Pride (an Essay)
Age Rating: 10 +
Okay...this is something that was surprisingly hard for me to write for a number of reasons, but now that it's written, I really want people to see it. So...yah...thanks so much to Candi for helping me fix it up and make it pretty! And if you have any better ideas for titles, just tell me ^.^
Accepting the fact that I am a freak, a cast off of society, must have been one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. Realizing that I am different from everyone I have met, and will meet, knowing that I am every parent’s worst nightmare. Without a doubt, there is nothing worse than what I am -- gay. My homosexual tendencies were not something that started with age, but instead it became visible even in my early years. In an attempt to fit in, I found myself thrown into religion, hoping to find peace in god. This fruitless attempt yielded instead, in lives ultimate ironies, not a peace in god, but peace within me.
Growing up, my diversity still maintained to be an overbearing obstacle, leaving me a misplaced outsider. This feeling first began to bloom during elementary. I found myself observing the girls while butter-flies roamed my stomach, or blushing scarlet shades when the pretty girl approached me in simple conversation. I knew this was out of ordinary—I felt like an outcast amongst my own clique. In a pitiful attempt to fit in and not have others catch on to this (what I thought at the time to be) emotional deformity, I began to feign my “boy crazy” stage, even to the point where I pretended I had a few boyfriends of my own to stop them from asking too many questions. Though the boys never seemed to inquire too much on anything, leading me to be more at ease in their presence, no matter how much I got picked on. Yet, albeit my many, sometimes asinine, endeavors, I could never seem to be able to fit in. In my last desperate attempt to belong, to be part of something, I gave myself to Christianity; turning myself over to a god I did not believe in, in hopes that he could somehow make it better.
Thereafter, going into sixth grade, the bible had become my most fake of friends. I would read it in class, pretending I believed in it, though surprised when it was received differently than back in elementary. Instead of the normal students, I was accompanied by academy students in an arts school, where I majored in drama. Here, it was not uncommon for people to be open about the feelings I had suppressed for so long as boys walked down the hallways holding hands, girls kissing before class and waiting for their companion after. Homosexuality was an open topic, and I found it horribly interesting, causing me to feel even more sinful than I already did for I longed more than anything to experience it. In my eyes, I was being drawn into the midst of sin and temptation, and there was nothing worse than giving in to the devil. And in the ideals of my priest, homosexuality was the worst evil of them all.
While I watched with jealous eyes, two girls in my drama class snuggled together, whispering sweet nothings and kissing like a normal couple. I forced myself to breathe, telling myself that I would be fine so long as I could manage not to get interested in a girl. If I could quarantine myself from the sinful draw, then I would be fine and would not fall into the temptation. And this I honestly believed, as that first semester progressed, and I became acquainted with the many people from the Las Vegas Academy High School, whom we shared busses with. It seemed that there, they were even more open about it, as a group of boys sat in the back, some of them even in dresses, all of them very obviously less than straight. In all reality, they were, without a doubt, flagrant. Wanting more than anything to be as happy as them, I watched daily as they interacted, seeing how well they all openly fit in together while I felt lost and confused in my own sinful desires. That was when I figured it was the time where I would seek deliverance from my priest and tell him I was infested with the sins of homosexuality, in hopes that he could somehow cleanse me of these evils.
Meeting him after school where my bus let off, we walked together to the church where we could speak privately, me nervous as hands sweated and wrung together, him smiling and speaking of God. It was probably the most horrible experience of my life, because not only was I admitting to someone else for the first time, but also myself, for I had tried so hard to deceive myself of something that was impossible to get rid of. By the time we made it into the cool air of the confessions room, my fingers and palms were red and burning from the friction of flesh against flesh, and he watched me curiously as he walked over to the booths, each entering our sides.
We went through the traditional beginning phrases, and once that was over, and it was time to speak, I found myself choked and at a loss of words. Once more my hands started to ring as I thought of the temptation burning in my soul, the shame I felt and always had for just being me. Inhaling, with all the courage I could muster, I told him. Told him everything, from when I was younger and had realized what I was. Of how I watched the girls, and pined for the comfort and relationships of those I saw daily on the bus and in the hallways of my school, and how disgusting I felt. Then, as I finished spilling my soul out to him, holding the shattered pieces and praying he could cleanse them, I waited for his answer. Slowly, he spoke
“Child…god never makes mistakes. Instead, he makes us all how we are, and while many people will say that the bible calls it sin, they are wrong. For in all truth, was it not Jesus who told us, ‘He who hath not sinned shall cast the first stone’? It is not my job to judge you, but instead to cleanse you of what you feel is sin, where I see it as part of gods plan. Have faith in yourself, and god, and you will find that what you feel is not evil, but instead something that he gave you for a reason and a purpose. Trust him, and you will be happy.”
Leaving baffled, I decided that I would attend the Wednesday youth gathering, wanting to hear the speech our youth pastor was going to give on homosexuality. I felt buzzed, happy, and incredibly confused though delighted. Maybe I was not evil or sinful, but instead something that was supposed to exist. I was in gods plans for a reason. All children love to believe they are special, and the thought that god has put special effort into them out of all of the billions of people gives a buzz comparable to what I thought I high must feel like, and it seemed I floated the rest of the way home. Maybe I was not a freak.
Yet as Wednesday came, I once more was filled with anxiety, but jubilation as well. I hoped our pastor would say what the priest had said to me, and tell me all the things about gods plans, and hopefully make the kids at the church understand. I felt joy, thinking that I could finally stop hiding, and fit in without having to use the mask and lies I had created. How horribly wrong I found out I was, as we gathered around the tables and opened our bibles, looking up with the hopeful eyes of the youth. But as he began to speak, even the first words out of his mouth shattered those dreams.
“Homosexuality, sodomy, is a sin, a horrible sin that must not be stood for.”
I could feel my mouth drop. Had not the other priest told me that god never made mistakes? How could this priest, who worked in the same church, supposedly spoke with the same god, believe that god had made messed up? Was that not saying that god was not omniscient, but instead as fallible as the rest of us? As he continued, I watched those around me as they nodded and chipped in what they believed, speaking like little parrots the words he had just said. Each word sparked something in my mind, lighting blaze to a part of me I never knew existed—the person I had held back for years, suppressed in her dark little corner with chains and shame, was now breaking free, sending anger broiling inside of me. They all seemed so ignorant, naïve, such hypocrites as they judged and never considered the word of Christ. If this was good, if this idiocy, this duplicity, was what God wanted, then I would rather have burned in hell. And with that in mind, I did something that gave me control of my life and burned the bridges to go back to the church. Standing, I made my way to the priest, grabbing the eternal flame from next to him and smoldering it out in his robes.
“Hypocrite.” Those were the only words I spoke, and I left. Walking home after that, I felt freer than ever. While people around me may never accept me, while my own parents may have considered me a nightmare, I knew inside that so long as I kept in mind that I was myself, and was created for a reason, for my own purpose, what others thought of me would never matter. Through the churches hate of my kind, I found peace, and somehow that bane only fueled my new found joy. I felt a satisfaction inside of me. I was free. And for the first time, I admitted it to myself. I was gay, and I was proud.