July 14, 2017 at 1:39 pm #158156
So, in a few of my posts I've mentioned my past from time to time, and in this post I just wanted to tell everyone my… life story I guess, and, which you can probably guess from the title, is going to be as candid as I can possibly tell it. So, here goes nothing. I apologise if it seems long, I might remember things as I go along.
I was born in London in 2000 (if I was born 3 days earlier I would have been born in 1999) to a Nigerian father and an English mother. I have 2 sisters, both older than me, and three brothers, all of them falling somewhere on the Autistic Spectrum. I don't really remember this part of my life, but when I was 3-4 years old, I moved to the North East of England to a place called Hemlington. I treated my brothers horribly, and there are still home videos of me attacking my brothers for no reason whatsoever. I went to a Roman Catholic school, and we suffered a lot of racist abuse from people that lived near us. I believe my Dad was attacked with a Machete at one point, and I had an incident while I was in the bath (I think I was 4 at this point) that left me with a scar in a pretty embarrassing place. We moved for a third and final time to Middlesbrough, where I've lived for the past 13-14 years.
Again we were subject to racist abuse. My Mum told me about a time when me and my older siblings went to the park and we were accosted by a group of teenagers. I don't remember any of this, but my Mum seems to think this is why I am as quiet and introverted as I am, and she posited this same explanation for my older sisters too. I started Primary School when I was 5, and, while I don't remember a lot of the “bullying” that took place, I remember being excluded from a lot of things. Whether this was because of the colour of my skin or my complete and utter social awkwardness, I don't know. I was always very shy, and I wouldn't even look at people when they spoke to me. By the end of Primary School I had a fairly small group of close friends. I always did as I was told and seldom were the times I would ever get told off by a teacher. I however, did not like dealing with strict teachers or teachers who yelled a lot.
Unbeknown to me at the time, a lot of drama begun to unfold between my parents and my siblings, of course, my Dad was always very strict, short tempered, and has been known to chase after us and hit us if we really got on his nerves. My sister discovered her sexuality at around age 20, and, my Dad being from the Muslim, African background he is (though he says he's not religious, something I will get onto later) was disgusted and almost kicked my sister out of the house. She was kicked out of the house, but because she had written a letter in my mother's room about the many issues she had with both Mum and Dad and the way they treated her, so my Mum came to the conclusion that “if she doesn't want to be here she doesn't have to be.” My eldest brother began stealing and lying from my parents, and many were the times my Dad would ask Nigel questions over and over again until he got the truth out of him. When that didn't happen, he would chase him around the house and beat it out of him. But I'm getting away from the point.
I think my relationship with my parents began to deteriorate when I was around 11. I started secondary school at this age, and contrary to how I began primary School, people were VERY interested in me. I didn't understand why, I was very quiet, I had a very hard time with keeping conversation, I was a nerd, I had pretty unpopular music tastes… yet people did this for almost the entirety of my school life. I at first thought it was because they weren't used to seeing black people, as my school wasn't very racially diverse, but people were overly friendly up until the year before I left school. This was also around the time my brother became estranged from the family, and I think it started over him declining a friend request I sent on Facebook, and then a status about “how annoying it is when kids try to add him.” My parents were upset about this, and asked him to come over. He said he had another commitment and had to stay at home or something to that effect, but my Mum says that when my Dad and her were coming back from shopping, they saw him walking directly past our house. I'm not quite sure what happened after this, but I didn't see my brother for another 3 years.
At this point in my life, I began hating everything about being black. The hair, the lips, the much more noticeable scars (I have eczema which I try my best to keep under control, in addition to having sensitive skin. I also began to get acne scars that took their sweet time healing.) I wanted to be anything but a black guy. I think this was because I really didn't have any black people around me besides my immediate family (I don't know my grandparents and have met a handful of people from my Mum's family several times and no-one from my Dad's family) and comparing myself to others. Fortunately, I am no longer in this place, and wouldn't trade my blackness for anything.
When I was about 13, I discovered I was attracted to guys, and began to look up how gay people were treated around the world, and to say it was distressing would be an understatement. I found out that Nigeria, an African countries, were one of the many African countries to treat gay people with scorn, both judicially and socially. There was no sanctuary for them. I also realised my Dad most likely has this attitude as well, and made sure it was kept secret. I confided in my Mother first who said she would not tell Dad, 3 older siblings at separate points, and friends. I also grew increasingly distant from my Dad, as he began to emotionally abuse me for mistakes I made quite often. I believe this was because he believed he had failed Nigel, and was much harder on me as a result.
In February 2014, I was almost put into foster care. After coming home from school, my Mum said she had told my very homophobic Dad I was gay. Terrified, I packed everything I could and tried to leave before he got back. I had asked a friend from school and my two elder siblings (my brother was speaking to us again at this point) if I could live with them in the event my Dad found out, to which they said yes. My Dad eventually got home, found out about my arrangement, called my sister a “stupid bitch”, and said he would drive to her house and tell her to mind her own business. He had also insisted that I wasn't gay throughout the week, and threatened to kill me while my Mum was sat behind me the day she had broke the news to him.
Over the course of the next few days, my Dad would lecture me about how people would try and manipulate me into living their “lifestyle” and thought that being trans and being gay were the same thing. He called both groups of people “disgusting” and “sick.” He found me watching TV shows with gay couples in them, and confiscated any electronic devices I had. He gave them back to me within this same week with a warning. I also twisted my testicle and had to undergo surgery to remove said testicle a week after this incident had taken place, so I went through a lot.
My Dad “got to the end of his tether” and asked me to log into my Facebook to see who had been “influencing me to be gay.” My Mum read back to me a conversation I had with my sister about what happened, with one particularly scathing line reading “I don't think she realises the damage she has done.” At this point, my Dad did not want me to be in his life any more, and offered to put me in foster care. I wanted to be away from them as much as they didn't want to deal with me anymore. They then reneged on this decision for reasons unknown to me. I had my surgery a few days later and returned to school as if nothing had happened.
I began to resent my mother for what I saw was her causing everything that happened over that week. Only now do I understand my role in that situation, and how I would carry that as a chip on my shoulder for years, and would go as far as to tell people I tried to kill myself (I had suicidal thoughts, but I never attempted to act on said thoughts) afterwards and although I have little to no desire to keep contact with my parents at this point, I understand they both did the best they could with what they had. After this, I believe my Mum had me join youth clubs to keep me out of the house.
6 months after this incident, I was asked by a youth club leader to do a review. At one point he asked me about familial relations, health etc. Many were the times my parents said “Myles, you need to choose what you tell people”, “Myles”, you wear your heart on your sleeve”, “Myles, people don't need to know everything.” This seemed to come from an incident that happened when I was 7, in which I'd told a teacher my Dad had hit me. I told this youth club leader everything that had happened 6 months earlier, had said I hated my father, said that I wished he would die, and would had dreams where this took place. I hated how he spoke to me (I made mistakes very often, sometimes the same ones), and I hated how if I dared say anything back, I was met with emotional abuse, and how it was his way or the highway. After this meeting, he told me social workers would be attached to our family.
My Mum had a deep seated distrust and enmity towards social workers. I believe it was because after my (I had a 3rd sister who died of cot death at 3 months old 6 years before I was born.) sister's death, she felt she was treated poorly and kept in the dark. I'm not sure what her other reasons were. She would tell me how they are nosy and how they should keep out of other people's lives, and would yet again tell me how people don't need to know certain things and how it was my fault social workers were now involved. They said they would be with my family for half a year and if they saw that everything was well, they would move on to another family. My Mum would be nice to these support workers while they were here, and when they were gone, she would tell me how they never do their jobs, they like to judge and criticise parents etc. I had 3 support workers attached to my family over the course of a year and a half, excluding the one that is attached to my brothers.
I got into my first relationship when I was 15, with someone called James, and I'd known it was a bad idea from the beginning, mostly due to my parents, but also because this guy would say he loved me within 3 hours of meeting me. He seemed more like a friend with benefits to me. I had to sneak around to avoid detection from my parents if I wanted to see him. After 3 weeks, he broke up with me using the words “Can we just be friends I'm not ready for a relationship”, only for me to find out 3 weeks later he had gotten with someone else while he was with me and then dumped me an hour later. I confronted him about this and told him I had no interest in speaking to him anymore.
Over a month later, I confronted James again and demanded he tell me the truth. He insisted he did not cheat, and said he was finished talking with me about it. A few minutes later, he spoke to me again, but it turned out it was the person he'd cheated on me with, Adam, who was speaking to me. We began going over inconsistencies in James's story, and came to the conclusion he had played both of us.
I might have gotten peace of mind if I never got to see James again. Actually, now that I think about it, it wasn't really the cheating that hurt me, it was a “you have wronged me so I should wrong you back , and you're not allowing me to do that” thing. I told everyone I could about how conniving and deceptive this guy was, but he had told his own version of the story : in which I had been the one doing the cheating. He even tried to warn people not to speak to me. This as only the beginning of my problems.
At the end of the first month of school, and after much gloating and taunting from Adam about how James had chosen him over me, they broke up. I had kind of seen this coming, and me and Adam began to bond over our experiences with him and how he was never the person we thought he was. A month later, Adam had confessed he was in love with me, and, knowing I still harboured resentment over James, I dishonestly reciprocated those feelings, and we began going out. Adam's father was homophobic, so he was in the same position I was, but it seemed as if me not telling his Dad was more important than him not telling his parents (partly because there was a far less chance of my parents finding out, to this day they think I have never been in a relationship.)
So, we began going out, and he'd told me not to tell anyone we were together, for fear his father would find out, even people who didn't know Adam existed before I'd told them. We got into multiple arguments, mostly because I had told people, and had even told James in anger at one point.
This next experience changed me as a person. I began going to a dance academy Adam attended, which was also a bad idea (I'm beginning to see a pattern here) because of cost, transport, and the fact that I was already going to one. It was actually Adam's friend (who would come on to me even during my relationship with Adam, and told me he had slept with his sister's boyfriend within half an hour of meeting me. He had even asked me out on a date at one point.) who convinced me to go. My parents barely scraped enough money to get me there, and it was very difficult for me to get to and from this academy (I was doing my GCSE's at the time and was coming back at 10 PM at night after being there for 3-4 hours when I had revision to do) and my other dance teacher got annoyed with me because I had been missing lessons to go there and could not afford to go to both places.
In December 2015, someone at the academy I had began going to began talking to me. He was 20 years old and although I was 15, I saw no reason not to speak to him as he and I attended the same place and did the same thing. He got to know me and I got o know him, but there were a few red flags I ran into. One not so much of a red flag was him calling me a “good looking lad”, and the second red flag was him talking about masturbation when I thought he was talking about having a drink. Here's where things get really grim
On New Year's Eve 2015, Adam was drinking. I thought it was a special occasion and I was older than Adam so why shouldn't I drink. I was also speaking to Brandon at this time, and had told him I was trying to get drunk. He then asked me if I wanted to play 10 questions, and, because I didn't know what that was, I said yes. He then asked me if I would be okay with him asking me to undo certain articles of clothing, to which I said yes, partly because I was unhappy in my relationship with Adam, I had a pretty active sex drive and still do to this day (sorry if that's TMI, I'm just trying to be as honest as I can be here, even if it hurts or it's ugly) and partly because some of me still cared for Adam and I thought “If I give him what he wants he'll leave me alone.” But he didn't. We got onto Whatsapp and he sent me a picture of his butt, and said “so how about you.” Still trying to convince myself I was doing it for Adam and that he'd go away, I sent a picture of my semi-erect penis to him. Adam had told me to send screenshots of what was happening back to him so he could see what was happening (I couldn't tell Brandon I was in a relationship.) At this point, he had thought I had cheated on him, and broke up with me. I spent the rest of NYE throwing up and feeling like I was a horrid human being who deserved every bit of pain that came his way.
This feeling followed me into the next day, so I sent Adam a long message saying how sorry I was for what happened and that I would do anything to have him back, and his friend replied 7 hours later telling me I'm a dirty cheater nd that Adam deserves better etc. And I agreed with every word she said. However, at the end of the day, after ignoring me, Adam said he saw us getting together in the near future, but then said he wanted to be with me now, he then got on Webcam and spoke to me for 20 minutes, ended the call, and said he only said it because he felt sorry for me, to which I said “I want you to get back with me because you love me, not because you pity me.”
He would change his mind constantly, telling me we had a future one day and saying he wanted nothing to do with me the next. The crippling guilt guided everything I did, and even showed in my walk. A teacher noticed this and asked if I wanted to speak to anyone. I spoke to my Head of Year, and he told me he would have to tell my parents about this, something I was expecting and so was not angry at. My Mum said she would confiscate my electronic devices (she never did) and that she would call the police. They came to my house when I came home from school that day, and before they confiscated my phone, Adam told me to delete any evidence we were in a relationship. Within a week, I had no choice but to leave the academy, and still carried my guilt around with me. I was phoneless for around 7-8 months after this.
Throughout the month Adam would act in an extremely volatile way towards me, and I said nothing, because I thought I deserved everything that was happening to me. I never knew if it was safe to talk to him or not. Even on my birthday (3rd January), I had no money because I had paid everything to the dance instructor who I realised had scammed me at this point, doubling what he had first offered me. My guilt also made it nigh on impossible to enjoy anything that happened that day. I didn't get a birthday cake, and I didn't get any presents from anyone besides the people at the academy who had grown to like me.
2 months later, I had walked to where Adam lived (a half hour's walk from me) and it was very late at night. I had heard him call my name, but because I was unsure of where I stood with him, and more importantly I couldn't see him, and arrived home to a message telling me I was inconsiderate and that I should have said hello back.I told him I could not see him and that he had told me he didn't want to speak to me anyway. Before this, Adam had repeatedly admonished me for leaving the academy, telling me I was ruining my future, and at one point had blamed me for the entire incident, telling me that calling the police was an overreaction.
After repeated implorations from friends to get rid of Adam because he was toxic, I finally did in May 2016, to which Adam gave a snide response. One day, in August of 2016, I broke down. I cried and I cried and I cried all the tears I had told myself I didn't deserve to cry because I had no-one to blame but myself for what happened. And that's when I found Tiny Buddha. I felt like the heavens had opened up, as a lot of the things I felt were completely normal. I began to love myself for who I was, finally. I'm now, in July 2017, more comfortable with myself than I've ever been.
I procrastinate a lot. I'm sometimes over-sensitive. I hate admitting when I'm wrong, I sometimes immediately go into victim mode when something happens, I hate conflict, I can be condescending, and I am terrified I will cheat again, even at the place I'm at now. But despite everything that has happened to me in the past 6-7 years of my life, I can finally say “I love being Myles” without, cringing, squirming, or trying to criticise myself for being cocky or disguise it as “just being honest with myself.” I passed my first year of college with flying colours and am in the process of moving out. This is my truth.July 14, 2017 at 4:42 pm #158188
You have been through a lot at such a young age. Not many people even three or four times your age can say that they love themselves. You sound very mature for someone who is only 17 or 18, and having been through so much at such a young age, perhaps you can realize before most people do what is most important to you and focus on that, instead of allowing yourself to be affected by other people, many of whom you won't even remember by the time you are thirty. I just wanted to tell you that no matter how you are treated because you are black or gay, that it's stuff to do with other people, their experiences, and doesn't really have anything to do with you. Just be the type of person who you want to, and try to know who you want to become.
July 14, 2017 at 11:16 pm #158220
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by Mark.
Thank you Mark, I was trying my best not to come across as a victim when I was telling this, I was just trying to tell the truth, some of the things I wrote here I've never told anyone. I also forgot a few things as I was writing, because like you aid, a lot has happened. The hardest thing for me a lot of the times is letting go, falling into a victim mentality happens very easily sometimes, without me even knowing it at first.July 15, 2017 at 7:47 am #158246
Your personable, pleasant, engaging personality comes through very clearly in your writing. You express yourself with such easy-going, flowing honesty that it is a pleasant experience reading your share regardless of the details. The difficult topics you bring up: family abuse and betrayal, racism, homophobia- all are presented in a light hearted manner and yet they are not minimized or trivialized: this very combination is unusual.
Thank you for sharing, hope to read more from you.
anitaJuly 15, 2017 at 8:26 am #158250
What an intense lifeline to say the least. It saddens me to no end knowing that even to this day, this century, that so much hate and prejudice is alive and well. Incidentally the license plate on my car reads NEG8H8. It is not that difficult to figure out except for a few. So my license plate frame explains it…NEGATE HATE…thought I'd throw that in…I often times ask myself why there is so much of that going on that there is no singular reason. I think there are as many reasons for hate and prejudice to exist as there are as many people that do. There are also just as many reasons to love as there are as many people that do. My latest thought as to why these two particular personalities of society exist is because hate and prejudice are internalized in such a way that it seems to be the norm as a result of being exposed to it from infancy. Imagine a world where people take the time to stop and think and look at the inventory of thoughts and emotions within themselves, and question whether or not their hate and prejudices have any value, and come to the point that they actually have no value. They only serve to polarize us from one another. As a child growing up, I went through many years of anger and judgement as a result of constant exposure of it from my step-father. After taking a step back and carefully looking at it, how I looked at people, how it affected me, I decided NO! I will not have this cancerous demon to be part of me. I realized before that my negativity was nurtured by the very “friends” I chose, just to “fit in.” As a result of rejecting this useless thought process of hate and prejudice, I found myself not only without those “friends” but I was very open to welcome some amazing people in my life, which continues to this day. Haters will hate my friend. As long as there are haters, there will be people to hate and there is nothing I can do about it except live my life and hopefully set an example. Looking at my inner self, which I constantly do in order to maintain balance, I still fine tune myself by getting rid of residual “trash” lingering and so I take that “trash” out. I feel good too. Writing this I think of John Lennon's song, IMAGINE. Very relevant today as it was back then. Anyway, maybe take some time to be by yourself, perhaps by a pond or a park or mountain and do a quality control inventory of your self and ask yourself if there is anything you can change for you, for the better. We all need to do that. Like I said, I still do. Love yourself even more my friend. Your acute awareness of your life and how you have been impacted by events seems to be very active as you are making your journey. Be kind to yourself, love yourself, and this will become infectious. Enjoy a perfect day my friend. Looking forward to more of what you have to say.
“You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one…
Wishing you love, peace, and happiness