It wasn’t my parents I feared most but rather the things I knew they couldn’t protect me from. They never asked me to define myself in any certain way and never pushed it to happen sooner than I was ready. But even their unconditional love couldn’t prepare me.
Back then, what lined my nightmares (and gym class) was isolation. What lined my day-to-day stagnation of survival was the intentions of well-meaning people. Though I’m now 20 and have been removed from a high school environment for several years, I’ve still been searching for the means to move on.
Last night I was in a queer space. The kind filled with otherness and light, embodying passion and strength. I left realizing my assumptions of recovery had been flawed. It never differentiated itself to me, the concept of it ‘getting better.’ I’d always been torn between hating that concept and relying on it to make it through. Being with friends and community members while eating Domino’s pizza reinvigorated the part of me that wondered what my time ‘in the closet’ had meant. It was okay. I was okay. We were all some radical form of okay.
I’d been waiting for my normalcy moment, where my queerness would transcend any identifiers society might place before me. I expected normalcy to seek me out in standards of assimilation-ary practices and of being. I was wrong. Way off actually. Screw ‘normal.’
The day (several years ago) I stared into a mirror and declared my identifiers, it was so. The path of life deviated forever into this unknown ray of queerness and light. It’s brilliant, wonderful and everything I was searching for.
I love my queerness.
Being a small part of such a powerful force has been uplifting and gratifying. With it has come a sense of peace and calm I only ever dreamed about deserving one day. But that day is today, and I deserve it because in myself there only lies possibility and love—the kind that is all encompassing and constantly felt. As I looked around at the faces in the queer space, I saw their determination to live and knew I must harbor it as well.
I often think about younger me, who was starting to realize what it meant to be different and try and fit the expectations that came with that. I am thankful for her and her refusal to give up. I’ve come to the conclusion that my time spent in the closet was not without purpose.
It’s now time to close the book on that chapter in my life—lingering resentments and all. Being around a queer space has let me define my own complexity, along with discovering complexity in others, and has provided me the space to grow and change while making lifelong friends.
To my queer space: thank you. Thank you for showing me what it is to know oneself on a level of glory I find difficult to describe even now. It’s good, it’s wonderful and it’s complex. Thank you for letting me narrate my own story and for sharing yours with me.
To those who are not able to live openly: know we are waiting for you. On the other side of that closet door, we’re here and we’re rooting for you.
Complexity is my own to claim and discover. Everyone can, really.