January 26, 2011

Michael

Michael, age 11
Syracuse, NY (1986)

I remember this moment vividly, because it was our 5th grade school photos at our Catholic elementary school. The photographer was a gorgeous man in his 20's, and I was in love for the first time. I was feeling quite fierce that morning, and decided to wear my outfit from last Easter, since it was a big hit.  Overall it was a good day, and the picture speaks for itself.

"5th grade school photo and feeling fierce!"
I did have a pretty terrible childhood with an alcoholic father who left us (twice), and dealt with the taunting of the mean kids. I knew I was gay when I was 5, but didn't have the word to describe what I was feeling.

I really struggled to make sense of it, and kept the secret which was slowly making me insane. I can recall feeling so alone and wondering why I was so different from other kids. 

What really helped me through it all was my best friend Paris, and a song called "Hold On" by Wilson-Phillips.

I would listen to that song EVERY DAY and hope that I would eventually be OK.


All in all, my experiences made me a very strong and fabulous person. I am very happy with who I am and what I offer the world. My core belief is that I am a person of integrity. No one can take that away from me, ever. When I look at this picture now, I feel awesome! I am GAY and I think that is a special gift.

My message to the LGBT youth struggling now, is the same that helped me:

HOLD ON - and know that you are loved, and it gets better.
Reach out and get the support from all of us in the community.

And remember - what you resist, persists.

Michael's first, famous-person same sex crushes:
Burt Ward (Robin on "Batman")
Patrick Duffy (in "Dallas")
Scott Baio (in "Joanie Loves Chachi")

7 comments:

ajhemphill said...

I totally was in love with Scott Baio!! And, so thinking back now, you must have enjoyed getting all dolled up in a button up shirt and clip-on tie everyday for school :)

michelle said...

I adore you and admire you MS! xo And yes, you are FABULOUS & FIERCE!!!! Love you, MR I mean, Michelle Richardson O'Malley

antonio navarro said...
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Tracy said...

Hold On... By far the greatest song ever! Love you Mike!

Anonymous said...

Awesome!

Anonymous said...

Mike, that smile is what keeps people going. Keep your head up, and God will Bless you Abundantly. I was there that day of our 5th grade pictures at Margarets and I will vouch he the photographer was "HOT". Love ya Sister!!

Anonymous said...

Inspirational... You are still fierce!