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Currently, I’ve been avoiding writing a paper for class by either going on my usual sites or tumblr. I will now cross hairs to combine the two. haha
I was on Jezebel recently and saw an article about a website called “Born This Way”. Pretty much, people submit a picture of themselves when they first realized they were gay. Some are obvious while others are subtle. It was adorable! But, a majority of them had a similar phrase at the end for the reader: “it gets better!”. Does it? Really?
I understand these terms and I understand why we say this. But does it really get better for all of us? Or am I not doing it right?
When I was hit with the “gay vibe” or the “sparkly feeling”, I was 11. My family and I went with relatives visiting from the Philippines to Disney World in Florida. I was so excited because I got to meet my cousins and I had the best time! But I digress. The hotel had a pool and when we weren’t at Disney World, we were in that pool. My older cousins would do wrestling moves to me and my brother in the pool, slams and whatnot. The next minute, I saw a boy. And when I saw him, I got flustered. My head went through these feelings. I was in love! As of today, I would have smacked myself in the head and told myself to just chill with the cousins; boys will come later. I even talked to him! We were about the same age and we just talked. And I just wanted to stay like that forever! Then he and his family left the pool. I asked where they were going and he said some arcade. I then got excited and said that I’d look for him later. He said “cool”. I never saw him again.
After this event, my life was never the same. I had challenges throughout grade school and high school. I wasn’t a popular kid. I didn’t have a lot of friends in grade school. And the friends I did have left me or I left them. One of my friends came out in 6th grade. I was still having difficulty realizing that I liked boys let alone coming out. He was tormented throughout grade school. And I was one of the many tormentors. It was a trade off really: I tease him, I get popularity. People invited me to parties and I got to sit with the cool kids. The cool kids! Then 8th grade graduation came and I left all that to go to high school. High school has its own stories, which will be another post.
So I thought I was a freak most of the time. I told myself that I liked girls. I can only like girls. I have to like girls. I hid my true-self from the cool kids. If they asked what I did last night, it was either watch tv or played video games. I lied. I wasn’t playing video games. Just tv. And my favorite shows were Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed. But the gay kid watched those shows. They started to be suspicious, so I had to convince them I was straight. Urgh. Bad times. I once asked a girl out with a note. She replies “NO. We’re just friends.” I had to go to the bathroom to cry. At the time, I cried because I thought I can’t get a girl. Now, when I think about it, I cried that my attempt to “be” straight didn’t work.
Grade school was a test of my time. Then high school. Then college. I didn’t have anyone telling me that it get’s better. I was the only one. I just wanted to get to college and do the things college people did; date, kiss, have sex, the A-typical college-movie life! Did I do those things? Did it get better, from my perspective as a kid?
My answer would be no. “Wait, no? How did it not get better? I heard so many things about you!” You might have heard from other sources, but that’s what you get. The phrase “it gets better” is a little misconstrued. I see it as a doctor telling you “it gets better” after you lose a leg. “It gets better” once you cancel your credit cards and debit cards after you lose your wallet. It gets better after the storm hits. When I hear it gets better, I feel like this is the phrase you say after something horrible happens.
"Hey Kids-who-are-being-bullied-suicidal-or-hate-yourselves! It gets better!"
What? WHAT?!?! Is that all you offer? A viewpoint from your life and how some kids life can be the same? We talk about individuality all the time and you tell me my life can be the same? HAH!
I’m sorry if this offends, but it’s like putting needles in my ears. When I was being bullied, I didn’t want to hear about how you got through it and became a super model, a drag queen, or whatever. I wanted to know if things got normal for you. Did you stop thinking in the back of your head, “is this too gay right now?” “can I sound more straight?” “can my voice be deeper?” I don’t want to hear that it gets better! I want to hear that it gets normal. Normal. Normality. Vanilla. Plain. Simple.
In a perfect world, I want to blend in. I want to be seen as a normal person, not just because of my sexuality, but because of me and what I can do for the world. I’m your doctor. I’m your accountant. I’m your next door neighbor. I want to be seen for titles that don’t have an attachment on it already. But that’s a perfect world. I’m not in it.
For the past few months, I’ve embraced my Gaysian self, and that’s how I identify in my life right now. One day, I can drop it. But for now, it gets the awkward questions out of the way. “Is he?” or “What is he?” Done. Gone. Out the door. This is Chris. Gaysian. Now, let’s get to business.
But some things aren’t quite that easy. College isn’t going the way I thought it would. Experimentation with sex and substances? Its more like experimentation with socializing. Talking to types of people I would never talk to in high school. The fear of being me is gone. Life isn’t amazing. It’s normal. And I’m happy.
I will agree, I still have my self-esteem issues. I want to be in a relationship. I hate being alone for certain things. But my sexuality isn’t much of a concern. I like boys. That’s what it is. No more confusion.
Dear my younger self, the bullied, depressed, angry self,
It doesn’t get better. It would be that life will be normal. It gets to be normal. Like the other kids. You like boys? So what?! Just learn to love it. Boys will still be boys. They will be stupid or be amazing. People don’t like you? Their loss. You are an amazing little kid. Buffy will be the reason you like watching action movies with female heroines. Being shy will be a thing of the past. Crying over girls? You only do that when your dying of laughter. Told her not to wear the stripper heels last night… Your life will become normal. Hanging out with friends, meeting new people, and knowing that someone out there is caring for you. Normalcy is what you always wanted, and now that’s what you get. So it doesn’t get better, it gets to be normal. Life is normal. So live your life the way you want.
Love, Chris (22)
BTW, your gonna change your hair color A LOT. Just don’t go red. Ronald McDonald is the only guy who can pull it off.