when i knew #12.

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“I knew when I was very young that something was different. My brother went to play basketball with the next-door neighbors – I might have been 6 or 7 – and TJ, the kindest of my brother’s friends, took his shirt off. I was infatuated.

“I’ve always had control issues, and my sexuality is no exception. In the fourth grade, a girl told me I looked gay when I was playing kickball, and I’ve made conscious and subconscious decisions since that moment to control my sexuality. This led to some very self-destructive behaviors: I drank excessively, abused prescription drugs in high school, casually dated women, and forced myself to watch porn with women in it. I compartmentalized the parts of my sexuality that I couldn’t control. The day after I lost my virginity to my then-girlfriend, I cried, but I couldn’t identify what had upset me. I finally accepted who I was in high school, slowly, and only to myself. I still wasn’t ready to come out.

“But the funny thing about control is that, when you try so hard to gain a grip on things, you lose it. I was at a party the night after we graduated, and I got wasted. I then got crossfaded from the bong I had taken a giant rip of, and the chemicals in my body forced me to black. When I woke up, a friend told me that I had come out to everyone at the party.

Learning to love myself and accept my feelings has not come easy. It’s been a long, halting, painstakingly slow process – and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not quite there yet. But, my life is a journey, and I’m slowly realizing that my sexuality is a gift that I’ve been given. It’s an amazing part of who I am and the man I have become. I still have control issues, but now I realize that my sexuality is something that I can’t – and don’t want to – control. I’ve let go, and I am liberated.”

– J

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