Aching Queer Soul
Haven’t I been through the dumps and out for so long inside. It was about time I found my strength back. Two years ago, I became incredibly disillusioned by something, and I sought hard to curb my ways and finally put the pieces of me together once more, before I contemplated on quiting on myself and life. As much as I can give about myself, I believe the way I think about my sexuality is in essence no one’s real business, besides close friends, and if there was a significant other. But I appreciate my readers that come here, and some know what I am going to say. Besides the support of other LGBTQ+ groups I once were in through college, the several close friends I came out to years ago during a difficult ordeal in my life meant so much, that I lost care if any other person did not accept me. I do miss these friends.
Since a kid in school, I have dealt with peers calling me ‘weird’ or ‘gay,’ as both apart of the banter and vernacular surrounding me, and actual beliefs, that I am gay. The experiences I have differ from guys who are not queer, or gay, etc., and have to defend their ‘masculinity’ by repeatedly exclaiming as loud as humanly capable, “I am not gay!”
There are two terms I have used consistently to identify, or describe my sexuality and gender identity if it came to any moment I’d explain. People do not often simply ask me, but would make assumptions. Meaning, they did not really care, or they’d have simply and kindly asked. So, I never allow them the benefit of knowing, and let them believe whatever delusion they have. The two terms are “queer” and simply “fluid,” and the truth is that, there is more to it than that. So, whenever I say “fluid,” I’d often squint my eyes with my head to the side, as in my head it was the best I could describe it, or wanted to describe to the other person.
“Queer” is a very inclusive umbrella term, that conveys a sense of community, while for some, it is also an identity. It basically indicates, that the person is on a spectrum of gender and sexual fluidity. One could not be thus simply called “gay,” but it clarifies, that the person is not straight, nor can be so easily categorized into heteronormative identity. People may realize this, when they are mentally confused themselves, as to where to place you. The issue is that, the power of where to place lies alone in myself, and has never been the choice of others. The person who is not really living with me, or spending any time with me cannot possibly see what I am actually like, and even then, it is not in essence about how I dress, or in my mannerisms. As my mannerisms flow at various points or simultaneously between what the other would observe as masculinity or femininity, the person is just likely to be confused trying to neatly box me. This is not theoretical, or imagining, since this happens to persons, particularly women, that are observing me.
Certain men, particularly Black men that are anti-gay and believe in the “Gay Agenda” have various theories about what leads a Black man to be gay, trans, queer, and so forth. Mostly, this involves blaming the Black mother (specifically single), or assuming, that a strong Black father was not in the house to raise the child. All these, without explaining my childhood for them, are non-applicable to me, so even my parents, not even my own conscience could make such an argument. I was not raised in either a single-parent household with an absent father, nor in a married parent household. I was always surrounded by family and extended family.
I had ample examples of what a “masculine man” was, and what a “feminine woman” was the way I was raised by my family. My father for the life of him cannot understand the concept of a gender spectrum, but I have noticed some slight loosening of his thinking, though not entirely. Besides this, my father has been by my side every crucial step in my life. ‘I have shown you and taught you things I know and learned, but as an adult, you have to learn what kind of man you want to be, and will be. I still have things to teach, so if you ever need anything, you can always ask,’ was advice my dad had given to me as a young adult, when I lived with my mother, and continued to fail to find work.
Both of my parents are tough people, and I was raised surrounded by self-sufficient men (cook, prep and dress for occasion, clean, do laundry, etc), and was taught to be the same. My father, you could say, is what one associates with masculinity and an old gangster, but he had a nurturing side. I witnessed men in his presence respect or fear him, but he had a nurturing side to him. Children loved him.
He is also intelligent and experienced, and wherever I saw him work, he became a manager, or something. I learned from my dad not to judge too harshly the street life of so many other Black kids and men. Father and Mother were complimentary, as one was religious oriented, but full of the street knowledge needed to survive in the world, and mom was worldly, or secular oriented, and full of world knowledge to help survive in the world of school, business, bills, i.e., the necessary elements.
Observing these things exhibited by both men and women in my childhood demonstrated to me the serious and responsible aspects of life, that did not necessarily depend on whether you were male or female. It depended on your will and the way you communicate and relate to others. It was about the relationships and history you had built with others. Grandma and Grandpa cooked sometimes side-by-side. I had examples of old love, and those simple ways of genuine partners appreciating each other are inextricably apart of how I envision my own experience, if I were to have that.
However, I have not been able to find someone I could do such things with. Once, yes, but that was (laughing), years ago. It is a sad and short love story anyway, but outside of that, dating and sex in my life have been utterly absent and when so, a failure. It was not just my inexperience with dating, it was my lost in confidence.
As a child, “you’re gay” insults never really bothered me. As a child, the “you’re gay” insults never truly bothered me when I was young. Kids would call me, e.g., “dyke,” which is not even a term applicable to me, but because I had been in a relationship with a girl, that later came out as bi, and they called her dyke. What the insults did was isolate me, and make me feel isolated, so I mostly kept to myself. Girls would actually often tell me to stop trying to fit in, and be myself. There were those phases I tried to fit in with the boy culture. Sure, I loved to do all the things boys traditionally liked, such as sports; but I also liked to hang out, play with and talk with the girls. I had a girl as a close childhood friend I am still friends with, and as a child I played with girl toys and cooking toys. I did not care. I liked toys.
There are those with bad intentions, that like to dig into a person’s life stories to find exactly where, when and what it was that caused a person to become gay, queer, and so on. As far back as I was four, and this is serious . . . as far back as that, on my fourth birthday. I had been dealing with a secret I had never told anybody until I began coming out in college to my closest friends. This is that, I have had the experience of feeling all of my life as if I was born with the wrong sex, or as some say, “in the wrong body,” and I still kind of have it, so I will elaborate. I feel it best to say, “in the wrong sex,” as I was never ashamed of my skin color, or race. It was an existential, vivid experience, and it is the age as far back as I can go just by memory of being conscious of myself up until the present. I had looked in a mirror, and hated my body’s privates into puberty.
By my mid to late-teens, gradually, I had developed a more healthier attitude and relationship to my body, by instead reconciling and reclaiming a sense of what I’d call now, “agency” over my body. The experience of feeling as if you are in the wrong body is not a narrative everyone like me shares, although it is the common way it is observed. So, I think I should add also, that I never saw or described these things in any spiritual, or mystical sense, and I am skeptical about reincarnation.
So, although it felt like I was double, or adjusting, I did not define my experience through religious concepts, or spirituality, nor do I still. There were other things I began to do in college, like finding the clothing style that expressed me. It went from preppy to androgynous, and blending of men and (or) women’s style from either, or both sections. Like, in the beginning I would wear my clothes like women, i.e., tucked shirt, flaunting my front and ass, and yes, certain women would look, and were still attracted. Not all, is the key there. It is not cross-dress, though technically one would call it that. I would simply say, that the men’s clothing sections are mostly boring when you are not looking for just a shirt, or cashmere and some jeans. For the longest, I have sported a beard, and all that makes me feel good, satisfied, and comfortable in my own skin and thin frame. That took work to feel that way!
People are always questioning, even when you are like me with broad shoulders and masculine facial appearance, but you express who you are through your clothing outside of genderconforming norms. Some people who will not understand consider it superficial, but so what! Part of my journey is impossible without my interactions and experiences with the opposite sex, and the difficulties of navigating what I sometimes seemed awful at. So, I hate it when men project their insecurities, holding to the strange idea, that life and dating is peachy for queer people, without struggles, because it was never that.
Repeatedly, I have been told by women that have been interested in me, even the one and only serious relationship I have ever had, “You’re not usually my type, and you’re weird, but I like it, and I don’t know why I gravitated towards you. I just did.” The woman I was in a relationship with accepted everything about me in the beginning. No one had done that ever, or adored me as much, and it often hurts me, that she may be the only person, that just took a shot with me, and discovered more than they thought. While there were several issues that led to the end, and everyone has their side of a story, I was given multiple confusing reasons. But, what stood out was the fact, that during the relationship, she began to think about what it meant for her, if she was dating someone like me. It definitely made her panic, and I could realize that by what she was saying, that she had come to the thought clearly, that she is a straight heterosexual woman, and only wanted to date straight heterosexual men, and she was no longer sexually attracted to me.
The truth is, things became like a friendship for her. This indicates, that despite what I am, because I am mostly attracted to women, and date or prefer to date women, I still have to deal with the same issues any other straight guy has to deal with. I am not special, and there are no exemptions, so I cannot understand some guys, that hate on gay and queer men.
Indeed, she liked me because of the masculine side of me, and would so often repeat this throughout the relationship, I felt I was in a play playing my role. Sure, I could be the disciplined father, and the beloved grandfather, but in my own way though. I had dampened my masculine side during a rough period in the relationship, where she wanted me to change, because I had a certain weakness as a partner I’d shut down during an argument, that I did have to fix.
Boy did I learn what was meant, when a woman says, “I need you to change, or open up more to me.” She held the times I closed off to her against me till the very end, even after opening up to her and changing. But, her respect for me and her attraction had waned, and I had lost myself.
That fear of losing her or never finding someone that looked at me so enamored the way she did made me desperate and weak. However, I did not reflect on those weaknesses as part of my character or inexperience, but blamed everything about myself including my sexuality and behaviors, and tried to “become more masculine.” I could not do this though, as it felt fake, so I reassessed everything once again after having closeted myself again, which led to me completely losing any sense of self-confidence, and becoming a shell of my former self. This did not help me down the line with other women.
I do not wish to go anymore deeply into it, but depression had come over me like a ton of log, that lasted years, and I was not prepared for the emotions I had locked away, that my mind had completely let out, so I was lost. It was just only two years ago, the light had come back to my eyes, after time, from help from friends and family, finding work, and developing a plan for my future, while nursing myself to sanity and clarity slowly and gradually through the hardships. This coupled with the idea of becoming the man you want to be, rather than living through limitations of the culture became more obvious than before.
Women in my experience often assume I am gay first, as in not attracted to women based on whatever criteria they’re judging. There’s honestly nothing I can really do about anyone’s assumptions. You have to just ask me. I believe I am an incredible guy and like who I am, and cannot be boxed as nice guy or bad guy, and judging me by the fact I wear glasses is childish. I get complimented on with my glasses, so maybe I am being stupidly oblivious to the women, that show their interest. Just find out for yourself. Take a chance, because I am not a different species. I am a human being, and I am still a guy.
While, I do not identify as gay or bi, I do admit, if I was asked point blank, I am primarily attracted to women in variety and to the female body, while I have a very slight romantic attraction for men. I have only kissed one person of the same sex once, and that was a boy my age as a child. So, I do not find the male body sexually attractive. No man has ever abused me. Who and how I am was not trained in me, nor placed there by a traumatic violent crisis.
As you know, in reality, majority of women statistically do not care. This is a turn-off for them. I cannot do much about that, especially the way media and tv portray bad representation, but women who were attracted to me have consistently told me, that I am weird (they just mean queer, but they cannot describe), or not like most guys they know, and do not know why.
Once you describe it, or put a label, they panic, and it does not always seem a preference issue, but an ego issue. I guess I am not completely repulsive, or unattractive, when I dress as freely as I do, yet still certain women are complimenting me, or eye-fucking me. It is best to atleast go for those showing signs that they are interested, rather than trying to convince someone, but still.
I got into situations, where I’m dealing with unavailable people, mentally and emotionally, because I was the same, and I had to stop that. Despite not considering myself bi, or simply gay, I still have to experience biphobia and homophobia, because of assumptions.
At my current age, out of my twenties, my attitude towards biphobia and homophobia is frankly I just don’t care what a person thinks anymore. Also, if the woman isn’t attracted to me, makes assumptions instead of asking, or have a problem with me, or heavens ghosts or runs, I not only will feel too tired to chase, or bother, it is a major turn off for myself as well, as I would not want to date such a person. These reasons about a woman being jealous of having to compete with men and women is a turn-off, beside just being an excuse. Although today, I am more focused on making up for what I have not done in these following years, as I am too jaded about dating honestly. Like, what is even romance. I have not felt a genuine touch in ages.
Regardless, two years ago, after an unrequited love situation, I had to get myself together, because I felt absolutely embarrassed and hurt. I try to be that man, and I might even look the part, but it seems I am just not at all, as non-single people often ask me, “how could you still be single?” Then, they must suspect something’s off with me, like a sixth toe, tail, or gay. I just do not say anything, as I have learned, dwelling on the millions of possible reasons someone isn’t genuinely attracted to you disturbs my balance.
However, things really came into place for me in the things that are important, so I was prepared for this Covid crisis on the mental and emotional level. What is left is my goal to get into a career, rather than going from small job to job, because it made me feel unhappy and unfulfilling.
To end this, I just want to say, that as a young teen into my adult age when I came out in college, I asked myself a ton of questions most men do not ask themselves, or really put to the test. Some men wait till far later in life, and it is difficult for them. They get into a situation, and then they take their anger out on other men. Some women lead men to hide and stay in whatever closet, because yes, in a sense, it felt sometimes I was being not only excommunicated by men, but by women, taken off the menu. There are women, that absolutely believe they are free to their preference not to date a man, that does not identify or is a “straight, heterosexual man” plain and simple. Fine. I am just going to go where I can be appreciated and loved.
Some guys ask me for advice on women, and I must laugh. My friend, I cannot in that area. I cannot give guys advice about getting women, but I can give them advice about true, genuine self-worth over masculinity masquerading through insecurities, but I did not write this for them, because I have gotten my strength and inspiration from others. Things became better for me mentally and emotionally when I started to get as the phrase goes, my house in order, cut out fake friends, and all drama from my life. I had great conversations with people along my journey, and counselors.
Though this person may never discover this, I dedicate this to a person I became cool with before this Covid shit, I will just call V, who I may no longer meet again. I had a conversation with her after this one co-worker began to evangelize to other co-workers he assumed was LGBTQ. We thought he was one of us, and just trying to be nice, but then he broke out the Jesus crap, to save us. He was definitely targeting, because we all came together quick after I told that story, and other people told the same thing.
At this age, I don’t have time to deal with people like that, but I treated them kindly, despite the invasive approach. It just reminded me, that people still observe me, and make those judgements. I could never hide myself that easily. I was inspired by V and that situation to re-embrace who I am. I never understand guys who aren’t gay and have problems with queer men, who stare and judge, while I am trying to talk to or get a good view of a woman. Why stare and observe me, and snarl, if you aren’t gay? What is with that? “He can’t provide what I have, masculinity.” Sure, maybe, but I have found my own way of being masculine, and embrace all the quirky, queer aspects of me, and learned to cope in different ways with that gender dysphoria. Yet, I can feel strong and full of a will of fire, just as I am, by embracing all of me.
There is in me, an eternal waltz with springs that do not run dry, and I am at peace. I chose to learn and own how my brain thought and felt, and who and what I was exactly attracted to. I’ve gone through pain, lost, regrets, sense of worthlessness and feeling unattractive, or unwanted. Eventually, I had to pull myself up, but not entirely without the friends, that stayed with me and helped me along the way.