It began with a secret.
The one I had been carrying around for three years. The one whose existence had always reminded me that the world will never accept me for who I am. The sort of secret that made me pretend to be someone else.
Then, one day, in a place I always thought of home but was hundreds of miles away from my actual home, strange yet familiar, I broke down. I wanted one more day away from my overwhelming problems. I wanted to run away for just a few hours more. But I couldn’t stay there forever. I had to go home. I had to face myself.
I came back home, still in a haze, meandering through each day. Something made me turn to the internet to find some peace. One google search led to another, and I found a few blogs by other people who were the same as me. Other people who faced the same problems that I did. Other people who wanted to stop living a lie.
I wasn’t alone.
Reading a few years worth of blog posts in just two days filled my mind with words. I signed up for a blog myself. I couldn’t think of a name. Then I remembered an old story from an Archie comic, in which Mr. Lodge calls Archie a whippersnapper. I probably heard the word rambunctious on an episode of Frasier. And I intended this blog to be a sort of diary. That is how I came up with the title.
It was on the virtual pages of this blog a few years ago, during this very month, that I first said – or rather typed – those words out loud. It was the first time I stopped being in denial and admitted to myself that, yes, I was gay. Yes, it wasn’t a phase. And yes, I had to stop fighting myself.
I still remember the moment I hit publish. It was like huge boulder lifted from my back. Yes, I had said it! Someone knew! Someone out there in the ether of the internet, knew that I was gay. And the world didn’t end. Everything was still the same.
Of course, I wasn’t completely out of the woods then. As I look back and read those posts, I am reminded of the scared little boy I was in a twenty five year old man’s body. It was as if my life was on hold since the moment I discovered that I was a little different from my friends and classmates and that they might not appreciate it. I still had a lot of growing up to do.
As I read those posts now, I find them very over-the-top, quiet melodramatic and most of them make me cringe. But I still go back and read. It reminds me of how far I’ve come. It reminds me that there was a point in my life where I never imagined that I could be living the sort of life I’m living now. It keeps from taking things for granted and to never try to be someone I am not ever again.
Those posts also remind me of the community that this blog helped me build. It gave me something that I most required at that moment. A group of friends who accepted me for who I was, warts and all, no questions asked. A group of mostly anonymous strangers who I had never met or might not ever meet who not only encouraged me but also let me lean on them.
They laughed at my sad little jokes, praised every little step I took in the right direction, called me out when I was wrong and let me think that my borrowed thoughts were some sort of profound wisdom. They helped me become whole.
That is why I always keep coming back here. It feels familiar. Like a place that you once used to haunt along with a group of close friends. A lot of them have disappeared into the black hole of the internet. Some of them, even a couple I met in real life, have become strangers again. Yet, I remain thankful to anyone who read my posts, or posted a comment or sent me an email or just passed through without saying a word. All of you made me feel less alone. I’m glad you came into my life, even if it was for a few fleeting moments. I don’t hold a grudge that you left. But I will always cherish the time we spent together.
So if anyone out there is reading this, remember, don’t think that you have no one to turn to. You do.
You are not alone. Don’t keep your secrets to yourself.
It ain’t worth it.