Wednesday, January 05, 2005

To be or not to be... that is the question

Dealing with this sexuality, comes in waves. There are moments when I'm feeling proud. While there are other times, when I am ashamed.

I grew up in an urban area. I always felt I was different. Throughout my whole life I have had leadership positions in numerous groups. From President of Student Government to State Youth Advocate of the Year. My life's goal was to be happy and make a difference in this world. I had my first sexual experience with a man at the age of 15. I didn't think anything of it. Until the end of my freshman year, my roommate started a relationship with a girl. We had a true friendship, but I liked him in a different way. helped me deal with my sexuality issues. I developed two online relationship with men who were accomplished and "dl." They taught me how to accept my sexuality. They also informed me that there were many men that did get down that were successful and masculine. This reassured me that I wasn't the only one.

The summer of 2000, I learned a lot about Life. I developed a relationship with someone from the net. We didn't even meet and we were telling each other, "I love you." I thought with all my heart, I loved this dude. In the course of our three-month relationship, I was on cloud 9. Friends at home and school notice the difference. I spent many nights in my single room waiting for this dude to call me, cause I didn't have a cell. One day, I called his college door and someone answers the phone. The man told me to leave Danny alone and he was his boyfriend. I immediately sent him a note on bp, explaining how I felt. He quickly responded and told me it was true. I cried. Broken-hearted.

A couple months afterwards, we were best friends. Called each other everyday. Shared what our new experiences or new men in our life. He couldn't explain why he led me on. He told me he talked with many people from the net. We still had not met. I entered my sophomore year with four leadership positions and had to focus on school.During my sophomore year winter break, I returned home and went on my first date with a man. We went to Mars 2112 and to a movie. This also marks the first time I met anyone online. Before meeting him, I like him very much. We enjoyed a winter evening and I never called him again. I panic. I thought this was too much for me. That men should not go on date or have relationships. This is at the same time, that all I wanted was to hold a man and be held by a man. I felt bad that, but I kept it moving.

I chatted with many men from a cross the country. Young and old. Poor and rich. Lawyers and the unemployed. Greeks and high school drop outs. I realize that I wasn't the only one out there that lived this same life. I wasn't sexually active. I did absolutely nothing. Well, some phone fun, lol. And it was that moment on the Internet that I... forget it.

2001, a year that I began to accepted that fact I liked men. The company that I interned for gave me tickets to a concert. I invited one of my closest friends, Deborah. Afterwards, I drove her home and told her I had to tell her something. I could not say it, because I never said it aloud before. On a napkin I wrote, "bi" and she read it and asked what does this mean. And I gave her a look and she says, "I can't believe this, its ok with me. I still love you." She asked some detail questions, but I didn't respond. She was the first person I ever told and didn’t know how to react.

A month later, a college friend from a nearby school told me that he knew about me. This person, I always felt was messing around since freshman year. So, I told him I know he gets down. And our friendship became very close. He was my mentor/advisor. He knew everything that was going on in my life. Today, we aren't that close, but he is the sole person that I trust with all the negative things that I have gone through. Well, two weeks after our talked, he took me to my first get down club. We traveled over four hours to go to the Brooklyn cafe. On the line, I nearly cried and fainted. His boyfriend danced with me for a lil. I looked all over this club, and was like DAMN. All of these black and latino men. Masculine men. I felt relieved and insecure. It took me 16months to enter another get down club.

This is getting kinda long. So in 2002-2003 I met a couple of people. Had a few short-term relationships. Told no one, except the dl people that got down at school. Didn't do too much because I had many things going on with my organizations at school. I began to notice that my black men that held leadership positions at several schools nearby ALL WERE IN DA LIFE. Now I felt, it was ok to like men, just as long as no one str8 knew about it.

Since Bp, I have/had 4 strong internet friendships. After four years of chatting, February of 2004, I met one of these men. We quickly became close friends. March, I had a break down in regards to my weight. I began to hit up the gym. I went to a get down club for the first time in 13 months. I enjoyed it. I never knew I was FAT. Seriously, I am very far from obese. I am attractive, but I did have a stomach. I started going more frequently.I began chatting with someone new, Walt in April. He was everything I wanted. We finally exchanged picks and we chatted less and less. When it came time to meet, he was always busy. I remember breaking down at the mall, and running out, because I was upset that he didn’t' like me because of my weight. I cried on the phone with a friend. Constantly asking him, "why?"

I'm a very determine person. I'm confident with many aspects of my life. But, when it comes to men, I don't know how to respond or feel. (at this time) After him, I spoke to my boy who took me to my first club. He told me you need to go out and meet people. If I chatted with someone from online, begin as friends. This was the best advice I could ever get.

I started to lose weight. Right now, I lost 54lbs and counting. I had a great summer. Had some flings. Promoted at work. Settled in my own place. Felt great about myself.

Keith Boykin has been featuring some of our young black educated men. A couple of weeks ago, he featured someone that I've chatted with online and on the phone. This person during his summer visit was supposed to stay with me. I freaked. I didn’t want an openly gay man to know me personally as a man who likes men.

When the McGreevy story hit, I totally freaked out. Stopped many relationships I have online and personally with people who knew about my sexuality. I have a couple of goals that I feel being openly gay can prevent me from obtaining them.

My family does not know about my sexuality. Nor do most of my close friends. So, I build a sector of my life with everything that dealt with my sexuality, which has spread in 2004 to every part of my life, including family and church.

I do not know what tomorrow brings, but the past has brought pain and joy. Today, I know about myself than every before. I have experience tremendous growth. Today, I am striving towards the man I ought to be.

But, I struggle. Struggle with the thoughts with being alone for the rest of my life. I struggle from the desire to be with a man for the rest of my life. I struggle to have a successful career in the public life while keeping my male relationships at home. I struggle with the thoughts of having kids that have my genes. I struggle because I am nervous when looking at the man in the mirror. I struggle because I am a single gay black man.


At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing this.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger j. brotherlove said...

Since you took so much time to write this out I will do the same with my long-ass comment.

I COMMEND you for writing all of this and sharing with an (unknown) public. You already have the strength to "be yourself". You just have to cultivate it.

Many men who have sex with men (MSM) go through similar life experiences as yours. You are not alone in questioning your emotions and future. There is nothing to be ashamed about there. Please remember that.

I won't beat you over the head about coming out because that's a decision you have to make for yourself. I will share a secret: the longer you wait, the more people who are very close to you (like family) will figure it out.

I know quite a few, sucessful MSM in law, medicine and politics. They are in their late 30s on up. Some are single, some coupled, and some (unfortunately) even married. Several of them still live a very segrgated personal life. But they are not happy. Personally, I don't recommend it.

While everyone cannot be a Keith Boykin, the US is more welcoming than ever for black, gay men (depite the gay marriage backlash).

Of course, we still have a long way to go. Many people have fought (and continue) to command a safer space for you to express who you are.

As for dating, there is no magic wand to make the process easy. Everyone (black, white, gay, straight, men, women, etc) has challenges finding honest, committed partners. When your dating pool is smaller, it can be trickier; but definitely NOT impossible.

I'm a big Internet fan but I urge you to meet people in person and get a feel for how they interact with you and others OFFline.

Above all, stay true to yourself and remember the values that are important to YOU. In 10 years (if not less) you will look back on these words and marvel at how your outlook has changed.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger j. brotherlove said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger The LoveHater said...

Since J took all the comments, I'll just say good luck on your journey. I'm sure it will be a memorable one!

At 9:50 AM, Blogger SmilingOnThaDL said...

Thank you, J. Brotherlove for taking the time to comment on my blog! Your words are certainly appreciated. I have changed a lot from 2000 to 2004. My biggest struggle is how my sexuality will affect my career. I agree the longer I wait, the more people who are very close to me will figure it out. To be honest, I rather they find out on their own than me tell them. As I grow, I do hope my outlook will change.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger ClayStarr said...

Many of your experiences and comments mirror those that I've had or some of my close friends. You are certainly not alone in your struggle to understand yourself and your place in life. I think it is an ongoing struggle we all face at times. Just remember that you are strong.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Ricky said...

I agree, you most definitely know who you are it is just having the strength to just be comfortable with who you are as a person. I know that when I first came out my struggle was more internal than with other people. I still struggle internally today as a single black gay man but I think that is part of life.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Stoney said...

How brave of you to put all that emotion into words, nice post. Everyone has struggles, I know that over time seasons change. I hope the season you are looking for takes shape soon.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger Pip said...

I have gone back and forth on rather to comment or not. The decision to come out is a big one. I made it when I was 21. Now at 36, I am grateful that I did it. It has taken nearly this long to get my Mom (an ordained minister don't you know) to come around.

You mentioned that you had met other "DL" brothers that helped you accept your sexuality. I don't believe that you truly have accepted it if you are still on the DL. It mostly means that you are not afraid to ACT upon it. True acceptance means that you live your life wholly without care to what others may think. It is important for a man to live his life bravely and openly. That is the sign of a man.

I know that you are worried about your career but it has been my experience that those that stay in the closet are all the more humiliated when the truth comes out. It is better to deal with truth up front and let people know where you stand. Again, be a man and face your fears.

I know that some people say that their sexuality is their business and they wouldn't share it because people would try to hurt them or tear them down if they did. People are also afraid of losing friends and family. Let me tell you from personal experience that if they would leave you over this than it is their issue and not yours. It will still hurt but the sooner you start the process the sooner the healing can begin. Ask yourself, do you really want every significant relationship to be based around deception and lies? It hardly seems worth it.

Finally, as an out gay Black man, I firmly beleive that presence is the first step to acceptance. There are so many Black people that think that a gay Black man doesn't even exist. There are no role models and no one to say "I'm one. I'm not a pervert. I'm not sick. I'm not depraved. I'm not a pedophile. I'm not immoral. I just prefer my same sex."

Again, I can't tell you what to do with your life but I hope you will consider my arguments and know that are meant in the spirit of brotherhood, unity, and pride.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Bernard Bradshaw said...


At first I was wondering why I never responded to this post. After reading it a second time I remember why I didn't respond. I am not sure HOW to respond--or what to say.

Your post reflects a lot of what I read in your blog in general. A lot of pain. And life in general is painful. We as gay folks have a lot of pain to deal with.

But I guess you just have to acknowledge it--and then you have to move on.

I was your age once, when it seemed like I would never find someone, and that I would never be with anyone. And then I would meet guys who I thought were the right one, and then it wouldn't work out for various reasons.

You can't go through your life with your eyes closed holding your breath waiting to meet someone who is worth opening your eyes for, and who is worth breathing for. YOu have to go out and be the best person you can be.

Enjoy being single. Cause i tell you, being in a relationship is no bed of roses.

But a lot of what I am saying is coming out a need for you to love yourself. And while I don't think anyone truly loves themself--some people are further on the road to ultimate self love than others.

I think you have to become more comfortable with your sex life, drive, and your own sexual desires. If you can't accept yourself and love yourself--how can you expect some guy to come along and give you the love that you are longing for?

As long as "to be or not to be" is a defining question in your life (and it will probably always be present in your life--but whether it is a BIG issue or a small one, the background or the foreground is what I am getting at) long as you have to deal with your sexuality and you keep fighting pride and shame--then you are going to continue have problems finding someone.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger No4real4real said...

Hey man it was great reading this post. So much I already knew and others I got a better understanding. Just know that you are blessed and that things will fall into place. I am so happy you are in a better place from all of your experiences.

Wow, I didn't know I had that big of an impact on you. You have made a mark on me as well.

By the way...Escee always talks about that night we went to Brooklyn Cafe and y'all was dancing like y'all paid $50 to get into the club. LOL Boy I miss BK Cafe...


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