I fling open the bathroom door; the music’s faded to an echo behind me. Changing from an animated, alcohol-infused body to an almost dominant, defiant “boet” body, I scan the room. To the left, three urinals protrude from the wall – all filled with men standing open-legged paying no mind to each other.
In my first blog post, I mentioned something that I didn’t fully dissect. It’s probably one of the most interesting subject matters – in all its fucked-up-ness – that I’ve explored. But before I continue, let’s have a little story time.
Kamogelo Molobye introduces alternative masculinities in conflict. (Pic: Kyle Prinsloo)
Remember my fifth post when I spoke about… well maybe first go and READ it if you haven’t yet (sneaky, bounce rate button pushers. I see you). ALSO, that post is a sensitive one, so maybe jump to the last paragraph.
When I was a six-year-old, snot-nosed, Spicegirl-obsessed little boy, I remember reading X-Men comic books. I distinctly remember being Wolverine’s number one fan. I didn’t realise how tortured of a soul he was. Retrospectively, I probably fell for his muscles. Internalising his struggle in a more argumentative way, I realise that Wolverine was actually going through a lot – being a misanthropic, immortal, animalistic creature (Sounds like the prospects of what most men seek to be. LOL).
The due date of my portfolio is etching closer and closer. I, as a stress-magnet, 11th-hour-struggler, and pressure-cooker decided to read through what comprised my “source of employability”, and one of the requirements was producing a podcast series. *Heavy Breathing*
TW: Murder, Homophobic content, Violence
In this blog post, I will be drifting from my usual anecdotal introductions to topics. There have been a few stories shared on my Facebook timeline over the past six months – content which is quite gruesome. If you haven’t gathered from my Trigger Warning, the content revolves around issues of violence and murder surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community worldwide. If what you have read is already triggering you, I understand if you cannot make it past this paragraph.
Every morning I wake, the FIRST thing I do after brewing a cup of coffee, lighting up a cigarette, and opening my curtains (Okay. So maybe what I’m about to delve into is not necessarily the FIRST thing I do, but it’s my first conscious engagement. Just follow, please), I walk over to my mirror, (over)analyse my body, my hair, my skin – all of my imperfections. It’s a frequented interaction – and usually my first for the day – where I blast my body with “you can change this… you could get that fixed… you could be a few shades lighter”.
Back in 2014, my first year at University, I made a friend –my first friend at Rhodes. At the time I didn’t know he was gay, and neither did he know that I was anything but a friend. He was a white man, with short, golden hair that wafted over to one side – kept so by gel. He wore glasses and was scrawny in stature. There was no attraction to each other whatsoever, but as our two bodies became comfortable in a foreign space lurking with millennials, we came into ourselves. As a result, we drifted into our respective degree-stipulated friend groups – aligning with people who shared our similar interests.
“Mom, I’m gay”. Seems easy to say, right? I mean it’s just a statement. Thinking back to that day still gives me Goosebumps. Writing about it, my face contorts, eyes squint, head sinks: all out of how awkward and embarrassing those two hours of silence were – leading to this important moment encapsulated in three words. The next three words came out of the women I love sitting across from me, “Kyle, I love you”. Okay so that wasn’t three words, but it seems more dramatic – almost as dramatic has that memory of March 21, 2013 – ironically Human Rights day.
Sitting in my dual-wooden seat with an empty space next to me – as a newly transferred grade four boy – I shyly surveyed my classroom. I glimpsed at the handmade arts and crafts plastered to the walls on both sides, and the weekly due dates scribbled in various coloured chalks on the blackboard. I watched the teacher shuffling through a mess of batched paper – scarily waiting for my introduction – all these seemingly big things that would slowly become part of my 8am-3pm life. The one thing I hesitatingly analysed was my 28 peers – all in the same outfits as me, more boisterous and confident in their place. I realised that these would be the faces I would see every day.