“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” — Matthew 6:13.
How many times do you think it takes for someone to be cured? How many long and emotional nights down on your knees will you endure to be fixed?
Since I was a young boy, my mind had always been geared towards men, but I never tempted myself with the idea. I was raised in a strict southern Baptist atmosphere, so instead of “burning for eternity in a lake of fire,” I decided to walk the holy path to the great almighty.
In my youth, my mother used to tell me that she’d, “rather I end up with a Black woman than to ever come home with someone of the same sex.”
Being from a small, conservative, and predominately White town, this was the first sign that I’d never be able to come to the truth with who I was. I had a few “girlfriends” in middle school, and in my freshman year of high school, but never anything serious—as serious as a teenage romance can be.
Throughout the course of these relationships, I never wanted to have sex. The complexity and overall nature of the vagina, or, as I like to call it, the Venus Fly Trap, was a complex system that terrified me. This terror, combined with my own secret desires, made me unsure if I would even be able to achieve an erection with any woman.
As a result, I made friends with an unlikely source—my penis. While we can pretend that it’s taboo to speak about ejaculation, the truth is, it’s 2017 and there are worse things being presented on MTV.
My first of many hot dates with my penis started after a unlikely awakening one night in the fall.
It was a late night when I woke up from a horrible nightmare. Ghostface, from the movie Scream, had trapped me inside a port-a-potty and right as I thought I had escaped, I was stabbed in the calf through the small compact toilet wall. Horrified, I couldn’t sleep for the remainder of the night—afraid the phone would ring and he would ask me, “What’s your favorite scary movie?”
Since it was late, and everyone had gone to bed, I went into to the dark and desolate kitchen and watched porn for the very first time. It was during this night session of teenage pleasure that I realized I was completely focused on the man and not the woman, no matter how much I tried to redirect my focus to her. Feeling ashamed of the feelings I had, I immediately went into my room and prayed until dawn.
For the next six months or so, I didn’t even touch a computer unless someone was around me—I didn't want such temptation. Yet, no matter how hard I prayed, each and every night, the desire to be with men never went away. I would beg God to fix me, to allow me to serve him and be his child. No answers or cures were ever provided.
I would plead, “Lord, I’m begging you, please take these thoughts from my head, I want to be normal.”
Still, no answers or cures were provided.
I was a young and terrified boy, who didn’t want to be homosexual or crave the pleasures of a man. I was terrified by even the mere thought of liking the same sex. I needed someone that understood me. However, when you live in a small town you can’t trust anyone because it’ll be in the local paper the next morning as headline news.
Searching for someone to confide in, I went to the internet and found people who I thought were just like me. This was when AOL chatrooms were still relevant. Under ‘AOL Chatroom Listings,’ there was a category labeled ‘Gay and Lesbian.’ I entered a few rooms, but they all were the same; ASL, Private message if not a minor, etc. Clearly, no one in these chatrooms were looking to guide a young teenager into the promised land. So I clicked out of the site and went to bed.
It wasn’t until a week later that I finally got the courage to re-enter the chatroom and go into a private chat with someone. It was about two hours before someone messaged the group '17 M NYC.' So that’s the guy I chose to message, given we were both minors. We spoke for a few minutes about who we were, where we lived, and made small talk.
Eventually, after 20 minutes of chatting, he asked the unthinkable, “Phone sex?” I couldn’t respond—I was terrified and didn’t even know how to have phone sex; I thought to myself, “Do you just breathe heavily into the phone as if you’re having an asthma attack?” Having only a landline, I gave him my home phone and waited nervously for it to ring so I could pick it up before waking my parents.
The phone rang—I couldn’t move. It rang again and, finally, I answered and just listened. Suddenly, I heard a faint voice, “Is this Aaron?” (Aaron was the alias I had given myself — you know, just in case the government, kids at school, or worse, my mother was trying to figure out my sexuality secretly.)
I replied, “Yes, this is him.”
I could feel the tremble in my voice. I was so nervous and unsure of what to do.
“Are you touching yourself?" he asked.
“Yes, I am,” I replied.
The rest unfolded in what was probably only a total of 15 minutes; each of us moaning as we pleasured ourselves before parting ways for good.
We were both two confused boys trying to find a release in the feelings we had.
After this, I didn’t tempt myself the rest of the year with any type of sexual interests. Feeling guilty, I started attending church more and even read the Bible each night—I believe I left it under my pillow case.
I wanted to die.
I wanted to vanish and be done with this world for the urges I was having. Same prayer, plead, and repentance every night. Like a broken record, no one around me knew my torment or how desperate for answers I was.
The guys at school were the first to notice a difference in my actions, secretly whispering and even sometimes bluntly calling me names like “faggot,” “queer,” and the list continued. I spent that entire year trying to build confidence, find a girlfriend, and disappear under the radar before my dirty little secret became public knowledge. The high school years are not a Brady Bunch after school special.
At fifteen I felt ruined, which I was. I’d finally started experiencing the lack of innocence in the world, from the late night adventures of the gay world to the torment of being the “typical” straight student at school.
Was I fooling anyone around me, or just myself?
I believe my family always knew as a teenager and probably begged God to fix me the same way I begged at night. As the summer approached in my sophomore year of school, I focused more on my studies and trying to survive Geometry—Mr. Yow, you’re still the bane of my existence.
On June 10th, a new freedom would arrive. I would be 16 and would be able to drive—as much as you could drive with a nine o’clock curfew. Even with this curfew, I’d be able to finally do what I never thought was possible; meet these men in person.
This, in fact, would be the first, and biggest mistake, I had ever made.
I like to think of the rainbow not as a sign of being homosexual, but of innocence. Colors come from light, which is how we see things as children. However, as we grow older and more aware of the world, that rainbow dims and darkens. My rainbow was about to get a lot darker, as not one, but two men decided to steal what innocence I had.