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Not Coming Out
by Ace Baxter

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I realize that if you were sitting at a coffee table, minding your own business while a complete stranger hijacked your post-it’s, drew random faces on them and then glued them to a variety of your items, you would consider it weird. And if by any chance you are reading this, dude from Starbucks, sorry if I freaked you out…I was bored and you had shiny post-its’... What I find weird though is how so many people I know have this aversion to strangers like any of them could be a terrorist, carrying three knives, a gun, a backup gun, three rows of bullets, electrical plans to the building, a lighter, a penny (for good luck) and their sole reason for stepping into that coffee house was to set a new personal record for how many times he could stab the first person that approached them before the cops showed up…Grow up.

That’s one thing about me…I love strangers…I have no problem going up to a random person that looks mildly interesting and sparking up conversation, just because I’m bored. I realize I just look either clinically insane or horribly desperate, but there is a theory behind it all, really.

See, I was never one of the kids playing in the yard at recess, tripping over stuff and scraping my knee and crying my eyes out for it. I was that kid that stared at the crying kid and rolled my eyes mumbling ‘wimp’ under my breath. People call me weird and I’m okay with that, I like being the weirdo; I think it’s fitting, really.  I like strangers because even if I say something that makes them think I’m a total spaz, that won’t affect me. Imagine you went up to some girl in your class and told her you were gay…man that would be all over the school in about 3.5 milliseconds. “Like, oh my god, did you know that freak from third was actually *shudder* gay? Like, let’s go have a non-fat no sugar no foam non-flavored no-syrup decaf no-milk Latte and Facebook everyone about it!” Even though you think that no one talks like that, I have heard someone order that once…but back to the topic. You know it would spread.

Now, take the exact same situation but with a stranger on the receiving end. Would they care? Not really, they’d just walk away and you would still have your feelings intact. Got to love strangers. Being left with your feelings intact at the end is a big part of life right now…pretty much every move that I make is towards that goal. Why? Let’s just say I’m not having the best day…or week…month, decade, take your pick…

Most people have a distinct memory of ‘finding out they were gay’ which I never had…I never really ‘found out’. I realize that’s odd, but so are most things until you understand them. I honestly believe that everything is possible, I always did, so when I heard stories where mommies and daddies loved each other, I never once doubted that mommies and mommies, or vice versa daddies and daddies could be together. I mean really, why not? As I grew up my thinking obviously did too, but the basics stayed the same. As a great person once said: I’m attracted to people, not genders.

If I’d have to describe a perfect partner gender would never come up as a criterion. I don’t really know what to call myself, but I’m pretty comfortable with the label ‘bisexual’ so until something different pops up I’ll stick to that. Still, when choosing a label for myself, if I’m honest, I’ll pick one that says, in big giant luminescent furry letters: JUST ME. I think everyone should have one of those, because really, that’s what we all are…just us…all awesome and yet weird in our own ways. On the one hand, I always knew I was gay; on the other hand, I was never anything else than myself, plain and simple.

Sadly…my mom didn’t see it that way. Nooo, when I brought up the subject of the gay pride parade she started a big torturing argument about how wrong it was, how horrible, against nature and a sin it was. Needles to say that discouraged me out of ever coming out to her. Honestly, I was hurt. Parents are supposed to be the ones supporting you and I’m pretty sure if I ever mentioned anything to her I’d get kicked out. That was almost four years ago. I’ve kept trying to approach the subject with her but without any success…

Three years ago I got depressed. Two years ago I went to a therapist behind my parents backs (like they would be supportive of that). One year ago I quit going to that therapist because nothing really helped and now I’m just trying my best not to go psychotic.

A big part of the depression is probably the way I see myself. I know this sounds like a whiny child, but I hate the way I look, I detest it. I hate mirrors, I can’t stand looking at them, I can’t even stand my voice. Even though I hate myself this much, I don’t want to change. I know it sounds hypocritical, but somehow, deep inside I hang onto the hope that if someone, anyone, can like me for who I am then maybe I can too. Of course that someone is continually nonexistent. And no, I’m not someone who complains but chows down massive amounts of popsicles while doing it. I average out at about one piece of toast per day, when I have less work to do. I know it’s unhealthy but I can’t help but obsess about the way I look, and it’s hard anyway eating right when you don’t eat meat and your mother tries to force you to eat meat by cooking it whenever you’re around. (All the being sick, passing out, going to doctors and getting the stupid blood tests was also, of course, behind her back)

Another big part was my mother. I try to talk about something important to me and I get shot down, I come home with a 92 average and I get a shrug and a ‘what did you do to get such a low mark in gym (depression can seriously suck down your energy), I bring up the idea that I’m feeling depressed and I get the answer ‘whatever, it’s just a phase’. I know that she cares about me, but things like that make me wish I was never born in this family.  I know I know, it could be so much worse, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

Still, the biggest part was, and still is, having to hide. I can’t let it slip that I might not be straight because if I do, on top of my personal life being a living hell my school life will be too. Everything I say, every movement feels like it’s fake, and that I’m just showing this image of myself to people. I hate that. It makes me question my friends. Do they really like my company or do they like that girl I’m pretending to be? Here is where the loving strangers part comes in. With strangers around, I can be myself; so naturally, with strangers around is when I feel best. It’s hard to describe what it feels like to be prattling away with my friends about who’s hotter; it makes me feel like I don’t even exist.  And yet, I don’t want to change myself. I was told multiple times that I couldn’t function without antidepressants. I refused every time, I was always afraid that they might change my personality and that is one thing I hold for important. One’s personality shouldn’t be driven to change out of stupid reasons like drugs or ‘peer pressure’, because if you lose that, you lose what makes you you.

I continued trying to stay sane like this for quite a while, until, some months ago, I had a very important conversation with my friend, a friend which I value beyond anything else. We were just having our random hang-out time when the question about ‘who do you like out of the class’ came up. I didn’t answer until she started guessing…after I said no to every male possible the light bulb kind of flickered on. I think she paused only for a few seconds before smiling and saying: Yeah, I kind of figured.

That was pretty much the most amazing feeling, actually being accepted. She’s my best friend, and very dear to me, and I can actually be myself around her. No matter how crazy, bipolar, depressed or happy I am that day, I know I’ll get my daily hug and that makes life just a little more bearable. I don’t want to be stuck hiding forever, so I’m now taking more and more steps to come out and though my movement is probably slower than a snail half-asleep at one of my mom’s lectures, I know I’ll get there eventually. It’s hard hiding, but it’s much harder coming out.

If anyone has suggestions though, on how to try to tell my mom, they would be greatly appreciated…If there’s one thing that makes this a thousand times harder it’s not being able to be myself in front of my parents. Maybe one day, everyone will realize that we’re not aliens or the devil in disguise, we’re just us, but until then, and until I don’t have people who to hide from anymore, I’ll have to stay with sticking post-it’s to random stranger’s bags (again dude, sorry for freaking you out)

Hope your story doesn’t involve quite as much crying as mine,

Love Ace


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