My Father & I

Dad 327 January 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the death my father.

I found myself counting down the days, as the 27th approached. 20 years felt significant. I was going to write a blog on the day sharing some reflections on my relationship with him. But when the day finally came, I found that whilst I do experience writing as deeply cathartic and healing, on this occasion it was potentially going to be a way for me to escape from the emotions that were coming up. And so, writing about it faded into the background.

I was having lunch with a dear friend last week, our conversation soon led to us talking about our parents. I mentioned the 20th anniversary. I told my friend that what really struck me was how much I have changed over the past 20 years, and that the 26-year-old that I was when my father died is a distant memory. If I had changed so much over the years, then my father would have certainly done the same, had he still been alive.

It is impossible for me to accurately imagine what my father would be like had he still been here, or what the nature of our relationship would be like. It often feels like he is frozen in time, whenever I think about him. And it feels unfair to both of us to apply the eyes of yesterday to our relationship of today; albeit a non-physical relationship!

As the past 20 years have unfolded, I have come to see my father through the lenses of three chapters – childhood, adolescence and adulthood. More

The dilemma of Lot’s Wife – To look back or not!

Ade FBOne of the tales that has always stayed with me from the “Sunday School of my childhood” is the story of “Sodom & Gomorrah”. Now, it would be easy to base this on the fact that I am gay, and that the story of Sodom is often used by fundamentalists to chastise gay people. But, that is not the case. Long before I knew for sure that I was gay, I knew about the story of Sodom.

More specifically, I knew about the story of Lot’s wife. It was a story that our Sunday School teachers would come back to, time and time again, and it was certainly the most haunting of the bible stories from that period of my life. I was fascinated by the story of this woman who was turned into a pillar of salt! I guess the story felt like it was straight out of 1001 Arabian Nights or Greek Mythology – two other delights from my childhood. More

Let’s do lunch soon!

P1020795It’s that time of year when familiar faces from days gone by are starting to reemerge. Like something lost down a deep well, over the past couple of weeks old friends and acquaintances are resurfacing – and I guess to some, I am also doing the same.

I suspect it has to do with it being that time of the year where many of us are reflecting – consciously and unconsciously – on what the year brought and what it is taking away.

An aspect of the reappearing familiar face is where that conversation subsequently ends. I find that in many cases it concludes with the phrase – “Let’s do lunch soon”. There are many other variations to this – “Let’s do coffee soon”, “Let’s have dinner soon”, “Let’s catch up in the new year” – and I’m sure there are many many other variations. More

The time procrastination almost got in the way!

Black and GayA few months ago I had the honour and pleasure of having one of my stories included in the anthology “Black and Gay in the UK“.  A copy of the book has found its resting place in our living room, and yesterday evening it found its way into my hands, as I found myself delving into one of its many stories.

Since its publication, I have found that I want to savour each and every story, like a delicious treat that I do not wish to end. And so, every now and then, I’ll pick up the book and reread a tale or discover a new one.

Last night, I discovered a new one and in the process I reconnected with the younger version of myself who longed to know that he was not the only one who felt ‘different’ from the other boys. That younger self who yearned to find a place where he was loved and accepted exactly as he was. That younger self who craved for connection and belonging.

More

In conversation with Davis Mac-Iyalla about being Gay, Christian and Nigerian

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you” Maya Angelou

1507985_285679694934031_6880274239554176875_nOutTales: Davis congratulations on your recently published book. You chose as its title “Fiyabo“, which I understand in your native Nigerian language means ‘Survivor’. What made you decide to go with that title?
Davis Mac-Iyalla: I choose that title as a reminder that no matter the persecutions LGBTI Nigerians are facing, we will not give up hope. We are a survivors who will achieve victory in the end.

OutTales: During your time in Nigeria you went through periods of imprisonment, torture, violent attack, and a string of death threats. What stopped you from taking the path that many other same gender loving people have taken, which is to get married to the opposite sex and thereby conform to the expectations of family?
Davis Mac-Iyalla: Those who take those paths do it for social and family acceptability. The reason that people do that does not matter to me, but for me I will never live a lie. Being gay is in my nature, I will never try to pretend to be something that I am not. More

Aside

The Past Is A Foreign Country

My talented friend Francois Lubbe made a short film about my journey with storytelling, the piece is titled ‘The Past Is A Foreign Country’.

This short film takes a brief but in-depth look at the positive impact and healing power of storytelling, and how its application and practice can transform lives.

The Past Is A Foreign Country from Little Red Shoes on Vimeo.

“Sometimes, the best way to move forward in life is by looking back—even if the story of our past is one we want to forget”

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