15-year-old Colby, shares his thoughts on coming to terms with being gay.
Walk a Mile in Our Shoes
It's said we're freaks. That we have control over our own choices. But, truly, if they were to walk a mile in our shoes, they'd know the truth.
As children, we're constantly made fun of—called things that will make us second guess what we thought about ourselves. Tortured and tormented by those who aren't willing to accept that we're different. They need to know—we can't help it. We try to change, our personalities, our styles, our friends—but that only makes it worse.
The Internal Struggle
It's like a war going on inside you—there's the side that knows who you truly are, and then there's the side that wants to deny it. It's constantly on your mind, you can't get rid of it, and if you are lucky enough to forget about it for a while, it always comes back to you, washing over you like an Antarctic wave, chilling you and sending you into an unexplainable depression.
The Pain of Denial
People come up to you and ask “Are you gay?” And you tell them no, at first. But then, it starts to get under your skin, like it did mine, and you start answering, “If I was, would it really be any of your business?” It's almost like being stabbed each time you're asked, a little part of you just bleeds. You see others joking around, calling each other gay, and having fun with one another. There are a few differences when they call you gay: it's not fun, and they're not playing with you.
Isolation and Cruelty
New people transfer in, and are told on their first day to stay away from you, that you are a f** and that if they hang out with you, so are they. Mostly, this happens around other guys, and eventually, they turn to making fun of you, which is why, if you've noticed, you befriend more girls than guys.
Sooner or later, you'll meet the one person who makes fun of you the most—that you hate with a burning passion and most likely, you always will. This person won't leave you alone—they follow you, taunt you, and in some cases physically harm you. They ask why you don't' just come out, admit to your sexuality. But you've already decided that you'll never come out, that you'll just live a lie for your entire life. But as time goes on, you realize this is impossible, because of the battle that's going on inside you, and you figure out that maybe coming out will end that battle, and you'll finally be at peace.
A Crush Can Change Everything
But you drag the torture on—maybe it's because your parents and friends won't accept you, or maybe, like in my case, you won't accept yourself. You are fully aware of your surroundings, and the guys in it. Without much thought, you check them out when they're not looking, and you innocently fantasize. Life is finally going normal for you—until you get your first crush.
He is the boy—gay or straight, that can take your breath away by simply walking past you in the hallway. You curse under your breath when you see you're in the same room, or you brush by him in the classroom. Maybe he's not in the same grade—you don't have 'the scoop' on him, you can't tell whether he's gay or straight, but you look for the signs. You try to forget about him, but you just can't. He enters your dreams, and consumes most of your thoughts. And every time you think of him, he tugs on your heartstrings a little more.
You find yourself watching him from across the cafeteria, and babbling like an idiot when he's listening to you talk—even if you're not talking to him. You can't stop looking at the pictures of him in your yearbook—and all the while, you're still trying to figure out if he's gay, if he's out, and you, yourself, may or may not be out.
His eyes strike you, and you melt if he meets yours. His hair is perfect, and you just want to run your fingers over his tan, muscular arms. You never give up hope that he feels the same way, and that, in time, he'll tell you, but you know the chances are limited, and that most likely, he's never even given you a second glance. You cringe when you hear he is dating a girl, but remember, you have dated some as well. But still, you can't fight back the feeling of jealousy. You're caught staring at him a few times, maybe by friends or by him, and you defend yourself, red-faced and ashamed.
But, as all crushes do, it will fade—unless he announces himself as gay and you get the ending you wanted.
The Struggle Turns to Pride
There's still problems, though. How do you tell your parents you're gay? You fear that you're in for a life of discrimination and loneliness. Your life may even be in danger in some places. In some cases, you may deny it to yourself so much that you consider that suicide is the only way out.
You decide bravely to continue life, and, as in the Deceleration of Independence, pursue happiness. Knowing that it will be hard.
But still, just like the gay people before you, you refuse to quit, and you realize that you descend from some of the bravest people in the world—people who dared to be different. And for once, you're proud to be gay.