I’m From Gorleston, Suffolk, UK.

by Jack O.

Google Earth Satellite Image of UK
I’m From Gorleston, Suffolk, UK.

1994. The beginning of this journey, one of which no one could have determined. One of which seems all so strange to one family. One of which one wished had happened earlier.

1998. He was sitting on my bed. He looked out of the window. He saw beautiful butterflies flutter around looking all so pretty. The colour of their wings amazed me; they were just like the long satin dresses his mother would wear on formal occasions. He used to want to be a butterfly.

2002. He stood at the edge of the playground. On one half was his group of friends, encouraging his participation in a game of “Stuck in the Mud.” On the other half was the group of “cool” kids. The ones he wanted to be, the ones he wanted to talk to. He wandered over to the “cool” kids, to his friend’s bewilderment. He said “Hello, can I play?” He received a corker in the right eye. He ran into the school building and sat in the toilets, he was in tears for many hours. He made a pledge that day. He said to himself “Never will I let a person humiliate me like that. Never!” From this day on he had renewed vigour. The “cool” kids were in for a treat!

2006. He had moved. These “cool” kids were no longer an issue. He hadn’t had the courage to face them. He started a new school. Everyone called it “Big School.” He was determined to prove to everyone he was a “Big Boy,” he could take what they gave him. He was going to prove to them he was not the droopy dandelion at the back of the flower patch. Day 1: “FAGGOT”! He never returned.

2007. He had moved again, but this time due to family separations. He was adamant to prove to the new people he was brave, he was ambitious; he was comfortable as he was. He was warmly welcomed on his 1st day. He made some friends. The one thing he did do however was lie. He didn’t tell these new friends the truth from day one. It got him liked though. He wanted to be liked more than anything. He hid. And hid. And hid.

2009. He couldn’t hide any more. He had to tell someone. After several hours of tears, shaky handwriting and soaked paper, he had completed the masterpiece that was going to make or break him. He carefully positioned it into the envelope, and he placed it gently against the vase on the table. He walked into the bathroom, ran the water steamy hot, lowered himself into it, and let his depressive nature take its course. He thought he’d freed himself, and that was the end of that.
But in those few minutes it took for him to lower his head beneath that water, and the time it took the envelope to be opened, something remarkable happened. He doesn’t know what, he doesn’t know how, but he knows it did. And if it hadn’t, he wouldn’t be with us today. Hold on, the thing is, he isn’t with us today. He doesn’t remain that person. He doesn’t live that life. He proved those people wrong. He broke the family trend. He did what he had to do. And as for now…

2010. Aged 16. Life has never been better.  He is the “cool” person, with all the friends. But he is the cool person for a whole array of different reasons. He was never the bully; he was never the hard-nut. He was only ever the secret, the denial, the honesty. It was the honesty that made him the “cool” one. He sits on cloud 9, with a silver lining, and looks out upon the world, upon his life, and he thinks “Never will this change, Never will it go back to the way it was, Never will this life become a bad one!”

2011. Him. Who was he? He was me. I am Jack. Aged 17 I live life, happy, free and honest. I live life with a new vigour that outweighed the old life, the depressive life, the secret life.

I now sit upon my bed, and I see that same butterfly I saw 13 years ago. And I think: “Life is like a butterfly. We begin small; we gain an identity we think is us. We grow up, we go into that cocoon, and we mature. We come out as a beautiful butterfly. Our colours shine brighter than any garden moth. We stand out from the crowd with our beauty. We think, I shall fly on, and I will leave that small cocoon behind.”

Life is never, and will never be, simple. There are always these ups and downs. There will always be upsets. But it is your true identity that gets you far. You have to be yourself. And that’s the whole truth of it. You cannot hide in denial, even if the consequences are much less. I know! But now, I am that butterfly, and my rainbow colours shine brighter than any boring garden moth. I fly above them all, and I think to myself. Nothing can bring me down, unless there is some gorgeous butterfly catcher, his net can bring me down.

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