27th July, 2021

Life,

In this letter, I allow myself wholly believe that reincarnation is true. In a bid to figure out the reason for my return in this lifetime, I imagine I have come to learn how to come to terms with both my potential for good and evil. My destiny must have been designed to make me shatter and burn: to aid with my ascension into a higher consciousness where I am love and contentment itself, and worry not at all. I fascinate over the contract I must have entered and consented to with other souls. But then I also wonder why I was bequeathed a life path difficult in all spheres: a life where I love men who never love me back.

Or at least in the same measure.

I swear, it has been daunting. Always emotionally exhausting, and, on some days, I see myself as an irredeemable and pathetic soul.

Let’s start with my father—the first man in my life. And a man I do not fully know. 

I hate that I just said that. 

But life is what it is: my father was absent for the most part of my life. 

Throughout my childhood and early teenage years, I had to seek to understand what it felt like to have a father in the father of my cousins and friends. In my grandfather. In my uncles. But it yielded unsatisfactory. Ripe with ache, I reached out to my father and requested that he reunite with my mother. Or at least be there for me. Because of my parent’s separation in my early years, I never knew my dad fully. But I did love him. Bubbled with joy anytime a passerby marveled at our uncanny resemblance. I was delighted whenever mother pointed out a trait of mine as a manifestation of my father’s blood running through me. It felt good being associated with his entirety.  

But my father would not budge. One afternoon, on one of our occasional rendezvous, I reached out and held his hand. Gazing at the tapering and bony makeup of his fingers made my heart ripple. I told him that I desired a sibling, and embedded in that plea was another wish. And he knew it. 

A small smile played on his lips. He chuckled. “I am sorry, but I can no longer live with your mother,” he said. “I’ve fallen out of love for her.”

Those words stilled me and distilled my longings. For a millisecond, I broke. Realization washed over me upon recovery. My parents were never going to reconcile. And I was never going to have a sibling.

Nevertheless, I am not one to give up so easily. I pressed on. Much to the dismay of my mother and her family. Their love was an encapsulating bubble, but the absence of a ‘living’father’s love threatened to deflate it. I came to finally accept it: my life was not one to be defined by the love of a father and mother simultaneously. Even while I sought my father, family to me was just mother, friends and extended family. Siblingship and an experience of the joys of fatherhood were not in the cards.

And then there is Daniel—the second male to mean so much to me. Dark skinned and free spirited, Daniel broke through my walls. He had charms and I fell for them. I loved him with every ounce of my soul. But with him, my very good man and first love, I learnt once again what it meant to love and not be loved back. My consolation was that Daniel did love me, but through the sieve of friendship. It was shattering —a rollercoaster I never envisaged surviving. But I did. And today (even though some people, like my mum, pulled me back to inquire if Daniel and I was an item) we are close friends. And bad ass flirts.

Finally, in the present, is X. An intelligent and cherry man, X has goooooood looks! Short and light skinned, he is always surrounded by girls. 

And me. 

His friend.

I have developed a crush on him, another seemingly straight man. I don’t bottle my feelings this time. I let my friends know that there’s this mutual friends of ours whose little actions are affecting me in big ways, who is not living up to these big expectations I have of him. They laugh. Advise me to keep things discreet and let go of the feelings. 

It’s not easy. How can one create distance with someone they have started to grow close to? Won’t detaching myself all of a sudden be odd? Yet staying around kills. I shrivel whenever I have to shift aside for one of his female friends. I burn when she rests her head on him. I explode with pain whenever he leaves without telling me. 

History replays itself.

Now, these feelings are lite and they come and go. They are not rooted. They are uncertain. Selfish. Like I am using X to fill a hole.

I feel shitty.

My friends agree when I explain this to them. I seek companionship. The men I have loved have never loved me back in the same strength. 

Feelings are mischievous. Even in the light of this startling revelation, they still rear their heads whenever I am with or away from X. And by their heads, I mean their uncertain, on and off state.

Life, I know all these experiences have torn yet contributed immensely to my shaping. I signed up for this.

Yet every encounter in the flames leave me panting in a way I fear I may never survive; leaves me with a stamp of pain; leaves me feeling like a pathetic man who may never come to feel whole and enough, whose romance and glory is the definition of life for him.

I am evolving nonetheless. Becoming stronger. Coming into the light. I am grateful because I am learning to love myself totally even in the absence of a man’s love— love surrounds me in the admiration and kindness of my family and friends, in the beautiful man I am becoming.

The difficulties and trials of each day are wearing, but I love the man I am becoming. I am wiser. Stronger. Releasing from the shackles of desire. The man who will love me fully will certainly come, I am assured. 

In the meantime, take it easy on me as we go through this refinement process.

M.J.

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