November 29, 2010
“Because everywhere I go there is a world that doesn’t understand.”
I would give up the rest of my life to show you how it feels, to make you see life through my eyes. If even for a moment, I could let you walk in my shoes, I would give up everything that matters to me. The following is written as if it were directly addressed to heterosexual men.
This writing is about being gay and if you are gonna stop reading it just because of that, I bid you please keep reading all the way through. I don’t open up and talk about my personal thoughts or experiences just for the fun of it. There’s nothing fun about this, it’s not a joke, it’s not funny to me at all. I write this stuff so people who are unfamiliar with it can have some way to understand people they wouldn’t normally have the chance to understand. Think of it as a window into a world you’ve never known.
Perhaps in your life you have come across gay people who make you want to barf. Or maybe that’s your first impulsive thought. Maybe you don’t like the way they talk, the way they dress, the way they act, the things they say or the things they do behind closed doors. These are all external things that you can see and hear. What you can’t perceive is what has happened inside of them before they got to that point.
You can judge gay people for the way they externally live their lives. No one can stop you from doing that. Honestly, there are a lot of things about other gay people that I don’t like either. Activities, trends and ideas that I don’t agree with or support. But this writing isn’t actually about other gay people, it’s about me.
Have you ever wondered how gay people come to know they are gay? They find out the same way you find out that you’re straight. It just happens, the thoughts make their way into their head. It grabs their attention and pulls them in. Attraction is attraction, it all works the same way no matter which direction it travels in.
I first suspected I was gay before I was 13, but by that age I knew for sure. Unlike some gay guys, I didn’t accept it. I fought against it in every way that I could. I tried to block out thoughts, tried to put my attention on girls. Imagine if you tried to block out thoughts of girls and tried to think about guys instead. It’s not easy, is it? It’s not easy because it’s not possible to do. You can’t force yourself to be something that you’re not. I can’t be straight anymore than you can be gay. You didn’t choose to be straight and I most certainly didn’t choose to be gay.
One of the ways I tried to fight against my gay thoughts, was to make it into a negative thing. To turn being gay into a negative condition. To crack jokes and make fun of things that I considered gay. As I grew older, this turned into hate. I hated other gay people. I didn’t consider myself gay, I refused to accept it. So I receded inside myself, created a shell around myself. To hide from everyone both who and what I really was. I created this character that wasn’t the real me, pretended to be someone that I wasn’t in order to keep people from knowing the real me.
I didn’t just pretend to hate people who were gay. I really did hate them, but not because I hated the person. No, I hated them because of what they represented. They were exactly what I hated about myself. So really, I was just pushing my self-hate onto other people because I couldn’t deal with it.
I did this for nine years. After that much time, I lost all self-understanding. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. During those years I became very depressed. Living a life that wasn’t mine to live. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t know anything about my real self because I existed so far down inside.
High school was the worst time. One day in August of 2002, I woke up and decided that I wanted to die. I didn’t want to be who I knew I was. No one I knew openly accepted gay people. I felt so alone and in many ways lost. I had no gay friends, I had no one that I could talk to even if I had wanted to talk to someone about it. Which of course I didn’t want to do. Talking about it would have been like accepting that it was true and that was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted it to go away, I wanted the thoughts to stop. I didn’t want to be attracted to guys.
It was during those years that my hate went from externalized to internalized. I hated myself so much, I was so uncomfortable with my thoughts and feelings towards guys. I would have done anything to not be gay anymore.
I also dated girls through high school and for a few years afterwards. These were not false attempts. I truly attempted to be straight, despite knowing that I wasn’t. I refused to be a faggot and there was nothing I wasn’t willing to do to stop the thoughts. Unfortunately, I didn’t know there wasn’t anything I could do and that living a lie wasn’t going to solve what I perceived as a problem.
I had awoken that one morning in August and wrote a letter to my parents. They were not home later that day and I layed the letter on their bed. It was towards evening and I remember it like it was just last week. The grass was yellow, it had been or was just starting to sprinkle. I had mixed up something in a small cup and I planned on ingesting it outside behind my father’s shed.
I stood out there for a while holding it. Thinking about what I was about to do. Thinking about whether or not it was worth it. I felt sad because I was going to miss people. But I was convinced that no one would ever care for me if they knew that I was gay. Back then I was still Catholic and I blamed God for not taking the burden away from me. I prayed so many nights that He would take away the thoughts, but He never did. I hated Him and myself.
In short, I didn’t go through with it. I raised the cup to my lips, but never drank it. I dropped the cup to the ground, knelt down and cried my eyes out. I went back into the house, tore up the letter and threw it away. In 2005 I admitted myself into a hospital’s psych ward to keep me from trying to hurt myself again. I had thought about shooting myself and I had told a couple of people about my thoughts, they in turn encouraged me to seek help. And so I did. It was also at this time that I had started cutting myself. Not sure why I did that, but I had this fixation for pain at the time. I think it made me forget the psychological pain. I stayed in the psych ward for three days.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I had finally decided that I wasn’t going to hate myself anymore. If ever there is a choice that a gay person makes, I think it’s the choice of self-acceptance. There is no choosing to be gay, but there is the choice of accepting yourself and living your life as who you are. I had just gotten discharged from USMC boot camp and I knew that if there was ever a time when I had nothing else to lose, that now was the time to rediscover who I was. No more hate and no more hiding. And so I officially walked out of the proverbial closet in May of 2008, hell-bent on proving that not every gay man is the same and that no one can decide who or what you are except you.
Such a weight was lifted off my shoulders that year. I lost friends because of it, but if given the chance I’d make the same choice over again. But on the other hand, If I had the choice way back when I was kid, to be gay or straight and not have any gay thoughts, I would choose to be straight. Why? Because being gay has never been easy for me and I’m not confident that it ever will be. However, there is no magical machine that can turn back time and no magic pill or injection that can take away homosexual thoughts and turn a man straight. I’m just gonna play the hand I’ve been dealt.
So I hope this sheds some light on what can be a difficult thing to understand. And thank you for reading this all the way through. I really do appreciate it.