A New Purpose

For fifteen years I was a heron flying through a simple life. The other aquatic world was a void, whose surface I merely skimmed. It was not until all my emotions and thoughts were solidified that I knew I must go deeper. Stuck between the boundary of water and land, I needed to be a fish.
With my arrogance, I created a false identity of being a liberal. I endorsed the Democratic Party, opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom, and voiced my concerns about the struggle of the lower class. However, saying I knew meant nothing. I didn’t need to know, I needed to feel. I needed to grasp the hunger, the exhaustion, and the repression. Without sensing others’ misery, I did not know what I stood for.
Gustavo proved how unsound I was with my beliefs. It was during a phone conversation he asked, “Do you know what bisexual is?” Well of course I did, was he kidding? He then added, “Well, that’s what I am.”
Mind racing, I thought I would never be able to look him in the eye again; we would never act the same. And now I am not who I claim to be; my soul isn’t accepting nor compassionate. I’ve lied about everything I’ve stood for.
I wanted to tell him it was okay, but I knew that was another lie. Even worse, I was only thinking about how this affected me. Gustavo explained how he became an outcast with his Spanish-speaking friends, how his sister ridiculed him, and how he would not be accepted as a son if his parents were to discover his secret. All the while, I could only think about how I really was homophobic, about how I really was selfish.
Crying is something that males typically avoid, and it was no different with close friends like Gustavo. However, it was when his speech was interrupted with the onset of tears I found what I needed. Unfamiliar with this type of situation, all I could do was listen. Upon hearing his physical agony, the wails I rarely heard from another male, I could finally feel.
I heard his sister, Maria, laughing at him; I saw his friends at school avoiding him; and I perceived Gustavo trying to escape the ropes of social acceptance he was tied to. At that moment my blindness ended and I saw the world for what it was. All those news stories finally had meaning. Murder, suicide bombings, car accidents –those were no longer everyday words but rather representations of a suffering far greater than Gustavo’s. The emergence of sensitivity showed how imperfect everything was. While my revelation was pessimistic, it provided hope. Now, with the barrier separating vagueness and astuteness eradicated, I could be that liberal, but with a true purpose.
I will continue submerging into the water of awareness. There are boundaries though; maybe a heron is not meant to be fish, but if I die in the process, my drowning will be my life’s fulfillment.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

Julie W. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 3, 2009 at 1:39 am
i really liked the bulk of your essay. the emotions are raw, but vivid. but the heron/fish/water metaphor doesnt really fit. its just kinda tacked on for a hook and conclusion. i can see how it works as a metaphor, but its not working with the essay. although i really like the i needed to be a fish bit. either really work it into the whole essay-difficult, or drop it all together and rely on a vivid experience to be your hook
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback