 70s. Children still had some innocence about the nature of sex. What did I know about blow jobs? I was just a little boy, dammit! Why would they do this to me? Further, why would the man, who supposedly loved me like family, loved my sister, do this to me?

Good question. If you got an answer, holla back at me.

My mother wasn't around as much as she shoulda been. She was a struggling, single parent, trying to make ends meet, so often in the afternoons she'd be at work. Remember my generation, Generation X, is the latch key kid generation. P and I are five years apart in age. It was deemed she was responsible enough to watch us until our aunt came over. Nanna Mae usually got there somewhere between 3-4, just in enough time to catch "her stories" One Life to Live and General Hospital.

(Surprisingly, I have no recollection where Stephan and Hawka were. I think they were still living with their dad in South Carolina. I honestly forget.)

Unharmed by incident, the doors to my sexual nature had been unlocked. Aside from being pushed around a bit, held down against my will, with some scrapes and cuts, I was alright. Emotionally I was a mess. I didn't cry over it, but was more than confused. I got home, feeling dirty, embarrassed, and ashamed, I told P what occurred and the BITCH DIDN'T BELIEVE ME. She denied it, couldn't possibly see how Emilio had any involvement in some faggoty bullshit like that.

That caused tension between us. Soon after my mother hired a babysitter, Laraya. She showed me her pussy one day after school and asked if I wanted to touch it. Feeling there would be something wrong with me because I really didn't want to, I did anyway. Laraya was the first girl I had sex with. Looking back, that event doesn't phase me as much, although it was just as much abusive as what Emilio et al did. I guess a part of me has bought into that was normal, for boys and girls to touch each other like that. I had no clue what I was doing, what the ramifications would be later. That's the gist of my first sexual experiences, both abusive.

Emilio attempted to apologize, but that situation got out of control. Another time cropped up where he tried to get me to suck him off again. By that time I learned to have a pair of balls and say "no." Our relationship has been terse ever since. My resentment towards my sister and bro-in-law has never gone away. I'm not certain it can.

With regards to the other neighborhood boys, I steered clear of them as best as I could. Cee Cee, Lee Lee, Larry, and Vernon were all persona non grata with me. I couldn't escape Emilio though. He was forever at my house dating my sister. They got married in 1983. Fortunately, they eloped, so there was no large wedding to attend. Thank God!

This whole time frame was horrendous. I began acting out and my grades slipped. Other sexual awakenings were dawning. Another smaller sexual encounter happened with a classmate, and I was just a monster from it all. My mother couldn't handle me. She tried family therapy, but I was so damaged. I'm not sure she knows what all exactly went on then. My family is good at keeping secrets.

The complexity of everything was severe. Tired and frustrated with attempting to cope with an out of control child, my mother gave up and away I was sent packin' down I-95 South to live with my daddy. More episodes of abuse, verbal, physical, and sexual, would occur there, but I managed to keep out of trouble and suck it all up.

Too, in DC, I ran into the same scorn from black boys. I became a favored target among the kids who lived in my grandmother's neighborhood. My dad lived in an affluent Georgetown neighborhood, but my Grammama lived in SE DC, in the Anacostia section, for a few years. Those were some rough street kids. She and Pop Pop eventually moved closer to Bolling Green Air Force Base, in SW DC right off of I-295, where Pop Pop was stationed. Life got a little better after they moved, but not by much. Military brats, and I was one for little bit, are nasty children and can be just as mean as street thugs. I got called faggot more often than not.

Through the years the reconciliation has been tedious at best. However, time does heal wounds. I can now embrace my fellow Black brothers and have learned forgiveness. Through the course of therapy, I had to take away negative projections based on the actions of a few rather than the whole. Not every black boy was mean to me. Not every Black man is going to hurt me. Still, as a child, adolescent, and young adult, I had to work through this fear and irrationality. A handful of ill-mannered children, do not represent the larger populous.

Today, I'm blessed with many good, solid relationships with black men. Ones where trust is freely given and accepted. There are times where I still get a little fearful and uncomfortable, but overall, my 30s have been a "welcome back to the fold." A Homecoming. I've gotten better. That's what's important. I never once, though, felt hated towards my race for what happened to me. Please don't mistake fear as hatred. I just was terribly, terribly afraid. I didn't have a strong support system to "toughen" me up. I didn't know other gay Black guys (my age) until my mid 20s. Had I had, maybe today would be a different story.

I have not, nor do I think I can ever forgive Emilio. My life changed significantly due to his actions. When he apologized, he told me he was just" going along with the boys." Um, excuse me dude? Weren't you like 13-14-15 years old? You were old enough to stand up to the peer pressure! Old enough to defend your future brother-in-law, your family. Instead, you dropped the ball and I'm left burned with horrible memories and experiences. It's no wonder why I struggled and denied my sexuality for so long. Incest, often romanticized by some gay men (regarding twins brothers) is not remotely attractive. It's sick, twisted, and perverted.

There more to be said, but I'm drained . Time to go to bed though and get a clearer head. I will finish up tomorrow. I've plenty more to say on this, but this post already has gotten waaaay longer than I anticipated.



nudeindc said...

This post was very moving. As a gay, black man, I can relate to much of the cultural aspects that you raised, however, fate spared me the intense abuse that you described. Thanks for sharing and keep strong.

Pure Cacao Joy said...

Wow! I am bereft of words. Your post has left me with feelings of deep sadness and great anger at "man's inhumanity to man." I have never understood how adults could find satisfaction in having sex with a minor and I tend to rationalize it as the perps are age-appropriate (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually) and therefore, mentally incompetent to associate with anyone - no matter their chrono-age.


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