michael king

stack of stained pages, redacted love letters, spilling ink, pressing it into tomorrow

when i knew #2.

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“I started having suspicions about my sexuality at the very early age of six. My older brothers were very much into watching professional wrestling, and I remember wondering why everyone thought two nearly naked men rolling together on the floor was violent. To me, it seemed fun, and I started wanting to be a wrestler one day.

“When I knew for certain, I was just a little bit older. I developed my first crush on a guy in third grade. I found myself trying to become good friends with him, even taking up basketball just to play with him at recess. I spent the rest of my school days until high school just trying to feign interest in girls (and failing miserably). It was a relief to finally come out (via a bulletin on Myspace) just before starting high school in a new town. I had my first boyfriend within a month. Magic times.

– Z

when i knew #1.

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“I think a little part of me always knew I was gay even before I had the words to express it to myself or others. There was always this voice of dissent in the back of my mind that, when someone would make a comment about me in relation to a girl, would say, ‘No, not really’ or ‘What do you mean?’

“I vividly remember watching She’s the Man starring Channing Tatum when I was 14 and having all of these thoughts about Tatum’s character. He was gorgeous.

“I moved past those confusing thoughts into high school and dated several girls. They were typical high school relationships in that they lasted a few months and then broke apart. One of these relationships lasted longer than the others, and I remember her asking me, after eight months of dating: ‘Why haven’t we had sex yet?’

What a perplexing question to be asked as a 17-year-old male! The door was wide open for me to do what I was always told I should do. This incredible experience was at my fingertips, but I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. I couldn’t even imagine myself doing that, let alone actually performing it. I just knew my anatomy wouldn’t cooperate. After all the years of compartmentalizing it, hiding it, shoving it away, watching gay porn, lusting after other guys, I just couldn’t hide it anymore.

“’It’s just a phase you’re going through.’ ‘You’ll find the right girl someday!’ All of these sayings were floating around in my head. The denial was so real, but that simple question from my girlfriend made me realize that I just could not be that person. It was wrong of me to string her along, and, even more so, it was wrong of me to string myself along. It was time to stop hiding. That’s when I knew.”

– A

the “when i knew” project.

This summer, during a weekend trip to the city of Portland,  I passed the wait for a city bus by visiting Powell’s Bookstore, whose shelves are comprised of new and used books. Shuffling through them, I stumbled upon a book called When I Knew.

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Comprised of a collection of narratives from lesbian, gay, and bisexual people sharing their “moments of knowing,” When I Knew features stories running the gamut from funny to absurd to heartbreaking to victorious. Each of the narratives, I found, was perfectly human and real. The project spoke to us both; I bought the book, and we had to run for the bus. Now it sits on my coffee table, and more than one guest has rifled through it with curious energy.

There is power to our stories. I have said this and will say this again and again. And so begins my own small version of this project: The “When I Knew” Project. Friends and social media acquaintances have begun sharing their “moments of knowing,” and I will publish these – anonymously – here on this blog. Feel free to read and peruse them, perhaps to better understand and empathize or perhaps to feel not alone.

For we are not alone, and that is the saving power of sharing stories.

ten things more shocking about me than my sexual orientation.

It has been more than two months since the Supreme Court declared marriage to be a right for everyone, which means it also has been more than two months since I posted my coming out blog post. I spoke myself into existence – it took only a moment of wild courage – and, after a burst of insanity, life settled into routine. The sun rose and fell, and life moved forward.

We post these announcements like they are a tremendous shock. To be fair, for some people in our lives, this comes as a tremendous shock. Maybe because we are some of the first to share these stories with them, or maybe because there are stubborn barriers to acceptance. But, all things considered, I don’t think this qualifies as the most shocking confession I could utter.

So, for fun, here are ten things more shocking about me than my sexual orientation.

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