When I started this blog, my intention was to create something that was informative yet entertaining. Then I thought, this platform could be a tool to educate, help others see a myriad of things in a different perspective all while serving as cathartic for me. Not to sound selfish, but Uncle has to get something out of the deal too.
Therefore, in an effort to obtain these goals, I’ve decided to dig deep and write about something that is close to home. I’ve always prided myself on being a private person and only sharing fragments of my life with those closest to me. With age and therapy, I have grown and I’m more comfortable in my skin now than I have ever been. This blog post may cause me to lose some friends or ruffles some feathers. Nevertheless, I am willing to take the risk and let the chips fall where they may. Because at the end of the day, it’s my story. My truth. For better or for worse.
Some of you may already know. Others may have speculated. Let me put your mind at ease. I’m gay. Now for those of you who are totally shock, I would say are you serious? Or am I that good of an actor? Lol.
A month or even a year ago, I don’t think I would have had the balls to admit this, let alone post it for the masses to see. It’s something I hid in shame for some many years. I never imagined being in a place where I could utter those words aloud and not care what the next person thought or said about me.
And again I say, I’m gay.
I knew I was different by the age of 5. Growing up, I was painfully reminded of this by my family members. My mannerisms caused me to be called names reinforced with consistent directives to “put some bass in my voice,” walk right,” “get your hand off your hip,” and “stop that, boys don’t do that.” Oh how I envied my older brothers and cousins because I wanted to be more like them. They were strong, athletic and adored by their friends and people in the neighborhood. Since I wasn’t on the same playing field as them, in my mind, I felt like a disappointment and lacking in so many areas.
My family members were not consistent churchgoers but our roots are in the church. Consequently, I was taught that a being gay was a sin with a one way ticket to hell. Having that ingrained into your psyche as a child, coupled with the confusion of these emotions and not having anyone I felt safe with to share these feelings made for a mentally hazardous place for me.
At a young age, I had a strong desire to go to church. When I was in elementary school, my mom would drop me off at church alone and pick me up afterwards. As soon as I was a teenager, I caught rides with other people and drove myself once I obtained my driver’s license. Being at church were the best of times and the worst of times. The best because I learned about the word, formed a relationship with God, met lifelong friends and I loved singing in the choir. It was the worst of times because it’s when and where I received my perpetual rebuke and reminders of the fire and fury that lies ahead for anyone living an alternative lifestyle. Imagine getting a whuppin’ weekly for actions you didn’t willfully commit or thoughts that invaded your mind that you’d wish you could shh away. All the while, there is no adult to say “hey, I see you struggling. Let me help.” It’s a an endless vicious cycle that tears down your soul Sunday after Sunday while drowning in your own silent tears. It was also the place where I most tempted by the very thing I was trying to run away from. So, I grew up in a non-denominational church where they believed in speaking in tongues, laying hands and casting out evil spirits. There were many services where I went up to the altar asking God to take this plague from me! My earnest plea was to be delivered totally without any remnants of the past life. For it was something I hated, didn’t want, didn’t ask for and was willing to giving up at any costs. I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to be right because everything about me was wrong.
Did I mention, I fasted and prayed for change? I did everything I was taught to do to get delivered even refusing to engage in any sexual activity with boys. Wait a minute. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a total saint. I was messing around with girls. Shoot, I was confused but not ugly. I thought being involved with girls would allow me to lend the Lord a helping hand in my deliverance. The word says faith without works is dead. And in the words of Iyanla, “I was doing my work.” It’s okay to laugh because I am.
Needless to say, I was not delivered. No matter how many times I fell out in the spirit, or how loud I spoke in tongues, I came off the floor feeling the same way. I begin to question God. At some point or another sadness, despair, low self-esteem, feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of suicidal crept in and cloaked my life for years. No longer did I wish to live in a world whereby I was cursed with this sin and served a God that promised me my heart’s desire but neglected to make good on his word despite my efforts.
All through high and college, I continue to suppress these feelings. No matter how much time passes, it never gets easier to hide from yourself. At this point, I thought I had a good majority of the people I knew fooled. I had girlfriends during these times which further masked my true identify. This I regret deeply because I hurt several woman that didn’t deserve it. They were collateral damage because I didn’t have the courage to accept who I was, walk in my truth and own it. If they are reading this, I apologize. Let me clear something up real quick for any potential messy folks. I am not admitting to being on the down low or messing around with both men and women. That’s not my testimony so let me set this up plainly for you. I wasn’t that dude. Alright. Whew! I digress. <insert laughter>
Where was I? Oh yea, so living a lie makes for a very lonely life. By nature, at times, I tend to be aloof and a home body. In my case, I was doing whatever I could to hide my sexuality causing me to be isolated. Nine years ago, I moved away from home for the first time. I truly believe this was the time the universe set aside for me to come to terms with who I am. Slowly but surely, I was able to accept my sexuality. My voice was found which led me to share my truth with some trusted individuals. It was frightening but guess what, I lived. I didn’t break. In the words of Whitney Houston, “I didn’t know my own strength.” Since then I have been able to tell more people that I love. I’ve put on my big boy pants and I’m telling the whole internet. I like dudes.
Lord, what have I done? Lol.
This blog post isn’t intended to get anyone’s sympathy. Its purpose was not for me to get attention or piss anyone off. I am only trying to help someone. Hell, I am trying to help me. This is a process. It’s still a struggle. It takes time to reprogram your mind and train it to think something contrary to what it’s been conditioned to over years. I would like for this post to serve as a vehicle to start a conversation on how we as a community view sexuality, religion and mental health. Believe me, this life ain’t no crystal stair. I have no shame in admitting that I am in therapy and many of my issues stem from my sexuality.
If someone happens to be reading this and they are in the ministry, its’ my prayer that you conduct yourselves with a higher level of consciousness and wisdom. If you are true disciples, then you have to know how to handle individuals that struggle with this lifestyle. Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.
Peace and Love!
Mr. Uncle Chris