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Escaping a Personal Hell
By Zume

My name is Jonathan and I am 21 years old. I suppose I had suspected that I was gay from a very young age. I was in the 4th grade when I had first suspected. Having two older sisters made my youth a bit easier I suppose because I could talk to them about guys and bands that they were into like Backstreet Boys and N'SYNC without them really catching on and so it was a bit of an outlet. Watching TV and news about homosexuals and how people treat them really made me sad and depressed so from 5th grade up until just recently I was extremely overweight. My mom was raised a 7th Day Adventist so I really had to be careful around her. My parents would always say things like "When you get married" or "Do you have a girlfriend?" I would brush them off and sort of ignore the subjets. My dad would also give me playboys thinking that it would make me happy. All I would do is take them and hide them.. at one point I actually forgot I had them. Eventually I tossed them all out and made up some lame excuse to tell him.

In school I would hang out with the less popular kids and play card games. In a way I would alienate myself from the majority of the population in the school. I would never have more than 1 or 2 close friends because I was so worried if I got around too many people I would just blurt out that I was gay. Also it probably didn't help that when the high school I attended found out that one guy was gay the students made him so upset that he eventually dropped out. I didn't want that to happen to me. In my junior year of high school it became dangerously close to me telling everyone. I had a crush back then on my best friend Nathan. So that year I went on a cruise with my parents and decided I would tell them. But when the right moment came all I got was an upset stomach and convinced them I was just sick. So.. Plan B.. I decided I would fess up to Nathan who had been so good to me, unfortunately he started up with the whole homophobic speech and would freak out if a guy said the wrong thing or was overly friendly and always would point out girls or talk to me about them and like with my parents I brushed off the topics and was quiet. I figure he might have known. So, being my stupid self, I put it off for a few more years.

This year I got to the point where I was about to pop. I had trouble sleeping, eating and would spend nights just laying awake thinking about how I would tell everyone. I was tired of living a lie and pretending to be straight. 11 years is long enough if not too long. When I came out to him, it was a night when he was working. My parents had gone to bed so I was waiting up for him to get home (he had been kicked out of his house so was living with us). Bad timing I think though. It was a week before April Fool's Day. When he got there I asked him to come into our computer room and sit down. I asked him "No matter what we will still be friends, right?" He looked at me with a rather confused look on his face and said "Yeah. Of course." There was a long pause before I realised that I was starting to cry. I wasn't sure how he would react. I did not want him to hit me or run out of the house and never speak to me again. I finally said "I'm gay." He sat back in his chair as though I had just knocked the air out of him. He told me he had figured it out a while back. Also since then he had told me that he is Bi.. I'm really glad we were able to tell each other and that now I have someone to talk to.

The next day I decided that I would tell my parents. I started to get an upset stomach again so I laid down on the couch and Nathan came out to the living room, sat down and asked "Whats wrong?" I told him "I have to tell my parents but I'm afraid of what they will say. I don't want my relationship with them to change that much. Most of all..I'm afraid of being disowned." I began to cry again (damn me and my emotions). He then said something that surprised me. He said "You have to tell them at some point. Just best to get it over with. Either way I'm here and will support you." I thanked him and said "I'll tell them tonight." After that I still spent all day thinking about it. That night I went out to the living room while they were watching TV and asked them "Can you turn that off for a minute please? I have to tell you both something." They were also about to ask Nathan to find another place to live because he couldn't stay there forever so I had to get it done before they booted him out. I looked at them both, starting to get a knot in my throat, and told them "I'm gay". My dad was amazingly fine with it and told me he had been a supporter of gay rights for a while prior. Granted he probably was trying to think of some strange joke like he always does to ease the tension of the situation. Bless him though he didn't think of anything. My mom was obviously in shock and was trying to hold back the emotional freight train that was headed my way. It has now been 9 months. My mom is still having trouble dealing with the fact of having a gay son but she's getting there. I no longer hide the fact that I'm gay and it has made me happier than I have been in a very long time.

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