I seem to recall many growing emotions that began identifying the facts of my sexuality. Evidently the personality of it protruded outwardly and was recognized early on by a few but still it was something you were to NOT speak about.
In scanning the jumbled pages of my mind for the beginnings of these feelings, I seemed to cognitively remember my first awareness of being different. I so vividly remember a trip to the beach with a bunch of family members. I was about to start second grade and summer vacation was almost over. It was a day that every kid loved with the activities abounding and the beach which made for the perfect afternoon. As the day wound down I recall all of us boys were taken up to the showers to rinse the sand off us and out of our bathing suits. My uncle volunteered to take us all together. He was a tall lanky man who had the looks of Cary Grant and the physique that went with it. The scent of "Old Spice" added to the aura of his true maleness. He was very outgoing and enjoyed all of us kids.
Everyone got rinsed off but as usual I was the last one to catch and to be rinsed and dried off. He playfully grabbed me, doused me with the shower and then quickly wrapped me in the big beach towel. He held me close to dry my body off, and as he held me close his tenderness melted away my struggle. I clung to him and didn't want to let go as he was gentle and loving. At that moment I experienced my first feeling towards the male persuasion. No one would ever know how I felt that day, and how it guided me towards my awareness.
My dislike for all things sports like was the first major giveaway and the desire to want things "girl-like" and gentle came natural for me. I preferred a stuffed toy, or something doll-like that could be my companion and security blanket. My awareness of all things fashionable and Hollywood would take my attention instantly. The music I idolized was of the female persuasion and the emotional connection that came from their voices sent me spiraling into another dimension.
Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz was who I wanted to be like as she dreamed for something bigger and better. It would become my favorite movie as it would be for many other men of similar persuasion. Who knew that the "Rainbow" would symbolize a movement of change that impacted so many people.
My childhood "boyfriends" were similar kindred spirits and we had many of the same interests that made others look at us as differently. It was the "Normal" people that I stood up to because I recognized that they were the ones who had the unhappiness to be like all the rest. Being different was who I always wanted to be and to stand out. As I have written before, all who wronged me by being mean and verbally cruel, paid my price of retaliation.
It was enforced, a silent law that said all boys had to like girls. Somehow, I did not get the handbook about female attraction or the memo for updates. Girls were my best friends but to feel the attraction like other boys did, well it was not input into my hard drive. The girls were always around, and why not, I was attentive and could do their hair and give them tips on what looked best on them. I was safe to be with and was very respectful of them. That was definitely something that the "All American High School Jock" at my school didn't know how to do, but then again for me the All American Jock, personally with me, he did know what to do and how to do it, he just did not want anyone to know that he played in that particular field.
The secrets that we kept in those school years were heavy and undulating. You had to roll with the flow and keep your eyes open. That was very tough to do when you knew that you were hiding something that could make or break you. Mostly I youthfully feared the unknown and most times I could have cared less what they would think of me, but still I parlayed into the world of school.
I readily accept how odd that must have been for my Mother to know intuitively of my orientation. Her fears that I couldn't take care of myself were extinguished by my aggressive attitude, but she was still uncertain for my later years. My Father just went with the flow and kept his head in the sand and my brother made sure that I wore the "sissy" label loudly and made it his goal to point out my different traits to the other bruisers he called his friends. True sibling torture, yet such an impact on my soul.
There was no word invented for my identity yet, just derogatory slang that was deficient in truth. The terms were mean, cruel and extremely hurtful. I dismissed all of them as dirty language that should be squashed from the dictionary. Coming into my own identity was confusing as my intuitive signals were being disrupted by peer pressure.
I wanted to fit in on my terms but would find myself being integrated with the group which forced me to stand out of the ring and just look in appearing "normal".
I found myself working hard to be attracted to girls for the same sexual reasons most teens did. Those early "love" attempts were surprisingly interesting yet they lacked something. I had yet to know what that would be, but I somehow knew it was lurking just around the corner. Lucky for me it would be in the form of a best friend who would guide me in for a safe landing.
Becoming aware of my sexuality was like climbing a mountain. The energy in every step propelled me to another level of awareness. The physical transformation produced changes that my mind had yet to catch up to as I never had the parental talk about adolescence and all that came with adulthood.
I could tell that my soul connected to a different realm of life, but I still had to find which flight I needed to get on. I had my passport in order, my picture inside was perfectly clear, but.....I still needed to study my travel guide as my tour of adult life was just beginning.