I saw a video on youtube a few months back that inspired me to write a letter to my seventh grade self. It made me think about how I felt at that time when I was first discovering my sexuality and how far I have come since. This isn’t meant to be sad or self-pitying in any possible way. It is a thoughtful reflection on who I was at that time and who I am now. Needless to say I think I’ve come a long way since then. Happy reading and your comments are welcome!
You are at a point in your life now where things are somewhat of a jumbled mess. There are so many things that you don’t understand and so many things that you wish you could. You know that you’re different; you’ve known it for a while now, but you haven’t yet begun to grasp the scope of it all. You’re scared right now because you don’t understand why you’re not the same as everyone else. You’re angry because you feel like you are being punished for something you did. And you’re sad because you feel like nobody around you will understand what you are going through. You feel alone and that loneliness makes you consider things that otherwise you would not…like hurting yourself.
You go through the motions of each day and put on a smile for those around you while secretly wanting to curl up in a ball and cry until you can’t anymore. You think of all the ways that you could end the loneliness and wonder silently if anyone would even miss you after you’re gone. You’ve started binge eating to fill the void and fallen into a cycle of self-hate for being so weak; for being human. You’ve begun to isolate yourself from your family and friends because they only make you feel worse. There’s no way they could understand when you barely understand it yourself. Sadly you’re going to continue down this road for a while, putting up walls around yourself and slowly pushing people away.
With time you’ll begin to understand why you’re different from those around you. You’ll begin to comprehend what it actually means to be gay. It’ll terrify you and you’ll vow to yourself to never let anyone find out about your feelings. You’ll even go so far as to convince yourself that you’re bisexual and that your attraction to guys is simply something that will go away with time. You’ll train yourself to be as “straight” as possible and refuse to even acknowledge anything to the contrary.
You’ll choose to avoid your feelings by keeping as busy as possible, taking on more than you can possibly handle at your age. You’ll say yes to everything because it’ll be easier to use work as an excuse than to handle the reality of your situation. You’ll even date girls here and there to convince yourself that you’re simply confused and nothing more.
You’ll spend your days wishing for a better life; outside of your home town and away from everyone and everything that you know. You’ll dream big; bigger than you can even imagine right now. And for a while those dreams will propel you, making you work hard and focus even harder. They’ll give you strength when you need it most and help you combat the loneliness that never really went away.
You’ll get into college without any help from anyone, figuring everything out on your own. There you will meet some of the most extraordinary people, several of which will become your best friends. You’ll cherish your time with them and learn to never take friendship for granted. You’ll learn how to let others in as you gradually begin to accept your lot in life. You’ll begin to see yourself in a new light; a light that makes you proud of what you have accomplished and who you are becoming.
In college you’ll make more mistakes than you can count, but you’ll learn from them and grow as an individual. You’ll take classes that annoy you and meet people who annoy you even more, but you’ll stick with it to achieve an end goal. Things will get hard and at times you will feel like quitting. You’ll simply want to give it all up, but you won’t. Your friends will keep you going and give you strength when all else fails.
Life is going to throw you curveballs you are not fully prepared for: the loss of a friend, family illness, and a re-evaluation of your priorities and goals. The loss and the confusion will make you sad for a while, but it’s something that you’ve learned how to handle. You’ll fight your way through it and find yourself waking up one morning to a moment of utter clarity; a feeling that is fleeting and altogether earth-shattering. You’ll wake up content with who you are and more content with who you want to be.
After some time has passed you’ll start opening up and telling the world about yourself; showing it the part of you that you had always kept hidden for fear of what it would mean to you and those around you. You’ll hit a few snags along the way in your coming out process, but beam with pride each and every time you overcome the nerves and tell someone you love that you’re finally okay with who you are.
Each time it’ll get easier and you’ll even surprise yourself with how comfortable you have become. Within two months you’ll have told every person close to you that you’re gay and realize quite quickly that to the people who truly matter, you are still the same compassionate, strong individual that you have always been. You’ll even meet someone who makes you believe in love; someone who, despite his shortcomings, will become your best friend. He won’t love you the same way that you love him, but he’ll be at your side helping you take on the world. You’ll find strength and you’ll begin to see yourself for what you truly are: a beautiful work in progress just like everyone else.
I know that things seem hard right now and at times you want nothing more than to give up because that would be the easy way out. What you don’t realize at this very moment is that you are strong and you are capable of doing great things. You’ll face obstacles both big and small and challenge them head on. At times you will fail as many do, but you will learn with each failure; you will learn about yourself and about others. In time you will discover who you are and you will look back on the beginning as just that: a beginning. All I can say is hang in there for now because without a doubt it gets better.
This was a very cathartic exercise. I hope you enjoyed reading it. Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry
You can also follow me on Twitter @Chrber07 for more writing updates on my poetry and my novel writing process.