|I like how the water reflects the forest around it. |
In my diary, the reflection was disturbed by the
anxious currents of fear. (s)
It is a simple thing, paper with holes in it, held in order from page one to page last, protected on both faces by cardboard sealed in dark blue plastic. There’s a picture of a lake on front, and it reminds me of Walden, a book I have never read. One day, I hope to read Walden, but for now it is one of those things I know a little about and simply pretend to understand. I’m only in seventh grade, and I figure I’ll read it someday in high school.
The book is my heart and music, the place where I lie and write in code: “Today, I realized that I don’t like carrots.” I sit at my desk, pushing those letters out of a crappy, cheap-ass pen. Carrots, of course are not carrots, but rather code word for penises—boys. Yes, I am a closet homosexual—to myself and the world. I knew the truth in sixth grade, but since entering seventh, I have learned the shame I should be wearing, and I want to walk away from that path that is sure to destroy me. I grew up a cute, intelligent, boy that the teachers lauded and encouraged. One time, when I was seven or something, my brother’s friend asked me: “What girl do you like?” “Sarah,” he answered. Sarah was a shy girl in class, and he though she looked attractive or something, so he said “Sarah.” The brother’s friend laughed and would tease me for a while after. Incidents like this holed me into an identity. Boys asked at sleepovers in middle school what celebrity I liked, and I thought Uma Thurman looked badass slicing people open in Kill Bill, so I went with “Uma Thurman.” Right on, I fit in.
I’ve been getting passing grades in being straight, and now’s not the time to let anyone down. I push words into my diary, writing my story for myself of a boy once gay or bi, or bicurious—but definitely, definitely not in the end.
It’s that day in science class when we do the STD thing. I’m in eighth grade, and today we are to simulate the spread of an STD via mixing of liquids in vials. Everyone has a vial, and in one of the vials is the “STD.” Everyone mixes vials with various people, and at the end, the class sees how the “STD” spread through the class. Before class, I sit with Jenny and Max in the hallway. Jenny is joking with Max about mixing vials. I shyly listen to the conversations, and smile along with the jokes. Quietly, I hope Max will ask to mix with him. Jenny and Max mix vials in class. I mix with some people, and I keep looking around to see who Max is mixing with. Some guys in class joke about mixing: “Ew, gross!” That hurts inside, and the exercise ends without mixing with Max. Someone had the “STD,” some other people got it, and the teacher talks about the importance of rubber. Protect yourself, protect yourself is what I learn. And it's a very good lesson, but I've learned in love that protection takes more than rubber.
|Shells exist for a reason. (s)|
Honors Chemistry, 10th grade. As the summertime heat waits outdoors, I sit in the lecture room and listen to something about stoichiometry, ratios and energy. Cool stuff. The auditorium is cold as usual, so I zip up my jacket some more, shifting in my chair. Chemistry, energy, electrons, reaction, collision. The teacher talks on, and I take notes. The boys near me are up to something, and he feels a leg on his. Oh, it’s Grant. I don’t know quite what to do. I like Grant, and he is nailing the material, but right now he is rubbing his leg on mine, expecting a reaction. Grant was just rubbing against Brent, and I really don’t know what to do. I have the feeling he might be gay. Grant was smiling at Brent and Brent was laughing low and nervous. I am trying to be straight. I must not react to the warmth of Grant. The next day, I make sure to sit next to Grant. At the end of class, Grant asks me, “Colby, do you like guys?” so I ask defensively, “Why would you think that?” I could hear homophobia in my voice, and I feel bad when I see that he looks hurt. I want Grant to keep pushing. I want certainty that he is gay before I come out to him. I also want to know what gave me away, but Grant backs down. I will return to this moment when I think about highschool, and I will return with arms full of regret and hurl them at that moment. Colby, why? Why couldn’t you have been stronger, and taken that risk?! Imagine you and Grant? You wouldn’t have needed to been such a loner those years in highschool. Really, things could have been better, and you had a chance. Because of this moment and similar ones, I pursue openness.
Perhaps I idealize some things and exaggerate others, and there's plenty that's missing, but this is a start to look back and put into words my experiences. These are my experience, so before you take any action based on my stories, I want to remind people to make decisions based on their situations and experiences. Sometimes, one's life situation really can be compromised by coming out to family, so be careful, and take care. My hope is that we can create a safe place here on Freedom Requires Wings for discussion and sharing.