Roger: uniquely Individualistic

July 24, 2011 3 min read

“I fought against my mother my entire life. I did not want to be – could not be – who she wanted me to be. She was a stunning woman – Miss Kingston, Jamaica at one point in her life – and was accustomed to getting her way. Almost any man would do her bidding. Any man, except me. She had two problems on that front with me. First, I was her son – thus, fairly resistant to her charms. Second, I was gay – thus, fairly resistant to all women’s charms.”

“My mother knew I was probably gay from a pretty young age – she did not want to accept it – but deep down, she knew it. She constantly pressured me to be ‘more of a man.’ To her, I was soft, and she worried that people would take advantage of me. She always pushed me very hard.”

“So hard, in fact, she finally pushed me right out of the house. I was 17 years old – when I left my childhood home to move into my own apartment with my 19-year-old boyfriend. “

“My mother was still very young when she died an agonizing death and my reason for being seemed to go with her. Who was I now?”

“Sure, I tried to be a good son. As I look back on it now, I did more than my fair share of tending the younger kids – being home after school to watch out for them while she was at work. But growing up, it felt like I was rebelling constantly. It seems I was constantly saying “no” and trying to make my own space.”

“I lived with that boyfriend for five years, but an old theme returned – I felt like I was losing too much of myself to him. Finally, I ended it and for the next 13 years, I dated constantly but, could never settle down for very long. I was afraid of letting an attachment define me. I was afraid of losing that part of me that makes me Roger.”

 “After my mother died, I quit my job in the fashion business. I needed a profession that was more meaningful and one that would allow me to help other people, but I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to be able to help them in my own, unique way. I didn’t want to be part of a big organization. I needed the freedom to grieve and to help others at the same time – in my own time.”

Roger is 44, but most people would guess he is in his late 20s. Perhaps part of his need for autonomy is the fact that he has been treated much younger than his age for his entire life. He was well into his 30s before people assumed he had even graduated from college. In American society, most men aren’t taken terribly seriously until they are at least out of college. Maybe this is why he was into his mid-30s before he was finally able to settle down in a long-term relationship again.

“I think I’m beginning to accept that I can make compromises finally. It took half my life to get here. But, then, I’m lucky. Living in Phoenix just accentuates my freedom: wide-open skies, a wild-west culture, and neighbors who never interfere. And I have a partner who gives me lots of space. I can be with him and not be controlled by him. I can finally be me.”