Actions hurt words harm.
I always thought that words didn't hurt - but when that man called us Faggot today it brought back memories from my childhood. I understand now how much harm these words do.
It was the mean joke they told when they didn't realize I was in the back of the room. They were all laughing so hard they did not notice my presence. I was deflated and I slipped away without them ever knowing I was there.
The comments and names from acquaintances stung but the ones that really hurt were from my classmates, my teachers, my friends or my family. I looked up to all of them so words from them pierced my heart. It was that 7th grade teacher who stood me up in front of the whole class and made fun of my spelling. The kids that year called me stupid, idiot & retarded. Still to this day I don't like being the center of attention - good or bad. I struggle everyday feeling that I am not smart enough as the word stupid echoes through my head.
Being born gay I was teased all my life being called queer, fag or homo. Many times it was words but there were times that I was beaten up for something I had no control of. When my brother called me gay in the heat of the moment as part of an argument or fight it made me feel so small and made me ashamed of something that deep down inside I knew to be true. I can hardly remember the physical bullying - but those words / names come back to haunt me again & again often when I least expect it.
The man who was supposed to support me the most ended up being my biggest bully. For my dad it wasn't the words or the beatings that I remember the most it was the silent treatment and the disapproving look in his eyes. We never really got a long - I think he knew I was gay long before I ever knew what it meant. When I came out to them at the age of twenty four, that is when communication between us pretty much ceased. If I came home to visit he would head downstairs - we were rarely in the same room. I only wanted to make him proud for him to love me like any father should. That acknowledgement came the day he died on the phone with my brother he said make sure you tell Mike I love him. Too many it was too late but to me it was enough - I love you dad.
I cried myself to sleep many nights & sometimes still do. I felt isolated, alone, never really fitting in or that I was part of the team. I traveled to many places but never felt at home. I would often give up before I started trying as I didn't think I would be able to do it anyway.
I finally learned to focus on the truly amazing people in my life. I now try to find little things that make me happy and include them in my journal like how your rode by on your motorcycle and waved to me at work or how you took the wedding cake that needed a little repair and with a few flowers made it a work of art. When I search for the good I believe that more positive energy is drawn to my life without even looking. I know now that I was born gay and it is completely natural and normal. I am not the only one and I have many talent amazing role models to look up to.
I have learned to forgive as I realize that many of the bullies in my life were struggling too. I believe that the bully is also a victim who could use the same healing that I need. I have also learned to stop being so hard on myself to stop my own bulling and love who I am - who I have become.
All my experiences have made me who I am today. I am kind & empathetic because I don't want to see other people hurt like I did. Life for me will always be a work in progress and I am ok with that. Please be kind and gentle with your words.
I am getting tired so I am going to head to bed.
Love you both so much,
- boy mike.