To the rest of the world, my life was practically perfect. There’s always that group of kids at school who are known to be well rounded; smart, athletic, artistic, kind, and fun. After a while, I realized that I was part of that group. My friends and I did well in school, excelled in sports, and so on. We had an amazing friendship and were always happy together. I was never the loudest kid, but I had a healthy social life, chatting with lots of people throughout my day. To the rest of the world, I lived the life that many others wished for. The “perfect” life.
Damn, I wish that was true.
There were enough things that weighed me down; my unsupportive parents, my grandma dying of cancer, and my constant silent battles against myself. Though these things were tough on me, I could push them away during school, masked by a smile and a happy group of friends. One thing, though, that I couldn’t hide from school, was something about myself that I noticed in around 7th grade. It was the first time someone came to our school and openly stated: “I’m gay. I like girls and there’s nothing wrong with that.” Her name was Zoe, and she would prove to make a big impact on my life.
Throughout that year, I started noticing the way I got the same fluttery feeling about certain girls than guys. Slowly piecing together fractions of suspicions, it finally hit me: I’m not straight. And not gay, either. I’m bisexual. The thought terrified me. What if people found out? Will I get judged? Will my friends ditch me? A piece of me wanted to tell Zoe but the thought formed a language I didn’t understand and silence was the only mother tongue I spoke anymore. My mind raced nonstop for months on end until 7th grade finally came to an end.
Over the summer at camp, I felt a pull towards someone. I liked someone. But not just anyone. A girl. Laying in my dark and cold dorm one night, my stomach hurt from doing a hundred somersaults of fear, the same voice echoing in my head. You like a girl. You’re one of those LGBT people now. How can you do that to yourself? But I learned soon enough, it wasn’t a choice. I thought that as long as I kept my mouth shut about it, it wouldn’t be real. Just another thought in my head.
8th grade was creeping up, and conflicted between wanting to be proud of who I was but not wanted to be judged by others, I didn’t know what to do. Finally, after working myself up for about an hour, I texted the girl from last year, Zoe. She was the only person I felt safe coming out to. When I told her, I felt as if a huge weight was lifted off my chest. Instead, a whole new one was placed right back on. Now, it’s real. Now, I can’t turn back. Now, it’s a fact, not a thought: I’m bi. Soon enough, I was able to tell some of my best friends and eventually my whole friend group. The reactions were scattered. Some were okay with it, others not so much. It was painful to watch the people who meant the world to me turn their back on me erase me from their life. I was planning on taking everything slowly, only coming out to my best friends at first, but a major factor prevented that. Zoe revealed that she had feelings for me, and I couldn’t deny the feelings I had back. Before I knew it, thinking we could keep it a secret, we started dating. Unfortunately, as I quickly learned, that was not how middle school worked.
It spread throughout the whole grade. To this day I don’t know whether it was Zoe or my friends who outed me, as they both blamed each other. They revealed such a sensitive part of my identity I was still learning how to find my way through. It was hard enough knowing I was outed to the whole grade, even harder knowing that whoever did it was someone I trusted enough to tell in the first place. This brought on difficult friendship conflict, which was the one thing I couldn’t bear as the rest of the grade both silently and loudly judged me, seeing me as a whole new person. All of a sudden every person I thought I could trust to have my back through the darkest nights turned on me, and I found myself trapped, alone, and regretful. I lost everything and everyone because I fell in love with a girl.
I stopped being that “perfect” kid. All of a sudden, everything people saw me for disappeared, and the only thing they saw of me was “the one dating a girl”. Every stare burned through my skin, and every whisper screamed in my head. I relied on the only person I had left — Zoe. Our relationship became complicated, but we held on to each other and didn’t let go. She saw me for who I always was, not who I became labeled to be. With the strength she helped me build, I was able to deal with everything else. No, I’m not the “perfect” kid anymore, but was I really ever? Nobody is perfect, and our flaws and differences, invisible scars that give us strength, only make us more unique and real. More human.