I forced myself to be interested in practical studies. That was the “sensible” thing to be occupied with. Petty things like music and art and theater weren’t going to “get you anywhere”. Subjects of Math and Science and Social Studies is what my future had to be.
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I lost so many years trying to hide the fact from the world, and from myself, who I really was. I lost so much ground in my social and mental development simply because I knew that what was inside of me wasn’t going to go over well with the world I lived in. I never allowed myself to be comfortable in my own skin to enjoy who I was and capitalize on my strengths. It just wasn’t acceptable in the Southern Baptist community in which I found myself trapped in. My strengths were considered weaknesses.
I imagined that the whole world was the same. For all I know right now it was, but today it’s a bit different for teens and young adults and I am happy for them. I am thrilled that they have their platforms to be themselves. I am overwhelmed with how bright their future looks. However, I still have to imagine “What if?”
I forced myself to play sports. It pleased my family and was almost my only outlet to interaction with children my own age. Yet, I hated doing it. I was always clumsy and awkward. Glasses were a permanent fixture on my nose since I was merely a toddler. Ever tried playing football or baseball with glasses on as a six year old in the merciless southern summers? Not pleasant. OH! And you can add on top of that the threat of disappointment if those glasses were ever broken. “They are expensive!” So sports were never anything I really wanted to do or cared about.
Now for the kicker. I forced myself to pretend to be interested in girls (Although, I never really pursued anything rather just avoided any real involvement on a sexual interest level). If for but one-second, anyone in my family, any one in the backwards southern community I lived in, anyone one of my friends found out that I was gay my life was over. or at least that is what was implied either directly or indirectly.
I was 21 before I ever came out to even myself. A few years later to everyone else.
The saddest part of my early deception was hiding the fact that I was a nerd. Granted, I didn’t hide it THAT well, but I couldn’t fully explore everything that peaked my interest. Most of it, as I said before, wasn’t practical to be meddling with. Some of it was even considered a sin. Darwin wasn’t the most renowned figure in my “neck-of-the-woods”.
There was one salvation that my inner nerd could revel in without being considered an outcast. Star Wars. Everyone liked Star Wars, so that I could freely enjoy. I still hold it dear in my heart too.
I suppose I should be somewhat thankful for all of this. I mean it’s made me into who I am today, and today I accept my Gayness and my Nerd Nature while also understanding the “other side” as well. I just wished that my developing years hadn’t been so hindering. I wish I was more of an outgoing person, a confident person, and not still so damned concerned with looking like a fool or looked down upon. It’s a wall that I shouldn’t have. One that even today I sometimes can’t seem to climb over.
Today is May the 4th, otherwise known at Star Wars Day. Today, I say to you with all joy in my heart, “May the fouth be with you!”