Hello, my name is Jason.
It’s taken me months to write what I wanted to say and I’m a bit nervous. Really scared to tell you the truth. Ironically I’m a writer, with five books published. I’m a historian so I’m good on facts and not so hot with emotional stuff. During the day I’m a lecturer at a university, I used to teach lower secondary.
I wanted to share my story here because it’s confidential. I don’t have a personal blog as such. An authors website but I don’t want to talk about my story here yet.
As a kid I suffered abuse from my step father. Sexual abuse. There you are, I’ve said it now. It doesn’t directly relate to my childlessness or the breakdown of my marriage. But I don’t feel I can talk about it openly. It’s hard to know where to start with my story.
As a kid I went through all this abuse, I didn’t know it was wrong until we were taught sex education at school and then I was terrified. My mum didn’t believe me at first, I told an aunt who told my mum whose answer was to sent me to live with my aunt just before my GCSEs. Needless to say I failed all of them and had to retake with mixed results. I didn’t live at home again. My stepfather was arrested, I wasn’t the only child. I have had counselling during the trial and since then. I sit uneasily with my past and I’m finding it hard to write about it, I rarely talk about it. Mum has been great, but there is often this elephant in the room and we have to address it now and then. It’s never easy but at Christmas, it’s harder still because the memories are tinged with guilt and upset for what I missed. What she didn’t see. We often go away, hide away in a remote house with her dog and watched boxed sets.
After university I went on to be a school teacher. I loved my work but at home my marriage was failing. I thought that talking about my past would be enough but my attitude to sex wasn’t healthy, shamefully so and I was scared about having children. Terrified I’d repeat all the patterns. It wasn’t until I’d had counselling again that the doctors diagnosed immobile sperm. Without ICSI treatment, that was way beyond our salaries as teachers, I would not be a dad.
It was devastating. I ended up having a breakdown. Maybe something that was destined to happen, but I truthfully thought it was punishment. The infertility I mean. A judgement that I was unfit to be a dad, underlined by someone who told me it was ‘God’s way’. And so that was how I saw it. My mind, so fragile, took that as gospel.
It took five years of mental health support, divorce (a relief in the end for both of us) for me to feel able to work again. In all this, I’ve found that writing helped. I have started to tackle my past by writing a few words. It can take days to feel ‘right’ again so it’s going to be years before I complete anything but it feels important to me.
I trained to be a lecturer after completed a Masters and I’m midway through a PhD now. I watched the Men Matter Too webinar and I was struck by Robin Hadley’s observation about being a single man around children. I cried at that, and spoke to my ex-wife about it because it’s always been a fear. Not that I’d ever be like that monster but that someone would connect him, in prison and on the sex offenders list, with me and make all the wrong assumptions. It’s partly why adoption seemed to precarious for us.
There isn’t a happy ending to this story. I deal with facts – I warned you! But my wife is a good friend to me and a mum now. And I’ve realised, at the grand age of 45 that I’m gay. And I’m so happy to have worked that out at last. I’m in a relationship, the early stages, and it’s my first same sex relationship but oddly feels natural. I haven’t explained my past, I’m hoping that this feet selfie will help me to do that.
This article was originally posted on Walk In Our Shoes