Monday, January 14, 2013

Struggling with sexuality: my story

Hey there. This is some heavy shit so prepare yourself. But honestly this is the same old story. The last few weeks, or well, months, have been emotionally crazy for me. I’ve cried a lot over the past few months than I’ve ever really done in my life. I don’t really know why I’m writing this, but I feel like I have to. Writing always helped calm me down. Sometimes things would get out of control in my head, and I would curl up in a ball on my bed and wished that everything would stop, that either I would wake up and everything would be okay, or I would not wake up at all. And so I would write here whenever I got to that stage. And it calmed me down. And it made everything more bearable. And it made everything slightly more right. And I would go on with my life.
After summer break, things started to get really bad for me again. It was becoming increasingly clear that I was falling back into my ‘bad place’ once again, of disconnecting myself from everyone else and becoming a recluse. 
My study abroad experience started making me crash really hard. I used to be able to distract myself with schoolwork and academia. As much as I always loudly lamented school, it was a sort of comfort to me, that I could keep my mind so preoccupied with these useless titbits so I could continue to just ignore the root cause of my sadness. Then I went to London, made absolutely no friends there, felt increasingly unmotivated to give a shit about school (pass/fail doesn’t exactly make one shit bricks and study non-stop), and just plummeted. Didn’t help also that my sister didn’t know what was going on with me (not her fault) and always seemed irritated that I was constantly in her way (she goes to school in London). Coming back home now, and with actually no school left, and no friends too (everyone's either back in school, or got by the last few years without me so I constantly feel out of place), I got even worse. Now that I have absolutely nothing to distract myself with, I became increasingly lonely, and became increasingly aware that I was alone.
I think it’s probably pretty clear where I’m going with this whole thing. I’ve always tried to distract myself so I wouldn’t need to deal with it. To deal with the fact that I am gay. I could possibly swing both ways, but yeaaahh I’m definitely a lot more attracted to guys than to girls. I’ve known this for pretty much all my life, probably even including the time as a child that I would run up to girls my age in the mall and just french them on the spot, or at least that’s what my mom recounted to me. 
I was never truly a happy person, maybe on the surface because after many years I perfected the art of acting happy, but never deep down inside. If you block out all the unhappy parts of your life, how can you be anything but present yourself as a trigger happy person to others? But I would go back to the deafening quietness of my room and feel incredibly empty because I could never accept myself. And my mind would play all these little mind tricks on itself, and I was terrified of who I was. I hated who I was. I developed a sense of paranoia that nobody liked me, and that everyone thought I was a freak. Me being gay was the biggest reason why I’ve dealt with self-esteem issues my entire life. I struggled so hard confronting my own sexuality. I did what people in denial pretty much try and do. I told myself that it’s only a phase, that all those awkward moments when I caught myself checking out the other guys at school will pass when I get to high school when I will finally like girls (I went to an all-boys middle school). High school came and eh, nothing changed, so I came to terms with that, but told myself instead that I was never going to come out and will go on with life keeping up pretenses and dating girls and marrying someone eventually. For some reason though I could never really follow through with the whole sex part though. I always froze up whenever a girl made it really clear she wanted my dick. Like I said, I'm really not confident in myself at all.

I lied to myself so much that I created a persona of sharing a lot with my friends about fluffy things about my personal life just to feel like I’m connecting with people, yet deep down I always felt disconnected (hence, my constant cryptic drunken nihilistic convos with some people) and incredibly self-conscious. Every time a friend would tell me “hey this person just told me he thinks you’re gay because you don't seem interested in girls” my stomach would turn inside out and I felt my heart sink. Most of the time, these people didn’t matter, and most of the time, it was also because of the way I dressed (I can’t help but really really want to dress well, like east coast prep style and shit, it's just how I was brought up and raised though) but I was, and still am, so ashamed of myself, I would go back to my room and kind of just claw at my arms. I never cut myself though, but I thought about it a lot. I thought about suicide a lot too, thinking that I had to bring my secret with me to the grave.
I’m not sure if you would ever understand the full extent of how self-debilitating and self-alienating such a ‘problem’ actually is. Unless of course, you're going/you went through a similar situation. It was in high school that I started reading perks of being a wallflower, and the curious incident of the dog in nighttime, and identified so much with the protagonists’ sense of self-alienation that it spiraled me further into social reclusion. Then I started listening to all these really 'sensitive' songs, and I became more and more determined to remain as a 'tortured soul' (It was high school, everyone was trying to fit some kind of fucking genre).
And then I got to college. College was amazing. Frosh year was amazing. I fell in love with my school. This is going to sound really dumb, but it’s honestly the way I just felt. Before college I was really paranoid that I was ‘so gay’ I was unable to connect with normal straight guys, and everyone would know it and out me. Back in high school I pretty much only had female friends (or among the guy friends that I had, half of them were really feminine, half of them were really nerdy and seemed oddly asexual…not trying to be mean but just telling it as it is). But then again, my high school was a college-prep school, and the guys were infinitely nerdier and a lot more intense than the girls. Idk why but it was just like that. But freshman year I had no problems making quite a lot of fratty bro friends at fratty bro parties. Lol. Sure I was friends with most of them mostly due to the ‘international kid (I'm not from the USofA, fyi) who tokes at every single party’ rep that I was developing, sure I didn’t end up keeping in contact with most by the end of college (I grew out of the frat scene, they seemed to be stuck in arrested development), but it reassured me that I wasn’t some alien that everyone thought I was 'too gay' to be friends with. At the end of the day I’m still a normal ‘dude’, and I just wanted to feel like I could actually hang with guys normally. That’s really how fucking pathetic I was - I needed validation from frat guys. Almost rushed one, but decided the hazing was not worth it.
But the real reason why college was amazing was because I made such a wonderful group of friends, that my heart aches knowing now that I probably wouldn’t see most of them very much at all from now on. These friends enjoyed my company, they didn’t judge me for all the goofy stupid shit that I would say or do, and they embraced me for who I was as a person, even as I still didn’t tell anyone about my sexuality and at times lied about it. These groups of friends were honestly the best things that happened to my life so far. They made me feel so comfortable with who I was. They would just ‘be’ there, and chill with me, and include me in things. I finally felt a sense of belonging. This was the first time I felt included. And I wanted to tell someone about myself. But then it always snowballed in my head. I started to think, okay, maybe I should tell this person, but what happens after that? What if the person blabbers to everyone? Would people start not being friends with me? Would people start hating me for something that I had no control over? And what do I even know about being gay anyway? Sure I knew plenty of gay people, but many of them were a lot more effeminate and kind of like 'out there' anyway, so I don't know, it's a different type of struggle.
So I was still really unhappy. I could not understand why ‘god’ made me different, and why I couldn’t just be like every other guy in the world. Honestly, if a ‘straight-conversion’ pill was invented, I’d take it without hesitation. But school, and okay, my increasing usage of alcohol and weed helped made me forget. And I wanted to forget. I got pretty out of control with alcohol though. I used to make myself black out every single time I drank. Not gonna lie when I say that I did that most of the time so that I would be completely incapacitated and get away with shit with ‘yeah he was just a shitshow’. When I say get away with shit, it was either for being unable to seal the deal with the girl I was macking on, or getting kinda handsy with some guys when I got overwhelmingly horny. Sometimes I also did it wishing that I’d just get drunk to death. That, haha, I did not tell at all to the counselor in charge of me after I ended up in the hospital for alcohol poisoning when I was blacked out crying in my boxers in my apartment lobby... I’ve been getting a lot better now but I still do get really bad when I black out. I’ve now decided to drink much, much less, and have also gone to parties much less too. Hopefully as I begin accepting myself I will start treating my liver and my body with more respect.
Over the summer last year, I started to hang out a lot with this incredible girl that I knew from before, but never really had much time before to get to know better. She pretty much made my summer. I would talk to her everyday, ask her out for lunches, and bring her out at night to clubs, we hooked up a lot, had fun, stuff like that. Once a family friend (much older than me) asked me to bring a friend along on a yacht with just her family, and I felt so comfortable with the girl I asked her to come with me (she was busy though). I connected with her so much, even though she was so much younger than me (arguably though all the repression in me really puts my mental age at like 15). But I started feeling incredibly guilty. I wasn't sure if I was going on dates with her because I felt compelled to follow some sort of societal norm, or that I was truly interested in her. I didn’t want her to think that I was just using her to experiment with girls, I didn’t want to also give false hope that anything concrete was going to happen, so frankly, I was kind of relieved that she was going back to school and I was going to be back home. I also definitely still had urges to be with a guy. Looking back I feel so incredibly shitty about the whole thing, even though nothing long-term was ever in the air, but I really should have told her something. I really should have.
So that’s when things started to break down for me. For some reason I’m incapable of being a douchebag (the nice closeted guy syndrome) and this guilt kept haunting me so much, I thought about her almost every day when I was in London, (mostly because my head kept asking me if I could continue this for the rest of my life with a girl) and felt increasingly even more isolated the more I lied to others, leading me to a point a few weeks ago where I honestly started thinking about suicide again because everything would pile up in my head and I honestly just felt so helpless and lost. I actually had this scenario in my head where I would text my sister to not come home, because she would find my body there, and I wanted her to call the ambulance to get it cleared first because I didn’t want her to see me there. 
Anyway, so that's that. I don’t know what to think of the future, or how I should even proceed from here. I don’t know who I should even tell. I don’t know how I’m going to tell my family. Today over dinner my brother grumbled that he will never understand girls, and my dad said something about how maybe that’s why your elder brother never had a girlfriend too.  I didn’t know what to do. That’s probably true anyway, although more anatomically than anything else, haha… There are times when my sister/brother would point out someone to me ‘he’s so gay it’s gross’ and I didn’t know what to do too. Or the time when a family friend brought my sister and I out to dinner and told me that I need to know what I want to do in life (I’ve pretty much used investment banking as a metaphor for people wanting me to be something that I’m not), and that if I am gay, I should be unafraid and come out, but whatever it is I needed to do something in my life. I fucking hated that night so much I couldn’t hide how much it affected me from my sister. I was so quiet and seething with anger. It wasn’t the fam friend’s position at all to tell me to come out especially not in front of her husband and my sister, she doesn’t fucking understand how difficult it is. It’s not a switch that you just flick and say ‘Hey world, I’m out!’ That was probably the start of it all, where I would cry at night for no fucking reason. I’m slowly trying to find the courage within me to ‘man up’ and accept myself for who I am, but it’s been an extremely slow process so far. I still feel very weird that I’m admitting this, and I feel weird that I even like guys in the first place.
‘We accept the love we think we deserve.’ I’ve always thought that everyone that mattered to me deserved all the happiness in the world because they were truly great people, but I deserved nothing because I happen to like guys. Hopefully I’d be able to give myself an easier time from now on. Sorry for all the times that I was with my guy friends and they’d talk about girls/checking girls out/hookup stories and I’d be really quiet and weird about everything. Sorry for all the times that I talked of things that were half-lies to appear ‘normal’. I’m taking baby steps in coming out and accepting myself. It’s about time; I think I would have gone crazy if I bottled this up for any longer. Hopefully one day I can truly love myself.
It’s really sad that something that I completely had no control over would haunt me for the bulk of my life and make me feel so uncomfortable with truly opening myself up to those around me. It’s also really sad that many people out there are going to immediately hate me for something that completely doesn’t affect them. I’m not sure how these changes things, but as Dr. Seuss said, those who mind don’t matter and those who matter won’t mind. Other than the fact that it is now becoming a really cliched phrase, it provides food for thought. At the end of the day, this is only a small part of who I am, and it really should not wholly define me as a person. 
I’ve been avoiding my problems and hurting inside for too long now. I’ve finally decided to face the issue and take back control of my life and start properly treasuring myself for who I really am. And I'm starting this by sharing them with you, just to make this process more real and tangible instead of being something just in my head. And hopefully I’d be a lot less messed up one day. One can only hope. 

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