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The Closet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By , Unknown, VA
They shouldn't call it being in the closet, they should call it being buried alive. Hundreds of pounds of weight crush your chest, suffocating you. It's slowly killing you; you're driven mad by the weight of your secret. And your only option, your only way out, is to throw yourself to the wolves. That is what they should call coming out - throwing yourself to a pack of hungry, gay-hating wolves. Why would anyone sacrifice themselves like that? Why would anyone take themselves out of one danger only to be forced into another?

Like I said, being in the closet - being buried alive like that, holding that big of a secret inside - it makes you crazy. Then one day, there are no other options, there is no control, and you just explode. And by exploding, I mean standing on a lunch table in the middle of the cafeteria and screaming, “I'm gay!” At least, that's what you feel like doing, and if you're at that point you may as well, because it sure does save a lot of time and questions. But, if you're like me, you never make anything that easy for yourself. Instead, you tell a handful of people, and answer the accusing questions of those who have heard the rumor but want an answer firsthand because it's somehow their business.

Very quickly you realize your mistake and regret ever opening your mouth, but you can't turn back because too many people know the truth. Plus, it would make being gay look like something to be ashamed of, and even though by now you are (because they have made you), you don't want them to know it. It's even worse if all this has happened because you like somebody. You so badly want to reach out to them, so badly want them to understand, to care, even if it's not in the way you care. It's even worse if you tell friends (who turn into ex-friends) whom you like.

Once you throw yourself to the wolves, it's like nothing happened before that moment. Suddenly, all the recess fun, the birthday parties, the play-dates, the sleep-overs, trips to the mall, and promises of Best Friends Forever don't matter anymore. None of it.

The life you lived before that announcement vanishes before your eyes. And this is when you get angry. You wake up with a knot in your stomach every day, afraid that one more whisper, one more kid refusing to sit next to you, will break you completely. And in some ways, you wish that would happen, just to escape, hoping maybe your mind will send you to a reality safer than the one where you're trapped. But feeling like giving up makes you angry, because you're a fighter. And underneath all that pain, all that fear, a spark of the warrior still exists.

So, with all this anger, with all this fight hidden deep inside, the warrior within takes over and each day becomes a matter of survival. And with no one to hurt, no way to defend yourself, how do you survive? You do whatever you have to to release your emotions, even if it means bleeding them out.

Eventually though, in the same way that the cuts scab over, so do the wounds left by your fight with the wolves. Sometimes they bleed a little again, and sometimes you can't sleep because the memories keep you awake, but despite the scars, you walk away from the wolves.

Maybe you start a new life and change schools, like I did. Then you're faced with the decision to come out again, but at least this time it will be your decision, one made with a clear mind. Or maybe you stick it out, figuring it's easier than starting over. Whatever you do, you walk away from that grave you were trapped in, away from the wolves, stronger than you ever thought you could be. Stronger than they ever thought you could be. And that, that gives you courage - the courage to take on the world.

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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This article has 12 comments. Post your own!

Carcar said...
Sept. 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm:
When I try to explain to people how it feels hiding who you are its so difficult but you explain it so weel
 
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Kimberlee said...
Mar. 22, 2011 at 9:51 am:
Holding in my sexuality was so hard. I was so scared of what people would think. When i finally came out a year later. My friends stayed true. They stuck up for me. I still hear some jabs and they hurt but not as bad as if it were my friends who were making the comments. It makes me feel better to know that my friends are still there. But beautifully written. i love the way you described it because it was killing me inside.
 
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Karma_Chameleon This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm:
This piece was written with both a simple sophistication and inspiring eloquence - so inspiring, it brought me to the decision to finally stop burrying myself alive.  5 stars, a new favorite, and an inspiration. Thank you for your story. :-)
 
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farmgirl9 said...
Jul. 14, 2010 at 6:41 pm:
Amen to that. Thank you for writing this. Very well written piece.
 
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BroadwayBaby167 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm:
This is a beautifully crafted piece. I myself have not yet faced that level of hatred for coming out, because I'm lucky enough to be in such an accepting environment. I have experienced a bit of what you have described though, and just that little bit hurts so much. Nobody should have to go through what you have perfectly described, and yet they do. Thank you so much for writing this.
 
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EdytD said...
Dec. 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm:
I think this article is truly beautiful and inspirational, and though I do not share your sexuality, it always pains me to hear the scorn and derision in others' voices as they mock people who are much stronger than they. You did a truly fabulous job, and I wish you immense luck at your new school.
 
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samantha said...
Nov. 12, 2009 at 5:34 pm:
beautiful. i loved it. im called a lesbian nearly every day of my life... and im not even one... but i know how it feels... to be ridiculed... i can only imagine how it feels to hold that secret in...
 
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dylonmichael said...
Aug. 1, 2009 at 2:47 am:
i am pretty sure the whole school knows i'm gay because of the way i act but they dont know for sure because i keep quite and to myself
 
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I<3Logan said...
Jun. 22, 2009 at 4:15 am:
I came out when i was in 5th grade to my best friend an she told everyone an the teachers didn't care, they just sat back an wathced it happen an I couldn't tell my mom but when she found out this year well last year she was mad but you know what I got through it.Coming out is hard an you wrote it beautifully.
 
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Jepic09 said...
Dec. 13, 2008 at 2:49 am:
wow, i somewhat understand this and it was written very beautifully. when i first decided to come out i told the one kid that everyone was labeled gay because i thought he was. he turned out to be the exact opposite and the same ridicule that was inflicted on him he tried to do to me. and it was disheartening at first but i over came it and told a more trusting friend and she still loved me reguardless and after that it became alittle easier to tell my friends. i guess i was one of the lucky or ... (more »)
 
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Kwstar said...
Nov. 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm:
This is a beautifully written, for anyone that hurts in the world. Thanks for your words
 
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EmilySue314 said...
Sept. 11, 2008 at 6:54 pm:
This is beautifully written. I've been thrown in that pack of wolves and I've gotten torn to bits by them. Coming out is such a pivotal moment in your life and I think you described it perfectly. Thank you so much for writing this! Stay strong.
 
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