I’m not about making my posts personal to myself as I like to make them relatable, for this one however I’m going to do just that. I’m going to lay my cards out, give everyone an insight into why I do what I do and what drives me to want to help people, no matter how big or small their problem.
Let’s rewind the clock and go back to a time in my life much different to now. Different yes! But better, well I’ve spent a long time trying to figure that out. I guess there is no simple way to gauge whether or not things are better now… life is full of curve balls and has a vast array of tests, set in place to keep us occupied. But what you can do is alter your outlook on life, on how you live your life and how you view your past. As I said I’ve spent a long time trying to figure things out and it’s only in the past year I’ve started to make progress.
So, going back to late 2008 / early 2009, at that time I was working in a very male oriented environment, it was only a matter of time but eventually circumstances would inevitably make this simple fact, a nightmare for me to live with. I both worked and lived in this environment. It would not be an assumption if I were to say that many of the people in this particular place were not what we would consider liberal. Their conservative views made this a very hostile and dangerous environment for me. You may be asking yourself why… the reason for this was, late 2008 I had decided to tell one of my friends I was gay. This was not an easy decision and I was using the opportunity as, well let’s say I was “testing the water” my friend then decided to take upon them self to spread the word… before I knew it, it was a game of Chinese whisperers, I was the talk of the town and everyone but me had a view on my sexuality. I have always been a gentle soul and I obviously took this very badly. I kept myself from people and due to what I saw as a betrayal, I was struggling to trust even my friends. It usually takes a week for fresh news to become old and die out but not this time. It’s safe to say I was not the same person anymore, not in the eyes of the majority of people that surrounded me. They made it their mission to ensure that I was in any other place to which they were. Could I blame them, I mean no… I still hadn’t come to terms with my sexuality at that time either and I was thinking maybe they were right… maybe I didn’t belong there, maybe that environment wasn’t for me. This however was just the beginning. What started as childish whispers and sniggers behind my back as I passed by, soon became a plot to have me removed and relocated.Fast forward a little to Friday 13th March 2009 I had been having a somewhat secretive “thing” with a colleague and that night he had asked if I would drive him to pick up belongings from his ex girlfriends house, I did… and on the way I was flashed by a speed camera, I was angry that this had happened but little did I know that just a few hours later, this would be the very least of my problems.
Without going into too much detail, after returning home I decided I was going to call it a night as it was pretty late, I shared a large room with two others, this night however there was an extra three so all together there were 6 of us. I went to bed and went to sleep. Shortly after I was woken by the sound of our main door banging, I thought this unusual as I had locked it but I was only half awake and not fully aware. I heard someone ask for the chef… (we were all chefs) one of the guys asked the person to leave which they did so I went back to sleep. A short time passed again and the next time I woke was to a punch from above straight to the face, this person punched me and then jumped on top of me and pinned my arms down with their knees, then proceeded to repeatedly punch my chest and face. During this time my nose was bleeding profusely, unable to lift my head I was choking on my own blood, I was screaming and gargling pleading for someone to help me get this person off but no one did… not one of the other 5 people in the room bothered to help. I managed to get up and by this point I was covered in blood dressed only in my underwear. I was now under a barrage of verbal abuse, statements to the effect of “we don’t want you gays here” calling me a faggot and queer just to name a few… I dressed my myself and made my way to my friends room upstairs, she instantly cried at the sight of me in shock and who could blame her, I looked a mess. Many events followed this, when asked why he had carried out the attack, the person responsible insinuated that I had sexually assaulted someone and he was sticking up for them as there was no place for people like me. (I later learnt from a friend who shared a room with this person that there were about 5/6 of them in their room plotting what they were going to do to get rid of me) Further to this someone had decided to spray paint ‘Gays Out Now’ across our bosses wall. The assault was reported but I was told not to mention the graffiti as they didn’t want to cloud an ongoing investigation. I reported it anyway. I also mentioned to the police that I was asked to sign a register which was apparently an acknowledgment from me to my rights as a gay man in this environment. I was so angry at the suggestion of this and quite frankly I thought the idea was ludicrous. During all of this I had people in high positions trying to silence me and trying to stop me from speaking with the police. I never backed down the whole time I was there, I had no choice to leave so decided to fight as best I could until the day I left in July 2009. That last few months was one of the hardest times of my life and I would never wish for anyone to have to go through the same mental and physical torment.I have received treatment in the past that I would not give to my worst enemy and I am a stronger person today because I have built myself back up from the shell of a human that was left following this savage experience. I have suffered for many years with PTSD following and was also diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I do not let any of this define who I am or what direction my life is taking… I believe that I am the master of my own fate.
It’s very important to get to know the people around you as best you can, however I think I believe this because of issues I have with trust. I like to get to know people and sometimes ask ridiculous questions that some people may perceive to be irrelevant, they may be irrelevant but if I’m asking questions it’s generally because I want to get to know you better, you should see that as a compliment.With regards to my acceptance of my sexuality, I now tell people I trust that I’m gay but I do not announce or broadcast it… I accept that it is who I am but have never really forgiven my sexuality for the treatment I have received in the past. I struggle to show signs of affection, especially in public. I worry sometimes that I will never find a person that fully accepts me, flaws and all. However I never let this hold me back. As I said at the beginning life is difficult, it throws us curve balls and sets us many of tests. How we tackle these and move forward with our life is up to us. Is my life better now than it was in 2008/2009?
Yes! Is it perfect? No! And will it ever be? No, but I wouldn’t want it to be. Remember it is also a lot to do with our perception… I saw things in a very negative way for a long time but I have decided to change my life for my benefit, I now use my past as strength & motivation to get me through what my future holds for me. This has driven me to help people and which has driven me to set us this website. If only one person takes anything from this then i can say that I have tried and I have succeeded.
If anyone is struggling with anything similar to what I have mentioned In this post or something else and you need to talk, I am here. CLICK HERE to contact me direct and personally in confidence.
I am lucky and I have received help at the darkest points of my life, I understand that this isn’t the case for everyone and I urge you to seek guidance and support immediately if you are having thoughts of self harm or suicide. CLICK HERE for guidance.
Do not suffer in silence.
Speak to someone.
Rebefser ~ Dale