Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Can you keep a Secret?

There is always a night out of the blue that makes me think of him and this is one of those nights so I've dredged up this old blog. I doubt you've seen it. I wrote it ages ago so here it is...

You know how you can meet a stranger at a party and never forget them because they made a big impact on you? Well, I met a guy at a party years ago in Australia. We didn't even exchange numbers. We met only once and I've never ever seen him since. We were like ships passing in the night but I will never forget meeting him because it was an intense and highly unusual encounter.

I recall he had a shaved head and tribal tattoos. He was over 6 foot, really lean with a hard looking jawline. Basically, he looked like a gangster. You wouldn't wanna cross his path in a dark alley because he looked dangerous.

For some reason, he singled me out at this party and asked if he could have a moment? I nod a little nervously because looking around, I realised we were completely alone on the outer balcony.

He asked me point blank "can you keep a secret?" I nod again even more nervously because I feel he's under pressure. Like a bottle of uncorked wine about to burst open spilling its red contents everywhere.

There was a myriad of conflicted expressions on his face like he was in pain or was suddenly weighing up whether he should tell me or not.

"What is it?" I ask him. "It's ok. You can tell me" I'm not even sure why I used the tone a soothing mother uses on her terrified son but that's what he drew out of me. I was genuinely concerned and more than a little disturbed because he looked like he was about to have a nervous break down.

And that's pretty much what happened. His head was in his hands. He said he'd been carrying a burden which grew heavier by the year and that he couldn't take it anymore. The secret was eating him up, destroying his peace of mind. He was tired of putting up a front and being someone else every day. He was so exhausted by the lie (I was wondering who he was pretending to be but didn't dare stop him. It was all starting to flow out like therapy)

He went on to say that he was the ring leader of a gang of guys who were all "alpha" males. His best friend was also in this gang and he'd been hiding something from him which was becoming unbearable.

He goes on to say "I'm in love with my best friend and if he ever found out, he would probably spit in my face, maybe even kill me" I gasped because it was so unexpected. There was no trace of anything remotely gay about him so I didn't see it coming.

He said he tried being "normal" He even went out with a couple of girls but he couldn't bring himself to sleep with them. He knew there was something not quite right or missing but he just kept quiet. He suppressed all urges thinking they would go away. They never did.

After all, he was in this gang of blokes that even made fun of gays and he would laugh along with them and their "poofter jokes" with the gang never knowing he was a closet case.

I asked him (J)
J: "have you told anyone about this?

He said (H)

H: "no, never"

J: "So why are you telling me?"

H: "because it doesn't matter anymore"

J: "how can that be? Aren't you worried I will tell someone about you?"

H: "of course I am. It's a burning secret I've carried for so many years. I've not told a soul. My Dad would even disown me. I know it"

J: "I promise I won't say anything. There's no one who you know I know. You're safe. We're total strangers"

H: "I probably won't be around tomorrow anyway"

OMG. My heart started to race. I felt helpless because he could see no way out of his situation. Sadly, he was NOT going to be accepted by his parents nor his male gang of friends but what he was planning was not a solution. He couldn't be serious surely? Could this guy be planning his own death? He was shaking. I was so frazzled. I told him he could call me if he was thinking about doing anything really stupid.

I went to get a pen to write down my phone number for him. When I got back to the balcony, he was gone. I asked everyone about him but no one even knew who he was! He must've gate crashed the party which is why he was extra safe there baring his soul to a complete stranger in a roomful of strangers. He knew no one there!

I was deeply troubled by this strange meeting (one of the most disturbing in my life) but there was nothing I could do. I said a prayer for him but I never ever heard or saw him again.

Over the years, I find my thoughts flicking back to that night and I have so many unanswered questions.

"Did he do it?"
"Was I the last person he spoke to?"

I can only hope he found a way to live with himself. Somehow.

It's sad how we pigeon hole people and put them into boxes so confining sometimes that they split open under pressure.

I really feel for this guy and for everyone like him. Be careful not to bottle up your own identity to a point of a total meltdown. By then, it may be too late. I know we can't expect others to accept us if we don't wholeheartedly accept ourselves first. At the end of the day, you must be able to live with yourself. Be comfortable in your own skin.

I truly believe that we are all God's creation, God's children. However we may come.

19 comments:

charhcy said...

Yup, all are God's creation. I don't condemn individuals, I believe God truly loves everyone, but I personally don't condone homosexuality either. My religion clearly speaks of that too. I don't think any part of our identity is forever embedded; people do/can change and so can their identity traits.

I believe its not exactly God's creation that we believe ourselves to be gay. I believe it has more to do with human confusion, and maybe an imbalance in hormones. If its the latter that plays a role, then I view it as something that can be corrected, like how my brother takes hormonal pills for his hair issues (premature bolding).

That being said, I hope this guy is ok too, and did not do anything to hurt himself. I don't think its right for people to sideline gays as though they're contaminated beings - they're still human with a need for love and acceptance. Our reaction should always be wise, sensitive and full of love, yet, for those holding similar beliefs as I do, finding opportunities to bring truth in. What happens after that to the particular person...well, only God knows.

Cheers. :)

Q said...

sometimes people just need to talk...i think that guy didn't do it...he just need to find someone to let it out...i guess luckily he found you...we all had our burden... it just depends on how we carry it....i think..

Wenny Yap said...

It is never easy to open up to a stranger but I guess this man must've been desperately in search of an outlet. He couldn't share this secret with anyone and you had just been there at the right place at the right time. The Universe move us all in a wonderous way.

I don't think he would've done anything stupid but it would've certainly been a great relieve for him, maybe enough to find the answer he's been searching for.

Niki Cheong said...

I hope he found solace in having someone to talk to. And I'm glad you were there for him.

Sometimes just talking about it makes you feel better, and hopefully, he did and didn't do anything you and I would deem drastic.

It's unfortunate that societal pressure can do this to a person.

Dr`Joe said...

Strange enough for a stranger to reveal it deepest secrets. Certainly taking his life is not a solution. Hopefully, he didn't come to state of actually doing it.

Joe'10
http://unexpectedreboot.blogspot.com

RVL said...

You just went and spilled a deadman's secret..

Anonymous said...

get a life

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Anonymous said...

To Charcy,

I'm gay and I'm insulted with your 'theory' that gays are 'confused' or 'have imbalanced hormones'. I'm born gay and that's it. It's because of people like you, gays feel that they can't tell anyone about how they feel fearing they will be judged. Please do not use GOD's name just cos you're a homophobic.

Anonymous said...

Somehow there is a tendency to attribute 'everything under the sun' to God. Let us be serious, take responsibility of what you do. At no occassion we should say it is God's will for this or that. Think for a memoment, does God has a role in a disaster that claimed many lives. No! It is nature or through our own (or others) actions.

We should not be a judge a person whether he/she is a gay, lesbian or hetrosexual.

Secondly, somehow there is always an urge to say or tell out something especially it is a secrect. Don't we have better things to do. Ask ourselves, why?

What happened cannot be undone. No point lamenting. No regrets. Learn from the experience. Maybe we can be a better person to ourselves and society.

Anonymous said...

Somehow there is a tendency to attribute 'everything under the sun' to God. Let us be serious, take responsibility of what you do. At no occassion we should say it is God's will for this or that. Think for a memoment, does God has a role in a disaster that claimed many lives. No! It is nature or through our own (or others) actions.

We should not be a judge a person whether he/she is a gay, lesbian or hetrosexual.

Secondly, somehow there is always an urge to say or tell out something especially it is a secrect. Don't we have better things to do. Ask ourselves, why?

What happened cannot be undone. No point lamenting. No regrets. Learn from the experience. Maybe we can be a better person to ourselves and society.

Jojo Struys said...

Joe/Wenny....yes I think I was at the right place and right time for him. He needed to tell someone without any connection to his neighbourhood, his friends or his life at the time. Strangers seem safer. There is no trace.

RVL: We all don't know what became of him and I haven't disclosed this guy's name or identity coz even I don't know! This is a memory I'm sharing which moved me...made me realise how awful it was for him to be trapped in this BOX.

Mel said...

I loved this. Very well-written.

Anonymous said...

Well I assent to but I think the post should secure more info then it has.

Brigante said...

Sometimes, the strangest most memorable incidents can come from total strangers.

You did all you could. At least you were a listening ear...interesting post Jojo!

charhcy said...

To the anonymous that specifically named his recipient (me):-

We're all confused beings on earth. We all have hormone imbalances every now and then. Take girls for example, with our wide emotional span that acts itself out more obviously during certain times, say during PMS times. What could be different is just the level of such issues.

I did not wrongly bring God into the picture. Not all religion may have pressed on this issue, but mine did. And I turn to His Word for truth every time I can. Its in there.

It'd be great that no personal shots be taken at each other here. Its open discussion after all. No one can force things down one's throat.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

To charhcy,

I'm another anonymous person. What a hypocrite you are? You keep saying that no shots be taken at each other but you're doing it. You're condemning gays and you don't even know anything about being gay or any part of it except for the fact that gays involve themselves with the same sex.

charhcy said...

Anonymous 2:

This is going to be my last reply here. Its tiring to be facing you angry people. Somehow I just can't shut up yet. So here's my last reply.

I did not take any shots to individuals (until now maybe). I don't even know who you are; you guys/girls are writing under "anonymous". So please, I'm not being a hypocrite. All my comments thus far have been ending on good words. This is what I believe in, and as you believe you have the freedom to express your individuality, I have the freedom to express my beliefs.

As much as I might need to understand more about gays before truly making a difference there (or what not), you might want to understand why I spoke out here and where I'm coming from too. Go give God a shot...a try, that is.

Sigh... Well, take care.

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