The Writing Challenge of Indeterminate Duration – Day 23
What could have happened to you in high school that would have altered the course of your life?
I skipped over this writing prompt a few times. But after discovering all my old notebooks and diaries, I thought I’d have a better perspective on what I was like and which paths I might have taken. Mostly what I discovered, however, was what a colossal dork I was. I found myself so mortified at times that I couldn’t finish reading certain passages.
Some were just weird affectations I’d adopted for unknown reasons. I went through a rather extended period of using double-negatives. I don’t know what I was trying to achieve or if I spoke that way, but it eventually led to me also dropping all the Gs on words ending with “ing”. Was I trying to sound tough, or like I wasn’t such a smack (which is what we called the smart kids)?
I talked a lot about the books and stories I eventually wanted to write, and how they’d lead to international fame and appearances on the Tonight Show. And I’m sure it would have actually happen, because how could Cari’s In Love not become a best-seller?
Through her parent’s accident, Cari meets a wonderful guy. Unfortunately, he’s her cousin. The story of two teens, desperately, and illegally, in love.
When I was a senior in high school, I started dating Ron who was 27. The age difference was bad enough, but even worse was the way I met him:
P. and I were going to the beach and I saw this guy in a VW and thought he was cute. He wrote on a piece of paper to follow him to his boat, so we did.
You know who else in the 1980s drove around in a VW Bug picking up girls? Ted Bundy. So apparently I was book-smart, but somewhat lacking in the areas of safety and self-preservation.
What I found most interesting is that there was only one passage where I gave any indication about being gay. I didn’t hold back on topics like drinking, drugs or sex, as my post-graduation entry demonstrates:
Grad weekend I slept with three guys, strangers, and then fucked a limo driver. Then a bunch of us went to Palm Springs and I was with some guy named Albert and another one who might have been named Jeff. I don’t really remember a lot because I was pretty wasted.
It wasn’t until February of 1982, which would have made me a Junior, that I hinted about being gay.
I think I know what’s wrong with me. I can’t say it out loud, but I feel it inside. I can’t even write it. So we’ll play a little game. If, years from now, I re-read you and know what I’m hinting at, then we’ll know I was right. But if I don’t have any idea what the hell it means, then I was wrong, okay? So let’s just say I might be “curious.” Unless it has something to do with my depression, I’m pretty sure that I am. In fact, I think it’s why I’m depressed.
I’m so scared that someone will read this, I can’t even put what or who I might be curious about. I’m scared to even put initials, but I think I’ll always remember. I wish I could tell someone, but I know I’d be a fucking outcast in about one second.
It made me sad for my young self that being gay and what might happen if anyone knew, was something I couldn’t even write about it in a journal where I had no qualms about mentioning some guy I blew in someone’s front yard during a party. I could talk about how drunk I got, how much coke I did and the parade of nameless guys I had sex with without being afraid someone would read it; but I could only cryptically hint at what I’d known and struggled with for years.
About five years ago I got on Facebook and started hanging around with some people from high school. I was completely out by then and had been for many years. None of my adult high school friends cared that I was gay, and it made me wish I’d been open and out back when we were younger. I thought it might have been fun to be the token lesbian friend.
But reading through my diaries and pages and pages of the worst, most painfully bad poetry ever written by anyone in the entire history of terrible poetry writing, I realize that as hard and scary as keeping that secret was, it was better that way. Of course a bunch of 40-something adults didn’t care that I was gay. Why would they? But we’re different people now than we were then, and I think the fear of guilt by association would have determined how I was treated. Even if someone liked me and really didn’t care if I was gay, that had to be weighed against the very real possibility of being labeled a “lezzie” for being my friend.
Now, lest you think that once I came out and could be my real self, I matured and stopped with all the melodrama, I’ll leave you with something I wrote after running off to Long Beach to live amongst “my people.” I think it may be one of the most unintentionally funny things I’ve ever written.
I’d only been going out with her for a few days and she started telling me she’s in love and wants to be with me instead of her girlfriend. Well, I was still weirded out about the whole sitch and I just go, “Don’t fall for me, I’ll only hurt you in the end.”
This was wonderful! Reminds me of a documentary called, “Mortified,” where adults get up on stage and read aloud excerpts from their old teenage diaries. It’s simultaneously painful and hysterical.
I’d like to see that, it sounds awesome. And those are some brave people! It’s one thing to post things in a blog where I use a pen name, but I can’t imagine doing it live.
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P.S. So did you hurt her in the end?
No. Surprisingly after being in love with me for three or four whole days, she somehow found the strength and courage to move on.
Que hermosa blog! I admire your unapologetic and stark honesty. As a mother of a lesbian child, I ached for her as she was trying to find her place in an often hostile and unaccepting world during adolescence.. Six months ago (she) now (he) began the transgender process.It’s been a bit of a paradigm shift for me, especially remembering to use the correct pronouns.Hopefully we will one day occupy a world where gender is no longer so politically charged, that is if we haven’t already sealed our fate through global warming and our love of war.
I think sometimes it’s unfair of “my people” to expect instant acceptance. Parents have hopes and dreams and expectations for their kids, and when you show up at their door one day and tell them everything is now different, it doesn’t seem unusual to me that they might flip out a bit. Your son is lucky to have a parent who’s in his corner, even one who doesn’t always get the pronouns right 😉