This is a project hoping to encourage — empower — gay youth. Somewhat similar to It Gets Better, I prefer the inherent active nature of this new and improved messaging. For I don’t want LGBT youth to just endure. I want them to flourish and become all that they can be.
As they deserve to be, and to hell with anyone — and there’s still lots of those anyones out there — who try to tell them differently.
But I haven’t exactly been in the most positive, youth-mentoring frame of mind of late.
Oh, I’ve done my share of dealing with being gay, especially when I was a youth.
Sometimes that dealing manifested itself in body modification:
When I was fourteen I asked to be circumcised and was. I had no opinion on foreskin one way or the other. But I knew that the majority of boys in America were circumcised. I would soon be starting high school where I would have to take gym and shower with that majority of boys.
Already aware of how different I was from what society had labeled as normal, I had no wish to stand out further by possessing minority — out of the norm — physical attributes.
Sometimes that dealing manifested in behavioral ways:
In junior high I read the Thomas Covenant series and the Bloodguard mesmerized me. I wanted to be like them; to have that level of Stoic detachment; that profound level of dispassion.
For what use are emotions when you aren’t allowed to show any that matter?
Oh, my younger years were an emotional whirlwind of surging emotions and the severely cutting off of them. I’d throw things of value away to extinguish sentiment and tried to keep my environment Spartan clean. If I could just order my universe, maybe I could control…
But that was long ago and the issues I deal with now aren’t typically about being gay. For one thing, I realize now that I wasn’t really dealing with being gay back then. For that’s a mistake in phrasing inflicted on gays. There is no such thing as dealing with being gay.
It is far more accurate to say gay youth are dealing with society’s view of them being gay.
I carry a lot of baggage of course from that time period. I am prone to shut off emotion and have other behavioral quirks. But my focus now is on dealing with making ends meet and not doing a very good job of that.
I am currently working at a tedious, low-paying job that tires me out to the point of making it difficult in the non-work time to regroup and focus on finding something better; finding something more in line with my skill sets and maybe moving me further along the path towards my overall life goals.
So much so, depression demons abound accompanied by devils screaming in my ear about how valueless I am; how worthless; how I’ll never achieve anything of significance. Today looks like it will be the same as yesterday and tomorrow looks like it will be like today.
But it never is quite the same is it?
I didn’t write this blog yesterday, I wrote it today. Despite my waking up thoughts of depression I sat myself down in front of the computer and typed it. Tomorrow I can type something else. Today, tomorrow, and all the days I have left on this earth I can take action, even if some minor action, that will alter the timeline of me with a chance for that alteration to be for the better.
Part and parcel of having a purpose is having a vision of where those combined alterations can take you. But perhaps even more fundamental to it is given oneself permission to have such a vision; to find oneself deserving of having such a vision.
We all deserve it by virtue of being human with ability to take action towards making it a reality.
So I guess if I were to encourage gay youth, I would maybe want them to know that they not only have a purpose, but that they deserve to have one. They should keep it, treasure it, and not let anyone try and take it away from them; for it is theirs alone and meant for them alone.
I reckon part and parcel of encouragement, though, is encouraging by example. Far too often I let my external circumstances rip my purpose from me and play keep away high above my head. The world taunts me that I’ll never get it back; that I don’t deserve to get it back; that I never deserved to have it at all.
But it’s not theirs, it is mine.
So I stand up on the chair and snatch it out of the air; clutch it to my chest. I slam it down on the desk next to my computer and stare at it: all beaten and scarred and put through hell; yet still mine, always mine, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
I stare at it and type this.
And it glows.
Oh, how it glows!