In a prior blog post I had written about the secure and confident environments we all had as children. I had also touched upon how, as we grow older, those secure worlds we had as children begin to crumble and are replaced by other much less secure and confident conditions due to external influences that begin to impact us. The purpose of this essay is to carry those general concepts forward and describe this evolution we all face in more personal terms.
Looking back on my childhood, many aspects were quite similar to those of other children I was growing up with. I liked to play and hang out with my friends. I went to school and experienced much of the same trials and tribulations that others around me were experiencing, but my secure world seemed to have started to crumble very early in my life.
There was something deeper inside of me that I could not put my fingers on. I sensed something “different” was going on with me, and I began to internalize it and not focus on it much. Due to this subliminal knowledge that I was not quite like the other kids I hung around, I started to do many more things on my own, became much more of a “loner” and began to sense a rebelliousness inside of me at a very young age, that would carry through to my adult life.
In elementary school, I didn’t know what gay/straight was and didn’t have any real conception of what it meant to be attracted to another of the same sex. Despite this relative “innocence” I knew as early as 1st grade that I was wired differently when for Valentines Day, I would look forward to the other boys in the class giving me a valentine; much more so than those from the girls.
Another sure sign of my evolving sexuality came in 4th and 5th grade when my infatuation with other boys began to manifest, with sexual experimentation with another friend of mine. We would steal away to secluded spots along the river bank and in the woods, and in each other’s homes when we were alone.
We would just gaze at each other at first, but then it became more physical than simply childhood wonderment. There were a couple “close calls” but we recovered and formulated quick excuses, but looking back upon those times now, I don’t believe the people we made the excuses to really believed that we were not doing something more than what we actually said we were doing.
These feelings carried through year after year and just started to get much stronger. With every reinforcement of this attraction to other boys, I became more reclusive and withdrawn to the point where my parents and others around me began to notice and were concerned over my welfare. I remember my mom telling me later in life, that my grandmother who lived with us, was worried about me and often wondered what would become of me.
It was not until late 6th grade and definitely 7th grade when my secure world would crash down around me, due to the evolving process called “puberty.” I had clear and unequivocal self knowledge that I liked the boys better than the girls! But times being what they were, one could not express themselves openly and pronounce their sexual preferences at such a young age. Thus began the formulation of that “second life.”
It is at this point in my life that living a lie became the norm and I buried my true self even deeper and became even more rebellious and reclusive. I would also allow people to come into my world but only to a certain point, at which they were then shut out and repelled from going any further out of fear of someone finding out about what lay within me. All this combined with the normal sexual awakening that comes with puberty, just wreaked unbelievable havoc on my psyche and would shape who I would be for many, many years to come.
I have to say that this insecurity with myself combined with all the changes one goes through as an adolescent, shaped my relationships with many people, including my father. We always seemed to log heads and I would many times buck his authority. I now realize that the problem was never really my father. It was mine and mine alone. I actually think it was a response to my internal fears of being who I was, that I had to project my fears into some sense of security and confidence in myself by rebelling against the primary male role model that was closest to me. It was in a sense, my way of empowering my evolving manhood that was seriously in question due to my emerging sexual orientation.
Unfortunately, living a lie does hurt those closest to you sometimes, and for that I sincerely regret. However, this fence has been mended, as far as I am concerned, since I am no longer living my life as someone else, and have been able to come to grips with my sexual demons, and see things in much better perspective.
Even though I am very comfortable in my skin now and have evolved into the person I have become by rejecting the falsehoods upon which I based much of my existence, there clearly are lingering issues from my past that still drag me down. After so many years of not letting people get close, and denying one’s true self, old habits die hard.
While I have come to grips with much of my past, and my relationships with my family, especially my father, there are still inadequacies in my internal makeup. Living in the closet and denying who I really was has deprived me of many friendships and opportunities at true love. I have never really learned what it means to be in love with someone, and to experience sexual gratification within a loving relationship. It has also deprived me of many opportunities to be part of a larger support network of caring and understanding individuals that I could fall back on for help and just get a hug or two, or three from.
As I stated in my prior blog post, we need to create new paradigms of thought that reject past secure and stable conditions premised on lies and falsehoods, as the basis by which we try to derive solutions to current issues. While I feel sad over the self-deprivation and my resistance to free myself much sooner, I am also optimistic that I can and will overcome that which still drags me down and regulates my movement forward away from my past.
Our past is part of us. We cannot deny it but we can leave it behind. However, we can and should carry forward those lessons learned in our past to become better people in the future. I am comforted that I have been able to move ahead with my life, and leave many of my insecurities behind. I am also comforted that I was introduced to a woman, who has opened my eyes to much of what has been hidden within myself and she has given me an ability to see what I can be and will evolve into as long as I am open to the possibilities.
Unfortunately many people do not learn from their mistakes or are given an opportunity to see what they can become. Are you open to the possibilities? I encourage you do so. It is never too late to turn yourself around and get on the right path to your future and becoming who you are truly meant to be.