I’ll never not hate you again. Because I loved you. Maybe not first, but as soon as I could. But when I loved you, you hated me. You hated what you thought I’d become. You hated the thought that I’d become more than you. Now I hate you too. Because you broke me. You broke me in half. You broke me in two. You broke me in, too. Into this world of hate, lies, love, and condemnation. Now you can’t condemn me without condemning you. And you can’t even look at me without hating you. I can look at me now and see what I’m becoming. Still broken in two by all the hatred you infused. Half boy half man, and both hate you. The difference is, now I can do what you never could. I can become even more than what you thought I would. A real man with a voice not dumbing down to bums. And I can even hate you without fear of bad conscience. Cause my conscience is clear and yours is cloudy after all you have done. Knowing it was you where all of this hatred came from. I’ll never forget you or the way you taught me to become a “man”. And if the only way to win is forgive you and forget your sins, I’ll find solace in this and the fine point of my pen. Because you broke me I’m free. And free to never not hate you again.
In a week or two I’ll have to delete your number. In a month or two, your email. In a year or two most traces of you will be gone. But now you’re the new “compared to” no one else could don. It took five years to get here. We knew the time would come. Five years of love, hate, and a friendship come undone.
There’s nothing left to say anymore. We’ve said all we could. There’s nothing left to pay anymore. We’ve paid all we should. I broke your heart! I’m sorry! But I told you I would. You were in love and I wasn’t. I’m sorry I held you hostage, still in search of love. I know that was selfish. And with you I fell in love platonically, because for me there was no magic.
The friendship is over now too. We finally saw all of the signs. No more traces. No more spaces. No more twisted lines. I’m sorry you weren’t enough for me and I wasn’t enough for you either. I always thought love would be just enough. I used to think that if I tried harder, you could have been the one. Instead it was five years of love, hate, and a friendship come undone.
So… Today while at work, I’m chatting with two of my colleagues about random things. One of which is having a text conversation with a guy she recently met who lives in Los Angeles. They must have been discussing when they’d see each other, and then he told her he’d buy her plane ticket to Los Angeles from DC. Not really knowing this guy (having only met him once), she was a bit reluctant, but thought “hey what’s the harm”. Then I mentioned to her that I used to live in L.A. briefly and have been dying to get back there. We decided that I would go with her and we’d get a hotel room so she wouldn’t feel uncomfortable staying with the guy. Soon thereafter we kicked it in to overdrive and started looking for flights and hotels. Eventually we found a flight and a hotel that were reasonable priced for the dates we discussed and My colleague called her friend to let him know what we’d found. He told her that he would purchase the ticket for her in the coming days and they got off the phone. Shortly after he sent her a text that said “I’m tired. You should come cuddle with me.” We both looked at each other like… WTF! How did this get there? Then I told her something that I learned some time ago. That is… “All men come for something.” She sent him a few more responses and then in the end she told him how disheartening it was that most of the men she meets seem to be so quick to get women to sleep with them, and that she wasn’t that type of girl. This made me think many of my own experiences with men, and dating.
Let me be the first to say that I’m no angel. I’ve done things that I am not proud of and have been involved intimately with guys, probably sooner that I should have. But I’ve been wondering lately… Are there No More Gentlemen? What happened to dating? Has the information age taken us so far from taking the time to get to know someone before sex that we just can’t go back to that? We’re now a part of a generation where emails, text messages, and pictures are our primary means of communication, and I believe it has pushed true romance to the back burner for the sake of our own impatience. Many of us, (yes this includes me) seem to have been lured into the phenomena that is the INTERNET. I wish, more often than not these days, that we could go back to having dinner, going to a movie, and then parting ways without any sexual expectations. I wish that we could go back to controlling our sexual desires in hopes that we’ll truly find something meaningful in a lasting relationship with someone, rather than just enjoying the immediate gratification of sex. Where are the gentlemen? You know… the ones who take the time to get to know you, meet your friends, ask about your day, and actually listen when you tell them what’s going on in your world. What happened to the talks about your hopes, dreams, and goals in this road of life? What happened to career and family ambitions? What happened to marriage and the sanctity of it, and fighting until your last breath to preserve it? I read something on Twitter recently that said “I’m single because I don’t make permanent decisions on temporary feelings.” That tweet struck a chord with me, having been single for over 8 years now. That’s pretty much the bulk of my adult life. But I just won’t settle for a date without respect, a life without love, a love without passion, and a home without heart. I guess, to some degree, my colleague and I are the same. We’re both disheartened that there seem to be No More Gentlemen.
But I’m still waiting…
Will you just Stay?
Even when the path ahead looks a little bleak
Even when we have a fight, say you’ll still speak
Speak to my heart with your words, my soul with your passion, and speak to my mind with your own
Promise me you’re here to Stay and you won’t ever leave me alone
Even if I snore sometimes, or pass gas in my sleep
Even when I’m moody and sound angry when I speak
Even when I get sick and need you to Stay with me
Even when I’ve lost myself, help me to get back to our beat
When I yell for no rhyme or reason, just hold me close to soothe my soul
All I really want to know is if you’ll be with me through the cold
When I cry myself to sleep some nights, don’t turn the other way
Wrap your arms around me to take the pain away
When our children get here and sometimes we disagree,
Tell me it’s not about you or me, we’ve got to do what’s best for our family
When the world is against me, please Stay by my side
Remind me that you’re not leaving, and you’re here to ride or die
When we’re old and gray and wrinkly too
Say you’ll still love me the way that I love you.
“I’m crying, can’t stop crying, can’t stop crying.”
I had a dream last night. In it I was being chased and attacked by a Rottweiler, of which I was desperately afraid. In an adjacent room was my grandmother, my sister, and my aunt watching me as I was mauled with every misstep by this Rottweiler. They all sat there as this dog and me destroyed the house. My grandmother said nothing. She made no moves, and didn’t even bother to acknowledge my cries. After it was over, I was lambasted and ordered to leave the house. My grandmother started screaming at me for “destroying” her house. I started screaming back because I had literally just evaded what could have been my death. I screamed “WHAT ABOUT ME!” This dog just tried to kill me and she just let him. She just let him maul me. She watched me in excruciating pain and agony and did nothing to protect me. She did nothing to stop him. Then, in my dream, my aunt jumped up trying to push me out the house and we started fighting.
I woke up, looked at my clock, and started crying. This is why…
“I wish I could believe you, then I’d be alright. But now everything you told me really don’t apply to the way I feel inside.”
I woke up this morning in hysterics, crying bitter, semi-sweet tears. Bitter because of what its taken me over 20 years to figure out, and semi-sweet because I’ve finally figured it all out. I’m told often, almost weekly, and sometimes even daily, that I appear to be very angry and aggressive. My disposition, my voice, and even in my writing seems to convey a sentiment of anger or aggression. It comes out when I’m driving and I have a bit of road rage. It comes out when I have bouts with authority. It’s even expressed through my constant change in mood. I hear it so often that I’ve grown to accept that its what I exude, and although its never been my intent, I AM ANGRY! Before today, I was absolutely unsure of exactly where it came from. Therapists have told me that it’s a direct result of post traumatic stress syndrome stemming from the loss of my parents at such a tender age in my development. I was almost 7. But today, this morning, before the sun came up, when it was still dark outside and only an occasional car could be heard from my bedroom window, at 5:15 a.m. I awoke from my dream, and it hit me like a ton of bricks, rocked me to the core, and now I know why.
“Loving you was easy, once upon a time.”
It started immediately. The day after they died was my seventh birthday. My uncle had taken my sister and me to his house after we were briefly questioned by MPD. He had an apartment uptown on 13th street around the corner from 4D. I can’t remember if his new bride was there that night or the next day or at all. But the next morning; Saturday December 2, 1989 was my birthday. I remember that he gave me Cap’n Crunch (my favorite) cereal for breakfast. Afterwards, he took me into the bathroom in this tiny one-bedroom apartment, sat me on the toilet, pulled out scissors, and cut my rattail. My father started letting me grow a rattail a few months back. I guess now that he was gone, this uncle needed to show me, a seven year-old, on my birthday, the day after my parents died, that HE was in charge now. He told me that only sissy’s wear rattails. Slowly my uncle started weaving his ideals into fabric of who he thought I was going to be. I remember one night after I’d just finished dinner, I was stuffed and my stomach was in knots. and I began to have what I thought felt like a stomach cramp. Now, I was a little boy living in a house full of females, and far too often I remember hearing talk of pads, and tampons, and “periods”. I quickly learned exactly what it was, its symptoms, and its effects. But anyway, I had just finished eating, and I remember my oldest aunt and my cousin being there. I started walking around the house holding my stomach, and like I’d heard the ladies in the house say before, I said, “I got cramps, and I feel like I’m about to come on”, jokingly. My aunt overheard me and said, “little boys don’t say that.” At that very moment I glanced over to my other aunt, the youngest, right as she looked at me with disdain, and mumbled, “faggot” underneath her breath. I quickly looked away from her trying to pretend that I didn’t hear what she said. Then, my older aunt said to me, “you better not say that again or I’m going to call your uncle.” So, with fear in my eyes and heart, I shut down. A short while later, while still feeling the pain in my stomach I walked towards the bathroom and mumbled to myself, “It hurts. I feel like I’m pregnant.” But I didn’t realize at the time, that the other person mumbling in the house was standing nearby and overheard me and announced it. The older female immediately got on the phone and called my uncle. OMG! I’m in trouble now, I thought. But my stomach really did hurt, and I hadn’t said anything that I didn’t learn from the women around me. “Why do I have to get in trouble?” Shortly after, the uncle arrives to have a “Man to Man” talk with me about men and what they should and should not say. After his tedious monologue, I shook my head and let him know that I understood and walked away. I remember thinking “Whhhhew! I’m glad I didn’t get a beating.”
Time went on, and occasionally I’d still, unbeknownst to me, say things that “little boys don’t say”, but there weren’t anymore “Man to Man” talks. The “Man to Man” encounters became “Man beating little boy ” encounters, cause there weren’t gonna be any faggots in this family. But it seemed like every time I got a beating for whatever the surface reason was, I’d think to myself… “Everybody keeps calling me a faggot though, and you’re trying to beat it out of me, while you and the rest of the people around me keep saying it.” I knew I didn’t say it. I hated the word. It was an epithet that rivaled “Nigger” in my eyes, but I couldn’t control people saying it to me. They said when I was at school, and they said it when I was at home too. Everybody in my immediate family, at some point, used this dreadful, pejorative epithet to castigate me, and not one of them ever protected me from the others.
“Why did I deserve to be treated this way?”
No one stood up for me; not even the very person who stood beside me while our parents died in front of us. What had I done, at 7 years old, to be treated this way? I mean… Yeah I was nosey. Yeah I had a smart mouth. Yeah I got into fights in school. Yeah, I talked back to the teachers. Yeah I was running around, and always into something. But then again… Isn’t that what “little boys” are “supposed” to do? I was a FUCKING child! And I’m sitting here typing this shit on the verge of tears yet again because now, I’M A FUCKING ANGRY ADULT! Did they ever stop to think that I was fighting in school and a smart ass because I was being ridiculed? Did they ever stop to think that I was always into something because I needed some attention? Did they ever stop to think that I was nosey because I was all alone, and even amongst my childhood friends I was still called “faggot”? Did they ever stop to think that I needed someone, anyone, to show me the love that I had lost? Nope! Not one of them considered what obstacles in life I faced as a child. All they knew was that I was their faggot nephew, brother, cousin, grandson! When I got in trouble in school for talking back or fighting, there was never a question of who was to blame. It was always me! And how do I say, “well they call me faggot everyday,” or “they pick on me because I’m smaller than everybody else”? I didn’t even want to acknowledge that word because I hated it so much. I didn’t want to be embarrassed even more by allowing myself to dare utter such a word. I didn’t want them to look at me and say “well, you brought it on yourself, because you’re a FAGGOT!” So instead, I took my punishment. I took the beatings, and the television restrictions, and the suspensions, and even an expulsion. I took it all, because I wasn’t gonna let them see me sweat. NO TEARS!
“I know you’re probably thinking, what’s up with” me? I’ve been crying too long. What did you do to me?”
I fought back! That day when we were in New Jersey, walking back from the store, you called me a faggot, and I called you a BITCH, and I meant it! But I wasn’t gonna tell anybody what you said, because I didn’t wanna face it, so I lied. I told them you called me Mother Fucker, and still got my mouth washed out with soap. No one stood up for me. Then when we got back to DC I got a beating too. But who cares… right? That day, around Christmas time when you were washing dishes, and you told me to leave you alone, I got smart, you called me a faggot, and I said Santa Claus was calling you when he said “ho, ho, ho”, I meant it. But I wasn’t gonna tell anybody what you called me, because I didn’t wanna face it, so I lied. I told them I never said it, and still got my mouth washed out with soap again. Then later that week, I got another beating. That day we were fighting after you told me to leave you alone and get out of “our” room, you called me a faggot, and I fought extra hard that day even though you were a little bigger! I wasn’t sad. I was bitter! That day you were taking me to Camp Schmidt and I left something behind and ran back to get it, I got back in the car, and you told I ran like I faggot, I REMEMBER, and I’ll never forget it. The Christmas in the 5th grade that I didn’t get until February of the following year because I talked back to a teacher, I haven’t forgotten. The time I accidentally locked your keys in the trunk of your car, you told me to figure out how to get them out, and then told me that if I scratched your car, you’d kill me, I won’t forget that. That day you dropped your keys on the sidewalk while we were walking back to the house at Fairfax Village, I ran back to get them for you, and you told me in that same teaching voice you used with me before when you said “little boys don’t say that”, you said, this time “stop running like a faggot”, I remember that too! That day I got suspended from school in the 7th grade for fighting, you took me back to your apartment and beat me for hours, trying once again to beat the “faggot” out of me, I haven’t forgotten! That day in the 8th grade after you’d picked me up from school shortly after your son was born, you told me that I better not ever be a faggot, cause you aint no faggot, and my father damn sure wasn’t a faggot, I haven’t forgotten that either! The time, during my junior year of high school when you allowed my therapist to tell you that I needed Paxil for depression and anger management, and then bought it in bulk, I didn’t forget, but I damn sure flushed it all! I didn’t need medication to manage my anger, I needed you to love me. The time in the 6th grade when your husband punched me in my face, blacked my eye, and then threatened to kill me and my sister, I haven’t forgotten. And I’ll never, ever forget how my own uncle went over to talk to him about his attack on me. Huh??What the fuck was there to talk about? My father and even my mother, for that matter, would have killed him. But maybe my uncle and your husband just sat down, talked, and compared notes on beating my ass… huh? The many days I cried myself to sleep, the days I listened to music and sang loud enough to wake the dead because you’d hurt me again, the days I used to change my clothes in the hallway at Karate School so that the other kids wouldn’t see the bruises, and the day I finally showed you all that you couldn’t destroy me. I haven’t forgotten any of them, and I never will.
“I only give you a hard time, cause I can’t go on and pretend like, I haven’t tried to forget this, but I’m much too full of resentment.”
I pressed on through life, making my own way. With a hardened heart is how I dealt with everyone around me. It’s how I deal with people today. My heart has softened in some areas because on the surface I’d moved passed the details of my childhood under your “tutelage”, and the dynamics of some of our relationships have changed. But just as soon as I scratch away at the surface, it comes back, and all of it comes crashing down. I’m grown now! You people can’t do to me what you used to do. These days I don’t let you. I don’t let anyone! I can’t go on pretending like I’ve forgotten about all of it though. It’s just been eating away at me for so long. So now, you’ll have to face it, because I’m tired. I faced all of you, everyday from the time I was 7 years old. I faced the shame, the ridicule, the physical abuse, and more than anything I faced the fact that not one of you were in my corner. Everything someone else said about me, you took as fact. You never fought for me.
“I thought I could forgive you, and I know you’ve changed. As much as I wanna trust you, I know it aint the same.”
I really did think that I had forgiven this, and that I could move on without having to address it with everyone, but there’s no way I’m gonna keep hurting myself and my future by carrying it. We’re cool now; no beefs, no arguments, and we even talk all the time, but this was bound to come out one day. Who knew that it would take two years of these dreams about fighting and arguing with family for me to figure this out. IT WAS YOU! You’re the reason I’m angry. You’re the reason I’m bitter, and guarded. You’re the reason why I push people away. YOU! When you should have been caring for and nurturing me, you abused me. You tarnished my innocence. You beat me down over, and over again. You never protected me, and you knew all along what was being done, but stoic and unaffected, you let it happen to me. YOU! And you never, not one of you, ever apologized.
“I’ll always remember feeling like I was no good… I know you didn’t wanna hurt me, but look what you done-done to me now. “
When I started my first relationship, I remember him telling me, at sixteen, that I was too much to handle sometimes. My doing too much eventually pushed him away. Then came the next one, who dogged me. I guess it was easy because I was sixteen then too, and he was nine years my senior. When number 4 came along, I was still only eighteen, but he was the one who showed me a love that wasn’t easily broken. He was my protector, in a way that none of you ever protected me. He wasn’t comfortable with his sexuality, but he never shunned me. Even if every gesture I made, or word I spoke made him cringe, I never saw shame in his eyes. He protected my physical being, and more importantly, he protected my feelings. He never told me what to say or how to say it. But guess what…? I pushed him away too. I felt like I was no good for this man who showed me love no matter what. I thought he was tired of me, and maybe he was. I knew I was tired of doing everything I could to push him away, so I finally just left him. You see? Look at what you’ve done to me now. I’ve spent the larger part of my adult life single. I never let anyone get too close because my expectations are too high. Since you never loved me the way you were supposed to, I look for it in people who can’t ever measure up, and they shouldn’t have to.
“I may never understand why…”
I may never understand why I’ve had to endure this, but at least now I know where it came from. At least now I can work on fixing what has been broken. For so long I’ve just been doing what had been done to me, but I can no longer continue to perpetuate that cycle. My greatest defense has been my offense. After years of having my family beat me down I turned it around, and I’m angry. I’m angry because I don’t know what to do with what you’ve forced me to become. I only know that I’m done carrying the anger that you gave me. I didn’t deserve it, and shame on you! But now, I know that I’m going to have to save myself from myself, so that I can heal.
I can love you from mountains men can’t climb,
I can love you from places where there’s no space or time.
I can love you in light and darkness just the same,
For my love is so powerful in cannot be tamed or contained.
I can love you underwater, 10,000 feet deep,
I can love you without oxygen, because you’re the air that I breathe.
I can love you up close and a millions miles away,
I love you in the past, future and especially present day.
I can love you so deeply and strong, and with perfect aim,
I love you so much, I can love you passed your pain.