It was at the airport check-in counter that I first saw him. Sweatpants and a sweater. I can’t remember his face anymore. Waiting to board the plane, all I could do was look at him. It was a mystifying, electrifying feeling. When we were airborne, I would spy towards the front of the plane where he was sitting. When he would pass down the aisle, I would furtively try to sneak a quick glance. When the jet finally landed in Florida, he disembarked first. When my family finally exited the plane, I desperately scanned the terminal, hoping to see him just one more time.
That was when I finally accepted it. I was gay. Before that, I had always convinced myself that wasn’t who I was. I didn’t believe there was anything wrong with gay people, but I just wasn’t one of them.
But that day on the plane, I wrenchingly realized that it was not going to be a choice.
The entire trip in Florida was pretty miserable. I loved the beaches and the ocean and the warm weather, but I just wanted to go home. I was anxious and worried and needed somebody to talk to. Already I felt alone.
Once home I told my best friend that I had something I needed to tell her. I went over her house and we caught up with one another. Then she asked me what I wanted to talk to her about. I shuddered. It was pure fear that overwhelmed me. Not because I thought she would not love me anymore. But because once I told someone; once the words came out of my mouth, it was permanent. It was final. There was no going back. In fact, I couldn’t even tell her straight out. I was able to tell her that I found I liked someone. But after that, the thing that still makes me somewhat embarrassed to this day, was making her play Hangman in order to spell out, “It was a boy.”
She threw her arms around me and told me that didn’t matter to her in the least. Gradually, throughout high school, I was able to tell my closest friends the truth. Then, in December 2007, I had a crush on a guy in my school. He was in the grade below me and I didn’t know him. But after two months of wishing and wanting, I decided to tell him. I emailed him on Facebook, saying that I didn’t expect anything from him, and that this wasn’t a joke, but that I wanted to let him know that I liked him. I was barely able to press the send button.
A few weeks later, I checked my Inbox and almost stopped breathing. All that was written in response was “WTF?”
It stung. It hurt. It was almost dehumanizing. I know it could have been worse. But the sheer insensitivity of the reply was painful.
Things since have not been too good. The feelings of alienation and isolation weighs me down. I’ve lost many friends. Not because I am gay, but because I’m trapped in a prism of depression. I don’t remember that last time that I was genuinely happy. There are other reasons. My relationship with my family is strained. I’m smart, but extremely insecure. I constantly worry about whether or not I will have a good career. I constantly feel as though I am letting people down and that I am inadequate. Especially my parents.
I wish I could have given them what they wanted. When a couple has children, they want them to be intelligent, play sports, be popular and grow up and marry and have grandchildren. But I have failed them in almost every way. They know I am gay. But these days, my father hardly speaks to me. And I barely see my mother anymore.
I want to know that one day I will find someone who loves me as wholly and passionately as I love them. I want to be able to go forward into the future with hope and optimism, and leave behind the despair and deadness I feel everyday. But I just can’t see it.
I pray that the sadness will dissipate with adolescence. I pray that things will eventually get better. I have a dwindling faith that one day, I’ll be able to feel a sense of worth again.