Written by Njabulo Mbutho


Dear family,

This letter was actually supposed to be sent a decade ago, I tried all these years but couldn’t live with the guilt of possibly spoiling the families “Profile”. Lately I’ve been dodging your phone calls simply because I’ve reached my lie limit, actually exceeded it. Lying, not only to you but mostly to myself; now sitting here all by myself inside these high, scary, empty walls, and in detention for kissing my boyfriend goodbye. I’m extremely concerned how this will sink in, moreover, how you will react.

After a decade of living a lie, which resulted in my being weak for enduring all the pain and nightmares coming with it, drained by the choice I made for your sake (my safety). Relentless, you always tell, rule, choose, talk and think for me! Early last year, you pushed me to choose a wedding date! It was just another instruction I followed, you never considered asking if I even wanted that. Should I buy the “allowance” to also free my opinions and express myself? Everything is always decided for me; leaving me with which I was convinced was no choice but to go on with it (as I was taught to be respectful at all times). I respect you for your beliefs and for having you in my life, but you’ve been making me live the life you want me to have, to do, say and act according to your standards. Do I really deserve to be stuck in your vision of myself? What about my vision? Almost all our conversations were you asking close-ended questions, requiring a simple yes or no answer, you never wanted to hear my thoughts, hopes and dreams; what were you scared of? I am convinced you knew, but chose to ignore, you knew and know exactly what you’re dealing with.

As I’m locked in this room, punished for only an innocent goodbye, at least now I’m free from being ruled and governed by you. Moreover, I’ve gained the courage to explore and be myself. The harm from allowing you to exploit me and moreover lying to myself to not disappoint you, has made deep scars on my heart; when you receive this letter half of them will vanish.

I did not make a mistake, the reason I’m in detention is because we were apparently saying our goodbyes in a “non-Gay people” park, and our actions were considered offensive to the public. It’s no surprise to you that I’m gay , the only surprise is that I’ve finally have the courage to express and stand up for myself and break out of this shell you meticulously built around me. I could be a disappointment to you after everyone was excited about me being a father that I did for you (one of the instructions to be followed). Honestly, I never loved the mother of my child, I only appreciated how she viewed and tackled life, and obviously her fierce sense of fashion! Know that all the girls ogling only impressed me for the attention I got, I was never attracted to them,.

I’ve been empty all these years, living a lie but today I see the light, and what the future holds, not only because I’ve found the courage to be myself and to love and appreciate the love of my life (him), but because I feel reenergized and invigorated and whole. I’m happy I now have the courage to break out of the shell; I will now live liberated not following any of your instructions. I’ve never been this happy, it feels like I’ve finally put on the right size shoe; everything fits together now. I had no idea how to show you my true being because you wouldn’t allow me theI chance to tell you what my needs and wants were., I pray you will find it in your heart to forgive me for all the lies I had to tell, for that I’m deeply sorry; I suppose I was so used to making you happy, I pushed my own happiness aside.

I’m coming home this summer, I would like to bring my boyfriend; I truly want you to meet him. After a decade, 10 awful, sad and traumatic years of my life, not wasted because I believe everything happens for a reason, I finally can be myself.

Sincerely I’m GAY.

Njabulo Mbutho

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