🎒 I KNEW IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL!!! 🎒
It was elementary school. I was a quiet, soft-spoken child. I talked with my classmates like any other kid. I played at recess with friends like any other kid. I did get a bit more in trouble than any other kid though, I’ll definitely admit that! 😂
But for the most part, I could’ve been seen as any other “normal” kid. 👦
And yet, I was different. I knew as early as 1st grade something was different about me. Of course, at that age I didn’t have the understanding I do today about what these differences could’ve meant. 🤔
In 1st grade there was another boy in my grade. I had never met him; he had a different teacher. I never talked to him; he had his own friends. But something in me, something I couldn’t understand, kept deciding to take second glances at him whenever I saw him. And it eventually went from second glances to many glances. 👀
Again, I didn’t know or understand why. The only explanation I could come up with in my mind was: “I just like how he looks.” 🤷♂️
I liked looking at this boy’s face. It really confused me! Remember I was just a little boy; I had no conception of what sexual attraction was at the time. I had heard about having “a crush” on girls, but that was suppose to be with girls, not boys. 👧
So as much as I questioned why I liked looking at this boy, it only kept coming back to the same simple conclusion: There was no reason. I just did. 👍
Then in 2nd grade there came another boy, but this time he was in a higher grade. The same types of feelings I had for the boy in my grade happened again with this boy. 👨 Again, no reason. No logic. But this time, my interest in him took an even bigger chunk of my focus while I was in elementary school. 🏫
I still have many memories of it all. But there is one other memory from elementary school I won’t ever forget. 😱
It was the moment I finally asked myself:
“Could you see yourself kissing a girl?”
I visualized it and I said: “Yeah.” 👍
But then I asked: “Could you see yourself kissing this boy?”
I visualized it and my response: “…I could, yeah.” 👍
But I also wanted to say no…👎
There is a part of me that is concerned sharing this with you all. By far this is the most vulnerable entry I’ve ever written about my personal life. I’ve NEVER written any of this down until now, let alone to a wide social media audience. It’s a part of me I’ve kept out of the limelight, purposefully not being a part of my online “brand”. 👤
A part of me has been scared of judgment. A part of me is also very comfortable with who I am at this point in my life that it doesn’t feel the need to share it. And there’s also part of me that is still scared of being typecast into a label of sexuality for what is only a mere fragment of my identity. 😨
But this post has been waiting to be shared for a long time. It’s been waiting to be shared for someone who needs to hear my story. 📖
Sometimes I forget this part of me which I’m now very comfortable with is not the same thing for others. While I’m now far more accepting with who I am, many others out there are still struggling with their own self-acceptance like I did. I was in the same boat for a very long time. 🚣
So in honor of Pride Month, that is why I write this post. Because this post is not written for me…✍️
📃 It is written for the individuals who hide a part of who they are to be socially accepted.
📃 It is written for the individuals living in fear of rejection if people knew this part of themselves.
📃 It is written for the individuals shaming themselves because they’re in toxic environments which also shame them: “It is wrong!” “Immoral!” “An abomination!”
📃 Just as important, this post is written for the skeptical who are willing to seek to understand through the eyes of a gay male himself.
Yes, I identify as a gay male. 👍 And I share this post for all of these people above. Because it’s so easy these days for a person to condemn someone they’ve never met, to label an entire group of individuals as simply “this” or “that”, to demonize from behind the safety of one’s computer screen. 💻
It’s always been easier to generalize than it is to understand each individual’s uniqueness. 😔
But understanding builds bridges. 🌉
Understanding sparks connections. ❤️ Understanding encourages bigger perspectives. 🌌
So amongst the Voices of Generalization I add my voice this Pride Month for continued understanding. 🏳️🌈
It took me until I was in my 20s to finally become more accepting of my sexuality. And some of you might be thinking:
🗣️ “You probably didn’t have a supportive environment.” 🗣️
But as a matter of fact, I was raised and surrounded in a very supportive environment. There were even points I “came out”, but often only going so far as to claim I was bisexual. It was never to a point I was fully comfortable saying it. It was also because I had never in my life been sexually attracted to a woman. 💃
In other words, everyone else around me would’ve been okay if I just “came out of the closet”. 🚪 The problem is I personally wasn’t okay with it. 👎
Me! I wasn’t accepting of myself! And me accepting myself had nothing to do with my external environment; it had everything to do with the internal environment I carried inside me. 😨
I hid my sexuality in shame because I was insecure admitting it. A part of me just didn’t want it to be true. 😖 A part of me believed if I could simply be attracted to women like most men that life would be better for me. There were days I wished I could wake up and be attracted to women just so I could blend in a little bit more into the crowd. 👥
Why? Because I didn’t want to be negatively judged by the wrong person. I didn’t want to be potentially bullied for my sexuality. I didn’t want my male friends to start assuming I was only friends with them just so I could sleep with them. 😓
Who, if anyone, would “choose” to have a sexuality which leaves them open to so much potential ridicule, criticism, and rejection? 😞
🗣️ “How do you know you’re gay?” 🗣️
I would ask a similar question back: “How do you know you’re straight?” 🤔
Because you’ve never been sexually attracted to someone of the same sex? It’s the same with me, only I’ve never been sexually attracted to the opposite sex. 👍
Again, I wanted to be. I can definitely a woman as “beautiful” and “gorgeous”. But you could’ve shown me as many Playboy magazines as you would’ve liked…nothing would happen to my physical body, trust me! 😂
So, I’ve known for a long time. And while I’ve been on a journey of personal growth the past few years my sexuality has really taken a backseat as I developed more parts of my identity. I’ve rarely participated in the LGBT community for a very long time. 👤
Before, my sexuality used to be a HUGE part of my identity. Now it’s but a tiny fragment and focus in my life. 🔹
Before, I use to seek out a significant other because I believed being in a relationship would validate me and give me happiness. But now I realize my happiness starts and ends with me and having a significant other is about sharing my cup with another, not getting mine filled up. ☕
So I share this with all of you now not for me, but for those who need to hear this. 🌎
For those who are still struggling:
❤️ There is nothing “wrong” with you.
❤️ Your worth is not dependent on other people’s approval of you.
❤️ Your worth is more than someone else’s opinion of you.
What matters is knowing who you are and living with that authenticity. What matters is the approval you give to yourself to be who you are. What matters is the opinions you say towards yourself.
Because once you build that self-love and self-acceptance within yourself:
💪 There’s less of a desire to try and make others accept you. You simply live your life with the people who matter most to you.
💪 There’s less of a desire to seek validation from others about who you are. Because you will have already created that validation inside you.
💪 If a person discriminates you, there’s less of a desire to fight back but instead understand them and be a part of the change you wish to see in the world.
💪 You’ll no longer feel like a victim of circumstance but instead a creator of your circumstances.
Shine bright my Pride family, and I’ll be right beside you. 🏳️🌈 Please SHARE with post with anyone who needs to be reading this! ❤️
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