Written by Rudolph Bessit
Hello dear reader, welcome to Purple Fly… do enjoy your visit.
Let’s get right into it…I love music, I love what music is able to do with me and to me and for me. I love the places it takes me to, how it opens my eyes and changes my perspective. I’m listening to a song by Bow Wow, and it says “all of the things you do, I could never repay you, I can’t imagine life without you. Thank you for loving me, thank you for holding me down…” and it’s a song dedicated to his mother. I’ve always been fond of this song, it just hit differently this time.
During my adolescence I kinda knew what was awaiting me, should I not be able to TRANSFORM from ‘gay’ to straight. I was about six years old when an older sibling stated that a gay brother gets disowned, this sibling was my lifeline at the time. There was no freakin way I was gonna get disowned by the person I loved and needed the most in my life. I was going to do my absolute best to transform/change and if I couldn’t, I’d just vanish with my “secret”.
I was around seven or eight years old when I had a conversation with my mother regarding me being different, that’s also when I started consulting a witchdoctor on my mother’s quest to find out “what was wrong with me”, and what could be done to change me… because she made it clear that she would not accept me as gay. I started volunteering for those consultations sweeties, because I mean, what was going to happen to me? Everyone who spoke of people like myself spoke down on them. It was always ugly, I didn’t want to be that, I didn’t want to be treated like that. I loved my family so much, okay some of them, I didn’t want to lose them. And they made me believe that I could change.
I’ve always been very hardegat, I had to learn to be at a very young age, and so I got to a place where I told my mother that I’m going to be who I am, with or without her. Things got very messy between my mom and I… dangerously messy. She wouldn’t give in and neither would I, because apparently, I just had to change my mind and I’ve tried, but could never find that switch. By the advice of a slightly older cousin, I started expressing only those sides of me that were acceptable and safe, until I could leave home, “otherwise you won’t get to live that long”, he said.
Another older sibling made sure I knew that I’d be shaming the family name and no one was going to be happy about it, no relative, no one. So when it became apparent to me that my transformation was not going to happen, I became devoted to forgetting part of me and becoming better at the other part. I tried my best to be who they wanted me to be, especially to the older sibling whom promised disowning a gay brother.
Back when things were wild between my mother and I, she used to tell me that she couldn’t stand me and she doesn’t know why, and all we could do is hope that things would change in time. So after some time of trying to be what they wanted me to be and not raising the issue of me, I was brave enough to ask my mother if “things have changed” yet, if she felt differently about me yet, I must’ve been around 12 at the time. My mother’s response was… “moet my nie k@k vra nie, as iets ooit sou change sal ek jou vertel”.
I vowed to myself to never ask any of my family members for approval or acceptance again, and never to even start a conversation on the topic. I pushed on, trying to be who they wanted me to be to create a safe environment for myself. I decided to deal with this thing that was ruining my life on my own until I’d be able to leave the country to a place where no one knows me, and none of my family or relatives could track me down and find out about my lifestyle. Why? Because I was still planning to be me, just somewhere else where I couldn’t cause them no shame.
I lost myself in all this madness. At some point I completely forgot about some parts of me. I thought I had a healthy, beautifully strong, close knit family. Being who they wanted me to be had become so natural I wasn’t even thinking of it. Then I discovered things and met people, and my sides started revealing themselves to me. I was excited and scared and courageous enough to accept some of it and reveal it to the world, and some I just ignored.
I often felt depressed because I still felt that I could not completely be myself. I didn’t know how to be me. Life happened, I got kicked out of the closet. Yes, I came out of the closet at the age of twenty one and at the time it was a shock to everyone, but they all accepted me and were very happy that I “let them know about myself and allowed them to be there for me”. My older sibling asked, “you and I always spoke of everything, why didn’t you tell me? I’m so sorry you had to deal with this alone,I’m always here for you,”.
It wasn’t until I got flashbacks from my earlier years that I got so puzzled. All of these things happened, they abused me, mentally, physically, emotionally and rejected me, yet when I got kicked out of the closet none of them suspected anything… ?
It was in 2015 or 2016 when I started noticing some changes with my family dynamics. I could feel that I was busy losing my family. I remember starting to feel that I should stop trying to hold things together and just allow it to take its course. I was curious to see where things would go, I didn’t think that I’d actually lose my family, but I did know that I needed to be ready and prepared for it… just in case.
And so while listening to the song, “all of the things you do, I could never repay you…” I would never have known my own strength if my mother didn’t do what she did. and continues to do. And I say that with gratitude. I don’t feel that I ever got much truth from my mother, I question everything about her, but I SALUTE her for sticking to her guns, “I would never accept you for who you are”. She never hid what she felt for me and I find that I drew a lot of motivation from that, to stay true to myself. Because of her, I stayed true to my statement, “I’m going to be me, with or without you”.
When I remember all she has done and said to me, that’s all the motivation I need to never for one second, be who I’m not. And the song reminds me that there are different kinds of love and I actually needed my mother’s kind of love to find my own kind of love. And regardless of what went down, I will always love my mother, just differently. I’ve not seen them for almost 5 years, it wasn’t easy at first, but I’ve learned to live without them. Iin the meanwhile I’ve become stronger and wiser and I now put myself first. In fact, I don’t think I ever want to learn to live with them again, the thought alone is too painful. I’ll love them from a distance.
Needless to say, the pressures and abuse I experienced at home as a child wasn’t and isn’t my only motivation to keep me reaching deeper into myself, my deeper self, to discover more of me and present it all, unashamed. I’ve only got one chance at this thing called life, if I’m not going to be me, then I’m robbing myself and the world of the only opportunity we have to experience me. It is entirely up to me to take this one chance and ride it like a madirrrr… and so should you.