A Gay Man Gains Perspective
Two years ago, a life changing thing happened to a young man. It was perhaps the biggest, scariest yet thrilling adventure of a certain person’s life. His life had many struggles, some even hidden so deep down he didn’t understand until later in life. Even now fear still crouches at his door waiting to devour him, and well, to be honest- fear almost won out. That person was me. Two years ago, I took a leap of courage and came out as gay. Since that day, I have come to look at my life and situation as an adventure. Like any adventure in life, it has been bared with many foes and many dangers. I am grateful for all of it; even the bad. That is a tough thing to do, accepting the bad things in life as something to be grateful for. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to accept that. I would have thought a person was crazy to suggest liking the bad just as much as the good.
Five years into the past, we are looking at a different me. I was selfish back then: only looking out for myself. The personal lives of my friends didn’t matter to me. Imagine yourself trapped inside your own universe, all alone, with nothing but your self-pity and woes being the center of your everyday life. That’s how it was. It was that way because selfish, self-centered me had nothing else he wanted to do but keep a secret hidden. My life became so focused on my fears that it drove away a lot of people. No one wanted to be around me, and now, looking back on all that has happened- they were right to do so. By letting darkness, fear and anger to crowd me, and wanting to come out of the pit but refusing to take that leap of bravery, it had damaged me- almost to the core. I was consumed with hatred. I couldn’t allow myself to think even one positive thought. I was making myself the prey; the target, just waiting on the front lines for someone to play the predator card. In the winter of 2010, I met a guy, unexpectedly. We connected with each other through some close friends of mine, and we became friends.We were hanging out pretty regularly, but in 2011 during one of our routine conversations, some heavy truths were revealed to me. He had kept a record of our recent conversations at the time. He told me how selfish I was. He emailed me every word of our previous conversations, including the one we were having. He was right. Everything was about me. The whole conversation was completely one sided. He would try and talk about his schooling; I shot it down, started talking about my woes. He would try and talk about something positive, and I would always find a way to turn it around and make it negative. Basically, I was like a thorn in his side. My heart just sank at that moment. I felt a terror come over me I had never felt. I was fixing to lose a friend; the only friend I had. For a few brief moments, I found out what it was like living in my small, one sided, little universe. He had given me acceptance and understanding. He knew I was gay and he accepted me. He was honest, and it hurt when reality struck. I knew right then if I couldn’t change my bitter heart, loneliness would be my only friend. But I had become so bitter I didn’t know how to find my way back. Fortunately, I was able to save my friendship, and we slowly began to rebuild our bridge. But it wasn’t enough.
There was something else that needed to be done, and I was afraid to do it. I was afraid of what people would say or think. I was afraid people would fear me and cast me out of their lives. After a near attempt at suicide by trying to drink poison, I knew at that moment it had to be done. For the sake of my sanity, and my life was on the line. I told everyone I knew that I was gay. That very moment, after I had made it known to everyone that I was gay, and could actually say that word out loud- all that bitterness, hatred, self-loathing and fear left me in an instant. Just like The Flash, the monster that crept within me was gone. But I didn’t know then that it was only the beginning. I soon faced rejection, phobia of my orientation, and with some family members I was even denounced and ostracized.
Presently, for the past 2 years, starting in 2013- I have been writing blogs for The Pink Panther Movement. Lately, I have really felt discouraged. Since I debuted with my first blog for PPM in the spring of 2013, I didn’t feel worthy to be writing alongside all these people on the blog team who have been through so much. I read their blogs all the time as each one surfaces, and I see so much more they’ve been through, and all I have to worry about is an uncle who lives over 900 miles away, and the occasional religious attacks I get that don’t happen very often. These people who write these blogs, not all of them are LGBT, but they suffer just as much. Yet they come on top of the discrimination every time, and even stronger than before. And they have faced some true devastation. A few weeks ago, I was ready to throw in the towel. I wanted to give up thinking I had nothing to give that was of value. But one evening last week, I was talking to the very same friend who revealed the harsh truth four years ago. I told him about wanting to leave the PPM movement. He was surprised I was even considering it. He asked me a question that took me off guard. He asked me if I realized how far I had come since 2010. I asked him what he meant. He laughed about it, and for a moment I didn’t understand what was so funny. He told me I didn’t even see it. He told me how much I had changed in the last five years. He reminded me that what I’ve gone through was bad, and it was a serious situation at the time. But it doesn’t seem so bad anymore, because I came out on top. I was shocked! I had lived through my worst nightmares and didn’t even realize I had conquered them. So twice now this close friend of mine has given me a reason to keep going, and keep fighting for a better future. But as I look back on those five years, I have to be grateful for all of it. I’m grateful for my uncle, and even all the religious people who parade up and down sidewalks protesting. I am grateful for all of it. Why, you may ask? It is because, if those things in the past hadn’t happened- I wouldn’t be here today. The special friend of mine gave me a reason to fight for a better me, and a better future. My uncle taught me that forgiveness is important. All those religious people who scorn me on the streets with their picket signs, they give me a reason to be proud of who I am.
All of those people throughout those five years helped me to become who I am today. Some were good- others were bad, but I needed all of it. So that is why I am grateful for the bad things in life just as much as the good. Because I know I will always come out on top. When you face your greatest nightmares and overcome them, you can triumph over anything.
So, any of you in the LGBT community, and it doesn’t even have to be that you are LGBT. Perhaps you have a gay son or daughter you have chosen to accept, or perhaps you were horribly bullied in high school. It can be anything. When you feel yourself doubting your true potential, and you question whether you have anything you can give to the world, I encourage you to look back on your life. Remember the people who walked the path with you, both good and bad. Let the good people remind you that you are worth something, and let the bad people remind you why you can’t give up the fight. Each person on this earth is unique in their own way, and sometimes you can be so unaware of how special you really are.