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Define Myself

Define Myself

          I knew I could do this, because I had pictured this exact night and the lines I was about to say over and over in my head. To her, this was just a usual Friday night out with her friend, but for me, this was the night that I would expose my true self to the world. I knew I had the courage to do this, and say it out of my constraining mind. She knew that I was thinking deeply, and trying to compel words out of my mouth. Though the place was bombarded with chaotic noises, all seemed to have quieted down around me suddenly. “I don’t know if you have noticed it or not, but I am … and I hope that we are still friends” 

          For the past 17 years of my life, I have been wandering around the lines of expectations and self-recognition. Other people might have a closet to hide in, but for me, I have a room. The white door of my room has been a protective realm for me. Whenever I closed my door, I felt content and protected. This is the time when I allowed my particular queerness to reveal itself. I still remember my first crush in fifth grade was a boy called Aaron. I had long known the fact that I liked boys, but I didn’t acknowledge them and slowly learnt that it was not what society considered as the “norm”.

          Every day, dinnertime has been the toughest moment that I have had to endure. During these times, my traditional Chinese grandparents would often start conversations regarding me finding a dutiful wife, raising children, and starting a family. Though these conversations were light-hearted, I would often find myself particularly sad. I knew I would never be able to meet their expectations because of the way that I am. It struck me hard when my grandparents thought “things” would happen eventually, while I knew, in fact, that they never would. I could possibly adopt children and start a family with a husband, but I would not have a wife.

            I still remember how my primary schoolteacher had told us that everyone was different and they should know how to embrace themselves. Starting from middle school, I learnt that this was a total lie. Whenever I did innocent feminine hand gestures or postures, I was gruesomely teased and laughed at. It was then that I started to realize the importance of masking myself before I did anything. I was scared to let people see my true nature, and the consequences that might follow. I decided to enclose myself and to stop socializing with others, because it saved me troubles and it was better off for me. When I had literally no one to relay my feelings to, YouTube became my safe haven.

             For a short period of time, YouTube had become my sole companion. Whenever I was allowed to be alone, I would search for “coming out stories”. Though the people were on screens, I knew that they existed. These stories became the realest things in my life because I could see myself in their struggles and their battles. All the videos had different spectrums of causes and results, but they all shared the same message: No matter how bad the situation might be for now, things will eventually get better. They had shown evidence of strength and given me the necessary push to affirm my sexual orientation. They showed me that these feelings of affection for boys were not deemed “evil” and I should embrace myself and be proud of who I am. I did not choose to become homosexual just as other people did not choose to become heterosexual. Being different sexually should not be the cause of me becoming less worthy of acceptance or love. I will no longer hide behind a fortress of walls and disguise myself. I might be hated or loved, ridiculed or praised, but at the end of the day, I am honest with myself.

            As a sexually struggling seventeen-year-old teenager, the ugly side of human society has revealed itself to me through all ways possible. For the past few years, I have lived through a phase that challenged me to choose an identity that would suit me for life. I would have normally expected help through various ways, but they all turned me down. Bullies have called me an abomination, and said that I would burn in hell. Though I highly disagree with their words, they are the ones that have helped me the most. They forcefully pushed my limits and prepared me for what society might bring forth to me in future. 

 

            Sweaty palms, pale face, dry mouth, and a fast beating heart. I scrutinized her face carefully, trying to pick up any potential signs relating to my words. Suddenly, I saw a smile pushing her rosy cheeks up, slowly revealing her white teeth, and her eyes became a line. That smile gave me the most powerful and most contagious feeling that I have yet felt in my life. I smiled as well, but I was too shy and I looked away. “Look at me, look at my face,” she said. “I love you because you are my best friend, and I am proud of you for accepting yourself. I don’t care whether you are gay or not. All I want for you is to be happy.”

 

 

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Waseda '22

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