I’m From Singapore.

Yesterday, (or was it two days ago? I can’t remember) my friend told me she was hurt when I told her I was gay. It was not because she was homophobic–if anything, she’s definitely approving of it–it was that I chose to tell her when I was physically furthest from her. I chose to put 15,349 kilometers between her and myself and 4 years of friendship before I informed her.

That made me wonder, would she have been happier if I had never told her? But I don’t want to keep my closest friends in the dark.

Being in a place where homosexuality is highly frowned upon, where people can be very unkind indeed, I could never bear to even utter the phrase “I am —“(there it goes again, that self-censorship!). Even when my friend was telling me about what she felt, whenever that dreaded word came up, it was either substituted with another or just voiced soundlessly.

I now go to school in New York because I wanted to leave that oppressive air behind. I look at people and I’d imagine how they’d hate and shun me if they knew me for what I was, what I am. I’d imagine their look of disgust, and hate myself for being what I am. I thought that by leaving everything behind, everything would change.

Nothing has changed so much, really. That same fear of people knowing, that same fear for those who have known me through my facade to be enlightened, all these were brought along with me. The new acquaintances, I told myself on the plane as it took off, who would know me for the true me, know me as the quirky, talented person just as I was known back home.

So much for a new start.

I have known about my attraction since I was 10. My sport was self-reprehension, and my hobbies self-reproach. It’s hard not to go out, talk to people or make friends with guys without having to repeat the mantra “It’s not as if they are —, you know” without going mad. Either that or “Your presence occludes the possibility of anyone else being —, statistically.”

Can you imagine the torment I had when I had to serve in the military for about 2 years? I kept a blog, and reprimanded myself every time the number of entries with “Gaiety” got too much. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote in the military, as I lay in the guardroom surrounded by other people on duty:

“There are metal bars outfitted on the window. You feel the claustrophobia and the entrapment, but an orange light came in and illuminated the walls. A scene of dirty windows, half-opened, was printed in a sad chrome-orange…All the while, the bars never stop reminding you of their existence, of YOUR existence, but you cannot help but gape at the beauty of the straight lines these bars paint.

I don’t think I can bear to tell anyone. I don’t think I can come to terms with the look of disbelief and incredulity on their faces. I can’t bear to think about their judgment and eventual evaluation of me. I can’t bear to upset the impressions I have given them and have gotten comfortable with. I can’t stand this masquerade. I don’t have the reflexes and stamina of a ninja to dodge questions about whether I have found a girlfriend in New York City. I am tired, yet I must slough on. I can’t speak the words “I am —“. I just can’t do it.

And I don’t think I will, anytime soon.

One Comment:

  1. This story somehow explains what i almost did on Jan 2nd to my mom and best family friend who are many miles away. The thing i feared most almost happened because i do want to cause any pains to mom. She is in a country where being gay is illegal and you go to jail for years if not life.
    Thanks

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