God, where to start? It's not something I ever really thought about. I mean I am used to the typical "Tell me about your summer vacation" essays, but really "Tell me about the most pivotal moments in your life"? Looking back there are so many and yet so few. Some of them it seems like I can just barely catch a glimpse of, kind of that foggy half recollection like your fifth birthday; you know it happened, but you aren't sure if you remember it or if you remember the stories and the pictures. In a way I am glad that this is going to be an ongoing assignment, because I don't think I have ever just sat down and looked at the things that have made me ME.
I think one of the most pivotal moments in my life was finally figuring out I was gay. It's not like there was a single moment of blinding realization, more of a slow and steady progression that ended with a complete certainty that I just couldn't shake. I think I was about 13 when it first started. We had health class that year and I remember wondering why everything the teacher was telling us seemed wrong. Not like a "gross" kind of wrong, something subtler. All my friends just kept going on and on about who they would like to get some practical experience with and I realized that there was no one that even crossed my mind. Of course I chimed into the discussions, agreeing with their choices and making some appropriately inappropriate comments, but it just felt off somehow.
I think I spent more time trying to figure out why the idea of sex seemed so wrong to me than most of my friends spent obsessing on "doing it". I mean I was a teenage boy after all and I woke up more than one morning with an erection or wet sheets (sorry if this is inappropriate for this project, but you really have me thinking and analyzing here) but for some reason there was no real memory of what had me in that state in the morning. I mean I would have flashes of dark hair or hands touching me, but there was never any real person attached to the memories. Then came the first dream that freaked me out.
A few of my friends and I had gone to watch "Pirates of the Caribbean, at Worlds End", I had seen the previous movies and thought they were just brilliant. We had a great time in the theatre, laughing along with the jokes, all my buddies going on and on about Kiera Knightley, and while I agreed that she was a beautiful woman, I appreciated it in more of an abstract way. The next morning I woke up with a severe erection and very distinct thoughts of Orlando Bloom in my mind. I can tell you it freaked me out in every way possible.
From there I became more and more aware of the differences between my friends and I. They would go on for hours about the fact that this girl or that one were developing quite the impressive rack, or comment on how short another girl's skirt was. I continued to play along with them but realized that there was nothing there other than an appreciation for beauty, nothing remotely stimulating, and that was so damn confusing. I found myself looking at the guys in my gym class, or models in magazines, or actors on TV and trying to push back the thoughts that I found them more interesting than any of the girls or women.
For a long time I tried to convince myself it was just a phase, something that every teenager went through, and I never talked about it. The concept was too scary for me to even put into words. When you are 13, two of the words that got thrown around a lot were "fag" or "gay". If a kid seemed at all weak or not masculine enough they were labeled a "fag". If they liked dancing or dressed too differently they were labeled "gay". It seemed like those two words were the most hateful ones that came out of any of my friends' mouths and it made me feel like everything I was feeling and thinking was wrong.
It wasn't something that went away though. My dreams at night became clearer, the images of guys clear in my mind in the morning when I woke up. The summer before my freshman year was torture, hanging out with my friends at the pool or playing football in the park. I had to fight not to look when someone walked by shirtless or when one of my more attractive friends came out of the pool dripping wet in board shorts that clung everywhere. Unfortunately the more I tried not to look, the more obvious it seemed I was. My friends started to take notice and little by little my invitations to hang out slowed and the under the breath comments of "What Anderson, you turning into a fag on us?" became more frequent. I tried to laugh it off, became obsessive about commenting on the girls in their bikinis or talking about sports and cars and all the other things my friends were into. I don't know who I was trying to convince more, them or me.
Freshman year was really hard. I was still trying to figure out exactly where I stood on the whole issue. Things at home didn't make it any easier. My parents were strong Christians and I had more than once heard an offhanded comment thrown out about gays in the media or in politics. When the vote on gay marriage was coming to a head in California I heard more lectures on "marriage" than I can even remember. It wasn't like my parents were hateful about the situation, but they made it clear that they thought that the idea of marriage and being gay were mutually exclusive. It seemed like everyone around me just made the assumption that gay meant sleeping around and wanting to screw anything that moved.
Of course my "buddies" took their taunts and snide comments into our new high school, and it wasn't long before I started hearing mutters of "fag" when I walked down the halls. It didn't help when I realized how much I loved to sing and joined the chorus. Singing was "gay" according to the guys at my school, and the few of us guys that joined got picked on constantly. As far as I knew all the guys in chorus with me were straight and I still made a point not to look too hard or think too much about it, but by the middle of my freshman year I just knew that I had to actually admit to myself that I was actually gay. That realization put me in a depression that lasted months. I didn't know how to reconcile the public view on gay relationships with the fact that all I wanted was someone to care about me, to go to movies with like my friends did with their girlfriends, someone to hug and kiss and hold hands with. I wanted a boyfriend, not a bunch of faceless sex partners.
By the end of my freshman year I was so happy for the summer to finally come. Summer meant the ability to get away from the shoves in the hallway, the accusations of staring at the guys in the locker room, the endless notes thrown at me in class with the word "fag" written in big bold letters. I never talked to my parents about the problems for fear of setting myself up for the lectures I was sure would follow. I tried talking to the guidance counselor at school, but rather than helping with the bullying it seemed like all she wanted to do was get me to admit that the guys giving me hell were right. I wasn't ready to talk to her, or anyone else, about my feelings; I just wanted the bullying to stop. Nobody seemed to care.
Wonderfully written Mr. Anderson. Psychology is about looking deeper than the surface of issues and really examining what makes a person tick. I appreciate the fact that you are taking this assignment as an opportunity, instead of just a grade. It is interesting to me to see what you think now about your thought processes then. From having you in my intro course last year, I can say that you seem to be one of the most open and honest students I have had the opportunity to interact with in my years teaching, and I look forward to learning more about how you went from the scared teenager to the confident man.
AN: For some reason this just wouldn't leave me alone. I LOVE Blaine, always have, with the dichotomy of "super confident Warbler" to the open fun person he has been with Kurt. Exploring a bit more of his history just feels natural to me, since I tend to write from his POV. Not sure how long this will go, but I'll run with it until he shuts up – right like that is apt to happen.