My name is Themba Lawrence, I grew up in a rural community around Piet Retief (aka eMkhondo). When I was young, I loved to play with my friends and have more fun, but, it all changed when I reached the adolescent stage.

As puberty was onset, I started to get more confused about myself. I started to feel that I actually don’t make a perfect fit to be friend with males, which was the very same thing I felt about the other gender too – females. Due to that, I started to spend more time indoors, hiding myself from the society.

At home, they’d say, “Go and hang out with your friends, you can’t keep being a couch potatoe here!” I tried to do this with my old friends, but they insisted that “I can’t fit in their group until I start acting like a man”. This hurt me so much, but something inside kept on telling me to move on, because life will never be the same as in my old noble days when I was still a todler.

I was then expecting to have a broad voice as like theirs (my old friends), but it became something like a hybrid between a ‘girlish’ and a musculine voice. As I was still wondering about that, I got attracted to the same gender as mine. Whenever I’d see a cute young man walking down my street, I’ll have that burning eager that they talk to me; I thought I wanted them to be my friends, but I was wrong – a part of me wanted some sort of a romantic affection with them.

Nobody wanted to be friends with me; whenever in class we were supposed to do some group work, nobody wanted me in their group. People hated me, I even hated myself. They’d sometimes make fun of me, which is something some of my teachers enjoyed. For English, Chemistry, Maths and Physics group works, they’d come in torrents at my desk, with each an everyone of them trying to win me over into their groups – they were pure pretenders!

As years goes by, I slowly fell into depression, tried suicide two times. I spent more and more time alone at home and school. I never knew or understood what was going on with me.

Years later, I realized and learned about a type of people called “gay”. After I googled more about them, I slowly started to heal. While I was still living indoors, I developed an interest in writing and reading. I wrote many unpublished short stories and poems, and I hope I completely heal from this depression and make a notable writer someday.

If you’re gay out there, and you’re still confused about yourself, please know that you’re not alone. Many times you might be made to feel as an outsider, but please, don’t buy that feeling.

With love.

– Themba Lawrence Gumbi