On this day, 10 years ago, I thought I had come out to an online friend. We became friends on a message board (are message boards still a thing?) after I stuck up for him when he was being bullied for being gay. He helped give me the confidence to admit my own sexuality not only to myself but also, eventually, the world. At this point, we’d been friends for about a year.
16th January 2007
I’m writing this because a part of me will appreciate having it later on in life… whatever the future holds.
I’ve always been careful to shield myself from him. He can’t know too much, I feel it’s a burden for someone still young and hopeful. I always attributed it down to being ashamed, but I realise now it wasn’t that – surely he knew, and I knew he knew, but I didn’t know if he knew that I knew he knew… or whether he knew I even knew. Well, now I do know – and he knows, and I think it’s more than clear we both know.
I am gay.
He said “secret” – it wasn’t the word I would have chosen but he’s right. It is a secret… and he’s the only person in the whole world who knows. I wonder if it shows? My psychologist did seem to say “is there anything else you wanted to talk about” in rather a suggestive manner. But I can assume that a part of me is paranoid it shows. As soon as he said it I practically screamed it inside my head, but luckily I thought of something else before the uncomfortable pause got so long he realised I was holding back telling him things. But I couldn’t tell him, he’s only bothered about the medical side of my life and how it affects me. But I guess deep down this is what all the secrecy is about. My “medical life” makes trying to accept being gay so much harder. I’ve had to deal with having a disability for over 20 years and I’m barely just getting used to what I consider a “normal” life – and now it’s all been turned on its head. I have to deal with being disabled and gay! Those two things don’t really mix well; you have the disadvantages that being disabled brings and you have the disadvantages that being gay brings. All in all, one very sheltered and lonely life.
But that sucks! I know there’s tonnes of advantages that I’ve yet to experience – most I probably won’t, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to have fun fantasising about them. I guess it all boils down to what I originally thought when I first realised I was gay: What’s the point if you have no-one to share it with? I might as well be asexual! I never got a girlfriend (one that at least acknowledged me) in my whole 18 years of being “straight”, and it wasn’t for lack of trying! But even back when I was ten-years-old, I fell in love too easily. I grew connections with people that I misread as love and then had to deal with rejection when I told them… so I stopped telling them. And the feelings built up and eventually found a place in the back of my head to reside. And even that in itself is a scary thought: that there are dark spaces in my head that would jump at the chance if an unrequited love came back into the picture and declared her undying love for me. Who’s to say these feeling won’t make an uncomfortably reappearance four or five years down the road when I’m “out and proud”?!
So that’s what I want. Never mind being gay and all this “coming out” crap, I want a boyfriend. But maybe that’s all just another shield I’m hiding behind, protecting the realisation that I need to accept that I will be gay and alone for most of my remaining life… no, that shield ain’t ready to come down yet.
Turns out, he didn’t know I was gay (at least not for another 3 months). I was just so paranoid and introspective, constantly worrying about how other people perceived me, that I read into our online conversations and saw things that weren’t there.
This would continue for many years to come, until it reached a point where I had to stop and actualise a real life for myself, not some fantasy life of writing scripts together and being in each other’s lives forever. It was never going to happen – and if it was, I realised I had to change in order to become the person that I wanted him to meet.
We ended up chatting to each other almost every day for over three years. It’s still to this day one of the longest and most powerful relationships I’ve ever had, which I think is due to the fact the majority of it took part in my imagination! Who better to be your best friend than yourself!
This entry was written exactly 2 years later:
16th January 2009
I don’t know why I always seem to write these things at 20 past 2, but to be completely honest my Internet stopped working. So I was just searching through my files and was like, ‘let’s write in my gay diary,’ because it’s been so long.
I guess that fact I’m not having to write in here means I’m coping with things more – but the truth is I probably aren’t, I’m just bottling things up. Like, I remember my sister pulling me aside one night last October to tell me something – probably the most life-changing thing ever for her. That she was pregnant.
And I froze! I didn’t know what to say, all I could think about was how it sucked I couldn’t ever just pull her aside and say ‘hey, I like boys.’ But really, why should I? She doesn’t live here anymore; she always comments on changes in my behaviour, as if she’s disapproving of me. I don’t know how she’d react and I don’t want to know, it’s not an issue right now. There’s no point in me ever coming out because I’m never going to have anybody, I’m never going to find anybody – that just isn’t my life. There’ll only ever be one person, but there’s nothing I can do about that, so why bother. I doubt anyone will ever find this after I die, so it’s not like they’ll ever know.
He’ll often stop dead our conversations and say, ‘Oh it really doesn’t matter,’ as if he’s suddenly just become detached. And it’s those moments that snap me out of falling in love with him – because he knows it’s never going to happen, but he’d never outright say it. So instead he says, ‘it doesn’t really matter.’
And so I think, when I can’t wake up on a morning, it doesn’t really matter. And when I can’t eat I think, it doesn’t really matter. But the truth is – the gut-wrenching, jaw-dropping, and-the-oscar-goes-to truth is… if he wasn’t in my life, I may as well be dead. So it does matter. It matters more to me than anything in the world.
Much like nostalgia, most of life is spent trying to recapture the same moment over and over again. The taste of a certain food; a drink; a place; a friend, an orgasm. We repeat, over and over again, desperately trying to feel that same spark we initially felt when we first had it. That’s how I view my friendship with him. He satisfied me in a way nothing ever had before, because he made me like myself – and I hated myself, for years. I left sixth form and I just floated around not knowing what to do, grasping onto anything that felt solid. And he was the first solid thing that actually wanted to keep me around. And so I thought, there must be SOME reason; I can’t be all that bad.
Haven’t you heard, nostalgia is very in this season. Everyone’s been seen doing it. There have been things from 2006 that I’ve wanted to share for some time now, but I didn’t know how.
Let me paint a picture: I’d just turned 20, I was going to be the only child living at home, and I was grappling with feelings that I didn’t know how to communicate, so I wrote them down in a private diary that I kept password protected. I think the password was “mum” – no, it’s not very subtle, is it!
22nd December 2006
So it’s twenty-past two in the morning, and I just realised something that made me cry. I’ve been crying a lot lately. I like to. It makes me feel better, crying. I realised that one day, in the not so distant future, I am going to have to come out to my mum.
I am just sitting here in utter shock that over the past few years everything has built up to this one moment. There was time earlier this year that I still believed I could meet a girl, and we’d hit it off, and I’d be charming, and we’d end up together. But now I know the truth is that will not happen – and most of it will be down to me not looking for a girlfriend because I’d rather be with her brother! I’m twenty now, I have to start being more truthful with myself. I have to realise that there is no in between for me – there may not even be anything. I am fully aware that it is one-hundred percent likely I will leave this earth without being able to share my love with another person. Sometimes I think it’s because of this that I have these feelings and that it’s just me taking whatever’s on offer.
No, I have to be truthful, it’s more than that. I remember that first moment I fell for a boy. It’s confusing and a little ironic, because I believed I had incidentally caused this boy to be hurt, and it wrecked me with guilt, but he pulled me aside by the tree – it was Christmas of 2003, and he looked into my eyes and told me not to blame myself. And it was then I realised that I didn’t cause anything. I had just made myself believe that him being attacked was my fault so that I could punish myself for having these feelings. Feelings that I fear are once again beginning to stir – for a different boy.
I don’t know, maybe everything will turn out alright, and all these gut wrenching fears will eventually be looked back on as “WTF was I thinking” moments. I want to tell this new boy because he hugged me, and it’s all I can think about now – I want to tell him so much. Then he’ll know; he’ll understand, and he’ll stay my friend, and then maybe this stupid infatuation will go away. It’s keeping me awake at night, and when I do sleep, it’s haunting me in my dreams. And even through the day, when I pause to pour the boiling hot water into my mug, it plagues my thoughts.
I’ll never tell him. He’ll never know; he won’t ever know what I think about. He can’t ever know what I think about, and I won’t tell him. This Christmas is going to be so hard, I’m the only one here. He can’t know. It will change things, and we’re in such a great place right now. Did I tell you he hugged me? He hugged me, and it’s all I can think about.
So, thus ends the big gay realisation post.
Oh yeah, I am gay alright!
I think that was the first time I’d acknowledged it in such a concrete way. Over the next few years, whenever I felt overwhelmed, I tried to make sense of things by writing them down. I had never intended to share it all, but then again, I never intended to live past 30! I was certain I’d be dead before I was 26. But, as you’ll read, life kept going, and here I am. I no longer want to feel like I’m in that same headspace, chronicling things down in private. I want to move forward… by looking back.
I made the mistake of mixing half a cappuccino into my hot chocolate, so I’ve been awake all night and am currently not feeling the dreamy siren call of slumber any time soon. It was brought to my attention that some people may be searching my name, and I sort of felt if they were to find my website it should look as if it’s been updated with something. So, this is that something. I’m planning to post a succession of blog entries in the coming months, as my novel writing has ground to a halt and, as I always find, if I promote productivity in one area of my life, creativity usually follows and flows into others. Don’t really know what I’m trying to say, but yeah, cheerio!
Call me Final Destination 3, because I’ve officially gone off the rails. I only reacted the way I did because I had such an amazing week where, for the first time in a long while, I felt normal.
I struggle to feel normal, because I am not normal. I am very abnormal. But it takes very little to give me a sense of stability and control over my otherwise uncontrollable life. A life that is controlled by my body, and by the weather. I know I come across as stubborn and overly-dramatic, but you can’t imagine what it’s like to go through life so alone. Where the mere mention of sunshine as “beautiful” makes me recoil in horror. You enjoy that big ball of cancer-inducing gas, do you? That giant star that will one day consume Earth and leave us as nothing but a charred rock? Does it feel good? Of course it does, and I’m sure I’d feel the same too. As a big fat homo, I’d actually have a predisposition to enjoy the sun more, to worship at its alter whenever it graced us with its presence.
It’s probably the reason I feel more alone than I did growing up, because any chance I have of connecting with likeminded people is hampered. I have to associate with the dark, and with the dark comes a life that is naturally shadowed and secretive. It’s not that I have shame, it’s just that I know few can relate to the paths from which I draw solace and enjoyment from as an adult.
And then there’s the barrier that is not controlled by my body, or weather, but by my mind. My inability to surrender control and go with the flow. I cannot merely walk into any bar and associate with others – others who I probably would get along with. I have anxieties that I have to take into consideration, anxieties that I can’t rationally communicate with others, anxieties that I have to overcome alone.
When the universe tricks me into believing I might no longer have to go through these hurdles alone, I still manage to let down my guard and allow myself to jump, even though thirty years of experience tells me there will be no-one there to catch me. I have to look out for myself. I have to maintain control through whatever means I can.