Here's the second part of my ongoing examination of my insecurities with my own identity in an attempt to make myself understood. This isn't something I write about much (well, basically ever before this), so I apologize if it's not good. Comments (I think the button's after the end of the article?) are always appreciated.
As mentioned above, and previously in my MAGICAL TIME TRAVELLING LETTER TO MY SEVENTH GRADE SELF(which is probably way better written than this), high school was a period of a lot of self-discovery for me. One of the most notable of these discoveries was the fact that, unlike the majority of human males, I happen to have a certain predisposition toward those in the possession of a Y-chromosome, which leads me to- all right, that was entirely too much work. Long story short, I’m gay, as spending any amount of time hanging out around me would make abundantly clear.
While the (eventual) bluntness of that declaration shows that I’m not really unsure about that anymore, high school was a different story altogether. I started school early, so I’ve always been a bit younger than most of my peers. While most of them started getting interested in dating and so on (ahem) in junior high, I was a couple of years behind.
When I then found myself not gravitating toward girls, but instead being drawn in the other direction, it was a not entirely unexpected finding, but one that could have provided me with no shortage of hardship. For those of you who were somehow fortunate enough to have never dealt with high school students, let me fill you in on a little secret: a lot of them aren’t very nice people.
I’m sure I was pretty unpleasant in high school, but there were people at my school who made me look like a saint. If I’d just thrown my cards on the table, I might have had to deal with everything from knowing people were saying awful things about me to actual violence. This was partially motivated by my adolescent need to over-dramatize everything, but there was at least some basis for my reaction.
It’s always interesting talking to someone who has something against a specific group and doesn’t realize you fall into that group. Hearing how the people around me would talk about gay students, both specific people and in general, made it clear that I didn’t want people to treat me like that.
So, motivated entirely by cowardice and a lack of faith in my own feelings, I didn’t really open up about my sexual orientation at all through high school. I even somehow managed to convince two awesome female friends to “go out with me” at various points, although nothing ever advanced beyond the purview of being best friends.
After escaping high school, I realized that I never had to see the people I didn’t like again if I didn’t want to, and the pretense dropped away pretty quick. Since that point, I’ve realized that Past Me was a moron. While I’m now comfortable with who I’m attracted to, I’m still pretty cautious when it comes to other people.
Even though I’m pretty sure I know both of the people who actually read my blog, I’m still really nervous as I post this that someone whom I haven’t had the “I’m gay” discussion with (given my policy of not bringing the topic up out of the blue) will read this post and then there will be some big confrontation and my life will be reduced to a tiny little ball of sadness and solitude and that’s basically hell for me because I need to be around people all the time.
At the same time, I’m worried that even people who I’ve had that talk with are only okay with it because it’s just kind of a nebulous thing that’s out there, but that isn’t affecting anyone. Long story short, nobody-wants-to-date-me-and-I’m-probably-going-to-be-alone-forever-boo-hoo-poor-me.
Now that that’s out of the way, I really do wonder if people would be as okay with me if my being gay consisted of dating men, instead of feeling sorry for myself because nobody’s interested. It’s one thing to accept something on a theoretical level, and quite another to do so in a real-world setting.
I really shouldn’t be this paranoid. Almost every time I’ve had this conversation, the other party had already been working under the assumption I was gay before the topic was even brought up. Still, because I am a crazy person, I’m even operating under this level of paranoia around some of my most open-minded friends.
As I think about it, I don’t really know how I feel about all of this. I know that, at the most basic level, this is how I’m wired, but I really don’t know if I’m ready for anything resembling an actual relationship. My problem is twofold. First of all, I’ve got a boatload of personal issues tied to my weight and general appearance. This is kinda old hat for me, and I’ll go into more detail on that whole bag of issues another time.
Second, I usually end up in this odd limbo regarding my own feelings about other people. By the time I get to know someone well enough that I think there might be something more there, I already like them a lot. The problem is, I tend to like them well enough that I’d rather just stay platonic friends with them than risk starting a relationship that might end in my no longer being even as close to them as I am now, which I know firsthand can be really painful.
But these are my own problems, and I’ve gotten better at dealing with them. Still, I won’t really know if I’ve truly come to terms with this until I end up in a situation that put them to the test.
While I’m far from being the most upfront person in the world, I’ve made a lot of progress from where I was in high school. Back then, I wouldn’t have even thought about writing anything like this, so while the writing itself may not be my best, I’m glad I’ve done it because of the amount of progress it evinces.