Dance with my mother

To be in her presence is to take off my shoes
and dance wearing the shoes of another
For my shoes are seen as not good enough
my shoes are seen as damaged
my shoes are seen as flawed.
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Don’t ask, Don’t tell

I remember bumping into a cousin on my way home, one early evening about eight years ago. I remember it so well because the conversation we had, has always stayed with me.

The encounter had happened many years after my so-called ‘coming out to the world’ phase. That coming out journey had meant that I had come to be comfortable within the gay scene and all that it brought. I had experienced the ups and downs of a long-term relationship, as well as the casual flings that I had hoped would lead somewhere. My close friends and mother knew I was gay and whilst I did not experience the acceptance of everyone I had revealed myself to, I was at a place in my life where I felt really comfortable about how I was – well, that is what I thought, until that encounter one early evening. More

Coming out to my Father

I never got to come out to my father. And it was only after his passing that I came to learn that he knew about the elephant in the room, he had simply never asked me and I had simply never told.

The first time I found out that he knew about the elephant in the room, was in the summer of 1989. My mother was visiting London from Nigeria, and one afternoon during a heated telling-off from her, she said ‘so I hear that you are now following men around’.

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The price of integrity

There are a few of words that I have begun to notice that I use a lot in my conversations. The words come up in a variety of situations, not just with friends but in different personal and professional situations. Those words are ‘congruence’, ‘authentic’ and ‘integrity’.

When I first noticed the regular appearance of these words a few years ago, I came to accept that I was using the words in an aspirational sense and was not really ‘walking the talk’ when it came to the essence of those words. For there were many moments where I was still selling out, compromising, playing small or hiding my True Self. To live a congruent and authentic life, a life of integrity, is something that I certainly aspire to and day-after-day, and I now realise that it is an ongoing process and not necessarily a destination.  I love this extract from Wikipedia: More

Saying ‘I love you!’

In my adolescence, I was always hypnotized by those moments in movies or novels where the couple would say ‘I love you’ to one another. Or where the parents would say ‘I love you’ to one of their children. For me, this was not something that happened in my reality. They were three words I grew up never hearing; although in the imaginary world I had constructed for myself, I heard those words time and time again.

Expressing love through words was not something that was a done thing in my household. Love was expressed through ‘things’.  So I got to learn that my parents loved me when they got me ‘things’. And I came to interpret them not getting me ‘things’ as a sign of disapproval or rejection. More

Reflections on being different and the journey towards self-acceptance

There are two stories my foster mum recounts from my childhood each time I see her. No matter how many times I hear those stories, it always feels like the first time, with me hanging onto every word she utters.

The first story is from when I was about 4, and I went with the family to see ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’. When the song ‘The beautiful briny sea’ came on, I burst into song. Not only did I sing, but sang loudly in the crowded cinema. My foster brother told me to keep quiet, as I was disturbing people, to which I responded firmly, ‘no, I know the words and I am going to sing along’. And so I continued singing. More

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