My college years were the best years of my life. I met people from all over the world, received one of the best educations available, and behind the gates of Hampton University I would leave the last relationship I would ever have with a female…
It was my junior year when we met, she was a sophomore. She was from New York. We met through a mutual friend on campus. She had a pretty difficult childhood. So much so that she was featured by Essence magazine as one that overcame the odds. She spent many years in foster care because her mom was an addict. Needless to say, she was at Hampton on a scholarship which impressed me. In fact, I was intrigued because in spite of her story she persevered.
She wasn’t like most HU women; stylish or glammed up on campus even in the rain. She had the “put it on & go” look that worked. In reality, she didn’t have the means to step it up. Looking back I see she was the first in a pattern I would later repeat in Atlanta with some of the guys I would date. In some ways I tried to “help” her. I had the resources. I was receiving enough child support that afforded me a car payment & enough money to secure the senior superlative award for “best dressed”. Secretly, she was my shield for some of the whispers that swirled around the campus that I may be gay.
She and I often talked about a life together after college; children, marriage. I could’ve chosen that path, but it wouldn’t have been fair to her or me because I wouldn’t have been living my truth. So many brothers marry hoping the feelings will vanish, when in fact the neglect intensifies the feelings that are brewing inside.
More times than not, (black) gay men are blamed by (black) women for the shortage of good men available to them. I knew (in college) black women would be facing this very dilemma after college because of the shortage of black men present on college campuses everywhere, and that speaks to a problem within the social structure, not with sexual orientation.
It’s always easy to spot the brothers living the lie; married, with children and "cruising" me while his wife or girlfriend’s head is turned away. They live straight identified lives by moving only in heterosexual environments. These men don't believe they're gay because they don't have gay friends, nor do they go to gay clubs or parties. In some instances they travel in packs. Typically, they run with other brothers with the same ideas or should I say secrets. I always wonder how difficult it would be to live that lie everyday of your life. Only the courageous can live freely. I'm glad I live life on my terms, and not those set by others.
“Why would I want to be someone else when I get to be me?”