Article (part 2)

13 03 2011

“Jeez, hurry up, Jeremy!  What were you doing?  Daydreaming?”  I looked at her and then at my books.

“Yes.”

When I got home, I had to immediately go to my room.  My parents told me that I ihad to finish my homeowkr before dinner, and if I didn’t, I had to finish after.  But this time, I just lay on my bed and thought about Sean.  God, how much I loved that boy, even from the first time I ever saw him (oh yeah, I’m gay if you haven’t already noticed).  Yet, no one would ever know how much he meant to me — well, except Chelsea.  She knew about me already.  I was relieved she was okay with it and wanted to come out to everyone.  Nevertheless, there was just no way.  My parents would kick me out, my school would hate me, and not to mention Sean might hate me!  I glanced around my room and thought about how boring my life was.  Something needed to happen!  I knew just what to do.

The next week, when issues of Teenink were distributed throughout our schooo, I waited anxiously at everyone’s reaction.  I looked for and found Chelsea.

“Have you read my new article?” I jumped up and down like a 12-year old schoolgirl.

“No, but I will now.”  She grabbed an issue her from locker and found the correct page.  I gave her a few minutes to read my article.  When she finished, she gave me a hug, which was surprising to say the least.

“I’m so proud of you, Jeremy.”  I took a breath and let it out.

“So am I.”

That scene right there was actually the only good thing to happen to me that day.  The rest of the student body all stared at me and uttered hate words to me, though most of them I didn’t even know.  Somebody spray-painted my locked with the word “fag”.  Hmm… perhaps coming out was not such a good idea after all.

I returned home after getting beaten up, robbed, and yelled at with hate words.  I expeccted some opposition but like this.  My nose bled as I walked into my house.  Immedialy, my dad asked me what happened.

“Oh nothing.  Just got the crap beat out of me!”  My mother, who was in the next room, came, took one look at me, and ran for the first-aid kit.  I sat down on the couch in the living room.  I asked my dad if he loved me.

“Yes, of course I do.  What happened?”  At that moment, my mom came downstairs and started cleaning me up.  I asked her the same question, and she replied the same.  They both stared at me strangely, but concerningly.  I took out a copy of Teenik and showed them my article.

After they read it, they looked at one another.  Again, I asked the same question.

“Do you love me?”  I was surprised how well they kept their anger in control.  My parents got up.  My mother started crying while my father answered.

“I think you know the answer.”  I couldn’t tell if he did or didn’t by the tone of his voice.

“So yes?”  My voice came out weak.  Without answering, my father lead my mom out of the room.

In the bathroom, I was so angry and depressed at the same time.  My parents didn’t understand.  I could hear them saying how they didn’t want me around.  My dad said something like kicking me out.  The phone began to ring.  My parents ignored it, and I did too.  I took out a razor from the cabinet and cried.

Eventually, the answering machine picked up.

“Jeremy?  Are you there?  Well, I guess not.  I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for what you’re going through.  What I’m actually getting at is… I really like you.  I want to get to know you better… well, I hope you’re alright.  Oh!  And about what you said about me in the article… I love you, too.”

Click.  Sean hung up after I slashed myself.

[That’s the end of the story.  Typing this up, there are a lot of corrections I want to make but I decided to leave it in the original form.  Maybe I’ll edit this for later.  Oh, and I got 5 out of 6 on it.  :)]





Secret

3 10 2010

In the wake of the recent gay teen suicides in America, I’m posting this song I wrote. It really affected me, more than news stories usually do, and I want to do something about it but I really don’t know what to do.  Anyway, here’s a song about closeted. [vid at the bottom]

Secret

Breathe a secret in a bottle,
careful not to spill a drop.
Slam a cork in,
throw it away.

But it someone were to catch this message,
he swears his world would fall.
So it’s best not to breathe
than say anything at all.

CHORUS:

I know it’s hard but
every word you say, every step you take
will lead you to where you belong.
And out of darkness,
there’ll be a light, you’ll no longer fight
with the demons of doubt in your head.
And walk through the door

And with each passing day
the secret’s in his heart.
You can layer on the lies
but a thought is never too far.
A thought is never too far,
a thought is never too far.

CHORUS

And when the bottle washes up on someone’s shores,
that’ll be the day… someday.






Small Town Boy

23 08 2010

(Based on the song by Bronski Beat as well as my own experiences)

Small Town Boy

Living in a small, conservative town doesn’t exactly have its pros, and from the very start, I’ve known something was different about me, but I just didn’t know the word for it. In the third grade, I overheard Larry Callaghan calling everyone “gay”. And since everyone was more popular than I was, I wanted to be gay too. So I went around the schoolyard, shouting, “I’m gay! I’m gay!” until at nearby supervisor heard me and lectured me about how being gay meant being happy, and nothing else.

My parents were the traditional kind; they just wanted me to marry some girl and make babies for them. My dad was never really there in my childhood or even my life, and my mom wasn’t much better. So when I came out to them, they couldn’t understand why I was doing it. They couldn’t understand that it was a part of me, I didn’t choose anything. They couldn’t understand me. They thought I was trying to hurt them in some way. Both of them gave me talks until I cried from slowly realizing that my parents never really loved me, and even less now.

My father would continually tell me he was disappointed in me and, eventually became slightly ill afterwards, and my mother blamed it on me. She told me I never should have mentioned it to him because of his beliefs regarding the taboo subject of sexuality. She also wanted me to apologize to him, to tell him that it was something I would eventually overcome and I would be “normal” soon. I couldn’t do it because it was just wrong and I would be lying. Was it so wrong that I told them who I really was?

In a small town, word gets around really quickly. Soon, everyone at school knew, and that’s when I started getting harassed by people; I would be lucky if I got through the day with just a punch in the face. I dreaded the sound of the school bell because it signalled the start of another hour of beatings. The teachers blindly overlooked anything they saw directed at me, even if it was right in front of their eyes. I lost what little of my friends I had, but two of my closest still stuck by, and even dared to hang out with me. The three of us then vowed to finally leave this town we called “home”.

The weather man called for sunny skies, but it was overcast, and it looked like it was going to rain any second. A little black suitcase in my right hand in and a watch on my left that read 8:28, I had only two more minutes to wait till I started my new life. As I heard the clanging of the engines as the train nears the platform, I took one last look around, expecting to see my parents there; telling me to come back; that they loved me, but all I saw were empty seats.

Goodbye… to everything.





choking on normal

11 08 2010

choking on normal

they all tell me to be normal
but really what “normal” is i don’t know like
they say “normal” is acting like a man
but i heard somewhere that i should be
myself they say “normal” is doing work but i heard
not to take everything so
seriously the say “normal” is acting
your age but i saw people growing up too fast
they say “normal” is going to school after high
school but that’s not what i want for me they
say “normal” is falling in love with someone of the opposite
gender but im already in love with a boy that ive
Sean
around they say “normal” is being happy and
living my life but its too hard when i was depressed and
thinking about not breathing again they say “normal”
is acknowledging your parents but how can i if she is constantly
screaming at me and he isnt there to protect me they say “normal” is
devoting yourself to a religion but i dont want to be part of
something that preaches hate
they all tell me to be “normal”
what
is
normal?





10 Defining Moments of My Life (so far) — #8: Coming out to my mom

10 05 2010

8.  I was trying to teach myself to play the guitar when my mom walked in and sat on the bed next to me.  Immediately, I knew she had something serious to talk about.  She looked at me and asked if I was gay.  I said yes, and already I could sense the tears waiting to be shed.  We had a long, long talk about it; she couldn’t seem to understand how I “became” gay.  She kept trying to make up excuses for it, but when I told her it was just who I am, she didn’t believe it.  Tears kept falling down my face, and some of them fell between the strings of the guitar and on the frets.  Needing to know how my mom felt about me now, I asked her if she still loved me.  She replied, “You are my son.  I’ll always love you.” and that was when I really bawled.  I hugged my mom tightly and cried on her, still not believing that she would really accept me for who I was because I knew she was the traditional Asian kind.





Secret Life (original version)

17 02 2010

A few years ago when I first wrote this song, it was about 6 minutes long (I’ve shortened it since then).  I remember when I performed it at the now defunct Myles of Beans cafe in Burnaby, I was so nervous about how people would respond.  When I finished, the crowd slowly clapped, then continued clapping for about a minute while I thanked them over and over again for being so kind.

I’ll always remember how a man in the audience came up to me and shook my hand, thanking me for playing that song.  It’s reactions and people relating to my songs that really keep me pushing to perform. 

Secret Life

What do all these feelings mean?
Is it a phase, or simply just me?
And I wonder if there’s a word to describe
Who I am, or what’s inside.

Is there any way to explain
Why I’m the only one on this island?
Don’t know who to trust, to confide in
How long will I be hiding?

Chorus:

Will you tell me to change?
Will we become estranged?
Are you ashamed of who I am?
Will you love me less?
It’s the ultimate test
To confess my secret life.

So I finally admit
That I might be just a little different
It’s so heavy carrying this burden
A facade I must perpetuate

And I can’t swallow how some people
Walk the day with such infuriated faces.
And when they start to spew words of hate,
You all laugh along or look away.

Chorus

Bridge:

I believe in my heart and soul this is how God created me
I believe if I don’t breathe a word that no fist or slur will ever make me bleed
I believe with no doubt that there isn’t anyone else I would rather be

So now we’re sitting face to face
The words I say, I say with pride and strength
Tears sliding down our cheeks
And through it all, I’m surprised to find relief

Chorus

Please don’t tell me to change
I hope we don’t become estranged
Don’t disown me for who I am
Please don’t love me less
It’s the ultimate test
To confess…. my life.





Prayers for Bobby — a reflection

16 01 2010

Several months ago, I heard about and then read Prayers for Bobby.  When I heard it was going to be made into a TV movie, I was excited to hear about it, seeing as how it was a fantastic book.  And when I did see it, of course, I cried a few times.  Not only did the movie bring about so much emotion in me, as a young gay man, but it also reminded me of my own coming out and how painstakingly difficult it was for me and what it must be like for young gay teens all over the world.

Prayers for Bobby is about Bobby Griffith, a young man living in a small town in the US during the early 80’s.  It’s a time when the AIDS epidemic is just beginning and the belief of homosexuality (ugh, I don’t like that work.  It sounds so scientific and formal) was generally negative.  I won’t talk about Bobby’s life too much, as you can read that up anywhere (or just read the book), but that I just want to say how I’m glad his story, as tragic and sad as it is, is being shared with the world.  He seemed like a genuine, sympathetic guy, and after watching the TV adaptation, I feel so much sadness for other Bobbys out there–Bobbys with religious, ignorant parents and don’t put love first.

When I came out to my parents, it didn’t go as well as I had hoped.  My mom came into my room when I was 15 and asked if I was gay.  She did the easy part for me; all I had to say was yes.  We had a lengthy discussion about what being gay is and how she wanted to “help” me by trying to get rid of it.  Perhaps it was naivety, but I honestly didn’t think my parents would be the type to try and “cure” me.  They’re not particularly religious but they are traditional.  My mom tried to find an excuse–any excuse–to try and why I was this way; she suggested I go out on dates with my sister’s friends and even making an appointment with the doctor.  I thought this suggestion was wayyy out of line but I couldn’t blame my mom for not being able to look past her beliefs.  After all, she was raised in a different country with different values and beliefs, and she retained these beliefs even after coming to Canada (which is why it can be difficult to talk to her about certain things).  In the end, I asked her, “Do you still love me?” like they always do in gay-themed novels.

Surprisingly, she answered, “You’re my son.  Of course I love you.”

And then I cried some more.   Yeah.

It didn’t quite feel like love when we had other arguments about the taboo subject of being gay–and we definitely had some heated ones.  I won’t get into those now but maybe another time.

I don’t remember where I was going with this… I guess the film was very emotional for me because of there were such powerful scenes.  For example, when Bobby’s mother (played by Sigourney Weaver) tells Bobby (played by the wonderful Ryan Kelley) she won’t have a gay son, he responds, “Then mom, you don’t have a son.”  And if that’s not enough, she replies, “Fine.”  I’m tearing up again just thinking about it… in some ways, I never felt like a son to my parents because they never really understood me.

Throughout the film, I also remember thinking about how much better society (or at least Western culture, to some extent) has gotten since the 80’s in terms of recognizing gays and lesbians and their attitudes and treatment towards the minority.  It saddens me when I think about how there are still kids, teens, even youth who are struggling with this, who may contemplate suicide because of their parents.  I think of my ex and how he was/is so afraid to come out because of his overly-religious mother and how he believes she would kill him if she ever found out.  I think of his choice to stay in the closet and have an unfulfilled life because of it.  I think of myself, when I was 14, writing in my journal for the first time about my crush on a guy at school and then writing at the end, ‘If anyone reads this, my life is over.”  I remember being so, so scared to even write it, for fear someone might see it and know.

I look back on those days and am reminded that people are still going through that today.  Obviously I wish they weren’t; I wish people could just be who they are without fear, without consequence.  I wish those people, those young boys and girls everywhere, strength to get through it–strength that one day, they might be looking back on those days, feeling not an ounce of regret.  I wish for those people not to give up trying.  Not to ever give up trying.