Maintaining Family-ties is very central to most traditional Africans. An attempt to disrupt that could be suicidal. That was my case for many years. I was ready to do all it takes to maintain it, because as they say blood is thicker than water.
I grew up in a family of two sisters and one brother, as the last child. My father was more or less the only child of his parents. He was raised by his aunt and through her, she had one sister and two brothers (never call them cousins; there is no vocabulary for that in Yoruba culture). I always felt a great bond with my siblings and with my extended family as well. Both were often robed with “aso-ebi” during ceremonies. But, is blood really thicker than water?
As a young man conscious of his ambiguous sexuality, I was deeply confused with no one to confide in. I lived most of my pubescent to adulthood alone and in fear because of this reality. My anxiety was around the shame I could bring to the family and the rejection I would suffer. To avoid that, I was on the run from myself. I ran away from a profession I had passion for (comedy) to becoming a Catholic Priest, my second choice career. The priesthood stood as the stage shutter between me and those who may question my sexuality. It turned me to the fan and fancy of my family and friends, until I came out.
Not only did I come out, I also took exit from the Catholic priesthood to live an openly gay life. Wow! Those moves shook the foundation of my family-ties and made me ask if blood was indeed thicker than water. I could make a book out of the responses I got from my family and siblings in spoken words, e-mails and hard-copy letters. The pre-occupation of some was the shame my coming out brought to the family while leaving the priesthood was the indignity others could not stand.
Through the thickness of the blood, some found their way away from me but others remain. I guess the blood is thicker than water and thinner than air. But my assumption would have no conclusion until I see their facial expressions when one day we meet again after a decade away from each other. As for my parents, they are resting in peace and no torment of family tie shall disturb that rest. Amen.
Copyright © 2011 John Ademola-teju Adewoye.