Sunday 3 February 2019

Thought Picnic: I know I do not need a cure for who I am

Whose deliverance is it anyway?
Earlier today I received a WhatsApp message linked to a YouTube video of a person whose life had been changed to a normative hyper-Christian existence from a time of use and abuse in terms of sex, for his identity and livelihood.
There was a time when religious instruction and influence dictated more of what was wrong with me than what could be right, what I did not understand or what I should accept about myself. For decades, one was in this inordinate quest for perfection, the constant proverbial self-flagellation that fed guilt, need, low self-esteem, a sense of failure and a yearning for things that always felt impossible.
Then, a time came when on reviewing many of the things that drove my warped religious experiences created and framed from my mother’s religiosity through personal experiences that should have elicited professional psychiatric help rather than African Initiated Church rituals of incantation, recitation, and pseudo-shamanist acts, I rationalised and began to compartmentalise issues.
Freedom from superstition
Being a product of many cultural influences, much of the knowledge I had gained and had become ingrained in my psyche borne of superstition, the paranormal, the esoteric and the bizarre needed unlearning when set in a Western environment. This is not to discount the potency of those belief systems, but to ensure that my thinking was not beclouded by the inexplicable hand of fate if other plausible explanations existed.
Why at one time on a visit to a witch doctor with my aunt we both were able to chew razor blades and swallow our mastication without internal harm to our organs, I would never be able to explain. I know that it happened to me as true as any other reality I have had that is neither hallucination, dream or trance. I have through my life guarded my sobriety with care except for when hospitalisation required opiates that deadened the pain without rendering me delirious.
Yet, the biggest thing in the discovery of self is acceptance. The acceptance of the many things I am and what I represent without disagreement in my mind. Not only that but also to have the courage to stand for who I am in spite of the cultural and societal strictures that could easily place me in a persecuted and prosecuted minority.
What I do not need a cure for
In my life, I know I needed a cure from cancer, I do not need a cure from my personality or the expression of it. In coming to terms with the many facets of my personality formed from a life of circumstance and situations that contribute to the completeness of who I am, I know there are things I might never be able to do or experience and they have not been allowed to distract me or burden me with a sense of failure, where there is a life ahead of me to live.
I cannot drive, it has not diminished my mobility, I have no children when many of my mates have grandchildren, our lives are enriched in different ways, I do not intend to live the life of another person.
More pertinently, I am grateful for the opportunities and privileges my parents granted me as part of my upbringing, however, thankfully, I learnt a long time ago that I have my own life to live, I am neither here to fully their aspirations, live their perspectives of the life they expect I should have and sadly for them, I am not here to please them.
I espouse the virtues of humanity that I hope would make my parents proud of my achievements, my successes and consequently the person I am as their son, who he is and what he is. So, what I am saying, after not even watching that interesting and possibly life-changing YouTube video sent to me on WhatsApp, is I do not need a cure for my sexuality and my open, proud, and accepted expression of it. Thank you.

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