I once was a young man. Living in fear for what I felt. Quietly continuing and blending into life. I had an average car. I had the average job. Lived in the average neighbourhood, and had the average friends. Work was exceptional, always the one getting things done, always the one to fix things up. I sometimes miss that average guy. Like today It seems like a lifetime ago, but in reality it has only been five.
So presently what has changed? I am the Clinical pharmacologist for the largest private hospital in Africa. I run the largest Antimicrobial Stewardship initiative in the country, I speak at conferences and give my opinions on patient care directly affecting their lives, but underneath what is there?
I came out to family to not live a lie only to find out that they prefer believing in the lie I have lived before. There is no going back and moving forward seems impossible. There is a lot to say about limbo. Being lost, its an interesting term because it feels that you are on to something all the time and will find something exciting soon. In reality you are still at the same desk, doing the same job and feeling the same way. Its a dead end in an infinite loop.
Im not saying that I am sorry for telling the truth, because I think it was the best thing I have ever done, I just wish that I could apply the courage I had that day to general life. My Mother gave me the advice this weekend that relationships with girls is hard, its impossible with men. I know that. the man I love left me because he cant commit, the boy I liked left me because I shaved my beard and the guy I thought was my friend actually just wanted sex. Trust me I know that its hard.
I still want to believe that there is someone out there. Dark hair, bearded, olive skin, nice smile and kind eyes. I have to believe that he is out there fighting the same fight as I am every day. If you don’t have that why are we even trying at all. With the way she said relationships with men is hard it is almost like she acknowledge that I am gay but the sex is not. I get that because I feel the same way about the heteros. Like there is a reason I don’t work or even consult in maternity or obstetrics.
I feel that it is unfair to exclude a part of your son or brothers life from reality, like it doesn’t exist. He appears at family functions and Sunday dinners, always alone and always work as an excuse. Don’t you ever wonder where does he go after lunch. In who’s arms does he fall asleep, who takes care of him when he needs someone and who does he care for. Does he have someone to discuss his day with, to give advice on how to deal with tricky situations or what birthday gifts to buy. Does he have a person?
Today in particular I find it challenging to imagine a future in a double life. My last relationship which was not acknowledged ended for that very reason. How do I explain you if you do not exist. If I had to be a victim of an unfortunate accident who do we phone? Who are his people, who does he call his urban family?
Being honest with everyone was supposed to be freeing, instead it just opened up the restraints for all the world to see. We all know but don’t talk about it. Its like the breadknife. We all know where it is, but its never something we speak of.
My friend told me about a month ago. Dude you are almost thirty years old. I was scared. I was scared to be trapped in a dead end job doing the same thing over and over and over. With my weird reaction on his statement He asked if I was ok, I was not. I need to get out. Do anything to get out. So I quit my job and we are back in Johannesburg, the place I fled from the day my person died. I need to pick things up and complete what I have left so abruptly.
Yes forgot to mention that. His name was Sam, Beautiful man with dark hair, wide smile, light blue eyes and the most compassionate Doctor and anesthesiologist I have ever known. The reason I came out. The person who taught me that Its fine to be gay, showed me the world while keeping me safe. He died on August 10, 2014 and I could not tell anyone because he did not exist in my straight world. Today I feel that he needs that recognition. He deserves to be known, he was a real person in my real life, the only person who knew the real me.
People choose to know the real you or they choose not to. Not being sure most people are reserved until the other party shows interest in their life. Its not liking photos on Instagram, Its a genuine interest in who you are. All humans have different facets. we have to accept all of them. Its like the bundled SMS’s in your cellphone contract. We take them because its part of the deal.
I promised myself not to end up like that, resenting myself because I ruined my families idea of who I am. This is me, I am a scientist, I have an amazing mind that I use to help cure infectious diseases and save lives. I consult on Infectious disease outbreak response teams, I am a humanitarian, Oh and I am gay. It does not define me. It doesn’t make me a bad person. It makes me human. It makes me real.