Warning, the story you are about to read deals with issues such as homosexuality and teenage sex. Well...not at first, but later on. If your offended by such behaviors or your not of legal age to read such material, pleas exit now.
Well good! The following story deals with my actual coming out experience and subsequently the fictional path my life would have taken if only I I could of told my parents that I was gay almost ten years ago. Some of the characters within my stories are based off real people but their names have been changed to protect their identities.
Any similarities to real events or situations are purely coincidental.
And so it begins...
I've always wondered how my life would have turned out if I had only had the courage to express myself years ago. Would it of been easier or harder? Would I still be me or someone else entirely? The possibilities are fathomless, but I am still confronted by the reality of situation. I didn't have the courage that fateful day, so my life took the course that it is leading right now. If I could only go back and give advice to my young self...if only.
It all happened almost ten years ago. It is amazing how much has changed; yet at the same time stayed the same. I can remember quite distinctly that when it all started it was late winter because I had the day off from school because of Martin Luther King Day.
"So, what are you going to do on your day off?" Asked my mom, "clean your room?"
"You wish! I was actually wondering if I could go with you to work today?"
"Well, I don't really see why not, just don't come to me complaining that your bored and want to go home. And you better hurry up and get ready because I plan to leave in less than fifteen minutes."
My mom is a librarian at a local private university and I often made it a point to visit her at work as often as possible. Its not like I am overly attached to my mom or that I am one of those weird book nerds. I actually have an ulterior motive when I visit her. What I really wanted to do was take advantage of the computer lab on the second floor.
It may seem strange to people who grew up in more metropolitan areas to discover that the local university was the only place within a twenty mile radius to have Internet access. It wasn't until the later nineties that home Internet access became a possibility in rural areas surrounding my hometown. But, since it was only 1995, my only access to the outside world of the Internet was at my mom's work.
Upon entering the upper level of the library, I had the great fortune of discovering an empty computer terminal. Each terminal was equipped with its own study desk surrounded by partitions on three of the four sides. I usually tried to get the computer in the corner because of the added privacy. Today however, the only terminal free was in the middle. I hated these terminals because you were back to back with the next computer, thus hampering most of my desired seclusion.
Of course, I was not going to let me not enjoy some of the benefits of surfing the web. I checked all of my email accounts, looked up some information that I might of needed for a school project, and generally chatted with a few online friends. After a couple hours of mindless wondering, the anticipation got the better of me. I finally decided to visit one of my more favorite online sites and see if it had been updated. Glancing around, I made sure that no one was looking, I typed in the address to a soft-core picture site. Right before my eyes, I was greeted by picture upon picture of beautiful men if various stages of undress. My heart was beating with the thrill of these men. I had almost completely shut off every other stimulus of the outside world, until...
I quickly exited the website and looked to see who had interrupted my teen lust. At first I thought that I was going to get in trouble by one of the library aids for using the computer for so long or maybe someone had seen me surfing some of the not so normal websites. Instead, an all too familiar face confronted me.
"Just doing some research for my term project," I lamely lied.
"Your already getting started with your project, I haven't even thought of a topic yet and you're doing research."
Tony was one of my guy friends from school. He wasn't my closest of friends, but we often hung out at school and with mutual friends. I had a mini crush on him when I was twelve but that was long over with. Now he was just plain old Tony. Even though he was just a little bit younger than I was, Tony had yet to fully reach puberty yet. He was only 5'4", kind of skinny, and basically looked like he did when he was twelve. I on the other hand had hit puberty full forced and was still going. While Tony hadn't really changed over the past couple of years, I had changed quite a bit. At just under 5'11" I was the tallest kid in my class. At fourteen, I was beginning to look like a young adult.
"What are you doing in the library? I've never seen you anywhere near a book in my life."
"My parents had to go see one of my great-aunts in the hospital, so they pushed me off onto my sister for safekeeping. Unfortunately for me, she really doesn't want anything to do with her youngest brother, so she just dropped me off here so I could wonder around."
"Man, that really sucks! Well you can hang out with me for awhile if you don't mind."
"Well that would be better than looking at books all day."
"Would you like to play minesweeper?"
"I've never really played it before, but I bet that I could kick your ass."
"If that's a challenge, you're on!"
The rest of the afternoon was spent playing computer games and using fake identities to talk to perfect strangers online. Our fun was ended when my mom told us that it was time to go home. I waved my goodbyes to Tony and looked forward to school the next day so I can see the rest of my friends. If I knew that this would be one of my last days of childhood, I would have tried to enjoy it a little bit more. But, we never know when things will change.
The day started like any other. I was woken up a little early for my liking by my mother and was forced to eat a bowl of cereal while still trying to stay wake up. I caught the bus at the end of rode with my younger sister and spent most of the bus ride talking to all of the kids around me. I wasn't Mr. Popular at school, but I still got along with everyone that knew me.
When I got off the bus, I noticed that one of my friends was giving me a strange look. Usually I met all my friends by the flagpole before first period and caught up on the events of the previous night. Instead I found myself not being approached by anyone at all. I just put the situation on the back burner of my mind and just thought that they were in a hurry to get the school day over with.
My first four classes went without any noticeable incident. I had inherited both my parents' intelligences, so my first four classes were part of the accelerated program at my school. I was only in the eighth grade, but I was taking junior English, Math, Science, and History. None of my friends were in these classes, so I did not know about the situation that was brewing among members of my grade. A few guys and me had first lunch together, so after my first four classes were over, I went to my locker and got my lunch bag. When I got to the cafeteria, I noticed that my usual table was full. That was strange, usually my friends saved me a seat so I wouldn't have to eat alone.
"What gives? Why didn't you guys save me a seat?" I asked non-accusingly.
"Well I guess we must have forgot, there's an empty seat at the table over there." Lamely Derek said to me without looking up from his sandwich.
I looked to where my friend Derek was pointing. The seat that he was referring to was at least three tables away from my group. I thought to myself, "Why would Derek want me to sit over there? It's not like him to forget to save me a seat. Is something wrong?"
"Is something wrong?" I asked hoping that it was just a minor mistake.
"No, there is nothing wrong with us, I just thought that it would be better if you sat over there for awhile. Just go over there and let me finish my lunch."
"I just want to know what the deal is!" After a moment of silence, it became apparent to me that I wasn't going to get an explanation from anyone at the table.
What was the deal? I've never been treated like that by anyone before, namely someone who I considered to be a friend. I decided right then that I wasn't hungry anymore and I really needed to get some fresh air. When I entered the school courtyard I saw my friend Tony sitting by himself on one of the benches. At least I know that Tony will talk with me!
"Hey Tony! What's up?!" I tried to sound cheerful, not allowing anyone to know how upset I really was.
"Not much." With that Tony started to get up and try to walk away.
"Now don't tell me that you're starting to act different too!"
"No Zack, I'm still the same. You're the one that is different..."
I was beginning to really get angry. First my friend in the cafeteria shunned me, now another friend of mine is accusing me of being different. I just exploded!
"What the Fuck does that mean?" I demanded from my would-be friend.
"I think you know what I mean..."
"Well apparently I don't, or I wouldn't be asking you! Would I?!"
"I saw you..."
"What do you mean you saw me?"
"Yesterday...I saw you."
"Okay...well I saw you too! Hell, we see each other all the time!"
"I saw you looking at those pictures on the Internet; I didn't say anything about it to you because I need to think about it. Well I've thought about it and I've told everyone."
"What do you mean?! You were spying on me?! You told everyone what?!" My mind was a flurry of terrible thoughts and images. My life up until this moment was full of happiness, but that was all gone.
In a panic I asked him, "What did you do?"
"I told everyone the truth; I told everyone that you're a fag!"
With that my young life ended. The truth was like a Pandora's box without any hope of ever being shut again. I hadn't come out the closet gradually like I had planned to do when I entered college. Instead the security walls that I had built around me were brutally torn away to show my deepest vulnerability.
Well, this is the end of chapter one. The true and actual account how my "friend" Tony told the entire school that I was gay. I'm not happy how the whole situation ended. Needless to say, I was devastated that my secret came out way before I was ready for it. What happened after this initial encounter has really scarred my memories of adolescence.
I left school that day without any hope for future happiness. A mutual friend of my parents told my parents that there was a rumor that I was gay and she thought that they should address the situation before I became a negative influence for the youth of the community. My parents asked me if I was gay and fearing their rejections, I told them no! The look of relief upon their faces changed my view of them from that day on. After two months of rumors, my parents finally took action and threatened my school with a sexual harassment case if action was not taken to destroy the rumors.
My school acted swiftly, but not in my best interest. All of my friends were faced with suspension if they did not agree to stop the gossip and then give me a personal apology. A couple of seminars were given to "help" students deal with "issues." Basically the whole school was forced to pretend that they were not bothered by my sexuality and I never again regained my former social status within the school.
After being forced into the realm of outsider my entire High School experience, I enrolled into a university miles away from my former life. I basically ran away. For my new life, I decided that openness, but discreetness was the best option for my sexuality. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. By the end of the first semester, I had lost all of my scholarships due to my overactive social life. Overactive social life is polite was to put the term "Slut," but basically that was what I had become. I welcomed any attention that I received and was subsequently dehumanized because of it.
Bright side! I was kicked out of school, I moved back in with my parents, and I started my life over again, but this time for the better. I've begun to put the past behind me and have realized that I am now a stronger person. I am slowly becoming the person that I dreamed of being all those years ago before my life was derailed. I have a supportive group of friends and family and I can finally say that I have found my happiness. But, one always can't help to wonder what could have been.
*I am currently a 23 Marketing/Art major in Northwest Arkansas. I've put the past where it belongs, the past, and have great hopes for the future.
Feel free to email me at ARboiWundr23@yahoo.com.