As an innocent little boy, imagination was my favorite drink. As a traumatized adult, alcohol became my favorite escape.
My world had begun to spin in the opposite direction as I laid on my back naked. At first I felt fearful and alone. He called the game “bf & gf,” and said his cousins played it all the time in the attic of his grandparents’ house. Somehow I found this comforting. At the age of 5, I experienced something of joy or lust, an emotion that I had yet been given the mental capacity to comprehend. From this moment forward my sexuality was in question.
Manipulation came next. He would tell me, “If you won’t play our game we can’t be friends.” Eventually our parents wouldn’t let us play together. I would ask and blame myself, “What did I do wrong? What is wrong with me?”
Throughout puberty, the least favorite part of my day was having to change in the same locker room with him after practice. Taking showers in isolation out of fear having to confront my inner confusion.
After basketball practice, my brother and his friends would smoke. Seeing their laughter and careless matter to their surroundings, I just wanted to end my daily internal battles and become numb to the world like them.
My mother would greet me with the same question and smile every day after school, “Hi honey, how was your day?” I wish I had had the courage to tell her the truth. My story today would likely be very different but yet still similar to yours. I had a promising bright future ahead of me but in that moment I couldn’t accept my true self and walked blindly down a path which lead to self-destruction. Genetically I was doomed.
Experimentation with substances came next. With them, I no longer felt a need to hide behind the masks I had painted. Under the influence I believed I could be perceived as the brother, the son, the person society wanted me to be. I could join in on the name calling and degradation of others beliefs. I had found a way to consistently escape my true self by seeking solitude in chemicals. If only I could have fast forwarded the tape to see what would end in death and resurrection. Twice.
Overtime the chemicals had carved a lonely void deep within and I would need to seek a power outside of myself in order to find salvation and acceptance.
Scrolling through social media I had recognized a familiar name from high school and clicked add. Unbeknownst to me, this person would provide me with hope and new direction. He gave me light during a dark period of my life and I’ll be forever grateful. I wouldn’t be writing this story today without his unconditional understanding.
Coming out shouldn’t be defined as acceptance of one’s true self.
Coming out is scary and children shouldn’t be scared of who they were born to be.
Coming out takes courage and is an act of self-preservation and self-love.
Coming out of the womb should be the only human experience of coming out.
I’m out. I’m gay. I’m free.
Here I am. Love me. I Love me.
Finding me was my journey.
I wish I would have come out sooner.
If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be not to live in fear of society's opinions and to be yourself.
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