Coming Out and Standing Tall

December 13, 2011
By , Swansea, United Kingdom
I can remember my life, my rituals and routines. I remember how it was before it changed, before I was “exposed”. I felt safe, you could say, safe away from others. I knew what I was, I knew I was gay. Secondary school, predator zone, half of them hide their real selves away, lock it up with the chains tightly wrapped but unlike me, it broke out. It would scream “GAY”, “FAG”, “BATTY” at any rare, accidental, glance from anyone. To scare, to hide, to tumble over their fear’s of what would happen should their ranks brake and their secrets flood out. By being their fear.

In the end I suppose that’s what I became, my fears. A lone nerd boy, to scared to be himself, bullied by people who didn’t even know they were doing it, or even who he was. I’m not going to say that was wrong but, it isn’t entirely true. Yes I’ve been bullied, yes quiet a bit of it goes on about me being gay but, I’m not strictly sure that I was bullied for being gay.

But please, please, don’t let that put you off. I mean its not like it was as bad as it was for me before my “outing” as my friends call it. I felt so alone back then, so protective of myself. Then when you do that to yourself, for such a long time, you start snapping. Pipes burst, concrete shatters, the dam brakes a flood of your real self ever comes trooping down the valley or you find its dried up and there’s nothing of you left.

I think that is how my “outing” began. I was 14, bursting with more hormones than a post op, and (though I did fancy some boys from school) to scared or isolated to have a boyfriend. So I did what any boy at 13 does, porn. It’s a bit frontal I know, but without it there would be no “outing”, ever. I didn’t really want to come out, wasn’t planning on doing it any time in the future. Odd’s are I probably never would.

It wasn’t excessive, there are boys, men, who watch it 24/7 and there is a word for those people and I generally believe I wasn’t that. “Doesn’t every boy do it?” I often comforted myself, the little difference was that mine slowly started to involved two (or possibly more) guys instead of 1. Yes at first it was straight porn, it was girls. But I would start looking not for them but for the guys in porn.

Craig (my possum headed brother who’s name has been changed as I doubt I would have gotten is permission to use it) often joked about the internet being invented for it, that porn was for teenage boys. So I believed him and told myself it had to be true, that porn was just a outlet for hormones and in no way me. I had to, if I felt that it was for any other reason, if I told myself back then in my “early days” that I was gay then I don’t think I could cope with it.

So this went on for a few years, 1.5 - 2 I believe. Though to be honest I’m not quite sure. I had for many years been getting close with two girls, as some of my closest friends. We got on quite well, laughed, had tonnes of fun. Then one of them dropped the bomb.

To put it in a fact way, she asked me out. Confessing all her love for me, telling me she needed me. Looking back now I can’t help but laugh. As she spoke I could hear myself scream over her in my mind to stop, to say “NO!” and run far away. But I couldn’t. I didn’t pity her, though you’ll soon see I should have. I pitied myself. I saw this as my, escape goat. If I went out with her, then people would never believe I was gay. Then, in time, maybe I’ll believe I wasn’t. How naive I was.

It didn’t last. It was more essential than porn in a way because it was the first step. The second night after we had “gotten together,” I went to a party with my mum and dad. It was one of the best nights of my life. I met up with my friend, Sam (that’s a girl Sam) and she had brought a whole lot of her friends. Two of them were, and I would presume still are, gay.

That night was the first, and so far only, time I had kissed another guy. It wasn’t long, I don’t think most peoples first kisses are, yet like all first kisses it was just right and felt like forever. I can’t remember his name, I never saw him again, well haven’t seen him since. Yet in that 3 second interval I wanted to be with him, not sex, just with him, more than the girl.

So that was it, I had made up my mind. I didn’t tell her I was gay, just that I didn’t feel attracted to her. I felt pity for her then, and pretty much forever after. She relapsed, began a long reign of cutting herself (which she had a history of) and was in and out of mental institutes. This did make me want to take it all back, to forget it all and go back to her. But pity isn’t love, or who I am, and it was to late by the time I found about her relapse to go back.

The other girl I was really close to was Tina. She went to my school, we both went to choir outside school, and walked around together in school . Her friend’s weren’t nice, bitter describes more than just their looks. I don’t think she talked to me out of pity, I hope it wasn’t anyway. I guess, like me, she was constantly looking for some explanation as to why I went around with her and not with any boy’s.

The day after the party I went straight to her in school and told her I needed to talk to her. This is the only occasion I can honestly say I came out to someone. At lunchtime I took her to one side, and told her about the party. She, to my surprise as I braced myself for some gay slant, was happy for me. I was so thrilled that I told some more people. Big mistake. I learnt a very important lesson then, only tell people it’s worth telling.

I told her friends and they rejected me, couldn’t even look at me. I haven’t talked to them since. I couldn’t. It was then that I began to see that there are people who care about me and people that don’t, and that the people that don’t care about me I shouldn’t. Their opinions on me don’t matter, so why listen to them.

It was a year before my parents found out. I believe I had moved on since the year before. I had new, great friends who knew I was gay and honestly didn’t care. Those are friends. People who see your sexuality as part of you, but not all of you. No one is a stereotype, so why be one. My friends should like me for my jokes, my hug’s and my advise (which many people actually ask me for), not because I’m gay.

But there were, and still are, people who say they hate me for it. But do you know what? I really don’t care about them. If they knew I was gay, great, they knew me. But if your saying you hate me for something I can’t control, then why even bother telling me?

It was a summers day when my parents found out. Craig had been searching for stuff to “out” me to my parents. Selfish of him yes, but worse still I denied it. I can’t tell you why. Why it was easier to tell my friends I was gay than to tell my parents. By now I had decided that when, and only when, I at least had a boyfriend I would tell them. As so many times, the attack from the “phoebes” (as I called them), the people who bullied me for my sexuality, went on about my lack of spouse.

“How can you be gay if you haven’t had sex? How can you be gay if you’ve never had a boyfriend?” Over and over again. You could always argue “how can you be straight if you haven’t had sex? How can you be straight if you’ve never had a girlfriend?” It went on and on. The constant battle between me and my foes, who became the little, don’t-tell-your-parents voices in my head

My parents are open minded people, who’d love me no matter what. Hey, Craig’s done weed and they still love him. So I still can’t put my finger on it. Why? The closest I can get is that my dam had burst and no matter how much I would have liked, the river was dry. The defensive, hidden, me had been at it in front of my parents for so long it was me to them. I was Matthew, the son that never had a girlfriend. I was certain I’d never tell until I had a boyfriend, then the porn came in.

My dad isn’t a IT freak, he can just about turn a computer on. Yet with the help of Craig he got onto my user and onto my history on the family computer. BAM all over the screen. It was all there, every video or picture all waiting for him to see. Craig laughed, my dad called my mother in and they both saw it.

I was upstairs and they called me down. When I recognized the site I freaked out, when I recognized the history I ran. Outside, up the back garden and behind the big tree that helped separate us from our neighbours. I hit the tree a few times, I still have a scar from a splinter that bled quite a bit.

Then I heard my dad coming, and in a soft voice I had never heard him talking with before he said “come in son, lets talk about this.” I was dazed, scared and dazed. I had tears all down my face, must have looked a mess. Then I stepped behind the tree and went slowly inside, my dad following.

Mum was at the computer, Craig had ran upstairs. It was off now, the website gone. We all sat down and dad said “are you gay son?” Every single cell wanted to scream no, to protect myself from what I assumed was shame. Yet, against my very will, the word “yes” fell from my lips.

They both took deep breaths, and answered okay. Suddenly the river stated up, as if another dam further up river had burst, and boy was the water coming down. We went through what I still call the standard questions, the how long and why didn’t you say questions. I suppose my answers 2 years and because I was afraid hurt them a little. And we have had one or two disagreements over it.

When my dam burst, when both of them burst and my fake me valley flooded, I guessed they would all be okay with it, that they’d be like my friends and wouldn’t care or worry about it. But I have to be honest I was wrong.

Dad was fine, mum wasn’t. They never defined me with it, but comments like “its gonna take some time” and “I’m still not there yet” from mum hurt like a bullet. I don’t think they were purposely said, my mother has a tendency to just rush out sentences she doesn’t think about (sadly a trait I have inherited) but she obviously thought about them at some point.

I guess the hardest people to accept you are the ones closest to you. Any way its been a whole year since then, two years since coming out and 3 since I knew I was gay. I can safely say my fake me valley is well and truly flooded into a large, blue lake.

After all I went through, I’ve reached the other side and seen the canyon I crossed was nothing more than a puddle. Life, with bullies (who you can guarantee are always there and are nearly always being bullied somewhere themselves) or without them, my life is better now that I’m no longer afraid to say I’m gay. I feel relieved and I know any one, any where in the world, will feel their dammed up selves at peace when you come out. Without it your not alive, because it’s not you who’s alive, its your ultra ego, protective self, who dominates your body.

I hope you all, gay straight or bi, find peace in your lives. I’ve read tones of stories, in news papers or on the web, where people have hurt themselves or worse because of their sexuality. Because their afraid of themselves, or because people are afraid of them. Please don’t let this be you…

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