Dear Little One,
You have to be brave. You cannot hide, or run, or change who you are. You have to be brave. You cannot let people define you, or tell you who to be. You cannot let them change you, or turn you into something that you simply are not. I promise you, this does so much more damage than you can understand, and it hurts the people you are trying to protect. You have to be you, because nobody else will be. It might take a very long time for you to accept who you are, but you have always known who you are. You cannot be afraid of that, but don’t be hasty about it either. These days, who you are seems to be more a fad than a truth and that makes me sad. While you have always known you were different, you will not understand why until you are old enough to understand sex. You have to be old enough to understand what you prefer, and that will come in time. Do not try and grow up too fast. And while I acknowledge how you feel, Little One, and I give validation to those feelings, I will ask you to please wait until you are a little older until you say the words. Be brave, Little One, and do not let them tell you it is not okay…because I am here to tell you that it is okay.
You might be comfortable in your little closet, amongst all your skeletons and tinker toys that you do not want others to see. I always thought it was funny they called it “the closet”. That’s certainly not where I hide my secrets. I’ve always hid my secrets in my journal, or in my desk, but never in my closet. I kept bedsheets in the closet, clothing, shoes, tinker toys, and some things I didn’t have any room for in the house…but never secrets. Regardless, Little One, the closet is no place to hide in. It’s the first place people always look in ‘Hide and Go Seek’, so that makes it a pretty terrible hiding place. I understand it feels safe, to hide in there. Away from the world, away from the eyes of those in your house, away from everything that could judge you or make you feel bad. However, you can’t just sit in there like an outfit that might be a little too “outspoken” for the rest of the world.
You can’t run forever, first of all because you hate to run, but second of all because at some point you will run out of energy. Do you remember what it feels like to finish running “the mile”? You hated it, because you didn’t want to do it, but the gym teacher said you had to or you wouldn’t get a good grade in class. So you ran, you ran your little heart out. You collapsed at the finish line, and it felt terrible. You couldn’t breathe, your little lungs were on fire, you felt like vomiting, and you were so out of breath you could barely even talk. Well, Little One, that’s what it’s like running from this secret. You hate it because you were told you had to, or you wouldn’t be accepted. Once, someone even told you you wouldn’t get into heaven unless you ran, and you ran your little heart out…but to no avail. You cannot run from this Little One, because you can never outrun yourself. It’s like your shadow, it’s always with you. That’s okay too, because you were made this way, by whatever you believe made you.
You can’t change who you are. I cannot tell you this enough, because you will try so many times to change. Please, stop, be yourself. Don’t let them tell you that you feel too much, that you are too emotional, that you are too loud, that you are too intense, that you are too silly, that you are too serious, that you are too giving, that you are too driven, that you are too much of a dreamer, that you are too adventurous, that you need to settle down, that being a mover and a shaker makes them uncomfortable, that you need to be anything other than exactly who you are. Do not change, ever, just find some balance. Find the right amount of all those things that makes you the best version of yourself. The only change you need to make is to be better than the person you were yesterday. You MUST be yourself, because there are things that only you can do, and those things are essential to this world…because the secret is that you are the only one who can do them.
Do not let them tell you who you have to love. Pretending to love somebody is more damaging than people realize, and it is so damn unfair. You are so loveable, and those people who fall in love with you, thinking that you love them in the same way are going to be crushed when they find out they were nothing but a cover. Do not use people in this way, it is wrong. Do not let people tell you that is right, because that’s how they think it is supposed to be. It is not. When you decide to be with someone, be with them because you love them. Be with them because the way that their eyes dance puts a smile on your face that can’t be removed, be with them because their laughter is your favorite song, be with them because their heart holds the story of your life. Do not be with somebody because it’s what the Bible says, or it’s what your mom wants, or because you will lose friends if you don’t. That’s not love, that’s a lie, and lies destroy lives…especially your own Little One, and your life is important.
So, stop running, take a deep breath, and kick the damn closet door open. Walk out with confidence so loud, people stop for a moment and admire you. Carry yourself with humility, because pride will destroy you and those like you, humility and confidence look much better. Pride looks foolish and it comes before the fall, you know this, because pride is something that both you and I find off-putting. There is nothing more inspiring than a confident person, who is humble and kind to those around them. Be sure of yourself, and be unwavering and unapologetic about it. Do not EVER apologize for who you are. You are not an unpleasant word, you are not a mistake, you are not offensive, and you are not a phobia for anybody. Period.
The first time you say it the weight of a million suppressed thoughts, words, and fears lift from your tiny little shoulders, and it will feel like you are truly breathing for the first time.
“I am gay.”
There, now you have said it. Say it again, and don’t ever be ashamed or afraid to say those words ever again. I am not telling you to advertise it, shove it down people’s throats, brag about it, or use it to push an agenda. It is not a tool, a weapon, or a fad. It is you. It is a real human being, with a beating heart, with hopes and dreams, and with feelings. It is somebody’s dad, mom, daughter, son, sister, brother, cousin, friend, and lover. You are loved, important, needed, wanted, and most importantly, you are YOU. You are gay, and I am here to tell you, it is okay.
So many people have paved the way, they have moved and shaken this world, to make it a place where it is okay. So, while there are many things about this world we live in today that seem terrible and scary, there is also many things that are pretty damn amazing. You will never have to hide who you are, you will never have to love in secrecy, you will never have to cry yourself to sleep at night in fear of losing those you love because of who you are, you will never have to conform to halls of your high school in fear of being “that kid”, you will never have to fight to marry the person you love, you will never have to be childless because of your preference, and you will never have to hide who you are. The people who have suffered, lost, been shamed, beaten, bruised, and who have continually gotten back up and fought for every, single, step forward need you to be who you are. I need you to be who you are Little One, and the world needs you to be who you are.
Be a mover, be a shaker, be a dreamer, be serious, be silly, be an artist, be an athlete, be a scientist, be a friend, be kind, be love, be a celebrity, be a chef, be a soldier, be a journalist, be a singer, be a photographer, be a cop, be an author, be a teacher, be a musician, be a parent, be a cheerleader, be Prom royalty, be the popular kid, be a nerd, be a student…be whoever you are, unapologetically, unchanging, and gay. I love you, Little One, more with each passing day.
The Big One