I hid most of my entire life to please my family and to forget the abuse and bullying. I have recently introduced my family to the real me, their gay son, brother, uncle and father. They only knew the person I showed everyone, the person I thought everyone else expected me to be. I lived a hidden life because it was a life I never came to terms with, never revealed and lived, until recently.
There are so many things I did not allow them to know about me and that is my fault because I could not deal with the life that was dealt to me. I was born the youngest child in a family of five children. During my first few years of life, I developed bronchitis, which caused me to be the sick kid in our family. My mother spent a lot of time making sure I was taken care of getting me to the doctors for weekly shots. I think that this caused the rest of the kids in our family some resentment towards me because it drew additional attention on me. This caused much animosity between my next older sibling and me, to the point that he beat me out of revenge.
At about the age of 7 years old, I felt different from my brothers. I felt like I was not the same as other boys, and because I was too young, I could not figure it out. I felt the same around my own my boy cousins or kids in school. I did not feel the same as them and looking back I feel my brother may have sensed that I was gay before I did, and it made him feel different about me. I am not suggesting that, it is just the way I felt about us.
I remember that during our younger years mom put my older brother in charge of watching over me. This was a responsibility that I am not sure he was 100% interested in taking on, but he had no choice because mom and dad forced him. During this time when I was 9 years old a horrible nightmare happened to me that will never be erased from my mind.
It was a winter Saturday afternoon and my brother and I headed over to play at our cousin’s house. Down the block from their house was Goldblatt’s Department store. We decided to head over to Goldblatt’s to get out of the cold and get candy. We were just kids and we decided to hang out in the store and play hide and go seek. It was my turn to be the seeker and find the guys while they hid. A few minutes into the game I had to go to the bathroom. I remember mom and dad telling me not to use the public bathroom without being with them or my older brothers, but I had to go and could not find my brother.
This particular day would be one that changed my life for forever. This day I lost my innocence and would never be the same again. I will not replay the entire story because until this day I die inside reliving this event. I was raped this day in the bathroom at Goldblatt’s Department Store. After the attack I was left on the floor and felt like I was going to die, I picked myself up and ran home, not even remembering that my brother and cousin were still in the store. I just wanted to hide and forget that it happened, and the man that took my youth from me threatened to track me down and kill me if I spoke a word.
I ran home and went up to our bedroom and climbed into the closet and cried until my brother came home. When he entered the room he pulled me out of the closet and beat me up. He was mad because he was responsible for me, and I left. It was not his fault he did not know that an hour earlier a man a raped and attempted to kill me.
My family is now asking me, why didn’t you tell anyone, and why did you hide? Well the man told me if I said anything to anyone he would track me down and kill me and my family. I was a kid, I was frightened for my life and thought that my family and I would be at risk. Years later this decision of hiding this event would haunt me more than you could imagine and I cannot even tell you the details at this point.
That year in spring of 1972 I flunked the 3rd grade at the Public School and mom and dad transferred me to our parish Catholic School that next fall. You see, no one in our family saw what I was going through, but it was because I hid it. I was ashamed what had happened and started to feel that the rape became my fault and I lead this person to do this to me.
Strangely enough as the next few years went by, I started to feel I was not right in my skin. The odd thing is that I felt my brother knew this. I think because he teased me that I was a sissy and because I was not like him and my other brother made me feel even worse in my skin. I remember that at one point my friend Jeff and I were being bullied by a kid at school. He was calling us fags, and my brother caught wind of it and made me beat him up the next time he picked on me. My brother told me that if I did not beat him up he would beat me up. I hated that but wanted to make him proud. That was sick, but I did it so my big brother would be proud of me and accept me.
The story goes on. I realized during my teens I was gay but hid, because I knew my family would never accept me nor could I figure out how to even act out on my feelings. As years went on, I learned how to please everyone that loved me because I was afraid to disappoint them. Although I had gay feelings, I never acted upon them because I did not want to lose my family and the people that loved me.
For the rest of my life I became a pro at pleasing everyone that loved me, not even thinking about myself or what made me happy. It was more important to please everyone else and just put my own feelings aside. It was easier and pleased the people that loved me. Deep down inside I began to hate myself and did not care about living. I wished at times to be hit by a truck or shot by a gang member just to put myself out of the life I created, which was not what I chose.
To make a long story short, I married two women and lived the life everyone else expected of me, pretending I was happy. The one wonderful gift I got out of it all was a daughter, and I thank God every day for allowing me to be her father. I tried so hard for many years to be normal (what was normal for my family) but deep down inside I was dying. I hated myself. Finally at one point I met a wonderful man named Derrick. I introduced him to the family as my friend. Derrick was in love with me and begged me to come out and marry him and share a life together. He made me so happy, but when it came to making my decision to share my life with him I walked away. I knew my family would not accept my life as a gay man so I walked away from the first man that made me happy.
A few years later after hiding my sexuality from my family, I met my ex-partner (big mistake). He was not the person I wanted to be with because I knew he was bad for me, but he did give me the confidence to stand up for myself and come out. God I wish it could have been with anyone else but with him to come out to, my family but life deals the cards and you just go with the game. Well the next few years my ex-partner drained me of my life and almost every dime I earned. I had to leave my condo home that I finally purchased on my own to move back with my brother, mom and dad. My life meant nothing any more. I have a beautiful daughter the love of my life, but inside I felt empty and every day felt like it just should end. I did not want to go on anymore. When my Dad was dying, my brother was out of work, and mom was doing her best to keep things going, but I just wanted to end it all. I began to act out and doing things that never was the norm for me. I started to indulge into over the counter drugs and drinking way too much. I did not care about life and nothing mattered except to please my family.
Throughout our childhood and adult life my brother picked on me and at times beat me up. He may have felt it was sibling rivalry but to me it was hurt and pain. I was frightened of him my entire life and at times thought he would kill me because he hated me. Last February my brother and I got into an argument. That night my brother said in front of our mother and niece that I was a faggot and he hated me his entire life and then threatened to kill me if I did not leave. That day I relived the day of being raped at 9 years old. A man had threatened to kill to have sex with me and then I came home where my older brother who was responsible for taking care of me beat me up. That day this past February was an awakening for me. I decided that I would never again live with any more violence and abuse. I hid my entire life from abuse and bullying and will no longer let it back into my life.
I have moved on with my life. It is not the life my family would like for me but it is the life I have always wanted. I have fallen in love with a wonderful warm man. He loves me completely for me and we have begun to build a happy life together.