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#OurStories: My New Normal by Rotimi Chris

I went through life thinking I was a regular Joe. I had no idea how far my life was from regular.

I was 3 when my mother walked out on us. I was 8 when my father kicked us out. Yes I didn’t know my mother enough to mourn her but I grew up knowing she packed up and left, and somehow, to me, that felt normal. When my dad kicked us out, I didn’t feel a sense of loss. To me, it was just life. “Eh ya, daddy kicked us out.” That was all. I neither missed my father nor longed to see him. I believed deep in my heart he had no desire to see me either. What shocks me the most as a 35-year-old, thinking about this is that I did not feel a sense of loss. These were simply the cards life had dealt me and I moved on.

I lived with friends of siblings from a few months to 1 year at a time. I was living with them for the period they could afford to keep me. I think it’s tragic that a 10-year-old was fully aware, and accepted the fact that there was no place for him in this world. I felt no sense of ownership, no belonging to anything or anyone. No child should ever feel that alone. More tragic yet was that I considered such life normal.

I finally settled with my siblings at age 10 but instead of getting a semblance of normalcy, I finally understood the concept of homosexuality and realized I was one of those people, unwanted, to be hidden, disgusting, an abomination. I sank further into my shell.

I finally came out to myself at 19, accepted myself at 23, and officially came out to my folks at 34. Yet, much damage had been done.

I walked through life thinking I was not wanted. It made me numb and silent, without friends and without much fraternal history. As a devout Christian, I mainly prayed for others but never for myself because, deep down, I believed God would not listen to my prayers.People always considered me a snub when the truth was I was dying for friends. Even at 35, I only understand how to be alone and friendships remain a constant struggle for me. Even when I have friends, its so easy for me to get up and go, even without a goodbye because I don’t expect anyone to be waiting or looking for me. I never believe I’m loved, I doubt all my friendships, I particularly struggle to see anything good about myself.

I don’t spend my all my time thinking about this but it was only last year it dawned on me how messed up my childhood was.

I feel deformed. Maybe I am. Such is life. However, I intend to spend the rest of what I have left living it.

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