Matt and I have talked about our high school experiences, and in many ways I go to a really cool high school. It's not perfect by any means, which I guess is true about most schools. Going to my Senior Prom this Saturday has also been on my mind and we've been talking a lot about that.
I'm getting close to graduating so I've been thinking a lot about these past four years. Some things I'm going to miss a lot. Some things I wish there was this potion you could take to wipe out total memory of what happened!
For me, high school has been one of those experiences where so many important things have happened. It's also been one of the most confusing periods in my life. At one point it was also a very sad and tragic time. Two kids died in this freak accident and it was the first time I had to deal with death in a very real way.
I also made a number of good friends who I want to be in my life forever. Then there are others I hope never to see again.
During my Freshman year, when I was 15, I finally came to terms with my sexuality. In some ways it was easy, because I had no doubt whatsoever that I was gay. In other ways coming out was this strange mixture of excitement, confusion, anxiety and hope. People responded very differently and sometimes I felt filled with hope and sometimes with terror.
When I came out, I told my parents and sister and just a few friends at school -- which meant everybody eventually found out! Some people were not surprised. Some were. Some thought it was cool. Some thought it was disgusting. It made me closer to some and a number of people became my enemies and made it their mission to make my life as miserable as possible.
And then there were the teachers. There have been about five or six who take their profession seriously. They are friendly and personable but you know they are not your "friend" or "buddy." They are first-class teachers, first and always. They seem to really like teaching and I learned a lot from them. But even more important than learning just the subject they taught, I got from them this desire and love of learning. They were the teachers who would take you seriously, like you were worth their time. You knew the "real teachers" from the ones who seemed to be bored and doing it just to get a pay check. They were the ones you never felt really saw you -- I mean really saw you. I learned little from them -- and actually felt sorry for them.
During high school I learned a lot about my body. I stumbled onto soccer as something I really liked and learned how to get my body in shape and do things I never imagined it capable of doing. I made it make these really quick turns and twists in order to pass the ball, get quickly to where I needed to be on the field, out-maneuver players on the other team, keep from tripping and falling on my ass, and get into what I can only describe as this really beautiful dance-like flow of movement. I had always been good at academics and thinking (and as my mom will tell you, I'm good at arguing!), so developing this skill with my body was totally new and exciting to me.
I learned that in many ways I had more in common with the girls than the boys. There are, of course, shallow and uninteresting girls as well as boys. But, I don't know, I always felt somehow I could relate better with the girls. It's hard to explain but I felt like I had more in common with them. As a whole, it was the girls who had fewer problems accepting me as gay. I would gossip with them about all the cute boys. Plus I think they know I appreciated their fashion sense in clothes and style. We would also joke about how pretentious a lot of the "jocks" were. I shared with them their opinion that in spite of all their bravado and "toughness," in many ways they had no idea how insecure, childish and immature they were.
I do, on the other hand, have some really close male friends. Six are totally straight and four are totally gay. We hang around together, eat lunch together, go out together and refer to ourselves as (get this!) "The Posse." For the life of me I can't remember how we decided on that name. I think it just sounded cool at the time and that was what it was about. We look out for each other and what one is going through, we all go through. The straight guys always looked out for us gay guys (or "gay dudes," as they call us!) if we were harassed, and we advised them on how girls really think and what they want (we did have an inside ear in the girl camp, plus I think just being gay helps for some reason). Plus every one in our gang has similar personalities, similar interests in music and a similar outlook on life.
I've very proud of playing a role, along with every member of The Posse (and a few of the straight guy's girlfriends), and five or six other kids, in helping get a GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance) club established. Plus, we have these two wonderful faculty advisers to sponsor us. One is this very cool straight married male teacher and the other is this fabulous out lesbian partnered female teacher. We always get the feeling they are so proud of all of us -- straight, bi and gay -- and really, genuinely care about us. I'm getting teary just thinking about them.
So, now that I'm getting very close to graduating, I'm having all these mixed feelings. A lot of sadness and also a lot of relief that it's finally coming to an end. Oh, and there's the Prom this Saturday. I'm glad Matt and I are going as a couple. It means a lot to me that he wants to. But if you remember my post a while back about when I was trying to decide whether to go or not, some of my anxieties are returning. I think that's normal but I just wish I could manage it a lot better. I wake up a lot at night and have been having dreams about the Prom and they're about being under this bright spotlight, so I know I'm anxious about feeling "too out there" or exposed in some way. I have to talk myself back into feeling excited about going. Plus, Matty has been an incredible support for me. I know everything will work out fine -- but sometimes I seem to forget that and go back to second-guessing myself. I have to keep telling myself that it will go fine, it will go fine, it will go fine. But I'm still scared.