Be A Man (The Story Of A Trapped Teenager)

Salvatore Napoli
6 min readMay 31, 2022

Many of the people who view my content would be amazed to discover that I haven’t always been this confident person that I portray today. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t until recently that I started to allow myself to be vulnerable and open about who I am. I grew up in an environment where people weren’t as open to the lgbtq+ community. The people around me expected me to carry myself in a certain manner, mainly because there have always been these societal norms about what defines a man or a woman. I knew that I had feminine traits from an early age. I have also been aware that I have had an attraction to men as long as I have been attracted to women. Unfortunately, due to all the hate that surrounded me, I was too nervous to come out to the rest of the world until I was 28 years old and that has prevented me from fully enjoying what life had to offer me.

As a child I always loved to sing, dance, and be the center of attention. Back in those days I didn’t constantly overwhelm myself with the irrelevant opinions of others. As children we have a “youthful spirit”, which means that we naturally do what makes us happy, despite what anyone else thinks. I would sing my little heart out to every song that came on the radio and I loved any gathering with a karaoke machine. I was the life of every party that I attended considering I was the first one on the dance floor and the last one off of it. I would have loved to pursue my passion for singing and dancing by getting into something like theater. That was just one of the many dreams that I deprived myself of, in a misguided attempt to hide my true identity.

As I got into my teen years, I started to grow more curious about my sexuality. Needless to say, that led to experimentation and let’s just say it didn’t take long to figure out what I enjoy. At this point, I still wasn’t very open about it. At that time, I had only told a few trusted friends and family members. There were a few occasions where I did try to be more transparent with my classmates but it was usually met with hostility and cruel remarks. I can remember being called names like “faggot” or “bitch boy” and frantically denying the claims made about my sexuality.

The first boy that I had a relationship with was when I was about 14 years old. He was a couple years older than me and we would often go out to parties together on the weekends. For his privacy, we’ll call him Matt. Matt and I would tell everyone that we were just friends but I think the true status of our relationship was as obvious to the rest of the world as it was to us.

One warm Saturday night in May, Matt and I went to a house party at his friend Sam’s place, whose parents were out of town for the weekend. Sam was even older than Matt was and I didn’t know anybody else that was there, so I already felt out of place drinking and smoking weed with these people. However, I didn’t let a little social anxiety stop me from enjoying myself with somebody that I was happy spending time with.

Later in the night, after we’ve already had a few drinks, we began getting a little more public with our displays of affection. Besides, everyone there seemed to be having a good time so I decided to let loose. As we were in the kitchen socializing and making new drinks for ourselves, these two guys walked in with even more alcohol! Trying to be the first to score some more booze, everyone surrounds the two men who seem to be in their early twenties. It was obvious these guys were from the rough side of town by their demeanor so I figured it would be best to avoid them.

After our conversation and another refill we decided to go downstairs to get away from the crowd. There was a room in Sam’s finished basement that had a king sized bed and a giant tv, which we thought would be the perfect place for some alone time. We stumbled in the room, took our shoes off and sprawled out across the pillow-top mattress. Matt grabbed the TV remote then laid his head on my shoulder while he surfed through the channels. We were only planning on doing our thing real quick and heading back into the party. After we finished, and got ourselves dressed, someone started banging on the door. Matt jumps up, opens the door and Sam rushes into the room locking the door behind her.

“I’m really sorry guys but you have to stay down here for a little bit longer, please” she exclaimed, in a nervous tone.

“What’s going on?” Matt asked. At this point we were almost as freaked out as she was.

“Those two guys upstairs heard that you were a couple and they just started flipping out. They were asking where you went, threatening to stab you both, so I told them that you guys went home” she explained to us. Now we were both terrified for our lives trying to figure out how we were going to make it out of this house alive. After all, we were just a couple of drunk kids at a college party that we had no business being at.

“Just kick them out, it’s your house!” I shouted.

“I can’t kick them out, they bought all the alcohol. They shouldn’t be here for much longer, though. Stay down here and I’ll come grab you when they leave”, she replied, as she ran out of the room. Now, we were trapped in the room with nothing, scared for our lives and it was all because there were people who wanted to harm us.

We waited, as the minutes turned into hours, too nervous to watch tv or even talk much to each other. He just kept telling me that we were going to be ok which really didn’t seem like much of a guarantee at this point. Sam must have forgotten about us in that room because she never did come back for us. Matt and I waited until about 5am when we decided, since we hadn’t heard any movement upstairs, it was finally safe to leave.

We never even reached out to Sam after that night to get her side of the story. I didn’t talk to Matt for a while after the party either. I let my guard down because he made me feel safe being myself, but seeing how hateful the world can be pushed me back into hiding. From then on, I denied ever being anything more than friends with Matt. I denied my attraction to men and continued to hide the feminine traits that made me who I truly am.

I spent the next 14 years, not only lying to the rest of the world, but lying to myself as well. I didn’t allow myself to partake in activities that could be deemed “girly”. I wouldn’t show any emotion other than anger, I avoided certain songs and tv shows that might leak my true identity. I allowed other people’s opinions of me to affect my daily choices and prevent me from living my life to its full potential.

Since I let go of living life for everyone else and started living for myself, I have been able to experiment more and find myself. I now know that i identify as a non-binary, pansexual energy and i allow myself to openly express an equal amount of masculinity and femininity. I discovered that there is still very much a lot of hate in the world but you can’t let that scare you away from your own happiness. You will miss a lot of great opportunities if you’re living a life that doesn’t line up with who you really are.

My suggestion to anyone who is struggling with a similar issue is to embrace who you truly are and you will find a sense of freedom. Most of the people you are worried about losing, will more than likely accept it and still love you just the same. The people who reject you aren’t worth keeping in your life whether it’s a complete stranger or even your own family.

Everyone deserves to be loved and accepted no matter what we wear, who we love, and how we live.

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Salvatore Napoli

Hello everybody and thank you for stopping by to check out my profile. Ever since I was a child, writing has been my creative and emotional outlet...