Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Purple Post

Dear everyone,

Let me start by apologizing for not having posted anything in so long and because this new post will not be a fun one. Allow me to indulge this one time and stand in my soapbox for this one time. I will resume my regular posting soon, I promise.

Today, I wore a purple shirt to work. Sadly, I thought I was making a difference. Don't get me wrong. I am glad I did it. A few days back I received a facebook invite to wear purple today in memory of the gay teenagers that had committed suicide due to bullying. I thought it was a worthy cause so I accepted it and even forwarded the invite to a few friends. Today at work, me and two other co-workers wore purple, but our lives were hardly affected by it.

I came home today and happened to find out more about what has been going on and it breaks my heart. Thankfully I was never bullied but coming to terms with my sexual orientation was hard enough as it was. I cannot imagine what these kids had to go through to push them so far. I remember that at the age of 16 I was as close as I ever came to committing suicide. I remember the loneliness and the pain. I read my writings from back in the day and they scare me. I remember looking for help and calling helplines that only felt as superficial as any friends that I had at the moment. I remember the despair and the sinking feeling in my stomach and speeding to meet with church friends just because I was afraid to be alone. Now, I can't even fathom going through all that and still having to deal with being bullied.

I have never told anyone about those dark days in my life but listening to the stories of these kids brought all this up. Listening to some of the stories from some of the mothers who did not suspect that their kids were going through tough times reminds me of Stevie Smith's poem "Not Waving but Drowning". Allow me to share it with you.

Not Waving but Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning. 

As this poem illustrates, people don't wear their hearts on their sleeves. It is too late to help the teenagers that have committed suicide but it is not too late to make a difference on other kids' lives. It is easy to wear a purple shirt, but it is another matter to care and do something. There is no one thing that can be done but don't stand idly by if you see someone being bullied. Remember that we are all people and that every life has value. Being gay is not a choice. If I had been given a choice, I might have chosen differently. I have gay friends with kids that do not want their kids to be gay and not because they are homophobic but because they know the hardships that come with being gay. To be honest, although I have no kids myself and I hope never to have any, I do not want my nephews to be gay. If they are, I will be there for them to help them become who they are, but I do not wish upon them what I've had to go through to get to where I am now. Don't get me wrong, I love who I am now. If you know me you have heard me say a million times how I think I am awesome. Unfortunately, that wasn't always the case. At one point I too was not waving but drowning.

Thank you for putting up with my over-indulgence. I promise to go back to my semi-entertaining posts soon I just had to get this off my chest. Now that I have said my share, I shall leave the soapbox for someone better suited to use it. If you hated this post, as you have the right to do, I hope you at least liked the poem. It is one of my favorites due to its simple and direct nature. That is it for now. Hope to write to y'all again soon.
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So What if I am not Typical? I'm Still Fun. by Not Typical, Yet Fun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.