I refuse to believe that the years of pain, and fear, and hope, and growth are all to be thrown so lightly away.
I moved 2000 miles away at the age of 23, no job, no place to live, in search of a life where I was accepted.
I did that because here, where I was born and raised, I was an unwanted.
1. I moved away back then because I feared arrest, harassment, and abuse every time I kissed someone I loved.
2. I moved away back then because members of my family had broken my heart for reasons too disturbing to mention. It took me years to find a way to forgive and heal from that.
3. I moved away back then because I was tired of replacing my daddy’s truck windshield every time someone wanted to throw hate my way. I made $2.35/hour back then, working about 15 hours a week while going to college. And of course, I couldn’t let my daddy know, so I just dug deep, fixed the glass, and held my breath hoping it would eventually stop happening.
4. I moved away back then because “over there”, I was considered a normal human being; one that was judged by my actions, not by who I loved.
5. I moved away back then because I hoped that there, I wouldn’t have to worry about males who thought it was okay to rape women, as they so obviously felt okay to do to me here.
6. I moved away back then because it was a place where women seemed to have a real place in the world, all on their own.
7. I moved away back then because my world here rejected me. My world here saw me as less than themselves; an unworthy.
I stayed there for many years, finally returning when money was scarce, and I had no where else to go. By then, the world here had slowly begun to change.
It took many more years, but finally, one day, not too long ago, here was a place where I was equal. I was accepted. I was safe.
And now. Now they say all that time I spent in pain, fearing, hoping, growing, accepting, believing, and being…all those years can be thrown away at the whim of those who have been seething about the change; those who have their own problems, for sure, but who – underneath it all – blame me and other unwanteds for their problems.
I cried today. I cried all day today. I am crying now.
I mourn and I grieve for the hatred and the fear and the inhumanity that simmers in every corner. I weep for those who will be abused by those who believe they have the power to do so.
But I refuse to allow my life to have been a struggle in vain. I will not go backwards. I will always go forward, even if that means starting all over again, thousands of miles away. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I’m old now. I don’t have the energy I had at 23.
But I’m not too old to remember the pain or the fear or the longing for acceptance. I am too old to return to that.
I don’t pretend to speak for others. Others have been through greater struggles than I – and for much longer. But for nearly 40 years, I have endured against hate.
I feel the fear right now. The same fear as I felt then. It threatens to overwhelm me. I’m scared to say these words out loud. I wonder if I should just throw this away, so no one sees it. Post it anonymously. But that’s the way of the past. That’s the closet. The hiding. The fear.
I will not return to those dark times. No one can make me.
Don’t even THINK about trying. I will always have those I love, and no one can take that away. No one.
Tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I will not cry. Or maybe tomorrow, the fear will overcome me, and I will delete this, so the world will not see.