I’m From Lansing, MI.

by trey monfils

To the kid whom I know best:
Trey –
You may not believe it
but there are people in this world who understand you.
Even at your age,
I am amazed by how acquainted you are
with pain,
with misery
with loneliness.
You spend most of your days alone;
you fear opening up to others
and I now understand why you feel this way.
My hope is that someday you will
you will grow into a compassionate person,
because with what you’ve been through,
I imagine that, even at 15 years old, you still
you still harbor a lot of hatred in your heart
You hate your dad.
You hate your circumstances.
You hate your friends.
You hate yourself —
You hate that you’re different;
You hate that you feel alone
in what you feel
and that no one understands;
— You hate that you have to hide everything you feel.
Isolation —
it’s where you feel most comfortable.
Isolation —
it’s where no one can ridicule, hurt or damage you.
Being gay;
Having allergies;
and being doubtful, questioning everything –
They’re painful and confusing struggles –
so prepare yourself for the worst.
Being gay –
it will never bring you physical harm,
but your soul and spirit will be ripped to pieces —
Your inescapable reality is their worst abomination.
Having food allergies;
It won’t kill you
but your fear might.
Fear of someday
someday sitting down to your last
last meal
last time alive – it’s petrifying.
All of it is hard
Hard for me to tell you
exactly how all of this pain will play out,
but all that I can say is that you will walk away
walk away from it all
You don’t have anyone to talk to
but someday
someday you will.
Don’t doubt;
you and I will someday come to understand
that all of this pain will result in something good;
it will make us stronger.
Not everyone gets pushed down like you do;
let that make you confident.
You’re up against giants,
yet you pick yourself up.
Don’t believe in what they say
Fuck it.
Someday everything will come together.
Give yourself time
Time to heal
Time to feel alone
Time to feel different;
you’ll soon realize that others
others are in the same mess.
Though I don’t have many answers for you
I believe in your power to succeed.
You have the will
the power
to get through anything;
let that strength take you places.
Never let your short-comings overshadow
overshadow your ability to be strong.
Though life will get you down,
be confident in the fact that you will
you will always pick yourself back up.
Never sell yourself short.
You are as good as the more confident,
the better looking
the more intelligent men;
the men who you feel inferior to.
you are a powerful man.
Believe in your abilities
your potential
your potential to succeed
and you will.
Allow yourself to make mistakes,
but live like you aren’t concerned
concerned about the mistakes along the way.
Allow yourself to be open
open about what you believe,
why you believe it
and that your beliefs
your beliefs are important.
No one has the power to make you feel inferior
inferior unless you buy into it.
In short, I’m writing this letter
to you
in hopes that you will take advantage
of the privileged life
with which you have been bestowed.
Though you will never be able to trust
trust everyone and everything
in your world; just let it be.
Life is not about convincing others to be alright with you,
life is about convincing yourself to be alright with you.
Let the power of self-confidence take you places;
don’t be afraid of stepping out of the box
step out and try new things.
You will feel tempted to sit back
and criticize everyone and everything
because of how fucked up things will seem;
but do not do it.
I want you to be successful.
I’m telling you all of these things
to prevent you from feeling how I feel now:
and baseless.
You are still young,
you have the beautiful opportunity
to discover who you are and to embrace it.
Love you;
this love is all you may have at some points.
I wish you the best of luck
in the coming years
as you finish high school.
You — 20 years old.


  1. Wow Trey – you have excellent perspective both as your current self and your future self. Trust that future. If you do, all the things he’s telling you will be realized.

  2. That was amazing. I would love to be able to tell my 15, 17, 18 year old self that I am okay. That I will be okay. I’d also like to tell my past self that I will someday love myself for who I am. I just don’t want to wait 30 years to get there.
    That was a long wait.
    I’m really thrilled that you don’t have to wait that long Trey.
    Loving yourself everyday for everything that you are is the only way to be happy.

  3. Trey, what you wrote probably hit home for a lot of us. I am 48 and can picture myself back in high school with those same feelings but in no way ready at age 15 writing about being 20 and at a place of comprehension and self-acceptance. Gay life was not as open back in the 70s as it is today. Gay bars were in the bad areas of town and without signage so as not to draw attention. It was pretty much the same for me. Walking through life without the signage so as not to draw attention. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s when I began to take control of my life.

    I applaud you and the younger generation for being able to start much earlier at self-acceptance and self-love. There is nothing wrong with any of us who are gay. If I had to live my life over again, I wouldn’t change anything about me. I would only change society.


  4. Thirty years ago I would never have imagined a place like “I’m from Driftwood”. I imagine in another 30 years there won’t be a need for it. Good luck to all the youth, you are all loved by all of us who came before you.

  5. That letter/poem/piece of art was a beautiful utilization of this space that was created. By you writing this letter to yourself with such detail and open understanding, it made it easy for every and all subsequent readers to do an “insert name here” with what you went through, will go through, but also what lies ahead. And that’s beautiful.

  6. Pingback: For anyone who needs hope (most beautiful thing i've ever read) - Empty Closets - A safe online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people coming out

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