That’s a funny way to start my story, but it is the only way that I can describe, or rather, summarize it. My life journey as a member of the LGBTQ+ community has not been easy at all. First came the realization that I was different from other boys. It wasn’t the normal attraction to guys, with their long drooling stares and wandering eyes on their chiseled bodies, firm asses, and big bulges. Mine was different. Being a pupil in primary school, I didn’t want to play rowdy games like the boys. I would always wander to where the girls were, probably under a tree somewhere giggling and chatting about the soap opera we watched last night, specifically, Storm Over Paradise. I was attracted to how chivalrous Nicolas was to Imar. Anyway, enough of that. But yes, I was like that, the little boy, with a small frame, ever-clean and respectful and obedient.

Eventually, it all changed when I was taken to boarding school. I wouldn’t say it was bad for me since I was doing it for my mom and wanted to make her happy. Everything was so different. Picture a little puppy being released into the jungle. That is how it was. Being the good noodle I was, I wanted to walk the righteous path, and every time I found myself straying from that path, I would convince myself that I was going to hell. I was in constant denial that I was gay. At the time, I didn’t want to admit it to myself. But every time I denied it, then something bad would happen. I still fear that something bad will always happen to me if I’m ever in denial of who I am. I painfully remember my first bad experience. I came straight from the bathroom and onto my top-decker bed, towel wrapped tightly up to my chest, and then suddenly this senior pupil, Michael came to me and started groping and humping me right in front of everyone. I wasn’t having any of it. I pushed the guy off to the floor. I felt so damaged as if I had been stripped of my dignity. But that wasn’t the worst of it..

Fast-forward, I am now a class 8 candidate. It was in the evening, everyone was in the dining hall. I wasn’t much of an eater back then, so I’d hide in the dorm. So this day I was just on my bed arranging my box when I noticed there were 2 classmates in the dorm, Brian and Onesmus. I didn’t bother to care about what they were doing. From the corner of my eyes, I noticed Onesmus at the dorm door, and he was closing it. Brian was standing over me, pinning me to the bed, hand on my mouth, humping me. It was happening again, and this time, I had no strength or will to fight it. I thought of reporting it, but then I saw it would be a long case and rumors would spread and I would be dubbed the school fag in an unjustified manner. I also thought that this was the best school that my mother found and could afford. I didn’t want to be a burden since we were going through a lot. So I just toughed it out. Eventually, Brian got expelled due to some other case. Now I was just a broken shell. I had no one to open up to. I just kept it all to myself. I went to high school. I was just a nave little boy eager to learn and make my momma proud. Looking back at myself, I was such a nice and humble kid. I wanted to make a lot of friends. I was so fucking naive, omg. I had this friend. He was also my classmate, Abdi, a funny character and the class clown. Sometimes we’d argue and I’d insult him, but then I’d feel bad and guilty, so as an apology, I would buy two loaves of bread and write an apology letter. I know, I know, keep that opinion to yourself, reader. A year went by. I was in form 2, during the month of Ramadhan when the Muslims in school would wake up at 3.00 AM to start their fast. At that time, everyone was dead asleep, dying to catch that ounce of slumber and rest. So then one night, I felt a cold hand caressing my body. Not again. I felt like my life would end and I wanted to curl up and die. I was so scared and shaking. I was able to identify the perpetrator as Abdi. I reported the harassment to the necessary authorities, but they said they could not do anything because they did not have evidence. Would you believe, would you fucking believe that the one time I decide to seek assistance, my complaint got dismissed? The harassment went on for months, and I couldn’t do anything. If I attempted to scream, yes, people would wake up, but I was imagining the longer picture. I would always be labeled as the victim of a sexual assault, and maybe even by the dumb high school jocks who would read the situation wrongly and say that we were together, which would have escalated into a mob beating. I grew to hate myself and my inability to fight. Sometimes I would think I deserved it because I was gay.

In my past, Even though some moments radiate light, There is impenetrable darkness. It feels both alluring as smooth as velvet and rough like washed-out cotton. How splendid! Even after having touched my distorted past, I am still able to retain some presence of mind. I am full of stains. If I threw off this skin of mine, A precious brilliance will emerge and rewrite the unseemingly past that stained me!

Time passed and I was on Form 3. My case had been brought up again, and now they gave me the attention I needed. But by then, the rumors had spread. I could see the looks in people’s eyes, the looks of pity and disgust, and hear their whispers behind walls. I was at an utter loss. No tissues could dry my tears, no walls could protect me, no home, and my heart wasn’t sheltered. I braced myself because I knew it was going to hurt. Eventually, he was also expelled due to an indiscipline case, but in the meeting, my case was brought up, which added weight to his case. I thought to myself that after something so traumatic happened, it was good to focus on healing, but how was I supposed to heal if all I did was cover up the wounds and hope that they would go away? It felt so dark and friendless where I was. I felt like I was in a hole so deep that I might go fracking. It didn’t feel like depression, it felt more violent. I was so tired of living in the grey area that I couldn’t recognize myself anymore and what I recognized I couldn’t stand. This crisis ate me up, and what was left was just so raw and vulnerable. So instead of fighting my sexuality, I just accepted it to avoid such bad things from happening. Many more have happened since high school and they weigh heavy on my conscience. But what do I know? I used to think I understood pain; a burn, a cut, a broken bone, heartbreak. But this is as if I had been dipped in the River Styx and all the suffering of all the souls that were or will be soaked into my body. My body doesn’t belong to me, not that I’d want it in this state. It is an agony to let people see me exposed as I am right now to you, Mr. /Mrs. /Ms. Reader. It takes a huge amount of trust, but that trust was shattered long ago. But like it or not, I need you. I need you desperately. This world is not safe for someone like me. Maybe I should just give in to the darkness. My name is Alvin Macharia Ndung’u (Masharia) and this is my message to everyone, it is necessary to constantly remind ourselves that we are not an abomination. Love yourself and if you feel that is not enough, love yourself even more.

Story by Masharia

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