Trying to find who I really am

You can see from the pictures which range almost 50 years that I have looked very different over the years. These appearances barely hint at how many perceptions there are of who I actually am. To the point now, in 2023, I also don’t really know who I am either.

As a kid as young as 5 I was very aware that there was something different about me.

I knew for an absolute fact that I didn’t find girls in any way interesting and yet, I found other boys very interesting yet, not their sport or Action Man.

My Dad blamed my difference, from his perspective, on the fact that I was brought up by many women. I was off school a lot, in hospital a lot and that means those who were around at the time, all women, cared for me whoever was available at the time. My memory of my dad was a man who either wanted me to do things I had zero interest in such as sport or the one who handed out the discipline. He would years later tell me outright I was a huge disappointment to him.

I tried to get into sport but, I just didn’t match the other boys mentality who ‘were’ into sport. In football there would be 2 goalkeepers and 19 guys running around a ball. I was the 20th guy who actually had the ball they’d not notice me take running to the other end of the pitch and scoring against a goal keeper who had long since given up the will to live. Rather than seeing any ‘talent’ it was made clear to me by the teachers I was not a team player and needed to sort out my attitude. Same applied to Rugby and basketball. I’d be going it alone before the others even knew the ball had gone. I only ever got critical comment for that from both the adults and the other boys. Eventually I stopped making any effort at all and just sat doing nothing whenever I could get away with it. I never felt part of anything ever.

At home, and I know from the perspective of my sister, this is different, mum favoured me and dad favoured my sister. I likely did get away with doing a lot because I was that bit younger but, I didn’t feel any sort of equality of treatment any more than I think my sister did. To make matters much worse for me, I had zero privacy during puberty and a young man needs privacy during that time. My room was essentially the corridor to my sisters room. It was already small but I had to keep it clear for her to go back and forth to her private bedroom. There was a lot I had to repress back then. I did say it made me unhappy but, even when she moved out I wasn’t allowed a private space, it was and remained her route to her bedroom whenever she came round which was often.

In the early 1980’s we moved to a larger house where I finally had my own room. At 20 I met and fell in love with a younger guy. It was totally illegal back then, being gay was not legal until a man was 21 so, we were both criminals. As such, we kept our relationship secret. When we were together it just felt right. I honestly feel that had things been of a different age this might have grown into something but, as it was, we both went the heterosexual route around the same time. It did mean that in my mind I was now totally comfortable with being gay and yet, to the outside world I was straight.

Soon after I met and got married. We went on to have 4 children and some of my friends knew me as gay, some assumed I was bisexual and she also thought I was bisexual. 9 years later I admitted to her outright I was not in any way bisexual and all this time I was living an act of heterosexuality and it made me incredibly unhappy.

3 Years after that and I had a wandered into the gay world where I discovered things were not what I thought they’d be. I had thought I’d just be accepted as a gay guy who happened to have children (and a wife at the time) but this wasn’t the case with so many gay guys. I so much as heard them say so when they thought I wasn’t listening or, perhaps they said it wanting me to hear. Why was I even there, I wasn’t really gay, I was just one of those guys who can’t make his mind up.

I didn’t know what to wear, how to be gay so went through a few ‘looks’, none of which really worked.

Over time I developed some really good friendships. I lost my gay virginity to one of those friends when he raped me. I want to see it as consent but we never had the conversation ever before the event, I was asleep and woke up to him fucking me anally. He’d finished before I had the chance to react.

I bottled that up, put it down to what gay guys do, what being gay is all about but, must as I loved that guy that memory is still so clear to me.

I see a relationship as ‘love’ and sex is the consequence of that love. I’ve never got satisfaction from casual sex, it’s not part of the way my mind works.

Am I messed up though because, the majority of men seem to think that casual sex is totally the way to be whether they are gay or straight. Is it unusual to be wanting love, respect and follow on that from that, mutual sexual satisfaction?

I’ve tried to keep up with the trends embracing trendy, fit, emo and goth. I quite liked my fit look.

To manage my parenting role over the years I discovered quickly that not mentioning the ‘gay’ thing was the best thing to do. Teachers and social workers are not trained to deal with diversity, they certainly were not when it most mattered to me. I got asked once by a social worker, considering my ‘condition’ whether it was appropriate to take my son into the toilet to change his nappy! I want to say that attitude was uncommon but, it was more often that not. Even now I still get letters home addressed to ‘Mrs’ and often in my old surname of Williams as it matches that of my two disabled kids so, they presume they are writing to their mum despite her having no direct parenting role for 23 years.

I have had relationships (with men) since my heterosexual divorce. They either didn’t support me enough in my parenting, they cheated on me, they lied to me, they got physically violent or made a point of letting me know I was not sexually attractive to them.

I have real serious trust issues!

Sexually I am unable to enjoy it as I have a mental block that it’s all about them, that none of it is going to be about me and, as such, it’s crap. So few made the effort to resolve that one so it just enforces that feeling.

Over the past decade my health has declined. I have effectively become yet another person.

I like to say that I would define myself as Steve or I am who I am. That would work except that I have presented so many versions of me over the years, I don’t really know who or what I am any longer.

I’m living a life trying to be the me everyone individually believes they know which is different depending on who ‘they’ are.

But, as I started this I shall finish it with me knowing I am different, that knowing this makes me feel crap (not depressed just crap) and I have no idea how to find out who I actually am now.

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