A Chinese legend says that a person has four faces; a face around your friends, a face around your family, a face around someone you like/are in love with, and a face for when you’re all alone. To me, all those faces are the same because in all honesty I’m a liar. I lie everyday to myself and everyone around me. I lie to my friends, I hide the truth from my family, I don’t have anyone that I love anymore and I always send my reflection a fake smile after long minutes of calming down post a session full of sobs and hiccups.
I am not who I say I am, the truth is I can’t even tell the person who’s reading this who I am. I believe that strangers tend to listen better and we keep each other’s secrets with more loyalty in some ways.
The cold truth about people like me or people who feel different like me is that we can never truly be free. You can’t escape a disorder because it has buried itself deep within you and has created memories in your mind that morphed into permanent scars on your body. You can’t escape your sexuality because it’s a part of who you are, with or without the labels – you are still not complete without your sexuality. You can’t erase your trauma because it’s what gives you an instinct to flinch every time someone tries to touch you without your approval.
I am gay. I am bipolar. I am so traumatized from a simple action that I flinch every time my dad touches me.
If you’re wondering, I am a person of color and I do live in Egypt. It says muslim on my ID. I am a target. I’m a target of possible death if I go somewhere else because I’m a brown muslim and I’m a target here if I come out because people like me who have been created by god, go to hell. Despite our irrelevance of choice in the matter of who we become attracted to in this short life.
My secret is hard to keep. It’s hard to keep because so many people know it. Even members of my family, the new generation of them at least. But there’s this one person who always brushes me off because they are more on the religious side I guess and they are hoping and praying that their family is absolutely pure of any so-called mistakes. My parents know – of course they know. All parents know when their kid is gay but what they want is for you to do them a favor and pretend that it’s not true.
Your parents want you to be true to yourself but only to the you that they know and if we all know anything about Arabs, it’s that none of us are what our parents think we are. Somehow a man that sleeps around and drinks all night and is constantly going at people for simply being themselves is better than a simple person that likes someone from the same sex.
I guess sometimes it feels like I’d rather be dead than live like a prisoner my entire life. This reminds me of a man in a wheelchair, constantly watching marathons and the Olympics and smiling at the runners but knowing he can’t be like them. It’s not the right simile, though because if I were in that man’s place, at least I know there could be some hope. But I’m not him.
I’m gay and I live in homophobic, Islamic country – in a family with some quite similar values. It’s like I’m watching my entire life pass me by on video. I’m drowning, I thought I knew how to swim but I guess I forgot.
I lie to everyone around me because I’m simply not myself around everyone even those who know about my sexuality. There is not one person that knows me. I wish I had someone , even a stranger who simply knew me – the real me. I wish my life wasn’t some sort of sad montage on a really good movie with a plot twist.
I’m so sorry. I’m sorry to everyone who feels the same way. I’m sorry to everyone who thinks that being gay is a choice, that we choose to cry and be suicidal and depressed about the one thing we cannot change. I’m sorry if you look at me and think that I will go to hell, I’m even more sorry that you think I don’t know my own religion. I’m sorry if you hated reading this, I’m sorry if you hate me, I’m sorry that you knew.
I’m sorry that I’m drowning. I’m sorry that I’m caged.
The water is filling my lungs, my head, and the tears are no longer there. My hands hurt from trying to break free and I think the chains have left a mark. I can’t swim anymore, I don’t think I’m drowning anymore.
I’m so sorry.