It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been almost seven years since I started VashonWade.com. Back when I started this site it was called jvwades.wordpress.com, I had no idea what I was doing or who I was doing it for I just knew that I had to write. In the beginning I wondered how it would feel to get out all of my feelings without being judged, misunderstood or rejected. During this time I was about Twenty-four years old, trying to force a relationship that just wasn’t it while not knowing that it was only because I didn’t know or love myself. I remember writing my first article for the site not really caring who read it just appreciating having an outlet that didn’t require feedback. Mental health had been a battle of mine but that wouldn’t become my realization until years later. There was no diagnosis for what I had been dealing with which made me feel alone. Probably about a year or so later I had thought of all the pain and suffering I had endured from just life and how it had handled me. Sometimes during smoke and drink sessions with my friends I’d confess things that held my subconscious hostage. The looks on their faces and the change in their tones would allude to how shocking my stories were. They’d say, “wow you should really write a book, I’d read it.” They didn’t know that I didn’t believe in myself enough to get up every morning let alone to write a book. After so many instances of sharing my story I knew more people needed to hear from me. Keep in mind that I am a young, black man from Camden New Jersey. A city that has been stigmatized as one of the most dangerous and poor places in America. There was no writers, authors or entertainment figures who came from where I was. No star athletes, film directors or trend setting rappers that I could lean on for guidance or motivation. Religion held its place in my upbringing but my understanding led me to leave church at church and that was that. Amidst it all I had been one of the only two gay (OUT) members of my family. My uncle was very far in age and his addiction to drugs tainted what could’ve been a healthier relationship between us. Feeling alone was something that had confused, stagnated and grounded me at times. Much of what I went through in regards to dating, fucking and crying over men would only be heard by girls who befriended me because they felt sorry for me at times. Early on I knew that having friends who were males was just out of the question and since I had been the only KNOWN gay person amongst my neighborhood and school friends it was just me and the girls. Don’t get me wrong, I longed for a boy to be my friend and yes some would try but it would usually cost me more than I had been willing to pay. Several failed friendships with the male species later I just settled on nurturing the relationships with the few girls who showed me support, something that was hard to come by for a boy like me. Over the years I’d grow to learn that even those friendships that feel like forever would one day fade to an end. Still I would meet new people who would come in and pick up where I may have left off with someone else.
Now there’s been plenty of times where I would be told something positive about myself that would just go in one ear and out the other. My mother would wake me up daily and say things like, “you’re so special” and “you are a great person to talk to” or “you’re so handsome and kind.” When you hear things like that coming from your mother you almost assume that it’s in her ‘mothering’ contract to say things like that and more. It wasn’t until I developed relationships that had nothing to do with the blood I bled that caused me to assess my value. I can remember being a young kid and I’d always get in trouble because I’d take food, toys and other worldly possessions over to a friend’s house or outside for the benefit of making my other friends feel comfortable. I never knew or understood why some of my ‘friends’ didn’t have the snacks that I had or access to the toys or games that I had but to me it was for everybody. My mother would say, “You shouldn’t have to give away your things just to have friends.” I’d ignore her and move on to secretly trying to please people that I thought I should be around. I smile as I write this because she was so right (just as she always is). That would take years to process, however I would continuously hear how valuable I was to so many people. This would continue and I would start to see how people would try and befriend me just to see how they can look, feel and act just as I did. Never did I stop to think of how hard I worked just to overcompensate for being me, a gay young black boy. Even though most of the girls I’d come in contact with loved the idea of having a ‘gay friend’ I just really wanted to belong. I hadn’t put any value to what it meant to be my friend and how that should be conveyed. Requirements did not exist so I found myself by myself in a lot of ways. Like when I was in love with a guy who loved me too but only after school and into the wee hours of the night. Or like when I was trying to convince myself that if I let me college love cheat with women and treat me as a condiment in his cabinet that one day he’d love me on the outside. So many moments I spent home alone while my ‘girl’ friends would have mall/movie dates with their boyfriends; you know the ones where you mom drops you off and you spend half the time kissing and touching all starry eyed. Well I’ll explain more of that in my book. Anyways, I always questioned my worth because I spent so much time comparing myself to others.
You never really know a person’s purpose until it’s fulfilled and I believe this up until this very day. I had a lot of female friends growing up but there’s one relationship that I’d never forget (still friends to this day). This particular friend had a mother who was not ordinary mom. She was very close to her daughter kind of how close I wish my mother and I would’ve been during those times but my mom worked a lot. My friend’s mom was always there though, whether we were sneaking to smoke weed or trying to get right with a boy she was all in the mix. Her mother was very comical and supportive but didn’t take any shit from any of her children, I loved that. Her presence was so mothering and protective, it was as if she was born to be a mom. So she was very blunt and I had to get used to that and we would often talk about me being gay and the boys that I was trying to make it work with at the time. She’d always say, “You need to be you and get you somebody who can get with that!” She’d share stories about her gay best friend and how he lived during their time of growing up. I think she loved that her daughter had me as a friend because she knew that I’d protect her but entertain them with my stories and how I told them. She would explain to me what a ‘hag’ was and how her daughter was that to me. I remember thinking “do I need a hag or a friend?” Not realizing that one could be both. Most of the females I befriended would lean on me to give them advice on men because they felt like I knew more because I was a man. Other times they’d want me to fix their hair or pick out their clothing because they figured me being a gay man I enjoyed that even though I really didn’t. I never really like being flagged for being a gay boy, I wanted to be seen beyond who I was attracted to. Sure I was comical but I felt like that came from my mother and our family just being naturally funny. I never equated my sexuality to my humor. There were times when I would become exhausted with being friends with girls because I felt like I was a fixture in their world. I felt used when they needed a man around and thrown away when their man really came around. I remember seeing groups of gay boys all hanging together wishing I could be apart. At least I’d be able to learn about fleeting and what other boys felt like when they had a dick in their ass. Most of the girls I was around didn’t know what anything I went through felt like because they were girls.
Boys as friends
Man was not my best friend no matter how hard I tried. From my older cousins abusing me because they thought they could beat the gay out of me to neighborhood boys jumping me because I walked and talked funny, things were hard. Not all the boys were mean to me but I would have to endure them switching up on me once they were around other boys who didn’t approve of my presence. I would forget that I was gay because I was still at an age where sex and hormones weren’t a factor in my decision making. I can remember being excited when this one boy invited me to his home and I really thought we had something. He’d come to my house first because we had similar interests in clothes and toys. After a few times of him being around me and my family he invited me over to chill with him. I was naïve as one could be during these times not picking up on vibes or feelings because my ‘worldly’ bubble hadn’t been popped. He invited me to his room and everything about him was so mature, I could tell his father was in his life and that he wanted to be like him. Having a boy who was a friend excited me beyond words but he would take his pants off as he was changing into what I thought was his ‘afterschool’ clothes. As he was changing I was trying to handle this Mario cart game on his Gameboy. He’d surprise me because when I looked up he was standing there, Girbaud at his feet and his fruit of the loom boxers with his dick sitting through the hole. I was so hurt because I didn’t want him to be gay, I didn’t want our friendship to not be real. I wished he would just pull his pants up and we could forget it even happen. Sweating under my Mountain Gear coat I jumped up to rush home as he said, “you wanna suck this?”
Book coming soon!!!
Vashon Wade 2018