Courage is being yourself in a world that tells you to be someone else. Don’t hide being gay, embrace it.
This post is going to be a very personal account of how being gay has affected me and how I’ve embraced being gay in who I am. It’s a part of me I’ve long come to terms with. But, growing up it wasn’t that easy.
The Primary School Years
Since I was around the age of 9 or 10 I knew I was going to be different. Growing up, I only ever had friends that were girls, I never played with boys, be it playing football or other “boy related” things. I was more interested playing my own made up games that my friend at the time would do about travelling the world. I didn’t think anything of it at the time as I was only 9 but a lot of the boys, even at such a young age, could also tell I was a little different to them. So I wasn’t kicking a football around at lunchtime or playing kiss chase. But this made me a target, which was easy for them to make fun of me for. The first boy to call me gay, I was still in primary school. The word gay went through me like a knife. It hurt, was I gay? just because I liked going to art club instead of football. Just because I had lots of friends that were girls? To this day I still remember how I felt when he shouted gay at me. In front of all his friends, they all just laughed and joined in. I felt so upset and left wondering why they felt the need to say such a thing when I’ve done nothing to them.
The Secondary School Years
Going to secondary school is a major thing. But going to secondary school and trying to hide something from so many people is major. Year 7 I was just a tiny dot with a bowl haircut. I was so scared and developing anxiety was something that was fast approaching. Naturally, I gravitated to making a lot of friends that were girls. Which again made me a target. I was still in the phase of question am I gay? why do they think I’m gay when I don’t even know myself if I am? Countless name-calling and endless amount of practical jokes on me, I couldn’t do anything though as I didn’t want the teachers getting involved as it would only make matters worse. P.E at secondary school is something I just dreaded. Playing football and rugby with all these boys that think I’m gay just terrified me the most. So many times would I try and get out of P.E if it was football or rugby. But P.E was also something I didn’t look forward too because those boys telling me I was gay would get changed right next to me in the changing rooms. This is where I first thought I think I might be gay. I couldn’t help but look at them. I wouldn’t look at them in a weird way but admiring them. But this just made me more confused than ever, I didn’t want to be gay because I knew my life would be hell if I was. Scared of what my family would think. Scared of people at school bullying me even more if I was to say I was gay. I couldn’t tell anyone how I felt, so I just went on pretending I wasn’t.
Year 8, 9 and 10 I tried to mask the whole being gay. In the space of this time, I had 3 girlfriends. But those boys and sometimes girls could see straight through this façade. Many a time would I have to deal with people shouting gay boy at me. So many times would I be laughed at when I held hands with “my girlfriends” It wasn’t just boys shouting slurs at me. It was girls too. My fashion sense at the time didn’t really help situations, but at the time it was fashionable. But it was out there. I was targeted every non-school uniform days. I remember in year 9 the bullying got too much. It wasn’t just slurring anymore, it was getting physical. I was always being walked into and pushed past walking down corridors. If my friends and I were on the field at lunch, you know that a football would end up in our direction. It got so bad I completely went off eating. I went from looking so healthy to completely wasting away. Which is where my problem with food has stemmed from. When I felt so upset I would stop eating, which would make me hate the way I look, it was a vicious circle. This with crippling anxiety it was just the icing on the cake. That year was one of the hardest years ever. Things got so bad that I felt the need to take my own life. It sounds so dramatic but at the time it felt like the only thing that would take it all away. I felt so down, so hurt and I felt I couldn’t speak to anyone about it. My anxiety was through the roof because of people finding out or my family finding out. I was so scared. I’ve never really told anyone about this, so posting it on my blog is a big step and I want to reach out to people who have ever felt this bad to tell someone, talk to someone and don’t think ending it will solve things. I went to the woods not far from my house, It has a lot of cliff edges that have sheer drops, I walked to the edge and just felt so calm. I wanted to let myself fall but something was holding me back. For a moment I realised what I was doing, fell backward and down to the floor where I sat and just cried. For days afterward I was thinking about what if I had done that. Nobody would know why. After this, I Finally told one of my best friends at the time. The weight off my shoulders was amazing. But it didn’t stop the bullying but my best friend did all she could to fight off the bullies, which made my life a little easier.
In years 10 and 11 not only was I bullied for being gay, my face decided to hate me. I started getting really bad acne. Alas, I was bullied for being a spotty teenager. My spots were so bad I was put on every medication under the sun. I would look in the mirror and be so upset because my face was horrid. I remember when this picture on the left was taken. Waiting in the line and one of the boys in my form asked me whether I had washed my face properly because it looked disgusting. I wanted to just say to the photographer that I didn’t want my photo taking. Regardless of how I felt I had to put on a fake smile and have my photograph taken.
In the last two years I started to have crushes on boys. Feeling like I was the only gay in our school was so hard but, I completely understood what other boys who were gay were going through. I felt so isolated and alone. I had a crush on one particular guy at my school who I thought was also gay. He was within my friend circle and I just wanted him to like me back as much as I liked him. The feelings for him were strong as it was the first time I had properly fallen for a boy before, to the point where I scared him off. I felt so stupid and annoyed with myself. We still remained friends as nothing happened between us. I look back now and think how silly I was for getting so upset. This is also the same time I lost my friend group due to a vicious rumour going around school. I lost a lot of friends due to this rumour. They then would bully me, I will never forget in Drama I was playing the evil step mother in our play of Snow White in a group of 3 people. We were showing our plays on what we had done so far. My old friendship group that had turned against me were all in my drama class and all watching. The evil step mother dies in Snow White. So like in Snow White I pretend to die when a comment is thrown from the back of the room. ” Oh thank god he’s dead” Something that really stuck with me for so long. Someone I was so close too wished me dead. A vile comment and something that really upset me. This made me feel even more alienated. But I still had 2 really good friends that stuck through with me all the way to the end of school that stuck by me no matter what.
With the end of school comes the school prom. A very American tradition that had caught on in this country, where teenagers dress up in their finery, take dates to prom to dance and have a good time together for one last time. Being gay there was no way I could even think of asking a boy to prom. It was unheard of, instead, I travelled with an old school friend and then too my two best friends at the time as my dates. That night was the best night of my life. Knowing school had finished and I didn’t really need to pretend within school anymore. Moving to completely different college to everyone else other than my best friend. I couldn’t wait to get away and start fresh. I couldn’t wait to be me.
Part two coming soon,