From the start....I didn't fit it in. It's hard to find your own "place" among a CLASS of 50 students - almost all of whom have grown up together since preschool.... there were around 200 kids in the entire high school - and they all knew each other very, very well.
On top of that, I was from the West Coast - I was all Dr. Dre and NWA..... I loved Eazy-E - and I was *about* as far from any kind of farming/pig farming/corn farming/farmers kid as you could possible get. I was loud and opinionated and ... yeah. High school had it's challenges for sure.
I remember sitting in my "History class" - which my parents thought was a total joke because we spent the first part of class covering current events OR that small towns history..... not things like... WWI. Freshman year was around the time that kids in larger cities were being shot for their Air Jordan shoes... remember that? Kids in Chicago and L.A. being murdered for their shoes.....
There was utter disbelief in the classroom: no one could believe that could ever happen to the extent that they discussed if the news stories were not real.
This was a sleepy little town where people still left their doors and windows totally unlocked - kids walked around main-street at midnight and no harm would ever come to them. There were only two cops and one police chief, one fast food place, one pizza hut and one grocery store.
Diversity..... however, was found nowhere.
Now, that's not to say it's a bad thing. For the kids who grew up there... they kind of had pretty awesome childhoods running around this tiny town feeling safe and whatnot... while we lived there - it was one of the things I cherished: that feeling of safety.
There was also some safety for me in *being* in high school..... I was a volunteer at our local Catholic Church, went to mass, then I was 'saved' during the summer after Freshman year and man... oh man..... I really went to town with that.
I was in two or three youth groups and never missed Church and I read the Bible front and back... back to front and to this day I can hold my ground with *most* people when it comes to debating the Bible and it's 'intended' meaning.....
I was very serious about my feelings about G*d..... and best of all: as a gay girl - I didn't have to put out.
Being a 'Good Christian Girl' meant that I never had to have sex with a boy.....
I was even featured in a brochure my Senior Year about abstinence - and how I was going to "wait to have sex until" I married my "future husband".
No doubt this is confusing for kids I went to high school with.... because I LOVED boys - I loved getting their attention and their affection.... I just had ZERO intention of doing anything with it..... I really did love High School Edward.... but, it was all at a cost to me.
And no, we don't need to break out the pity party... lol. However, my years in high school were teaching me that I could separate things - since I wasn't sexually active, I was able to have great, solid, fun, enjoyable and *romantic* relationships with boys because they only went sooooo far - and then I could pull out my G*d card and close up shop.
No one was ever the wiser that I was a secretly gay and the idea of male parts made my stomach hurt.
I really can't tell you how scared I was about sex. I remember being in the locker room and there was this couple in school - you know the one that's been together for *years* and everyone thinks they'll graduate and get married.....? We were in the locker room and the girl was talking about how she *knew* the boy was cheating on her because when she 'went down on him' the night before his male parts *smelled* like someone else......
I remember actually feeling ill. In the first place, I felt sad for this girl that she was having such a 'grown up' experience when none of us even had a high school diploma yet.... and then I just felt sad for her that she was sniffin' some guys junk.
None of that appealed to me.
At the same time, however, not being exposed *at all* to anything to with homosexuality - I didn't think or fantasize about girls either.... I was just kind of 'asexual' a bit. I liked my boyfriends, getting flowers or cards or mix tapes... remember mix tapes? Those were the best.... and I enjoyed going out on dates and flaunting my new cute boyfriend.... and I was comfortable in that role - so long as no one expected me to put anything in my mouth .... lol
I sure as sh*t wasn't going to to 'sniff' anything either.
On a larger platform, being "gay" was still not kosher...... By now I knew that Jeremy in grade school was wrong - it was AIDS and it didn't come from monkey's. But... it was scary sh*t - and even still it seemed to be something that the media associated with gay *men* - so I was constantly seeing gay men on tv... but not women.
I wasn't too bad looking in high school either..... honestly - I was a cheerleader and a 36-24-36.... and yet I usually wore baggy sweatshirts to hide my curves. I would almost always show up to anything in a t-shirt and jeans - and only on rare occasions would I wear a dress.
Dressing to get male attention seemed.... wrong. At the time, I associated it with feeling 'slutty' - like I was 'advertising something that wasn't for sale' as my Grandma would say. The truth is that it really just felt wrong.... at the time I couldn't fully understand if it was because I was a gay - or may be now I was just a *really* good Christian girl.... right? Like, somehow I had 'cured' myself and now I *did* like guys but because of my moral and values firmly rooted in virtue - and that was the reason I didn't want to have sex with them.
I cannot tell you *how* painfully confusing it is to be a gay kid growing up a straight world with NO ACCESS at all to any kind of imagery or literature that could help you understand and accept yourself......
Because the truth is....I hated myself.
When I hear about teens - even today - who commit suicide my *first* thought is... "I wonder if they were gay?" NOT because I think all teens who do that are gay... but simply because I can *VERY MUCH* identify with the confusion, self-hate and anger and that constantly swirls around your head and how there *are* days when you start to think that it would really just be better if you didn't wake up tomorrow.
Your friends won't know.
Your parents won't have to explain to the neighbors why you don't want to date boys.
It's a sure-fire plan to make sure no one ever knows the deep dark secret that you stuff down, shove down, pray away and cry about..... that you're gay.
On the outside I was .... decently well-known - I wouldn't say 'popular' because not every one liked me.. lol - but I seemed happy and pretty and socially active.... and inside: I was torn.
Even again, just before my Sweet 16, I had my first "big" high school boyfriend - his name as Danny. I was totalllllly in looooooove with him. As you do at 16.... he was the first about I was allowed to "date" - and he had been nominated for Prom King at his high school. He had been pressuring me to "do more" with him other than kiss, and when I wouldn't...... he made it to third base with my friend Alexis.
History repeats itself.
Only this time I dumped his sorry ass instead of allowing myself to give away parts of who I was just to keep up the facade and a boyfriend.
I spent the rest of high school perfecting being 'straight'. I knew that if I wanted to *have* boyfriends and keep them, that I would need to start giving up a few things... let a few guys 'tune in Tokyo' as it were.... but the truth of the matter is..... I never really liked it.
I spent a lot of time hating myself.
Wondering why I was broken... because I MUST be broken when some hot senior guy wants to bang me and I'd rather pull my eyes out with forks.
Praying....I prayed a lot.
I wanted to *be* normal.
I wanted to *feel* normal...... because no one f*cking told me that being gay *was* normal.
Because in the early 1990s.... being gay WASN'T seen as normal.
Don't believe me?
Rosanne kisses Muriel Hemingway on her tv show.... and people had a sh*t fit - it was 1994.
Ellen came out on her show as a gay character.... and got cancelled - that was 1997.
Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence and murdered for being gay in 1998.
Worst of all..... in the middle of my senior year just 338 miles from my own unlocked front door.... Brandon Teena was raped, brutally beaten and murdered for being a transgender individual.
Born a girl, she identified as a MALE who likes WOMEN. For some people this makes her a "lesbian" - but that isn't true because Brandon saw her *true* gender identity as male. A male who liked woman.
To people in her community is Nebraska... that just made her a fag and she was killed for that.
I didn't talk to anyone about it.... because I understood how she felt. While I have never identified my *gender* as anything other than female..... I knew that I liked girls and.... sad to say - Brandon Teena is actually my "type" of girl.
What is that.... the sound of crickets?
I like girls who dress like and look .... like boys. Yet... I don't like boys.
Trust me - I think my parents are still trying to wrap their heads around that one, and I'll go way more in depth explaining this later..... hang in there.
For now though, I realized that *I* thought Brandon Teena was hot.... (sh*t f*ck), and that that made me a dyke (which is a 'bad thing') and that I was gay... otherwise knows a fag and that could get me killed.
To be totally frank.... dating boys seemed like a much easier choice to make when lined up against the possibility of being raped or beaten or killed..... yeah: boys seemed easier.
So I made it.
I chose to keep dating boys. I chose not to talk to anyone about how I felt..... which is actually kind of hard for a few of my friends.
My very best high school friend, Janda, was *shocked* when I came out to her - and she said (not intentionally) one of the most hurtful things to me that anyone said.... she said, "I almost don't believe you because you have ALWAYS been WHO YOU ARE and never apologized for it.... why wouldn't you have just been gay then?"
She was right. I had always been happy to tell you my opinion on anything - I swore like a trucker (yes... even then) and I didn't give a sh*t was anyone thought of me.... however, the truth is, I wasn't brave.
I wasn't brave enough to stand up and say - I'm queer: deal with it.
My *impression* was that my community would reject me.... but that was unfair for me to assume that. I never gave them a chance to accept me... so I can't say for sure that they wouldn't have.
I can say that the social and national climate for homosexuality in the early 1990s was.... not so great. There was no one for me to talk to or read about or look up to.....
So, for the umpteenth time in my life I chose to be straight..... and I hoped that one day I would get married and have sex for the first time and it would be as magical as everyone kept telling me it would be. (it wasn't).
If I prayed hard enough.... if I was a good girl.... that would be my reward - G*d would change me because He doesn't "make" gay people....
G*d loved me - the Bible told me so.
My Pastor told me so....
My *heart* told me so.....
So I sure as sh*t couldn't be a girl who liked girls who looked and dressed like boys.... Right?
so. so. so wrong.
and Monday will hear about said first time..... you know the one on the balcony in above the Queens Roses?
Yup... that one. :)
I hope you all have a very GAY weekend..... I know I will. :)