Louisville, Kentucky (1987)
When I look at this picture, it brings tears to my eyes. The huge smile on my face, the dimples, and the innocence that was not yet ready for the MANY years of torment and suicide attempts that would occur later on in my life.
I was more emotionally driven, and after years of complaining about playing sports, my dad allowed me to pursue some band things and other musical endeavors.
Unfortunately, by the 8th grade,
I hated being alive.
And all the terrible things you hear about now? I experienced them.
I was taunted in the school hallways in between classes, and a bully actually tried to shove me in my 4 ft by 2 ft locker. My hair was pulled, my shins were kicked, and these bullies would even spit in my face.
I was called a f*ggot, a queer, a fudge packer and an anal jockey. At that time,
I felt as though these horrible boys took away my innocence. I tried to look to God for answers or some kind of help. But blinded by all the hate that surrounded me, I didn't see any kind of improvement. At 13, I attempted to kill myself, to get rid of what I felt like was a waste of God-given flesh. What was I even worth?
After a grueling year of the torment and the failed suicide, I turned against everybody. I was an angry boy with a shattered heart and no real outlook on life.
Years afterwards, I changed as a person. I found refuge in music and made tons of friends. But by college, I slipped down the steep slopes of depression and anxiety. I still was not happy with who I was, thinking 'If I'm a f*ggot, I'll burn in the fiery pits of hell. God won't love me and neither will my family.'
Can you believe that? I did.
My second suicide attempt took place in my dorm room at college. Fortunately, it was another failed attempt. God had a plan for me. I sought help and moved back home to FIND MYSELF. And there, I found that boy in my baby picture. I smiled again, my dimples showed, and my outlook on life had gotten better. I admitted that I was gay and proud, despite some insecurities I had at the time.
I am now a recent college graduate. I overcame battles of depression and anxiety. I have a wonderful family who loves me for me, and appreciates my journey in finding myself. I have the most amazing set of friends who have been there for all my happy, sad, and angry moments.
But to this day, I still get harassed and discriminated against. And it still bugs me. However, I look at them and smile - because I am who I am, and I will NOT change for anybody. I'm an advocate to those who feel they don't have a voice.
I am there for those who need the help and guidance to see that being LGBTQ isn't a bad thing. It's a rebirth when you finally realize that this is the real you.
The old me died and became ash; the new me was reborn from those ashes and is now a successful young gay male in today's society. I recently got a tattoo of the word EQUALITY on my arm, because I believe that equality should be given to all persons - no matter what race, age, gender, sexuality, etc.
Lastly, I must mention my mother. She is my heart. Because of her, I'm the person I am today. She was the first person I told and she will always love me no matter what choices I make in my life. She doesn't see sin nor distaste in my community. She sees only love, integrity, and respect.
To all those who feel like they have no voice - you do! There are so many people around that will love you for you. If you are bullied in school, contact the highest person you can. If nothing is done, go to someone higher than them. If you have to go all the way to the top, then do so. Make a difference in your community
Because those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter.
We all matter and we all will make a difference in the world.
Mother Monster said it best, "... 'Cause baby, you were BORN this way."
Remember that. I LOVE YOU.
Click here - "Born This Way: Real Stories of Growing Up Gay" book
Click here - "My First Gay Crush Blog"
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