I am a singer-songwriter who is out and proud. This is the story of me and my childhood friend, Nick.
Nick and I Were Different
I always knew there was something unique about the friendship I have with my best friend Nick. Even in our younger days, we seemed to stand out from our classmates. Our nonpareil nature did not stem from a novel form of dress, but from a rare trait most of our classmates already seemed to jokingly notice.
At the time our secret was unknown, even to ourselves, yet the childhood teasing began as if our label clearly read “queer.” Our classmates pointed out the qualities in ourselves that we internally denied, but externally portrayed with our natural mannerisms. No matter how hard we tried to give off the heterosexual persona, it seemed we only could exude our internal homosexuality.
We Grew Up in the South
Growing up in the South can be torturous for a budding gay. Forced to hide our true identity, we are coerced into a lifestyle that is dangerous and full of self-loathing. We fall into an assembly line production of heterosexual baby-making machines, with no option to object to the preconceived format.
Attempts at a Straight Disguise
As Nick and I grew into our frames, we began to master a heterosexual disguise. I took on a punk rock form, although I reluctantly began to include make-up and girlish apparel into my wardrobe. As I ascended into my assumed role of a lady, boys took notice of my former boyish customs, as I took on a more feminine appearance.
Nick also assumed his designated role, attempting to date girls, and like every boy his age, tried to have sex with them. Even though it seemed awkward to us both, we pretended to be normal, heterosexual teenagers. We even dated each other for one week, but maybe that was an attempt by us both at revealing to each other our unspoken similarity.
Even with our disguises, we still were subjected to gay jokes. These jokes were never said to us directly, but our friends were asked on several occasions if they knew whether or not we were gay. They nobly defended our honor even though they knew the accusations were true and that both of us had not come to terms with it.
At the end of our high school careers, Nick and I started down different paths. He quit school in the wake of his parents' divorce and became reclusive. I, on the other hand, was attempting to settle down with my current boyfriend, even though I knew my entire relationship with him was a lie. Nick became jealous and angry with me because all the time I use to spend with him was now spent with my boyfriend. We became distant in the coming years, although as time would soon tell, those were the years we both would have benefited most in having each other around.
Nick ran away from his mistakes and depression to Florida and married a girl he fell into a drug-love with, while I entered a world of drugs myself. Repressed homosexuality forced us into a self-destructive lifestyle, and we began to make mistakes that would haunt us for the rest of our lives.
As we grew into adults, we realized our lifelong denial of our true identity, and in fear to reveal ourselves, we sought more repression in the form of drug use. I began yet another attempt at settlement, only this time to find I was also an attempt at settlement for another closeted homosexual. It seemed my current attempt considered me his last chance at heterosexuality, and as he pointed out some months into our affair, it also was mine. Our relationship was physically and mentally abusive on both of our parts, and I believe most of that anger stemmed from our mutual repression as we subconsciously lashed out at each other for hindering one another from what we knew we were.
Our cycle of drugs and abuse exemplifies a common trend among gay people. I still wasn’t fully aware of what I was writing between the lines of my journal, but my lover was. Even our gay friends commenced endeavors to point out my obviously gay tendencies by only showing gay entertainment at their house.
It is somewhat nauseating to hear your lover ask you, during an intimate moment, if you are attracted to someone of the same sex. To hear those words out loud verifies any doubt of your heterosexual façade. I could not fake it any longer, so I answered yes to his cautious question.
Coming to Terms With My True Identity
At that point, the walls around my inner gay began to crumble, and with an unforeseen bustle, I denounced my former heterosexual disguise. I embarked on a journey I knew was long overdue, even at the ripe age of 18. I started to face the person I so long ago stifled, so I could fit into the cast I was raised to believe I was ordained to fill. I embraced my boyish nature once again, chopping my hair off and throwing away my makeup.
However, animosity arose to the surface of my suppressed partner. We decided to demote each other to roommates as I departed from the heterosexual dating world, into the realm of homosexual liberation. He confided in me his desires for a different life, but could not seek his cravings because of the risks of his family disowning him.
I understood this struggle because of my father’s recent rejection of me as his daughter, but despite this understanding he continued his censure, letting his fears of unveiling his actual selfdom consume him. He tried to remain supportive as I ventured into the dating world, yet it appeared to me that I had left behind a person who started somewhat ahead of me on the road of self-discovery, a person who was now left with a sense of regret for his inner workings that society had instilled in his brain as wrong, or impure. His awareness of these notions convey with Nick’s realizations in the midst of waking one day to a life quite different from his yearnings he kept locked away.
Nick’s drastic move out of town led to him marrying a girl he thought he could always make himself love, even when the itch for a male’s touch avidly entered his brain. He created a child with her to seal away any second thoughts of his homosexuality. He steered away from his beloved music, losing his one passion in life to fulfill his new role as father and husband.
After a few years in a town where friends were hard to come by, Nick decided to move his family back to his home. Nick and I quickly rekindled our long-lost friendship, but I could tell much had changed in my friend. He seemed to carry the weight of his regrets and mistakes around on his back. His eyes lost the life they once possessed and his face sunk in with a year of sacrifice from things he once enjoyed for things his family needed.
I knew Nick was unhappy from sporadic conversations we had had over the years, but seeing it in person portrayed a different story. I had long given up on the belief that Nick internally withheld the same secrets I had, but as I mentally noted reoccurring topics in our recent conversations, these notions began to resurface in my head. He desperately dropped hints here and there of his hidden meanings behind our conversations, and I continued to act aloof to the foreshadowing, wanting him just to come out with it already. In spite of the comfort given from your best friend also being gay, it still was a difficult task for Nick to come to terms with his sexual identity and admitting it in light of his bound life as a father and husband.
Like me, Nick considered everyone’s feelings before acting on anything, and as he considered his family’s feelings, he couldn’t help but to hold buck for the fear of hurting his wife, a woman he love, but was not in love with. I could feel his struggle, not only because of our deeply woven friendship, but also in the memories of the last two guys I failed to settle down with, due to my deep dark secret. I had also loved them in the same way, and also hurt them in ways I never intended. A life of forcing what society projects as normal affects all the people in the life of a repressed homosexual. This emotional weight can bear heavy on their chest and further their denial, in an attempt to spare their loved ones the sorrow they fear will be felt from coming out. Instead they bottle up what they truly are; only leading to their subconscious attacks on the people hindering them from their yearnings.
Nick Finally Came Out
Nick finally went through with his coming out, although his fears almost got the best of him. He even came out to people in his family that he thought he would never be able to confess to. His wife did move back to Florida, taking his son miles away, but now Nick can exude true happiness to his son, instead of one day possibly hoarding resentment towards him. Now I can see the old Nick back in his eyes and face, even on days when his work or just life in general gets him down.
Repression Is Dangerous
Repression of one's true self can be a dangerous thing for a person to bargain with, even if they are suppressing emotions for the sake of a loved one. The mental effects can be substantial, especially in the case of a closeted homosexual. God never wanted his children to hate themselves for something that is beyond their control.
Being gay is simply a matter of one's nature; it's not a choice, despite what religion tries to claim. The people of religion have never truly known a homosexual if they feel this way. Most people can pick out a gay child at an early age; shouldn’t people of religion consider that before marking a person as damned? They could never know what it’s like to struggle against what society tells a person and what they know they are inside. Besides, if homosexuality was a choice, do you really think homosexuals would willingly choose the hardships, rejection, discrimination, and self-loathing that commonly come with “choosing” such a lifestyle?
In reflecting on my own experiences, I knew deep down that I could not live with myself if I continued the lie of heterosexuality. I’ve always known who I was, even as a kid when I didn’t understand why I wanted to kiss girls. My girlfriend can tell you stories of her physical rejections to men, when her body would break out in hives any time a guy was about to take her out.
These physical and mental reactions to heterosexuality cannot be healthy for anyone. Imagine a world turned around, where homosexuality was the normal path to take. What if heterosexuals were subjected to rejection because of what they naturally craved? Could you imagine if you were forced into a lifestyle you didn’t feel was for you? Maybe if we posed this scenario to people who reject the idea that homosexuality is natural, along with the question of “When did you first know you were straight?” they would more logically think about the challenges gay people face every day and become more sensitive to assuming our life is simply a choice we make.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.