Craig Stewart is one of America’s most gifted writers. His work debuted on stage in Atlanta with A Day in the Life, wowing sold out audiences and critics alike. Stewart returns with his highly anticipated memoir, Words Never Spoken slated for release May 2012. Said to be Stewart’s most revealing and personal work yet, Words Never Spoken details his journey as a songwriter, entrepreneur, playwright and self-discovery as a gay Black man living in Atlanta. . . . Words Never Spoken reads like a diary that was never intended for the eyes of anyone other than its author. Stewart opens up about his struggles with love, friendships and a two-year bout with depression that led to an internet sex addiction.
– summary excertped from Amazon.com
an excerpt from
Words Never Spoken: A Memoir By Craig Stewart (Volume 1)
One of the best parts of life is when you can admit the truth to yourself about yourself. Thus, I’ve come to understand my experience with anonymous sex with strangers I met on the internet resulted from a bout with depression.
Cyberspace is a world where one can become something he isn’t, but everything he dares to be. One can find whatever he cares to imagine because the biggest part of the illusion is what’s created in the mind of the person logging on—it’s the story we create about a total stranger that allows us to be enraptured in conversation for countless hours until we’re bold enough to meet.
Many of the characters online are there for sex and demand in their profiles that you’re naturally masculine, but the cites allow those who are naturally feminine to sound masculine through messages like sup.
Some even specify that you are of a particular race, height, weight or physique before you consider messaging them. But, those specifications don’t prevent some from being duplicitous by using fake photos or altered photos.
The internet can serve as a magnet for those of us rebounding from a break up or a resource for the resilient that believe love can be found online and foolish enough to believe the odds are in his favor to find it on a sex cite.
Sex cites are the unofficial antidote for loneliness. It’s a device for the depressed as well as a sounding board for homophobic men, and those frustrated with being jaded, heartbroken and disappointed.
My depression moved quickly and deliberately before I realized it was occupying a section of my life. It wasn’t just the residual effects of the break up, but career lulls and financial setbacks too. The depression I experienced was rooted in sex, but it wasn’t just about the depression. It was years of suppression and denial erupting. My suppression was a conscious suppression. I was clear that I had been holding back feelings of being with men. It was like a disease that lay dormant that suddenly surfaced. I was like a church girl who had been sheltered from the world by her minister father only to break loose and run wild the first time she left home.
I had multiple screen names to increase my chances of meeting someone attractive. The majority of the profiles noted HIV negative under status, but I knew better from the work I had done in the HIV community. I knew 1 out of 3 Black gay men was positive. At any given time there were thousands of men online, but only a few listed they were positive on their page and others left it blank—an indicator they too were HIV positive.
The messages I found in my inbox validated me in my depression. In some strange way, they reinforced that I was worthy and deserving. I never used naked pictures nor did I use a face picture as my primary photo because my pride wouldn’t allow it. There was some level of shame for me to be online. It felt desperate to some degree.
Days became weeks then months of me surfing for sex. This erotic surfing was a poor attempt to avoid emotional wounds that wouldn’t heal fast enough for me. It prevented me from thinking too much about what was happening in my life personally, financially and professionally.
Some rebound from break ups at the expense of another person’s feelings, while others sit patiently in the pain and process through it. I used the internet to cope. My days consisted of waking up and logging on to see how many messages had accrued overnight. Some days I sat at the computer all day. I’d look up and the day would be over. The only time I stepped away from the computer was to eat or go to the gym.
This addiction was monopolizing my time and it had spiraled out of control. Phone calls with my friends and family were met with brevity because my attention was occupied by online conversations. No one could compete for my attention. I was locked in a trance reading the messages and scrolling through the naked pictures on the other profiles.
I left social gatherings early to return home to surf online. There was a science to my madness. I kept the site up while I was gone, so I could accumulate messages while I was away from the computer. I sometimes returned to double-digit messages flashing for me.
For my own peace of mind I made small talk with the guys I met in person, so they weren’t total strangers to me when we had sex. It was my way of mitigating the shame I felt of having sex with someone I didn’t know. I even rationalized the sex by reminding myself that I was [dominating] them—they weren’t [dominating] me. But I still couldn’t get used to the emptiness.