In another world, I would commend my 12-year old self for coming to terms with her sexuality. I would honor the person she wanted to be. I would not, as in this world, look at her in the mirror with frustration and disgust because I’ve been told that only those who are mentally unstable end up becoming gay.
In another world, I would come out to my parents with so much pride, they would treat it as a milestone in personal growth. They would take credit for who I turned out to be, and for who I choose to love. They would not, as in this world, think of how inadequate or unfortunate they are to have a daughter who does not see love the way they do.
In another world, I would have a partner who’d be proud to hold my hand in public. We’d be so affectionate while other people look on in admiration and appreciation of our love. We would not, as in this world, feel ashamed for wanting to touch, to kiss, to feel – because people think it’s a disgrace, and we should know better than to flaunt our immorality.
In another world, I would not have to deal with constantly being wrong just because I’m different. I would not apologize for who I am, and I will not push the most undesirable parts of myself to the deepest, darkest corners of my being. The colors of my soul will not be the dirty little secret that holds me down.
In another world, I will wear my sexuality like a badge of honor and there will be no threat of being ridiculed, taunted, or silenced. They will acknowledge my courage. They will accept me for me. They will be inspired. There will be so much love. There will be so much freedom. There will be so much pride.
In this world, there are days when it seems easier to abandon all hopes for a kinder tomorrow. Days when all I could remember is the pain of a 12-year old girl who felt like she let herself down, because who she is, is not who she’s supposed to be. What I dream of, will remain anchored in another world, because all I am is someone who learned to love herself in secret, in her own quietly proud way.
It would have been so much easier to live in that other world, where being who you are is empowering, and acceptance would be the natural response for staying true to your soul. Ideally, in another world exists absolute happiness and liberty to be me – whoever I want to be. But it is in this world where I have discovered courage beyond compare. This world has strengthened my faith in the uncertainty of my parents ever seeing me the way I want to be seen. This brutal world taught me to love myself – no more pretending, no more wishing I were “normal” – and to power through the pain of being the only one to see how beautiful I really am. This world showed me, time and again, how to forgive those who shut me out and gave up on me, simply because they didn’t know what to make of me.
This is ground zero: the source of my ultimate breakdown, but also the birthplace of people courageous enough to break through it. People who yearn for nothing but the freedom to be, and the freedom to love. People who give me hope.
Funny how the world is so similar to who I used to be. Frustrated, confused, and a little judgemental. How convenient it would be to just conform to normalcy, but this right here, is me doing right by myself. The world will surely fight this, like I did when I was twelve. But like me, it will understand, and heal, and eventually make all the pieces fit. Best believe I’ll be here to help it out when it’s ready.
Because like the acceptance I long for, I too must accept the reality that the world I’m in, is still struggling to grasp who I am. As I myself went through several hurricanes to figure out who I was, I must once again brave it out until the world comprehends that here is where I belong. Like the way I trusted the goodness of my being, I too must trust that other people will eventually see me as someone who wants to live pretty much the way they do.
I will take a stand for this world the way I did for myself, hoping that someday, it will also stand alongside me – prouder than I’ve ever imagined. I know I dream of another world, but I also can’t help rooting for the most epic rainbow. That, where this world powers through itself – for me, you and everyone we know.
Submitted by Yna Bote