The feeling of freedom I had from finally being away from my father and step-mother began to be eclipsed by a feeling that was developing at my mother’s house. I was left out of everything. I was new to the area, I knew no one except my family, but I would wake up in the morning to the sound of the door closing. I would look out the window and see my sister, mother and step-father getting into the car. “No one told me of any plans, maybe they were just going to the store,” I thought to myself. But, when they returned home 7 hours later, I realized they went to more than just the store. They didn’t include me in any of their plans. They would go to soccer games, “family outings”, they even went to see the musical The Lion King and no one would mention anything to me. Something like this happened almost everyday. This is when I realized, I’m not part of this family either. I was never included, even when they came home, I would be sitting in the living room watching TV and everyone would walk in the house and go about their business like I was not there. This feeling of marginalization peaked when I came home one day from a part-time job I had and my mother said, “Sweetie, we’re going to Canada for a week, I need you to make sure Zoe (family dog) eats twice a day.” Canada! How do you plan a trip to Canada and not even mention it to me? Who are these adults that think its okay to do this, to this 17 year old that just came from the worst childhood ever, knows no one, is incredibly shy and barely has a sense of self. I couldn’t believe adults thought this was okay, and that they rationalized it. “Honey, I figured you couldn’t go because of work.” Work? My part-time bullshit job. Really? And even if that were a thought….. you know what you do? You ask, you mention…. But, I never got that, because I was not part of this family and that was made loud and clear.
That message came the loudest and most clear during winter of that year. On Christmas Eve, everyone went over my step-father’s relative’s house and so I was brought along and when we walked in the door, my step-father said, “Okay, I have an announcement to make… there’s another one,” referring to me. Words can’t describe the feelings I felt. People would come up to me one by one and say things like, “I had no idea your mother had a son.” At this point I had been living their for 6 months and prior to that, alive for 17 years and not once was I mentioned. I don’t know if I ever really thought about it, but I imagined that my mother must have mentioned me to… I don’t know, someone. But absolutely no one knew I existed. They lived in this comedy of manners, where it was enough that a white man married a black woman into his family, it was bad enough she had 2 black daughters, but we can get past that, but years later, we are surprised with a mystery son! What the fuck is this, a soap opera? An Oscar Wilde play? Am I the only one who knows how to communicate? My younger sister was more widely accepted, as she had been part of the picture since she was 2. It was like, when I was sent away to live with my father, my mother began a new life with this man and my sisters and had no intention of including me in it, ever. And then I screwed everything up. In my mind, that was my mother, those are my sisters, this is my family…. but it became very clear that everyone did not feel that way. And for one reason or another, it all seemed centered around my step-father.
When I was accepted to Rutgers University, it gave me a something to look forward to, something to do, a way to get myself out of this house that it seemed my step-father, mostly, didn’t want me in. My first semester was somewhat boring, my roommates were all a year older than me and on the soccer team and while they were nice to me, they were 2 years older than me in age. So, there was a big separation. Classes were fine, but not any more interesting than classes in high school, which was disappointing. It was hard to meet people my first semester because almost all of my classes were in lecture halls. But, it was nice to be away from any sort of “family”. Strangers couldn’t disappoint me, because I expected nothing from them. And I finally began to have my first adult experiences. I made my first gay friend when I was 17, his name was Brandon and I couldn’t believe just how open and out he was, he would tell me all about his boyfriend and the things they did and the craziness they got into. It was very refreshing. At this point, I had never been kissed – totally Drew Barrymore. Well, my friend Brandon was a bartender at a gay club in Philly on 18 to enter nights and he told me I should come. A gay club? I had never been to one and I was shy and I didn’t know what to expect. When I walked into 12th Air Command, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Everyone there appeared to be 18, clothes ranged from jeans and a t-shirt to booty shorts and a tank top. I had never seen men dancing together. Ever. I had never seen men kiss. Ever. I remembered thinking, “who are these people and how did they get to be so free?” Some of them were just a little to “free” for me, but I still admired their bravery. They existed and seemingly didn’t care what anyone thought about it. I wanted that, but I didn’t know how it would ever be possible.
My first sexual experience was a mess and a half, if I do say so myself. I was 18 years old, walking down the street, when this relatively attractive, well dressed white man in his early 30’s pulls up beside me and asks me for directions. I give them to him, but he keeps driving beside me. He then pulls out his erect penis and says, “God, you look what you just did to me.” At this age, I had never seen an erect penis in person that was not attached to my body. He asks if he can drive me to my destination, I say yes. Now, I know that was a really bad decision, but as someone with no guidance at the age of 18, I got in. I let him know nothing was going to happen, because hey, I was too much of a goody-goody. What the fuck was I doing in the car then? Being fascinated. He kept stroking his penis and saying, “I’ve never seen someone so attractive as you” and blah blah blah. And his penis was so big, I could not stop starring. So, he asks for my phone number and I give it to him. He spends the entire day texting me about hanging out later and going to dinner and I was really unsure of what to do because I had never been in a situation like this before and I didn’t have someone to turn to and ask about it. So, I agreed to hang out with him later that night. Ugggghhh. He picks me up and is talking about plans for dinner and blah blah blah and out of nowhere he grabs my hands and puts them down his pants.. whoa! He then pulls over and things escalate. He wanted me to go down on him, but again, I was the biggest goody-goody of all time. I didn’t even know why I was in the car with him. I refused repeatedly. But he went on and on about how it was because I was so attractive that he had this erection in the first place and how else could he get it to go away. I feel like I heard all this in a movie somewhere before and it’s when the audience says, “he’s such a fucking jerk. Get the fuck out of that car and never talk to his stupid ass again!” What did I do? I did it. No, I didn’t get out of the car, I sucked this man’s dick. That’s right. Mr. Goody-Goody himself. I was 18, stop judging me. When I finished, I thought, “that wasn’t nearly as terrible as I thought it would be,” and “I really want to get away from this grown ass man who just spent the past hour trying to convince an 18 year old to have oral sex with him.” He wanted to take me to his house to get a drink, but I was not that stupid. So, I had my first sexual experience and I learned:
Men are horny dogs
It’s very easy to fall for someone’s bullshit when you’ve never experienced it before
Dicks can be that big
I won’t be pleased until this happens again…. under better circumstances.
I already knew I was gay, obviously. But, now I had a clue of what I had been missing.