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Paul Burley burgerhewrote. Colm clommy. Jon Lovett jonlovett. James W. Jonny Karl Wade jonnykarlwade. How could I not be? If I ever let my guard down, someone would hurt me again. Day in and day out, I felt like a cornered animal. My body would scream, Attack. Before I knew those words, I knew him.
I recalled, of all things, a tree outside my old apartment in Oklahoma City. It was warped and crazy-shaped. This was because, as my landlady explained to me, the tree had grown up and around something instead of straight up. That was me: This experience had altered me. Changed me, in some irreversible way. And that was it. All those years of remembering, carrying, and suffering over this person, and he probably never thought about me at all after I moved away.
I had to walk for a while. I breathed into my hands to warm my nose as I crunched along the gravel road, trying to clear my head. Just like me. Yes, he had hurt me.
Yes, he was wrong to hurt me. But I realized he was a victim too. In the town he and I had grown up in, being gay was seen as one of the worst things you could be.
You might as well not even be human. He and I were both thrown into an environment where we had to either prove our masculinity or become a target. I can assume he felt scared. I can assume he was unhappy. I can assume he felt pain.
Someone made him hate himself. He saw himself in me. And so, he hated me.
Share On email Share On email Email. Calm yourself! And while I'm not dating older men now, I can't help but feel immediately disconnected from people my own age. Someone made him hate himself. Share On whatsapp Share On whatsapp. What if the person I'm with right now isn't the right person for me? Mixed with alcohol, I blacked out and when I came round I was at some guy's house in a Marvel Onesie being asked to leave.
If I could trace what happened to me back to its roots, it would be somewhere far beyond him and beyond me. Masculinity has been programmed into me since before I can remember, but it has taken me a lifetime to unlearn.
But the process of unlearning it has given me more freedom than I ever imagined for myself. Even people who have hurt me. Share On facebook Share On facebook Share.
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Share On more Share On more More. Share On tumblr Share On tumblr. Share On link Share On link. Pete Ryan for BuzzFeed News. Despite being more or less a background character during the worst years of my life, his was one of the faces of my past I still clearly remembered. Facebook comments.