Origins of My Sexuality

As I waited to hear from my coach with her programme for me to help me find a place of self-acceptance after many years of isolation and fear, I pondered over the origins of my sexuality.

My coach had said to me that I had to accept my sexuality and when I spoke in terms of a cure she said I was not looking for a cure to an illness I was entering a life-long journey of self acceptance. The change in emphasis in my thinking that I accepted in that moment was important, but I wanted to understand what were the origins of my sexuality and why had I been unable to accept it.

I am told that as a baby I was tetchy and difficult – I had been born a full term but was underweight. During the fourth month of my mothers pregnancy she had fallen on the ice and in the seventh month her father had died. At birth I was underweight (the placenta had been badly damaged and I had been starved in the womb) and I was taken from her for two weeks and placed in an incubator. I had an unsettled stomach.

In the years of my childhood and adolescence when my relationship with my mother became steadily more argumentative and she would despair at the difference in her relationship with me compared to my four siblings and she would relate to me her belief that it was as a result of her fall, her fathers death and our separation (that she had hated) when I was born.

So, was this all the cause of my gay sexuality? Was I born gay? – answer – yes probably but I still don’t know, but in any event it is not my sexuality that is the problem, it is that fact that during my formative years I was programmed into a very deep conservative way of  thinking and I struggled to consider my own “programming” in the midst of what I perceived I was expected to be.

A secondary concern I have about the origins of my sexuality is to do with the bullying i experienced as a child at primary school and subsequently at an all boys grammar school.

As a young child I was scared and shy and I felt more comfortable playing with girls than boys. I wasn’t interested in sport. I was often chased and cornered and hit in the playground and worst of all for no apparent reason an older boy at a different school used to hit me everyday on my way home from school at lunchtime until my mother happened to witness it and took steps to protect me. I never said anything but the inner turmoil and the anxiousness it caused was damaging both to my self-esteem and my education.

At grammar school the name calling “Defoe you puff” etc was a constant feature of my experience until sixth form. The worst attack came from a young  male teacher who ridiculed me in front of the class saying among other things that he kept a photograph of me at the side of his bed. This gave legitimacy of the boys who saw me as different to continue their verbal abuse. The response within me was a deeply entrenched anger and resentment which I have directed over the years at my family.

I recently came across an article in the BBC News Health section which alleged that child bullying victims are still suffering at the age of 50. I include here a link to the article. 

In my case, I performed poorly at school and effectively I had to educate myself after I left school and I have managed to attain a level of seniority in my profession despite these setbacks.

The bullying had the effect on me of causing a deep and constant anxiety which made relationships and friendships with men quite difficult. I still find it difficult to converse with typical sport ridden men  – men I deeply aspired to be like, but I just never fit into that culture, even among the men in my family which has grown following the marriages of my sisters etc

The bullying also prevented the proper development of my emotional and sexual self. I conformed to what the world around me expected me to be and constantly fought to give the narrative that I was no different to anybody else.

The focus on my catholic faith and church teaching on sex and family were and still are deeply entrenched within me.

At that time (into my late teens) and going steady with the girl who became my wife, i did not know I was gay – I had not developed that emotional maturity to recognise how I felt so I blindly went ahead into a marriage and family responsibilities which ultimately resulted in many years of inner conflict and isolation.

My next blog will be: Integral Coaching – My Programme

William Defoe

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