Some 'splaining To Do
So the first question really is why I stopped blogging in the first place. A reread of my previous posts leading up to my hiatus could point to apathy, disinterest in the blog format, Facebook/Twitter domination; any number of things.
But the truth? The real reason is because I suddenly had to keep a number of events in my life off the blog. Why? Because I came out of the closet.
Yes, I'm gay. A shock to many perhaps; "duh" moment for others. I wasn't exactly the butchiest kid on the block growing up. Watch any of my recorded soccer games and you'll see a little Asian boy dancing and twirling on the field. While my two older brothers played Peewee football, I was learning all the cheers from the cheerleaders. (I didn't even know what "first and ten" meant at the time, but I wanted whoever to "do it again" because "we liiiike it. we liiiike it.") Replay a video from a birthday party and you wouldn't see me tossing around a baseball; I was on the Chinese Jump Rope with my girl cousins. Middle school, drama kid. High school, all girl friends (save for one who would come out to me two years after graduation). The signs were all there.
I tell everybody that I realized I was gay back in the sixth grade. Probably the same year I had access to Men's Health magazines and quiet mornings on the Internet. But thinking back, I had very strong infatuations with guys when I was even younger; Ellvin Kelvin's friend who gave me a quarter and was so nice to me (and cute) and this lion trainer at the circus that I wanted to be like.
But growing up with this ate me up inside. Initially I had no idea of what it was to be gay. As I dug through different muscle magazines, I just knew that that's what got me excited. It wasn't until I started hearing about gay this and gay that that I finally started putting things together. It wasn't until I started hearing about the teasing and "the sin" crap that I started to wonder if what I was feeling was wrong. And this is a very confusing thing to have to deal with as a kid. Here I was just being who I naturally was and I was being told by society that I was not right. I would lay in bed at night, tossing and turning, losing sleep, saying to myself "I can't be gay. Out of all the people in this world, why me??" There were times when I'd see a shooting star or just before blowing out my birthday candles, I would wish to be straight, just so I could fit into society. No more pressure or secrets. Just a normal life. I wasted so many wishes..
So I tried to fix it. I collected some Victoria Secret catalogues and really tried my hardest to make myself like women. I had read that men who thought about baseball during sex eventually became aroused by baseball. So I tried to apply this theory to women (which sounds incredibly weird to say). I really tried. But it just wouldn't work.
So I bottled it up. I closed myself off from my family and friends. They would never know of this eternal internal struggle that I was facing. I put on my best smile and carried on with this cursed life. But it wouldn't be easy. With living a secret, I had a huge guard in place. During a time when raging hormones dominate a teen boy's mind, I had to keep quiet. I stole glances at guys I was interested in; just a quick fleeting look, and then shut my eyes so I could really check out what I saw. I had to study how straight guys behaved when talking about "hot chicks" so that I could mimic that behavior. I constantly polled my brothers about women who they thought were hot so that I could in turn "think" they were hot.
And I became a master of deflection. Any discussion of girls or girlfriends or dating or kissing, etcetera; I could change the subject in 2.6 seconds flat. I'm sure I was not so subtle when doing so, but it's what I had to do in order to get by.
Meanwhile I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with all this. The most logical thing to do was come out. But then I was risking breaking my parents' hearts or possible being disowned. No, the easiest thing to do would be to try to live a straight life with a woman; just keeping all my feelings to myself. But FUCK, I knew I couldn't put myself through that, let alone drag a poor innocent girl into the mess that was my life.
Then things went dark. I could always just end it all. Days of struggle, sleepless nights, every conflict, all the hating myself; just take the coward's way out.. I don't know for sure if I truly contemplated pulling the trigger (so to speak). I think it always remained an option in my eyes if things became too unbearable. But what I will say is that a couple years out of high school, an ex-boyfriend of my friend had killed himself. While he had been dating my friend, we all suspected him of being gay. And although I never confirmed for sure, I believed that he ended his life because he could not come to terms with his sexuality. And after attending his funeral, after seeing his parents broken, I decided once and for all that I would never kill myself. I said to myself that my parents would probably rather I be gay (and alive) than putting me six feet under. And, financially, it made more sense this way for them too. *wink*
So the only option was to come out, but how would I go about doing it? In my heart, I knew that my parents and family had to be the first to know. And I felt that I could not do anything (dating wise) until I told them (obviously with the risk of word coming back to them).
Back around 2002, I had a breakdown in front of my mom. I ended up crying on her shoulder for an unrelated reason, but suddenly the reason became about my sexuality. And in this fit of sobs, I told her that I was not happy with my life. And she, as comforting as ever, asked me why. And maybe I had seen too many episodes of Dawson's Creek and the moment felt just perfect for the optimal emotional impact, but I blurted out, "..because I'm gay. Sob. Sob."
I could not see her reaction. I dared not look at her face. But I'll never forget the words she uttered next: "You mean, you like boys??" The way she phrased it, made it sound so wrong and abnormal. I nodded. And she said no more, so all I could do was replay her incredulous sounding statement. All the while, Third Eye Blind's "Slow Motion" played in the background. A song about teen angst and violence and the shitty world we live in; specifically the lyric "..because he hates his life!" repeated in the silent sobbing room.
She suggested I get some rest; that we could talk later. I begged her not to tell my dad. I had felt like my soul was bared too much and I was afraid of my dad's reaction. She promised not to tell (and I would later find out she kept that promise for years).
At the time, I didn't know how I felt. I felt some relief that it was out there. A little chip of the boulder off my shoulders. But the future was still uncertain. I didn't know what would happen next. Essentially I sent that boulder chip down a hill and it was about to snowball into who knows how big.
In the later days, I felt uncomfortable around my mom and would try to avoid her by going to school early and coming home late. I didn't feel like I wanted to talk about it with her. One morning, she finally cornered me and she told me this:
"I've been reading about this thing and it looks like there are treatments that can help you."
Okay! She's not ready for all this, I thought. As much as I wanted to live a straight life, I knew that she was talking about some electroshock therapy or some Jesus camp where kids go to lock themselves permanently in a closet. I knew that this wasn't something that could be changed. It was instilled in me. I was looking for acceptance, not this. And that's the moment I realized maybe this isn't the right time. I needed a way to backpedal out of this.
One morning, after hearing that another one of my high school friends came out as "a gay," she told me that maybe I just thought I was gay because a lot of my friends are. Here was my out and I took it. I told her she was probably right and she never spoke about homosexuality again.
Thinking back, I really should have just allowed that snowball to keep rolling. Because it meant lying to myself for another SEVEN years.
I think this is a good point to take a short intermission. But I wanted to emphasize that being gay is not something I chose. I cannot choose what sex I am attracted to. The only choice there was was whether or not to accept who I am or hide it like a cowardly Republican politician.
If any of this strikes a cord with you, or if it feels at all familiar with what you yourself are dealing with, my advice would be to understand that you are doing nothing wrong. Be yourself. Be who you naturally are. And don't let life pass you by dealing with questions of "who you are." It's a waste to deal with such conflict. You already know who you are.
It gets better, and juicier, in part two,