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Perspective

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I’ve never had any of the “clichéd” coming-out struggles. No super-religious parents. No internal battle with religion. No falling for my hetero best friend, and no agonizing over whether or not to come out to my family. Actually, the day I first told someone I was bisexual was the same day I told pretty much every one of my peers, and the day I got my first girlfriend.

I’m not saying it was easy. Actually, it was one of the worst experiences of my life.  Instead of faith-based disapproval from my parents, I was met with questions like “Are you just doing this for the attention?” Instead of an internal battle with religion, I had to deal with the scrutiny of a thousand Catholic students, teachers and counselors from my school. I even got threatened with suspension for hugging a heterosexual female friend. Instead of falling for my hetero best friend, my girlfriend did; and she proceeded to dump me for him.  Plus, I didn’t have to agonize over whether or not to tell my parents I was bi. Someone told them before I could.
Also, none of the teen GLBT fiction I surreptitiously checked out from the library portrayed characters in my situation. I was totally lost. To add to the difficulty, I was not in the healthiest of relationships. My girlfriend and I fought constantly, bringing both of us down.

One day, I reached a breaking point. I couldn’t take the stares, the whispers, the rude jokes or the insults. So, I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I climbed out onto the roof of my school during rehearsals and cried for a good hour. And let me tell you something; It. Felt. Good.

When I was done, I stayed up there for another hour or so, lying back and looking up at the stars. Something about the combination of cathartic sobbing and star-watching gave me the perspective I needed.

It’s totally cliché, but when you stare at something as big as the universe, you realize how small your problems are. I could have had things much worse.  I could’ve been abused, physically and/or emotionally, like Matt Shepard. Or I could have been kicked out of my school—it’s a private Catholic school; they had the right. But I wasn’t. I owe a great debt to the universe for that, and I repay it by living my life and showing only love, especially to those who hurt me. Yes, I said especially. I’ve actually managed to prove to people that “us gays” aren’t as scary as they think, just through the power of compassion and honesty.

The worst experience of my life ended up being the best one, in terms of lessons learned. I learned how to deal with unchangeable and unpleasant situations. I learned how not to pick a girlfriend. I learned how to create strength in me that wasn’t there before.

And my life is a hell of a lot cooler because of it.

Instead of faith-based disapproval from my parents, I was met with questions like “Are you just doing this for the attention?” Instead of an internal battle with religion, I had to deal with the scrutiny of a thousand Catholic students, teachers and counselors from my school. I even got threatened with suspension for hugging a (hetero) female friend. Instead of falling for my hetero best friend, my girlfriend did—and proceeded to dump me for him. And I didn’t have to agonize over whether or not to tell my parents I was bi—someone told them before I could.

None of the GLBT teenage fiction I surreptitiously checked out from my library had characters in any of these situations. I was totally lost. To add to the difficulty, I was not in the healthiest of relationships. My girlfriend and I fought constantly, bringing both of us down.

One day, it all reached a breaking point. I couldn’t take the stares or the whispers or the rude jokes or the insults. So I did something I hadn’t done in a long time: I climbed out onto the roof of my school during rehearsals for a show and cried for a good hour. And let me tell you something: It. felt. good.

And when I was done, I stayed up there for another hour or so, lying back and looking up at the stars. Something about the combination of cathartic sobbing and star watching gave me the perspective I needed.

It’s totally cliché, but when you stare at something as big as the universe, you realize how small your problems are. I could have had things much worse—I could’ve been abused, physically and/or emotionally, like Matt Shepard. Or I could have been kicked out of my school—it’s a private Catholic school; they had the right. But I wasn’t. I owe a great debt to the universe for that, and I repay it by living my life showing only love, especially to those who hurt me. Yes, I said especially. I’ve actually managed to prove to people that “us gays” aren’t as scary as they think, just through the power of compassion and honesty.

The worst experience of my life ended up being the best one, in terms of lessons learned. I learned how to deal with unchangeable and unpleasant situations. I learned how not to pick a girlfriend. I learned how to create strength in me that wasn’t there before.

And my life is a hell of a lot cooler because of it.

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