Non Advice from a Novice Gay

I feel my sparks bursting out at random intervals. Only to fade back to the nothingness that I have accepted as part of my normal. This nothingness has always existed, beckoning me into it’s safe blanket. As I get older, the nothingness inches closer. Wrapping me deeper and deeper inside of it.

There have been many heroic attempts at escape. I left a world of inner grey and darkness behind to run to Chicago. To find out ironically, Chicago has the greyest and darkest outside in the country.

In my fight against the inner and outside grey drastic action had to be taken. I had to to turn my inner life into my outside life. I had to take my closely kept secrets and pour them out like a moat around myself. I am still digging through the rubble of this act.

“I’m gay.”

A battle cry.

This attempt almost burned all the nothingness away. Leaving behind only the smallest corner of the grey safe blanket.

My sparks sputter through out my insides. Powerful but misguided from years of hiding. There will always be forces beyond my control ready to attack. Inside and outside. After coming out, I have to contend with the person I’ve killed. For almost 23 years, I lived behind a shield of someone else. This person was liked, even loved. I have to kill them. They are a lie. It will not be clean or easy. They will fight back in big ways and in small insidious ways. There are times I think I’ve won, finally. My sparks ready to collect and become one large towering inferno. But there is always that heavy grey nothing blanket, ready to smother my sparks away.

Coming out won a large battle, but not the war. Whoever came up with “It gets better” is a huge liar and I hope they get cramps from eating ice cream. In a sense, yes. It does get better because you (hopefully) eventually find yourself in a place full of understanding and warmth. A place filled with warm fire, no need for grey blankets. What they don’t tell you about is the Pilgrim' Progress of self-actualization and alienation you will need to go through first. There is the Slough of Disgusted and Disappointed Family Members. They will blame you for their feelings. You will learn to jump nimbly from their swipes and barbs. There will be the Acquaintances who Delight in Your Otherness. Prepare for choruses of, “I could never tell by looking at you”, “Surely you haven't met the right *person of the opposite sex* yet”, and “Such a shame. What a waste.”

Those hooked on procreation will not be able to overcome their indoctrination. They will bring you pieces of their own nothingness blankets and forcibly grow yours.

It has been three years since I turned my insides outside. In that time I have gone to many therapies and fallen in love with a beautiful, strong woman. She helps me fight against the nothingness. Together, we win more battles than I could alone.

Be prepared. Be vigilant. Be flaming! Burn the grey nothing blanket inside of you. Let your coughing and sputtering sparks keep you warm. It will get harder and more challenging. We keep fighting so that one day we’ll become a towering inferno, lighting the way for others escape.