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Awkward Passage This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Middle school may be the most awkward passage we ever face. Victims of the first stages of puberty, these adolescents can be trademarked by oily skin, gleaming orthodontia, and feet too big for their bodies. Although I wish it was not true, I too was painful to watch. I fiercely scrubbed to cleanse my profile of anything that might set me apart. I was embarrassed by everything, from the bumper stickers on my mom’s van to the small scar on my cheek. But these soon became the least of my worries the day my sister came out.

She was a junior in high school and seemed unhappy. She would only emerge from behind her locked door for dinner, and then sit there, lifeless. Though I noticed the change, I was not worried. I figured that I too would be sad all the time when I was in high school and had so much homework.

One day I walked into her room in hopes of sneaking some candy, but instead I saw my sister kissing another girl. I ran and hid, embarrassed at interrupting a clearly private moment. I was perplexed. I reasoned that the girl had been crying and my sister was just trying to comfort her.

Then my parents explained why my sister was depressed: She was coming to grips with her sexual orientation. Not only was she confused, but she was dealing with the reactions of those closest to her. They justified not yet telling me because everyone was still trying to adjust, and even they were finding it confusing.

I was furious. How could they let her think this about herself when it caused her so much pain? My sister had always had crushes on boys, gone to dances with boys, and played with boys - her feelings could not possibly have changed just like that. I knew many gay couples who were happily married with children, but my sister was not like that.

As I struggled to support my sister, I found it impossible not to feel furious with her, as if she was coming out just to humiliate me. I was torn. I felt sick when I heard my friends making homophobic remarks, but refused to invite new friends over in fear of a run-in with my sister. I suppose she masked her insecurity with an in-your-face approach, hoping it would make it all somehow less painful.

Although I could see her suffering, I could not help feeling mortified. I hated going out to eat as a family, fearing that someone from school would see us. I could not get rid of my selfish thoughts, despite feeling ashamed and guilty.

I would like to say that I no longer get embarrassed or resent my sister for being gay, but I am still not there. Now that I am older and my sister has come more into her own, things have gotten easier. In high school, I have become less afraid of standing out and now know that to those who are worth knowing, my sister’s sexual orientation will not matter. I would not change one thing about my family. I only wish we lived in a more accepting world.

I have been truly inspired by my sister’s courage, despite the stares, comments, and disapproval. Through my sister’s coming out process, I have seen the necessity to defend what you know is right and stand by those you love. I sincerely hope that my sister can see all that I have learned from her.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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Allie97 said...
May 29, 2010 at 7:33 pm:
wow....this is a great article...trust me...in a few years this will be soooo normal and it wont be awkward anymore...stay strong!
 
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