“You’re going to hell.” How endearing, right?
That’s the first thing my high school ex-girlfriend said to me on the exact day of our 9-month anniversary. I had just muttered those earth shattering words girlfriends never want their boyfriends to say. I’m gay. Before she could fully register what just happened, biblical quotes and profanities came spewing out of her mouth like spit fire. All I kept thinking was that we could have had a child together by this point. Phew. At least I dodged that bullet.
But, I had been cheating on her with Matt for most of our relationship. I guess I deserved whatever shade she wanted to throw at me.
Own up, express yourself, and be you no matter what. You owe yourself that happiness.
Jennifer and I had just celebrated our 3-month anniversary in March of my freshman year of high school. I decided to commemorate our special day by cheating on her with Matt. Yep, bring on the shade.
September came way too fast. For the entirety of those six months, Matt and I were as inseparable in our secret lives as she and I were in our real lives. We gravitated towards each other like crows to roadkill. And instead of just calling it off and leaving Jennifer, I strung her along.
By this point in my teen years, I was angry and getting angrier. I shoved my emotions down into my stomach and pretended like they weren’t there. If they came up, they’d come up like word vomit. Or aggression. And, I didn’t want what happened to Ryan and Jamie to happen again. It was just easier to hide and live in secret than to be the real me.
If you want to be liked, tell the truth. The right person will accept you for who you are no matter what you say. If they don’t, oh well politely.
I finally lost the butt cut, but I found myself shitting where I ate. Both Jennifer and Matt were in the band with me. She sat on one side. Clarinet. He sat on the other side. Alto saxophone.
I found myself alternating stares back and forth at both of them. Mind you, there was a piece of sheet music right in front of me the whole time.
I sat directly in the middle back as if the band director’s baton was waving the truth right at my face. I didn’t know what direction I was going. My lie got the best of me. I was caught in the middle clearly.
Whatever your creative outlet is, do it. Do it often. Hell, do it every day. Just make sure that you are doing something that’s positive for you.
Self-care Sundays work best for me. When I taught English in South Korea, I had a very good friend who taught me this mantra. “Work hard every other day, and then treat yourself,” she would say. So when Sundays roll around, I flip my phone over, lay out in the sun, and do whatever I feel like doing in that moment.
Doing this helps me stay focused throughout the work week. Work hard, play just as hard. My dad was so good at working intently. Almost too intently most of the time. I do the same now as an adult. But, I have to take this time on Sundays for myself away from work to stay balanced.
Look. Just be you. People will love you for who you are.
Since Matt in high school, I can count at least...at least… ten other guys I’ve chased after. We’re not talking slowly chased after. We’re talking quickly sprinted for. I spent so much time- 17 years in fact- searching for the wrong people that I overlooked all the good people in my life.
Low self-esteem was the culprit. I fought relentless teasing and self-directed anger nearly every day. I was ashamed of who I was from a very young age. And I was the only one unaware of it.
There are about 331 million people in this country. If someone doesn’t like you, screw ‘em, respectfully. There are still about 331 million other people who will love you for exactly who you are.