when i knew #4.
by Michael King
“Being gay was never brought up or talked about in my house. My parents never had a sit-down talk about the difference, nor was it brought up in school. Oh, the joys of going to a Catholic grade school! When it was brought up, it was quickly dismissed as being ‘wrong.’ No backing, no reasoning…just wrong.
“I almost went through all of high school not dating anyone until my senior year. I dated a girl I met that summer at camp, but she lived three hours away. The distance did not bother me, though, as it wasn’t something I was totally invested in. Others found it strange I dated someone so far away. That was short-lived, and I moved on without any emotional backlash.
“I remember thinking to myself ‘what if?’ and ‘could I be?’ all the time. I was told over and over again that it was ‘wrong.’ I never wanted to upset my parents by being gay. There was a constant fear of my parents finding out.
“My Sophomore year of college, a group of friends and I were hanging out in my dorm room and we watched a movie. We all crammed into the small room, popped in a DVD, and turned the lights off. Partly through the movie, people were dozing off, on their phones texting, and/or not paying much attention to the movie. All of a sudden, I felt my hand get nudged.
“I ignored it and moved my hand slightly.
“It happened again, but this time, the fingers locked with my own. Another guy was holding my hand. I turned my head away from him, but I had the feeling of butterflies in my stomach. What was this? What was happening? I had never felt this way before. I was so confused, but at the same time I felt so happy. I looked over and saw him grinning at me. What only lasted a few minutes felt like an eternity.
“We come back to the question, ‘When did I know?’ Well, I always knew. But I had trouble accepting myself. What changed, for me, was being off on my own and creating my own experiences. Ever since that moment, I have not turned back.
“Just a few shorts weeks after the ‘hand holding’ I came out to my first friend. That feeling was like opening a soda can shaken up constantly over nineteen years. Once the ‘secret’ was out, the world was much better place. Words almost can’t describe the feeling of that event. Even thinking about the whole experience of how it all came about brings back so many emotions. Both good and bad.”