As with most people, my time in school is something that I look back with nostalgia, a formative period in my life with many happy moments- those moments that trigger a side smile and warm feelings when coming across pictures of non school uniform days and the effort that went behind what to wear, memories of long sunny sports days, Duke of Edinburgh award trips or two hour Art periods.
However the experience wasn’t wholly positive and for me there certainly was a great anxiety about my sexuality, hiding it and how different it made me feel to others.
It is ironic that at the age of thirty, the attributes that I celebrate about myself and enjoy are the same things that caused me to feel isolated and scared. I denied myself often, just to avoid being put in a position where I may be exposed for who I am, something quite easy to announce now but felt like such a burden then. I memorized routes through hallways and places to hang where I knew I would avoid bumping into those who would ridicule or pick on me.
Now I feel like my sexuality is such a forgettable topic, I don’t define myself through it and just as I wouldn’t expect my straight friends to focus on their attraction to the opposite sex, I don’t dwell on my attraction to the same sex. It is what it is.
There will always be those who use any point of difference as a way of humiliating and bullying others. It felt so important then, it devastated the course of an entire day. I wish I could say it is simple to ignore those bullies and feel pity that the only claim they have to a personality is the belittling of yours, but the unfortunate truth is that people will affect you and the things they say during this time in your life will feel important.
Time really does change so much, it won’t always feel this way. At school, you can’t always choose who you spend time with or the proximity of narrow minded people to you. I don’t spend much time thinking about what to wear, now that every day is a non school uniform day and I don’t think much about those that still oppose what I am. Now, I am lucky enough to spend time with people that celebrate who they are and who I am. I wish that I had spent more time looking for and with this kind of people at school, rather then focusing on the bad ones.