Kinda really proud of myself
Kinda really proud of myself
I was giving Errol one of my 5 minute hugs during recess today and Winky comes over and invites Errol and Charlie on a hike tomorrow. Luckily I wasn’t facing Winky because I almost started crying. Never once when we were super close friends did he invite me anywhere. I even told him: “I feel weird that I’m always the one to start texting you and Im always the one invites you over.” But he never ever invited me over his house or to go to a movie with him. And there he was inviting two of our friends to just chill with him tomorrow. And after they said yeah and Winky walked away I unhitched myself from Errol and they seemed perfectly nonplussed; their nonchalant continuation of their conversation astounded me - didn’t they realize that they had just been offered what I had craved for months???? Jesus fuck.
I got over 200 sign-ups for our school blood drive. I am feeling so proud of myself. I have managed extremely successful theatre productions, Little League events, tutoring sessions, community events, made major strides in our school’s policy towards gay students, and other awesome stuff. But I have never felt proud of myself. Not like this. I feel really good about myself. What?
Great Britain’s government voted to legalize gay marriage today. I found out during school when my dad texted me the news. Almost started crying because of the news and because I felt so loved by my dad.
Every once in a while, I will carefully remove two folded-up pieces of paper from my wallet. On the outside of the older, slightly-torn and frayed piece of paper reads, “You did it! -7/12/11.” All I need to do is pull out the folded paper, read the note I wrote to myself last July, and whatever feeling of sadness, weakness, or inadequacy I’m feeling dissipates. I still think it’s amazing that after fourteen months, I can still look at this memento and feel the same feelings of happiness and relief that I felt when I first read what was printed on the sheet.
On July 12, 2011, I was sitting on a comfy couch inside the office of Ann Jong, LCSW, for my third therapy session with her. I was beyond nervous. Ann and I had planned what I was about to do the week prior. My parents walked in and sat down, having no idea what was about to happen. I pulled out a much-nicer-looking version of the letter that now resides in my wallet and started reading, “Dear Mom & Dad, I want to share something about my life that is important because I love you. I am gay….” My parents sat quietly through the rest of my 3-paragraph confession, and there was much hugging and crying afterwards. I had read about what this moment was like for other kids that came out to their parents, but their stories didn’t prepare me for the emotions I felt; I never felt more free in my life than I did at that moment. And I get to relive that moment whenever I need to; all I have to do is look inside my wallet.
I mentioned that I keep two pieces of paper I my wallet; you now know that one contains my “coming out” letter I read to my parents, and unlocks for me the feelings of freedom and confidence that I struggled with for many years. The other, slightly newer piece of paper contains a list of 207 names. On my 17th birthday last February, I felt ready and supported enough to come out to the rest of the world. I wrote as my Facebook status, “All I want for my birthday is to live in a world where a boy doesn’t have to wait 17 years to come out as gay to his friends and family because he is afraid that people will treat him badly for it.” 207 people “liked” and/or commented my status. I can look at this list of friends and family and know that this world is mine for the taking, because I have the love and support of all these people in my repertoire. Look out world, because Daniel Perez is ready to make himself known.
Hooray look who doesn’t have HIV :)
I tried something new today. I was feeling sad. My dad and I don’t really get along. Today he was very landlord-like. It started when he told me that I need to start applying for scholarships. He had me make this account on a scholarship finding site that matched me with 48 scholarships. I am an incredibly busy person. As much as I’d love to spend all my days filling out scholarship applications, I have other commitments. So my attitude wasn’t the best. I wasn’t rude with him. I just told him that I would not prioritize the applications above my prior commitments. That’s when he told me that he is going to give me five thousand dollars for college. Period. So wherever I choose to go, my parents will pay for 5k and the rest is on me. USC (my top choice) costs 60k a year! I looked at my dad when he said that and just told him, “You cease to surprise me anymore” and left. He came into my room a few minutes later and told me that it’s ok for me to tell him that I’m disappointed in him. Of course that made me feel like such a bitch. I’m grateful for everything they’ve done for me. But I could be so much more. I could be so much happier. Why did Kingsley get to be born into a rich family? Why did Cedric? Why couldn’t I? So I wasn’t in a great mood. Oh yeah, then later my dad was trying to settle some of the debt he owes me (1.2k) and was going through my ledger and he said “I’m not buying your green teas anymore.” That made me upset, but I didn’t lie when I said earlier that he doesn’t surprise me anymore. I asked him why my brothers get all their brand-name athletic equipment and play in expensive tournaments when all I ask for is green tea. I don’t ask them for $12 socks or $50 shoes or any of the other stuff my brothers get. I pay for my own phone service, all my stuff I either bought myself or is a hand-me-down. I asked him, “What do I ever ask for that Nearly Headless Nick and Norbert don’t get?” Of course he said, “tuition.” Fuck. Every single time. What am I supposed to say to that? So I have to buy my own drinks now. Just dandy. So I was sad. Sad that I couldn’t be happy with what I had. Sad that I couldn’t have more. But instead of locking myself in my room and drowning out my sobs with iTunes, I texted Errol, “Can you call me right now?” He didn’t respond (he’s studying for finals which are next week). So I asked Kingsley the same question. We had been texting about doing something tomorrow and he gave me a call a few minutes later. I decided that Kingsley isn’t the comforting type so crying to him about the day’s struggles, while it would’ve been nice to get those off my chest, wasn’t as good of an idea as just talking to him. And that’s what I did. We just took turns asking each other random questions (what’s your favorite color?, how’s your senior service project going?, etc) and we laughed and I sighed because KINGSLEY HAS NOT READ A BOOK FOR PLEASURE IN 4 YEARS!!! I jokingly told him no wonder he has no imagination or creativity (a running joke with us is that I detest his artwork). Also, he told me his favorite color was yellow, which I told him was incorrect :P But I immediately felt better once we started talking. He made me feel like I wasn’t alone. And as we were talking, Errol texted me telling me he would be able to call me in a bit. So Kinglsey and I talked for about an hour and a half I think and it was awesome. I hate how much I love talking, actually talking to people, because my friends don’t like to do it (it seems). Everyone would rather text. So yeah Kinglsey and I are going to have Korean BBQ tomorrow which should be nice. He wanted to go bowling but I told him I can no longer afford the bowling place he goes to. Afterwards, Errol called me. That was a surprise. I didn’t think he would remember. But he quickly asked me how I was doing and I realized what was wrong. He thought I was on the verge of something awful, like another suicide attempt or emotional breakdown. I told him I was fine and had a chance to talk with Kingsley. Errol sounded really nervous which made me feel very guilty. I thought about the little bit of time between when I asked him to call me and when he was able to call me. I hope he wasn’t worrying incessantly. I told him I just wanted to talk with someone. But his tone became disinterested when I told him I was Ok and had talked with Kingsley. I am sad he didn’t want to talk to me about why I asked him to call, but oh well. I should just be grateful that he called at all, even though it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever have that pseudo-reflection meeting. I just thought of this: I’m going to invite Errol to come to KBBQ with Kyle and me tomorrow. I hope he comes. Maybe I’ll be able to reflect on my service project with them there. So Im glad I reached out for help. Talking with Kingsley and Errol changed my night from being a cry-fest to a night of feeling loved.
263 messages. He sent me 263 messages yesterday. (I realize this sounds romantic but don’t get your hopes up - he’s just a friend). So yeah about 500 messages back and forth yesterday. One of my (straight) guy friends chatted with me for hours and hours. It was so honest: there was one part where we played 20 questions and he guessed some of my Hogwarts crushes. I’m so glad there are guys like Cedric that I can just be honest with. I didn’t have to hold anything back for fear of being judged (although he did say “Oh God” and “I don’t know what to say to that” a few times). And I think I definitely changed the way he thinks about me because of my whore lifestyle. But I feel like our friendship is so much stronger now. And he got a lot off his chest, too. I’m glad we trust each other like that. I’m glad people trust me. And yesterday I got a haircut and I convinced Kingsley that I got my hair streaked with silver :P I sent him a photo of my new haircut with silver streaks Photoshopped in. Haha I can’t wait until I see him in person. What else happened yesterday? Oh I was sad because I wanted to go to an LGBT youth conference near Hogwarts called Proud Out Loud but I didn’t want to go alone. I texted Kingsley and Errol asking if they wanted to go but Kingsley said no and Errol didn’t respond to my text all day (even though he said he we might have been able to have our reflection meeting on the phone yesterday). When he finally did respond he said no. Nothing about calling me. Nothing about anything else. I guess he’s more like Winky than I thought. Angelina and Kingsley are being dramatic. I’m afraid Kingsley and Angelina are going to end up like Winky and I. But I don’t think it will happen. They have me for one thing (shut up I’m not that conceited). And Kyle isn’t as bad as I was with Winky. Yesterday I was going to try opening up more to my parents to help rectify the tenant-landlord relationship I have with them. I thought maybe if I told them about my success in finally making a GSA at school (they don’t know about all the months of work I’ve been involved in this), we’d get closer over that convo. But I couldn’t do it. I just find it so uncomfortable to talk to my parents. I refused to tell them I loved them for 2 years. I just don’t have a relationship with them, and Im nervous I never will. But I’m not sad right now. I just finished watching Pitch Perfect with my brother Nearly Headless Nick (love that movie) and Im still so happy that Cedric spent all that time talking to me yesterday. I just want to give him a big hug. I need to do something to not feel lonely today. Maybe I’ll go visit my cousin who is visiting my grandma today. I don’t know. Im not ver comfortable around my extended family. They’re cool and everything but I’ve never brought up being gay with my grandmothers. To this day, I don’t even know if my grandpas and grandmas know Im gay. They all only speak Spanish so I’ve never bonded with them (which is sad I know). And there is one aunt on my dad’s side who Im afraid wouldn’t like me being gay. My dad’s side of the family were all together at a holiday dinner and one of my younger cousins was telling us about how her friend got suspended for calling a teacher gay. (This was before I was out) And this aunt was vehemently defending the girl that got suspended. but all my other family either don’t know or don’t care enough to bring it up, which Im fine with. Maybe I’ll just bake today. Oh! I got my first professional order haha! A friend from the Leaky Cauldron said he’d give me $20 if I made him some rice Crispies, cupcakes, brownies, and cookies. I think it’s hilarious but awesome at the same time. I have so much work to do, though. Bleh. Why do I have to be on vacation mode? Although, to be honest, my vacation mode is probably the same as a lot of guys’ regular work mode. I’m glad I get this break. I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I’m going to be 18 soon. Then I can LEGALLY do some of the stuff I do. Woohoo!
Pride. Hope. Support. These are the three things I’m feeling most right now. I got to sleep in until 9 am today. 9am!!! I usually sleep from 1 to 5. I got up and did one of the things I love most in this world: I baked. I don’t know why I derive such pleasure from mixing ingredients and sharing my sweet treats. There’s just something about making people happy that I love. And my baking makes a lot of people happy. Today I made my most famous chocolate chip cookies and Oreo rice Crispies Treats. When I was getting ready to go to school, I picked out my khaki shorts (of course) and automatically skipped over my Models of Pride Tshirt and picked out a more neutral Hogwarts Tshirt. Models of Pride is one of the largest LGBT youth conferences in the US and the Tshirt has a rainbow flag covering the front. But then I thought to myself, “Hold on. You can wear that shirt. Show people who you really are. You can wear it proudly.” And I did. Not a single person had a bad thing to say or a bad look to give to my shirt. To be honest, people’s attention at school went straight to my tray of goodies. One of the awesomest things happened today at school: A while ago I went ice skating with some friends from the theatre and I met Charlie’s cousin, Trevor. Trevor was super nice and I thought I had made a great friend. But then on Christmas, when Dolohov broke up with me, I was trying to focus on the good things I still had in my life and I sent Trevor something like, “Dolohov broke up with me today. Knowing that I made a new friend makes it better. Thanks.” He responded, comforting me and I felt better. But a few days later I wanted to thank him for helping me get through my Christmas break up, but I couldn’t message him; he had un-friended me. Charlie tried to convince me it was an accident but I, being the catastrophizing guy I am, believed Trevor unfriended me because he didn’t want to deal with gay guy stuff. But he stopped me at school today. HE stopped ME. He told me he heard I was mad at him and I told him I was sad he had unfriended me. He told me his friend deleted half of his Facebook friends (what Charlie had tried to tell me) and he seemed sincere. We made up. And it felt so cool knowing this guy I hardly talked to made an effort to repair a friendship. The last thing he said as I was walking out was “I like you.” But I heard (and I’m pretty sure he meant) “I like you, gay and all.” I put a lot of effort into being a fantastic friend. So when I experience someone else putting in effort to strengthen their relationship with me, I feel good inside. I feel loved. Because it’s one thing for someone to respond to my text asking how I’m doing. But it’s another thing for someone to ask me out of the blue. Trevor did what he did out of the blue. It was great. My design meeting for Hogshead Theatre went well; I loved spending time with Colin and Fudge. They are great friends and I’m so lucky to get to work with them. And the planning meeting for the GSA went well and we have our first meeting on Feb 14. I hope we have a good turnout. And I hope it doesn’t take too long for people to feel comfortable sharing. I like the name I came up with for the CLC: Cubs United. I got home after a couple of hours at the Center (they loved my goodies and I got my first professional order!) and watched two movies with my younger brother and cousin. So Im feeling proud because I am helping make this world a better place (with the Club as one example) and a happier place (with my friendships and baking etc). I feel hope because the near future (2nd semester senior year) looks like it’s going to be so enjoyable. I haven’t felt this good about life in….ever. I have never felt this great. To quote a book Albus suggested I read, “I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up.” That’s how I feel right now. And I feel like I have support. For the first time I feel like Hogwarts supports me 100%. Errol is texting me. My friends at the Leaky Cauldron love me. Oh and I feel pride in being gay. I’ve never felt that before. Donning that shirt was like donning my superhero costume. So yeah. Pride. Hope. Support. I hope everyone feels these things, too.
I am in a really good place right now. I think both Errol and Kinglsey (I changed their names to Harry potter names since Im posting these online now) both forgot about saying they’d call me, but I’m fine because I didn’t get my hopes up. At least they still text me. And Kingsley still texts me even though I can sometimes not get my mind out of the gutter when Im texting him. It’s funny because he is straight but acts very gay sometimes in his mannerisms and style-choices and gets so grossed out when I mention anything gay-sex-related. But not so grossed out that I can’t talk to him about it. Because he’s really the only one I feel comfortable talking to about that stuff. I don’t know why but I really appreciate him for being that person for me. I talked to Arabella this morning and my sessions with her are always so helpful. I forgot to invite Albus to come (he’d been asking to join me in a therapy session)! I’ll have to remember to invite home next time. But yeah Arabella and I talked about how things have been going awesome and she was super happy and proud of me when I told her that the principal okayed a GSA at school. We talked about how my relationship with my parents is a tenant-landlord relationship but how the ball is in my court and I am the one who needs to take the next step. Maybe I’ll tell them about the GSA that got approved and all the work I’ve been doing at school to make the school more accepting. Idk. It’d have to be at a perfect opportunity. We’ll see. After my session, I went to the Leaky Cauldron and did one of my favorite things: cleaned! We got a donation of tshirts so I cleaned out the back area and organized the 100+ tshirts. Then I participated in discussions with the staff about life and work and health and we had an awesome discussion about the gay men’s ban on donating blood. I hate that I donated every 56 days but, because I had sexual relations with a guy, I can never donate ever again. Of course Jane was wonderful in sympathizing with me and encouraging me to take action. Then we had an AMAZING StepUp conversation. We were talking about GSAs in schools and I talked about all the work I did and my thoughts about ideas for us to do in our meetings and I got feedback. Mrs. McGonagall actually stopped by for a site visitation and took part in the conversation and at one point Lily started crying because she felt so comfortable and wished she had the Leaky Cauldron earlier in her life and I turned to Mrs. McGonagall and said “THIS is why I never took no for an answer. We need this support at Hogwarts.” After that awesome StepUp I took the yoga class and that was awesome !!! The yoga itself was physical and centering and I think I did we’ll for my first time and I can’t wait until next week’s class. I don’t know how long it will take me to get over how lucky I was to find that place. The Leaky Cauldron is a haven. It is a place where any gay kid can feel safe and welcomed and loved. I’ve only Ben there for a few months and that place has undoubtedly changed my life.