So I’m back home in Ohio because my visa for New Zealand expired. Im living back home, on my little street, back in my childhood room, and all my movies and books.
Im working part time in retail until I figure out what to do with my life, but I will say working part time has been amazing. After 50 hour work weeks for a full year in New Zealand, going to only working 25 has been amazing. I can take time to go to the gym, take time to cook from scratch, and take time for one of my guilty pleasures: A nice relaxing bike ride.
These bike rides however have become filled with intense and deep thoughts on life. You see, at the end of my street there is a park, and next to that park is a high school. The high school football team uses the park to practice since its a big open space. So when I go for my bike rides in the park, I bike right past the football team.
This has got me thinking:
WHAT WOULD LIFE HAVE BEEN LIKE TO BE LIKE THEM?
What would life have been like to a popular and athletic kid in high school?
BACKGROUND ON ME: Gay, liberal, interested in travel, green-tech, geography, and my dream was to go to LA to be in movies…..
So, as you can imagine, growing up in a high school in Ohio was fucking hell. I was constantly made fun of, beat up, and nobody would speak to me because it was considered social suicide (Well, they would speak to me if it was to call me fag or tell me that I was going to die of AIDS one day). My parents were ashamed of me so I couldn’t talk to them. My guidance counselor at school wanted nothing to do with me (because she was equally as redneck as everyone else) and the only advice she ever gave me when I told her I wanted to go to LA for college was, “Have you ever considered staying in Ohio and going to a Community College?”
** Also, a side note: for anyone out there wondering if I was just a deadbeat, the answer is No. I graduated with a 4.0 and I did go to LA for college with absolutely no help or support from anyone, so take that Ohio, you bunch of bastards**
But I have to admit. That experience has always made me wonder: What if everything was different? Because you see, being strong and brave even when everyone around you tells you you’re weak and pathetic comes with a price. As you grow up, you become jaded.
That little fucker of an emotion (or thought pattern I guess?) You see the world differently forever. Its hard to not view yourself as an outcast. Its hard to not brace yourself for everything around you to fall apart at any moment. Its hard to believe that anyone you’re talking to you now would have been nice to you in high school if they would have grown up in your hometown with you then. There is a permanent stain. A smear of hatred, fear, resentment, and agony that will never go away.
Which is why these boys at the park capture my emotions. As I bike along the path my eyes almost glaze over as I watch them. I just look at them. They must be friends with each other. The school has signs up in the windows where people have painted big letters that say “GO EAGLES!“. Can you imagine being that popular?
They run and jump and kick and tackle. Their dads must be so proud of them. The spitting image of what every Ohio boy should be. Their fathers get to live out their ‘Friday Night Lights’ fantasies through their boys. My father never looked at me with pride. I was always the black sheep of the family. The one they had to always keep from saying or doing embracing things. The one that was a hard worker, but had his head in the clouds. The one who, as my mom would always say, “needed to come back down to Earth and grow up”.
These guys probably play grab-ass in the shower, fuck the cheerleaders, get drunk at parties, and form bonds that they will have for the rest of their lives from doing all that as a team. I have no idea what I just said by the way. Thats just what I see in movies and stuff. I was never able to be immature and stupid in my life because I was always alone. I had to look our for myself because nobody else would. I also don’t know what having a “bond” with another person feels like. I imagine it must be fun though. Must make you feel good. Must make living a lot more fun.
So as I ride by I just stare and imagine. I think of all the things they must do and how great their youths must be. Then I like to imagine me being in that situation. What if I was ever part of a team? Can you imagine how much fun it would be for someone to have your back? To wake up and look forward to high school in the morning? To believe that you mattered? To even have other people tell you so?
For a few brief moments Im filled with a small amount of joy. The illusion and the fantasy seems so nice. For a few seconds in my day I can erase the past and refill it with how I wish it would have been. Bright sunny September afternoons. Playing football with all my friends. Looking forward to the big game on Friday night. The party that would happen after, and all the great memories Id have forever.
But then I bike on past and its all gone. And I’m me again.
A 26 year old who just went catatonic while looking at a bunch of high school kids. Im sure they all think I’m some fucking weird child rapist or something. Or maybe since I’m 26 I’m still too young to look scary (Im hoping thats the case at least).
But you see thats my life, and thats what its like to be gay. You always wonder if people think you’re a sick perv. Why? Well because I was a gay kid. In Ohio. Who was never shown a single ounce of kindness. Who was always told I was a dirty pervert. Someone worthy of hell.
My mind is forever stained in negativity.
I arrive back home, go up to my room and feel the weirdness of all my mixed emotions. The tingling I still have from that brief moment of imagining a happy life. The anxiety I feel, wondering if they were all looking at me as I looked at them. The dread I have for my future. And the sorrow I feel because of how fucked up my youth was.
But you know what, for a few brief minutes in my day, it was nice to imagine a better existence. It was nice to imagine myself as one of the high school Titans who had it so well.
~ The Dark Horse