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Raw Cookie Dough

Pride - the feeling of accomplishment, of knowing that you have strived to be the best you are, despite the setbacks and challenges you face. We all have these moments of pride, the soft, warm inner-glow that fills us in our times of great satisfaction. For some people these times come from that perfect essay, or the promotion at work, or any time when our directed efforts and actions produce the visible, tangible results of hard-labor. My proudest moment, however, came from something other than hard-labor - though it was rather difficult in its own right - and produced, not a concrete, easily viewed result, but something much more gratifying: the satisfaction of overcoming the obstacles of emotion, fear, apprehension, and ultimately replacing them with a great sense of peace and happiness.

In many ways, this story began at my birth, as my fear of being open, and thus becoming an outsider, is not something that happens spontaneously overnight. Rather, it is something that stays with any who feel it from their first conscious memory of themselves, either diminishing or growing as they age. However, for the sake of simplicity - and likely the sanity of my readers - we shall fast forward to my sophomore year of high school, where the major conflicts truly began.

It began as any typical second-semester school day would: the crowded and strangely-tiled halls were full of students gathering at lockers, holding clique meetings by the water fountains, and overall wishing they were somewhere else, preferably a location with more consistency in tile coloring. Squeezing through the compacted student body, which always seemed to focus on moving in the slowest pace possible, I worked my way sluggishly towards English class. It was the day of the "How To" speeches, and although my mind should have centered more on my upcoming presentation on spaghetti making - which I had never had much proficiency with to begin with - the focus just wasn't around. Instead of reviewing notes and muttering my poor attempts at spaghetti related jokes, the lines of a rather different speech (intended for a much smaller audience) kept playing in my mind.

"Guys, I think..." followed by a deep breath, and then nothing. After those three little words, my tongue refused to function, to articulate even the slightest idea. Even a bit of stammering would have been reassuring at that point, but of course that wouldn't happen. I hadn't hoped to make an earth shaking speech, especially for just two of my friends, but I had certainly hoped I could say something. And yet there was that fear, that apprehension, always rearing its head at the most inconvenient times.

I was jostled awake by the sound of Mrs. Miller's voice calling everyone to head to the food lab for Becca, Claire and me to do our talks. My silent musings and worries had apparently prevented my ear function as well as my voice. The class stood and began eagerly filing out the door, naturally drawn to the promise of food as all teenagers are. Sliding into the home-economics room I decided that I was just going to do it, as quickly as possible to prevent any tongue-coma's that would cause problems.

I shuffled over to where Becca and Claire were preparing their materials, and allowed myself a few seconds of distraction by feigning an extreme memorization by Claire's raw cookie dough she was flattening out. Since cookie dough can only be so interesting, I finally gathered the apprehension in my chest and mentally stuffed it in a bag, tying the bag with a knot and jumping up and down on it for good measure. Then, with yet another deep breath, I just flat out said it before the bag ripped open.

"Guys, I think I might be gay." Then Becca, good ol' Becca, she just gave me a smile and one of her classic one-armed hugs, telling me that all was good, and there was nothing to worry about. Claire's reaction was just as reassuring: with a small smile, she passed me a spoonful of that raw cookie dough, which I accepted with a smile that I hope conveyed the words I once more couldn't seem to find. And I thought to myself, savoring the great food and my even greater friends, that maybe the apprehension was nothing but an annoyance. I had my friends, and all would be well.



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