Up until now, literally only a handful of people knew this about me. Because of this, I guess you can call it one of my secrets, a skeleton in my closet. Secrets are always there, lies that we tell ourselves, constantly weighing in on us. They are a lie because they are the opposite of what it means to be real and honest since you have made the decision to keep them hidden. And a lie is like the very first cancer cell or the first speck of rust on your car. It’s easy to not notice it at first, but in time it becomes heavier and heavier, growing until it reaches a point where it infects all aspects of your life. I believe that our lies and secrets can and will eventually make us physically sick and/or have a major psychological impact on our life. Health is not just exercising and eating the right food, it always has to be in balance with our psyche, our emotions. I’ve known this for a long time now and know that it’s time to open myself up and come clean. I believe that we are meant to live an authentic life. Living with authenticity means freedom. But authenticity isn’t about half truths. It’s an all or nothing deal and I am tired of living a half-life.
I am a sexual abuse survivor. I’ve always known that what happened to me wasn’t my fault. But I was still uncomfortable talking about it. Actually, I have done a whole lot of work in the past year before reaching this point and finally deciding to share my secret. I didn’t do anything wrong and by keeping it a secret it makes me feel like I did.
Over 35 years ago, a relationship that had started two years earlier escalated to physical acts of sexual abuse towards me. As a young teenage boy I had always felt a certain eeriness towards my BMX coach, but my love for the sport always caused me to push aside my intuition. Growing up there was really only hockey and a bit of baseball and soccer that people cared about but I never really felt like I fit in those sports. Then all of that changed when you approached me and my friends Mr BMX coach to help us finish building the track that we had started in an old pit and organize a real BMX race. I was so happy to finally have an adult-lead, organized infrastructure around “my” cycling sport that gave me the chance to shine, to be someone, to be me, to practice what I loved. From that point on, all I wanted to do was ride and race my bike. Looking back, you certainly felt this Mr BMX coach and used it for your own gain. As the sport grew locally in the next few years so did your influence on me Mr BMX coach. You took me to bigger races including the Eastern Canadian championships in Quebec. At the time it was a dream come true for me but I now realize what you really had in mind with that trip.
You are now openly gay Mr BMX coach, but at the time you had a girlfriend and told me to never tell anyone about your acts towards me and that it was normal for straight guys to occasionally have sexual experiences with other guys and that it didn’t mean that they were gay. You needed to tell me this, since it was in the early 1980s, a time when being gay was not only uncool, but something that had to be hidden, something that could get you beat up, something that was considered a sin, especially in a small catholic town like the one where I grew up. I was young, green, immature and very confused. You were an adult and you should have known better than to take advantage of or violate a minor like me. For so very long I wanted to tell you to fuck off but very slowly that urge has now slowly began to subside.
I am lucky in the sense that the whole thing only lasted a few months before I told my parents and stopped having any contact with you from that point on. But the very intense and uncomfortable feelings associated with the whole experience were never dealt with. At the time, as a young teenage boy, I didn’t know how to handle all of these overwhelming feelings so I just brushed them off and stuffed them deep down as best as I could. I thought that time would make everything better and enable me to forget. That’s what society kept telling me, that time would heal all wounds. And I had managed to convince myself that I was doing fine with all of this until my concussion in 2016 which seems to have brought everything back up to the surface. Maybe that was the whole reason for hitting my head? I believe that the universe’s wisdom works in strange ways in guiding us to healing and wholeness. Our job is to pay attention.
Looking back, I now realize that I was never was OK with the abuse since the feelings always lingered even if they were buried, locked up deep inside. Most times these feelings were inactive or asleep in the background, but then certain things or events would bring them up every once in a while. And when they did, I tried my best to stuff them back in. I lived in a constant unconscious state of unease, frustration and had periods of being quite angry especially when I was a young adult which made me reckless at times. My deep hatred towards you Mr BMX coach overflowed into everything. And it made me so very angry at life. I used to fantasize about beating the crap out of you, but could never act on these feelings since I really am not a violent person. These feelings really didn’t align with my true personality which really made me feel even worse. I was living a half-life, trying to look happy on the outside but I still had this beast living inside of me, dormant at times, but always there ready to rear its ugly head and really stir up my emotions. Because of this, I found ways to tame this beast, but it was usually by taking it out on myself through unconscious self- punishment. It was like I constantly needed to prove my masculinity, my heterosexuality, my toughness and prove that I was a “real man”. Physical suffering seemed to be the best way to avoid feeling the feelings. I worked relentlessly in creating an outer image as a hardened bike racer constantly trying to prove my worth. I thought that building a rigid exterior was the way to protect myself from these painful feelings and it did seem to be working but I was also blocking out all of the important people in my life in the process while still keeping these toxic feelings locked up inside of me, rotting away at my soul.
As a young teenager, I did not have the tools and/or knowledge to deal with all that I was feeling. But I am no longer that young teenage boy anymore. And now the feelings don’t seem to be as scary as they once were. They can be very unpleasant, unbearable even when I let them come up, but the more that I sit with them and talk openly about them, the more they dissipate and the more that I feel free. The best thing about being broken is that you get to put the pieces back together better than they were before. I understand this work as ongoing but I am honestly beginning to feel a noticeable shift inside of me. The abuse had caused me to close so very tight and now I feel like I’m beginning to re-open.
I am writing it for me Mr BMX Coach, not for you. I mostly don’t wish you any harm any more. It’s not my job to make you pay for what you did or to get even. Karma takes care of that. In that sense, I guess you could say that I simply hope that you have or will seek the help that you need and wish you well. I forgive you. I’m not saying that I agree with what you did or am saying that it was OK but I am forgiving you in order to free myself of this pain and move on.
To all of my gay friends, I apologize if I unconsciously made you feel like I didn’t like you because you are gay. If I did make you feel this way, it was simply a misplaced hatred towards Mr BMX coach who really messed up my concept of what being gay meant. Again, if I made you feel rejected or not accepted in any way because of your sexual orientation, I apologize. I am not gay and it really doesn’t matter to me if you are attracted to men or women. I love you because you are a good human. It is that simple.
To all of the young boys that Mr BMX coach came in contact with after my traumatic experience, if any of you went through the same thing that I did, I apologize for not coming forward thus preventing Mr BMX coach to continue to be involved in activities and organizations involving young boys. Again, I’m sorry.
To live an authentic life, to be whole is to accept it all because that’s what we are. We are all of it, the pleasant and the unpleasant. To really accept something and to be healed is to be comfortable sharing and being completely open about it all. No more lies, no more fake masks and facades, completely transparent and vulnerable. I am working hard trying to hopefully one day reach this point.
Here is a follow-up to this post: https://thetype1game.blogspot.ca/2018/04/hey-coach-revealing-footnotes.html