Other Issues

Straight Jacket Feeling

I first figured out that I wasn’t straight when I was about twelve. We had been shown the health and puberty videos in school and the teacher explained everything my classmates and I really didn’t want to know about our bodies. My teacher had one sentence on gay people: “Some people are attracted to the same sex, and are called homosexual”.

This was the first time I had heard about such a thing, and I started thinking about my own feelings. I had never had any feelings for girls and physically I was attracted to guys. I thought that was normal, but this made me feel horrified. A twelve year old shouldn’t have to go through that alone. I thought that there was something wrong with me. I was smarter than most other kids, so they bullied me to make me feel bad. They had called me gay before because, like me, that was the first they had heard of such a thing since we live in a very conservative town (Antelope Valley, ie. Hillbilly Hell), so they had to sniff a gay person out. It made me so angry, not because I gave a damn about my sexual orientation, but because I didn’t want to prove those idiots right.

All throughout middle school, I was a walking target for every derogatory name. Even my “friends” did it, perhaps even worse than everyone else. I finally told my parents about everything, from my feelings to the bullying, and I was expecting an angry rampage. Instead, my parents told me they loved me and that they didn’t care about me being gay or straight or whatever. Without my parents, I don’t know how I could’ve gone on.

Then I got to high school (I’m now a sophomore) and everyone suddenly got amnesia. They completely forgot about how horrible to me they were and treated me like a human being. And you know what…I let it go. I forgave them, because I knew that hating everybody for what they did in middle school was only going to hurt me. Unfortunately, I figured out that I wasn’t even sure I was gay. I had feelings for both sexes all of the sudden. Before, at least, I knew what I wanted, but now I felt completely lost. In fact, I still do. I said my parents were always supportive, but even they can mess up too. The most horrible thing my mom ever said to me was when I told her I thought I was bi, and she asked me why I didn’t just “choose peace”. I don’t think she knew what she said, but I still tear up sometimes about it. I felt for the first time that who I was was hurting someone I cared about. This was all happening around the time the gay marriage thing flared up in the AV (hillbilly hell) in September. What my mom said plus all the homophobic stuff from my peers made me feel like I was in a straight jacket. The people around me just pulled my arms across my chest and squeezed so tight I couldn’t breathe. Still, sometimes I feel that way. I felt absolutely helpless around me. I came out to my best friend right after she told me she was breaking up with her boyfriend. In fact, that was when we became best friends. She showed me that not everyone around me would hate me or treat me differently for being myself. I’m still in the closet at home though, but maybe someday I’ll find that courage to share my whole self with everyone. Here’s to hope.


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