I survived, but Good Lord, how many don't? How many can't handle it. How many see and read what is going on in politics and the news and cannot see a future where they can possibly be happy? I'm nearly 50. At best, my life is half over. And, I have trouble seeing a future where I can be happy in a world that is becoming even more saturated with irrational hate. What must it be like for a teen that is just starting out and doesn't know that happy can exist, even where it's discouraged.
As much as I would like not to be affected by this sad news, I am affected. I think everyone should be.
I almost didn't blog at all today, but what the hell. Why keep these feelings to myself. I am surrounded by understanding people. People who will understand that news like this can make me sad. People who will be sad with me over the loss of a young life. So, I'm sharing with you.
There was a time when I considered taking my own life because I didn't think I could make it as a gay person. I prayed to God that if I was going to be gay, I'd rather be dead.
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
I took the bullying in middle school and in high school. I fought back with my mouth, but was always too afraid to fight back with my fists. What I wouldn't give to go back and kick Mark Mc's ass for yelling "QUEER" at the top of his lungs every time he saw me in my freshman year of high school; in the hall, in the quad, on the practice field, always this shout behind me at an unexpected moment (unexpected because I actively avoided this jerk). What I wouldn't give to go back as an adult and shake him around for yelling at the young teen that was me. And, all because he flirted back with me. Not because I flirted with him, but because he was ashamed that he flirted back.
I've shared what it was like to choose red shoes and I've shared some of what it was like to be told that I was bad and unacceptable and something to be ashamed of.
I'd love to make an "It gets better" video. But, my video would have to say, "Hey, kid. It gets worse. It gets a whole lot worse. But, then it gets beautiful. Just hold on. Be you. Be proud. Survive."
Maybe I will, because I can just imagine what a difference that would have made for me. To have someone tell me truthfully that you can make it through this and when you do, you'll be glad you did.
Maybe you know somebody that needs to have an adult tell them that. It doesn't have to be a gay kid. Any kid that's having an especially hard time of it. Don't be afraid to pull them aside and whisper it in a quiet moment. It is your business. The next generation is all our business. I didn't know that until I was a parent.
There's another message I wish someone had pulled me aside to tell me.