Watching the Bruce Jenner interview on ABC got me to thinking about my own life and what it means to live a true authentic life at any age. Knowing you are different and choosing not to honor it can have many repercussions on your psyche, your life and your mental state. Its not easy to go against what society thinks or what your family has raised you to be.
As I get older I believe that we choose the life thats less painful for us. We want to be accepted at a young age for who and what we are but peer pressure and puberty can do a job on confusing the feelings. It did on me for sure. I’ve always had feelings for boys since I was a young kid not thinking there was strange about it. That was until I told a fellow female classmate I thought another dude was cute, shit hit the fan and then I realized that maybe I should keep all my feelings to myself.I guess it didnt help that I had a fashionista for a big sister while watching her and her quest to look better than everybody else, I wanted to as well.
Elementary school couldnt tell me nothing about clothing. I was the flyest dude in that school at least I thought. Did they talk about me? Hell to the yeah, but I really don’t remember caring as much. In fact I thought I looked so good I wanted to be a model. Then middle school happened. It seemed that every bad thing people thought of me AMPLIFIED in my mind so I ate and slept. We wore uniforms so there wasn’t a big fashion craze at the school but on certain days when there was a free day I wore my best outfits. Lol It kinda of gotten to a point where personal hygiene wasn’t as important as it should’ve been and let me tell ya BAD IDEA!
So I ate and slept some more then High School happened, I was a huge, smelly mess of a dude all to hide the REAL me. I became known as the Smart-Ass around the school, people talked about me but it never got physical for me. I believe there is a big difference in my mind between teasing and being bullied. I was teased but I still gained a best friend and people who were cool with me for some reason or another. I rarely dated if ever so I didnt have the quintessental teenage guy experience that is so awkwardly portrayed on TV and Film.
Some people started to suspect as I grew up and left High School that I was into dudes. The world was a bitter cold place to me and I admired and envied those folks who could be themselves. I started working for a grocery store in the suburbs when I was 19 and I saw all these colorful people who were just fine as they were and accepted me as such. Walls that I placed around myself s l o w l y came crashing down. I started dating dudes more while testing the waters with family asking specific questions about other people seeing the reactions.
In my world today I still get nervous when talking about my life with co-workers, new friends etc. I believe the Internet helped in a big way with information, connections with like-minded people and such. My family is supportive for the most part but I haven’t brought anyone home yet so that may or may not change. Freedom for me would be not caring at all what anyone else thinks and doing me to the best of my ability. Thank you Bruce for your inspiring story and waking me up to realize what true authentic courage is. My journey to freedom starts today..
P.S The young lady singing one of my favorite anthems is Emeli Sande. She’s incredible and if you’ve never heard her albums, treat yourself. We also share a birthday!!!