Examining My Maleness, Sexuality, and Black Masculinity
There’s no wrong way, nor is there a deadline, to just be.
Me with my hands folded.
The everyday slights, indignities, put downs and insults that people of colour, women, LGBT populations or those who are marginalized experiences in their day-to-day interactions with people.
As I’ve educated and opened and myself up more on specifics regarding my sexuality, I’ve generally felt more free to just let myself wander — to let this ‘I-don’t-know’ just frolic like a carefree child. Things I have asked myself is how I would feel if I had liked someone who was also a man, someone of the same gender and sexual identity, and the obvious, inevitable queerphobic repercussions that would follow me from my family, to so-called “friends,” and from the rest of the people in this queerphobic/anti-Black country.
With my family, I felt like there still remained an invisible and intolerant barrier, particularly between my mother and I.Me with my hands folded.
In gender-exploring my being from wearing make up to painting my nails and openly showing them off, in a passing conversation, she did nothing but ask me a question: what the color of my nails were. It implicitly sounded as though it functioned in the same nature as a small-talk type question, like a that’s-cool-please-get-it-away-from-me.
My cousins and my sister have accepted me. My uncle is not aware that I have been looking outside this shell of stereotypical Black/Haitian manly manness. From my aunts, they appeared to have accepted that I have been questioning the way I have been being in the world, though I haven’t the means to really tell them how I’ve felt about looking at men, complimenting men, finding men physically and sexually attractive, being sexually and physically attracted to men, and probably more?
Part of me feels obligated to tell my aunts, yet I’ve felt that my revealing my ventures to them might result in them outing me, and making all sorts of queerphobic assumptions about me to their friends and other folks. Another part of me feels as though I do not owe them any tellings or narratives of my sexuality and sexual explorations.
Validation, is essential to maintaining and heightening any sort of relationship, but validation is not necessarily obligatory. In varying situations and circumstances, not everyone I’d request validation from is going to give it to me, even if it’s from blood.
Though, in writing this, I’ve felt a juxtaposition of emotions manifest, from impending anticipation, wanting, arising near the pit of my stomach, to a calming elation. Impending, because of my own swelling, internalized fear of being a being outside of who I have taught I should be, and rigorously doing what I have been told because I would be appeasing my mother’s whims my whole life.
Elation, because I am being who I have let myself be to my immediate blood family and non-blood family, just people who I have felt I have had a strong connection with, being who I have let myself be in this queerphobic/anti-Black, sanist/ableist, capitalist country, being who I have let myself be, most importantly and especially, to and for myself, also being in not being a socially acceptable being for others?
I take Sartre’s saying, being condemned to be free a bit to heart, because while it is woefully dreadful to accept this responsibility of being to be, every day that I am alive, by oneself, there’s no wrong way to be, nor is there a deadline to just be.
An all too familiar nostalgia — a central desire fabricated from Caribbean-born parent[s], and their relatives who might have also taken part in raising their children, is nothing but the infantalizing, heterocentric narrative, of how I am my mother’s only [Black/Haitian] son, and how she routinely awaits the day of when I would bear a child with a woman — for her.
I have already confirmed to myself that I am not going to have children, nor adopt them. Yet part of what unsettles me on a day to day basis is the disquieting fact that the only me she wants to know and remember, is the me she has abused, the me that she has had control over, even if it was achieved through her imagination of me. I am more free to know that she has no power over this becoming-me, and I am also sometimes disillusioned with the fear that it is a reality unveiling itself, that this me, this becoming-me, is the me she will never accept.
As far as what I want in exploring myself, who I am interested in, and who I would want to be with romantically is nebulous. How might I express that I am bewildered with knowing that I do not know? Did I mention that I am also frustrated with this me that is an I-don’t know? Because I know from the fascist, settler-colonial, cisheteropatriarchal, white supremacist, American hegemonic powers that still exist, I am taught to routinely internalize insistences of conforming to performing rigorous acts of doing and b_eing to be a fixed way_, as if they were demands — demands from someone else?
Something else? Curiosity and being leave me to figure out that if I am to confirm that I am physically, emotionally, or sexually, attracted to anyone, it does not mean that my attractions are fixed, nor are they figured out. Again and again, is the rest up to me to continue to decide for as long as I’m being.