I’m From Lively, Ontario, Canada.

by Matthew G.

Canada Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

I used to pride myself on telling the truth. My brother was the one who told lies, and got into trouble at school, etc. I was honest and I never got into trouble. Not that I suddenly had a switch and turned into this lying, troublesome teenager, but let me tell you, I became the best liar. I could probably have won an Oscar some days. “Who was that you were walking with?” “What’s her name?” Questions like that plagued me in high school from my parents, my brother, my grandmother. And I would tell them just a friend. I don’t know if anyone believed me. But for a gay teenager growing up in a formerly small mining town with a still-present small town mentality, my belief that they believed me was all I had. I would tell them that I was just too busy with work and school to date anyone. And it didn’t bother anyone, because we lived far out of town, and my parents didn’t have to fight with me about borrowing the car, and I didn’t have to fight with them about how much they hated my non-existent girlfriend. But it dawned on me after I left home and went to university that I had become the best liar. Maybe not on the spot when I had done something I wasn’t supposed to, but when it came to this, I was a pro. I’m not into sports, or video games, or whatever else you associate with your typical teenage boy, so it kind of fit that I didn’t have a lot of guy friends, or that I got quieter in groups of guys.

But whatever. I worked my ass off and got myself six hours away into university, where I could be myself. Or so I told myself. But the lies just kept going. And let me tell you, alcohol does not always set you free. Don’t get me wrong, I love to go out with my friends and getting rip-roaring drunk, waking up the next morning to laugh at our stupidity. But being drunk also opens up those places in my head and my heart that are just too painful to open when I’m sober, the places that I somehow became a pro at locking away and compartmentalizing, all without realizing it. And it was those places that I began to explore in my first year at university, away from my family and friends that I had lied to for years. But I did not tell people I was confused about myself. Well, most of the time. But for the most part, I was careful. If I got bummed out, I would just go take a quick walk, or just join another game of flip cup or what have you. And if anything ever slipped out, I would just pass it off as being too drunk. And people believed me; at least I thought they did.

It was the lies that I told myself that were my undoing. I’d made myself so miserable with all the lies I told, and all the evading I’d done that I finally cracked to my best friend this year. And even though it was just one person, I had one person I didn’t have to lie or pretend to. And for a while that was all I needed. But I still felt like crap, and I realized how tiring it had gotten. My lies had become almost like another part-time job, or another class. And the lies weren’t for anyone but me. I now know that most people suspected I was gay, which was something I sort of always knew, but never wanted to admit to myself. The only person I was lying to was myself. So I stopped. And I told my other best friend in Ottawa. And now I’ve told a few more. It’s not the world, but it’s my little world, and just having those people know makes all the difference.  I still have to lie and admit it to my parents, and my brother, but that’s ok. Because I know that when I get off the phone after agreeing with my brother that yes, Ke$ha is hot (even though the only thing that’s hot to me would be me getting dirty at the club with her as my soundtrack), I can turn to my roommate, or call my friend and go on at length about the guy I saw at Starbucks, or wherever else we’ve been to and it doesn’t matter, because at least they know. And I know that one day, I’ll be able to drop the lies, even if it isn’t today.

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