It seems that all my life from birth, I knew there was something different about me. The neighborhood kids picked on me starting at 5 years old. It was obvious that I would rather place house or school with the girls instead of joining in on sports with the boys. I always hung out with the girls. There I was, always that 1 boy in a crowd of girls on the playground. In 4th grade I was forbidden to play with the girls at recess and this made me feel so alone. I can easily remember the feeling of loss and longing for a sense of self.
In high school hormones kicked in and things just got worse. I bus rides were horrible. I avoided hall ways during passing periods to avoid being slammed into lockers. I was always skinny and easy prey. While at West Chicago High School I decided to run for treasure of Student Council. I dove into the task of making my campaign posters and getting them approved to hang around the school. All my hard work turned into shame when I turned the corner of the hallway and saw that someone wrote “faggot” all over my posters. I was mortified. I felt like shit. I thought I was shit. That was my junior year and I soon after suffered an emotional breakdown. This is when I learned to run away from my problems instead of face them, however God has a way making sure you are exactly where you need to be. I begged my parents to let me use my grandparents address and they agreed. After winter break, I started at Wheaton North.
Wheaton North was a great experience. I never had problems at this school. My sexuality was never in question, and I felt like I was pretty popular. My best friend was a boy, Jason who is still in my life today. I developed confidence and was happy with the crowd I ran with. By Wheaton standards, it was the rough crowd. Wheaton North was and is a predominantly white school, however, the kids that were bussed in from Carol Stream were not of this demographic. I think that always feeling like an outcast, it was easier for me to find my home with these kids. I started to drink and smoke weed while adapting to the hip hop culture of the late 90’s. My exterior started to toughen with every day that passed. I want to be the kid that you didn’t fuck with, and that’s exactly who I became. I loved my life. I loved the weed, the music, and the rebellious acts that I was involved with.
My senior year I was a lot more lonely then the year before that. Most of my friends graduated the year before me. I had a lot more time to think about me and what the rest of my life was going to be. I started to really explore the world of what it meant to be “gay”. I explored the magazine section of Tower Records and came across a magazine called “XY” that was geared towards gay teens. The magazine showed there was an urban culture outside this closed minded suburban hell that I was living in. I decided then that I needed to get to Chicago if I ever wanted to live the life that I knew was mine. In the back of the magazine there was a personal section in the back. I still can’t believe that I had the courage to respond to an ad. That courage came from desperation. I started to correspond through the mail with someone that was about the same age as me. I even met him out to go to a movie. What has became a theme for my whole life, This Jason did not live up to the expectations of who I thought he was through our letters.
It was not long before my mom found my letters. My mom has always had an reputation of violating the personal space of her teenage children. I can’t say that I blame her. I admitted that I was confused and that I didn’t know what to do. She also didn’t know what to do. She told my Dad and he sent me to a Conversion Therapist. Conversion Therapy is now illegal today. I was smart. Smart enough to know where I was, was a bad place to be. After three months of therapy I swore I was “cured”, and the problem was swept under the rug, becoming just another skeleton in the family closet. I had about a week left of school and I barley graduated, but I did it.