I didn’t choose to be gay, but I chose to be straight for 21 years. There was a time when no matter what you said or how you said it, I always second-questioned your motive. Did you know my secret or were you taking advantage of my fragility?
It’s normal in today’s world for us to hide. We do it behind makeup, behind clothes, behind Facebook profiles, and behind our own attitudes. Some try to conform while others try to be more rebellious, but the common thread tying us all together is the need to get approval. We want people to acknowledge us, and depending on our circumstances that effort is always going to be different from one man to another.
We have choices in life. Most of us end up choosing the one that rocks the boat less, but my question is who chooses the rules? Who made up these constructs of what makes a person “normal” or “acceptable” or “worthy”? The truth is no one knows because there is no answer. There’s no such thing as adequate when it comes to human beings. We’re all perfect exactly the way we are.
I’ve seen the consequences of making bad choices in life. I’ve buried friends that have overdosed, I’ve been kicked out of three apartments for not being able to pay my rent, and I know what it’s like to live with a sociopath. We make the choices we think are right at the time, never knowing they’re the wrong ones until later (when we know better). But even though we know better, it doesn’t necessarily mean we do better. Most of us become addicted to making bad choices and it’s hard to break the habit. The hardest part is raking up the courage to make choices for us rather than anyone else.
I chose to have girlfriends, I chose to lie to my parents and friends, and I chose to live a life I knew was false, but I don’t regret it. My years living in the closet blessed me with incredible insight about myself. If it weren’t for the inner battles I faced, I might never have been so victorious in the end.
The only reason why LGBT men and women are in the closet is because they feel like they have to. We’ve been taught that everything in our lives is supposed to be a step up both for our careers and future. As a high school student, I was filled with petrifying thoughts: “Imagine what will happen if everyone knew I was gay?” “Will it affect my friendships?” “Will I be discriminated against?” “Will people talk about me behind my back?” “Will guys get nervous around me?” “Can I actually live a normal life?” “Do things need to change?” “Are people going to think differently of me?”
Nothing is a choice if it’s been hovering over you since birth. Most of the choices we make are made to benefit the world rather than ourselves, especially as young adults. But every once in a while, we make a choice that is completely selfish (or so we think). And it feels good… I mean, damn good. In an instant our value is catapulted higher than it’s ever been. Then, we realize a choice for our wellbeing isn’t selfish at all. It’s what we’re meant do all along.
Why are we so scared to be who we are? We’ve placed ourselves inside an imaginary food chain, which doesn’t exist, and all of our goals, all of our choices, and all of our security depends on how high we are on the chain. As someone who’s had more lows than highs in his life, I can tell you that the people on the bottom aren’t being pushed, in fact, they’re holding up everyone above them. But as soon as they let go, they realize how light they are, and before we know it, we’re flying…
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