A Conversation With My Closeted 17 Year-Old Self


I’m home for the holidays which can only mean two things: 1. I’m emotional and 2. I’m looking at pictures of myself from when I was in high school. I’d take a wild guess and say the two things are correlated. Seeing old pictures of yourself is both mortifying and life-affirming. On one hand, I’m so glad I no longer have a nose ring and wear mismatched Puma shoes. On the other, I can’t believe I even pierced my nose and thought mismatched Puma shoes were a good idea. But in my defense, I was in the closet-a cold dark shameful place that compels you to do strange things to your face and body- and I didn’t come out of it until my senior year of high school. That means for seventeen years, I was telling people that vagina was something that made me happy and excited. That means for seventeen years, I was renting gay independent films from Blockbuster and watching them before my mom came home from work. That means for seventeen years, I refused to address the pink bedazzled elephant in the room. Gosh, it’s exhausting just typing about it. Sometimes I wish I could talk to closeted seventeen year-old me and tell him that being gay is totally fun and cool and to stop living such an insane lie! Then I realized that I sort of could. Creative writing on the Internet is the gift that keeps on giving!

Me: Hi, 17 year-old me.

Teen Me: Hello, tall dark stranger who looks like me without the severe cystic acne. Do you like my jeans? They’re Abercrombie girl jeans with flares!

Me: Stop wearing girl jeans. And stop dyeing your hair blue and purple. And stop wearing mismatched shoes.

Teen Me: But it’s all so fun!

Me: It’s not. I think you’re just doing it because you’re in the closet and need to express your suppressed homosexuality.

Teen Me: I am not gay!

Me: Do I need to look at your Internet history to prove otherwise?

Teen Me: Shhh! So what if I am?  Are you gay?

Me: Um, yes. You are gay.

Teen Me: Well, when do I come out? I bet it was lonely and miserable and no boy would touch me.

Me: Chin up, babe. I hate hearing myself talk like that. You actually come out of the closet in a few months and fall in teenage love with a boy!

Teen Me: Wait, are you joking? Please. I’m fragile. Are you serious?

Me: I’m so serious.

Teen Me: Do we have sex?

Me: So much bad teenage sex.

Teen Me: Wow. I’ve never been so excited to have bad sex before. Does this boy….you know…does he love me?

Me: Sort of. I guess. Yes.

Teen Me: That’s good. I would like to be loved.

Me: And when you’re my age, you’ll essentially be a professional homosexual.

Teen Me: What does that mean?

Me: It means you are going to write about gay things and get paid for it. In essence, you’ll get paid to be gay.

Teen Me: Like Carrie Bradshaw?

Me: But gay.

Teen Me: Wow. That sounds fun and sort of not real.

Me: It is. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and claim your big gay life! Grab it by the balls and make out with it!

Teen Me: OK, thanks gay me. I will! Bye!

That was inspiring. It almost made me want to come out of the closet all over again. Almost.

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