|Coming Out: The Inner War|
Well, my coming out story is quite convoluted and filled with a number of emotional twists and turns: read on and discover the war we all wage in our hearts, minds and souls!
It all started when I was 17 y/o. I was starting to think more about my sexual orientation and what my future was.This was during a strange time in my life where it was the summer vacation after my entrance into Adult Education (I had previously dropped out) and I wanted friends to hang out with.This is to say that I was incredibly lonely,and desperate for companionship of some-sort. However, this was before I had, or possessed any interest in, a facebook profile (the easiest way to reconnect with classmates from the past years). I didn’t really know where to go, or what to do, I had these feelings but that was it.Looking back on myself, I realize that I was in some deep, deep denial. While I never was disgusted with my feelings for guys, I still couldn’t honesty say that I was gay. During our younger years my brother would always tease me by saying that I was gay/homo because I didn’t ever have a girlfriend at anytime in my life, post puberty. I would always brush him off and not think much of it-he may have had girlfriends in elementary school, but I do not put much emphasis on relationships that young. After all, doesn’t real sexual attraction begin at 13? I was younger than him and as such did not think much of it. When puberty came, is when I would begin to have desires for women.
Well, puberty came and nothing changed. Perhaps I was distracted by all the erections and wet dreams, but I did not have any feeling for girls. Though I did, however, develop unknown feelings for guys. These feelings were mysterious and vague, as though it was an an occurrence that would come before the inevitable attraction to girls. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t masturbate when I was young so self-discovery through that particular medium was unthinkable.
Years went by and I soon found myself at the tender age of 15 still thinking and wondering about when I was going to be attracted to girls. It’s funny, but I actually remember one time-in homeroom, at school-that I looked at a couple of my female classmates and thought, “When am I going to be desiring them?” If you’re laughing now, it simply means that you had a much easier time of it than me.
This great pit of denial even extended to when I did begin “touching myself” when I started jacking I was new to the experience and just kinda went as fast as I can, while thinking of the most erotic experience I could imagine.These thoughts were of course of guys doing stuff with others guys. It was actually pretty amazing; I was imagining two dudes giving each other oral sex and sometimes anal sex,and yet, still, I could not bring myself to think I was gay. To be fair I was no longer thinking about when I was going to start liking girls (so this would translate to me being in my “Questioning” stage”), but I still wouldn’t say that I was gay.
This period of my adolescence lasted for another year or so. An entire year of confused feelings and thoughts tricking my mind and leading me into places where I had no aid or help. I was alone and stranded.
PART TWO: DISCOVERY
Than, one day, I decided to get on the internet, and for some reason or another, I typed in the words “Gay Teen Support” and hit “search.” I didn’t know what I was looking for or what I wanted, but I possessed this overwhelming sensation that I should undertake this course of action.
My search lead me to here -Chadzboyz; a place where there where so many helpful things on homosexuality that I didn’t know what to read first.There were articles on figuring out whether or not a person was gay, pieces on safe sex and STD’s, Short stories centered around gay teens, gay news of a varied nature, wardrobe and fashion tips, and everything else you could possible imagine. In short I had discovered a gold mine of information.
I had always to some extent known I was gay, but nonetheless,when I was on Chadzboyz for the first time, it was like I was on a forbidden site; an area where I could suffer dire consequences if I was discovered. At the time, I wasn’t active on the forum here (a truly great place to interact with others) and did all my peering into the gay world through the main site -the homepage. During this time of isolation, my feelings were confused and weird. It felt as though when I was on Chadzboyz, or any website dedicated to the Queer world, that I was entering into a world that was mine, but that was foreign and alien; as though it was a realm which was awaiting my return. When visiting Chadzboyz I felt energized, I felt hyper, like one does when you are engaged in a activity which you have always wanted to do, but for whatever reason, could not perform. My time on chadz’ was akin to a time race-get on fast, and off even faster, for anyone could walk in and discover my history, see the material, and “out” me. It was akin to having butterflies in my stomach, only these butterflies were dangerous winged monsters capable of destroying my life.
Time went by, and I soon got myself an email address, the first thing I did was formally join the Chadzboyz forum.
It was amazing; the people, threads, discussions, and activity was like a beautiful dream. A dream where I could be with, and talk with other homosexuals, to know that I really wasn’t alone out there in the big old, homophobic world.
However, time on a forum could only do so much for me. While I did meet many wonderful individuals,I still lacked a certain sort of center, an identity of who I was and what the queer universe was about.
The second great milestone of mine came from the most unexpected of places: Youtube. If you do not already know there is a wealth of “Coming Out” videos posted up there, begging to be watched. Every video is different and stars a different-normal-teen talking about his/her coming out process. As I watched these video my sense of self grew. I began to get a feeling of the wider world. While chadzboyz was great, these videos were awesome! They gave me courage and inspired me to do something, to not stand on the sidelines and remain passive while so many others activity show who they are free from doubt. I watched video after video, perhaps dozens, and with every video a new sensation developed within the recesses of my belly. I had now grown accustomed to the singular truth that I was gay, for it slowly dawned on me through all the interactions that this was who I was. The sensation I speak about was, of course, the need to act-the desire to come out.
Why did I want to come out? This is a good question to ask not only me, but yourself.I remember hearing stories of how people would remain their entire life in their mental closet, never telling their family. They would satisfy their inner cravings for love by strolling the night bars/clubs, then once done they would return home and try their best to hide their true self. They would be in their 40’s,50’s,and 60’s without anyone knowing of their secret life-their homosexual life.
I didn’t want this life. Who would?
I wanted to be able to tell my family and friends about who I was dating, I wanted to openly talk about the latest news stories regarding gay people, to be able to bring home a Partner (more commonly referred to as a boyfriend) to my family and tell them about him-meet and have dinner. However, most importantly, I wanted to be able to be myself and not hide my true desires. I wanted a life free from elaborate lies and deception-I wanted truth.
PART THREE: COMING OUT
Still,the big question remained-HOW!?
I didn’t know at first,so I brainstormed and thought and gathered up energy/bravery for a classical coming out surprise (AKA Kid:”Guess what? I’m Gay!” Parents: *Stare dumbfounded*), that so many before me had done. However, even while doing this, I knew that there had to be a better way, a method which didn’t involve me freaking out beyond my means to cope. I brainstormed and brainstormed.
While my mind performed Olympic level mental acrobatics, trying to figure out the best way to “spill the beans,” my need for freedom-for truth-took me to another less challenging arena: coming out to my best friend.
Chris had always been my number one buddy since we had met (…before him there was another boy,but we had a falling out). Following the first summer vacation after meeting in school,we spent literally,almost everyday hanging out.We played Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, watched Dragonball Z and other Anime shows, rode bikes and had plenty of sleep overs.Years later, when his parents divorced, I, on a regular basis, spent the weekend with him and his bother while they went to live with their mother. Needless to say, we had a tight relationship, one that I cherished.
So,naturally, when I knew I was gay, and was thinking of ways to come out, I knew that sooner or later I would have to tell Chris.There was only a slight stipulation, however, I hadn’t seen him for several years at this point.This was when I had dropped out, and was finishing up my High School education in the Adult Education system. I had to convey my thoughts through a medium which didn’t involve me travelling inane distances to tell him. I of course couldn’t simply wait, so I made the decision to tell him via text.
Luckily, he reacted well, and said that it was “unexpected,” but otherwise didn’t care. I was very happy that nothing would change between us. mmediately, when I thought about all the stress and anxiety that went into just sending that one little text, I couldn’t help but thinking,”Well,that was easier than I thought!” I made a mental note to myself that all I have to be is sure of myself, and things will be okay in the end.
Resuming on my other task of conjuring up new thoughts for how to come out in person, I returned my brain to more deep thinking. While brainstorming,my noggin popped out a good idea for my activity side (the side of my consciousness which demanded that I take action). This idea was soon to become my path to coming out, it was, if I do say so myself, bloody brilliant!
The answer laid in the most obvious of places: Laziness…of a kind, or the feeling of displaying something that those around you have no clue about.The solution to my need for “activity” was in my face,quite literally,the entire time-wear a T-shirt! I took hold of a plain white short sleeved shirt,grabbed a permanent ink marker,and drew in the middle of the front and the back the Lambda.No words or phrases-just a single obscure symbol that represented gay pride the world over! The symbol the legendary Gay Liberation Front adopted as their own during the civil rights movement.
I wore the shirt for a long time,maybe around a month or so,and to my surprise nobody asked any questions. Yet, even so, I was happy-I was wearing something that said to the world, “I am who I am,” and was proud even if they didn’t have the foggiest idea as to what the symbol meant. However,time would prove my original assumption of no one asking invalid, for soon the day came.
My mother asked the question: “What does that symbol mean anyway?”
How to respond? Should I be elusive and withhold the information? Make up something fake? Or, dare I, tell her truth-that she has a gay son? I choose the later!
I informed her that it was a gay pride symbol,I said…
ME: “Well,I guess that you’ll find out sooner or later,so I should tell you now. It’s called the Lambda-spelled L.A.M.B.D.A-and it is a gay pride symbol.”
MOTHER: “A gay pride…? Curtis,are you…gay?”
ME: “Yes, I am”
Then there was silence, and I continued cooking my spaghetti.But I knew that it wasn’t over-I still had more to do. My brother was up stairs playing a video game and I didn’t want mother telling him while they went to work-I had to tell him myself. So I quickly walked up stairs and said…
ME: “Did you hear me and mum’s conversation?”
BROTHER: “I might of,but I can’t remember.”
ME: “Well,we were talking about the symbol on my shirt, and that I am gay”
Silence.I get up to walk out of the room; he probably needs time, like mother, to digest everything. But as I am at the door to leave, he says…”Well,I want to let you know that I don’t think any differently of you.”
This was a surprise. I hadn’t expected him to reject me or anything, but for him to say something so profound so quickly, was a curve-ball! I said “Thanks” and headed back down stairs to finish cooking my spaghetti.
I cooked my food, and began my famous process of piling the spaghetti sky-high-all of it in a single bowl! I had noticed that mother went into the living room,so after finishing making my mini leaning tower of Piza, I went in as well. To not only see if she had anything to say, but to also watch my than favorite TV show Cold Case. I watched the show, and eat up all my spaghetti and still no answer. Knowing that it was very near the time for her to head of to work, I reminded her of the homophobic tendencies of her co-worker and boss by saying, “Remember mum,your boss is a redneck, and your coworker is a religious zealot.” She nodded something in agreement and said something akin to “Yeah.”
Then they left for the next four hours for their shift. Not a single word had been said by my mother. Perhaps she just needed some time?
Their shift past,and they came home. As it turned out, this was one of the days when we were going grocery shopping. By now it was 7:00pm and I liked shopping at night, so I tagged along. It was only my brother and mother-father decided to remain home and sleep.
It was during this time of quiet unknown, that my mother decided to speak. She said how she would always love me no matter what I was, and that she just wanted me to be happy. She didn’t think any different of me, and she accepted me for who I was (in the following weeks, while we were alone on another car ride, she would actually share a story from her youth when she thought she might be a lesbian because she was always comparing herself to the other girls in her magazines. I said that I thought that as pretty normal behavior for young girls to do). So two down…one to go.
My father I didn’t tell myself. My mom had asked me if I wanted her to tell him for me, and I said that I did. I still remember when they were in bed and I overheard my mum telling him. It was vague and fuzzy, but I remember hearing my father’s sound of surprise, like a “huh” sound with an edge, as to connote disbelief. To this day me and my father have not formally talked about my sexuality, but our relationship hasn’t changed at all. I don’t mind if we don’t talk about it, I just find it a bit odd that he didn’t have anything to say. I knew that he took it rather hard though. When he was informed of “the News” the following night when we were at Wal-Mart, he was silent and acted a bit weird. You could tell that he was thinking and in a deep zone, an area reserved for serious issues, that demanded real attention. He accepts me, however, and that is fine.
Overall, my coming out battle was fairly easy going, especially when taken in comparison to the numerous tragedies that still occur on a daily basis the world over. I wasn’t rejected or ridiculed, I was not called names or disowned,or kicked out of the house. It was a period of incredible self-discovery and worry, that faded back into the background when events normalized. I have profound respect for those who underwent a traumatic coming out experience,and still are proud to be who they are, who can proudly say, “I am gay and I make no apologies!” Sometimes things go well,and sometimes they do not. Mine went well, but not everyone is as lucky. I would urge everyone who is not out to come out and bring forth the revolution, but not before you are ready. Take your time, and godspeed!