By Jamie Miller
I graduated from high school back in 2017 and as such, I remember when people used inflammatory terms such as “gay” and “retard” as common joke’s like saying “oh that paint job is gay” or “nice free throw retard.” As someone who has both learning difficulties and lands somewhere on the spectrum between pansexual and heterosexual looking back, this is very strange.
It almost seems like I should remember everything being colored black and white with old-timey music playing, and yet… I remember it as bright and clear as today. People never thought anything of it, even I didn’t, it was just something people did, and I will sadly admit I used a few phrases that looking back were wrong. However, unlike some members of my family and circle of former friends, I don’t keep saying those phrases. Those days are gone… and they should be. Using those terms should go the way of minstrel shows and be left to the sands of time.
Another thing that has changed for me in the past year is my view of myself. I have never admitted it, but I struggle a lot with my self “view.” From seeing myself as hideous and fated to die alone, to thinking myself doomed to Hell or whatever fate awaits wicked souls after death. I also struggled with hating my body to the point I refuse to take off my shirt even when swimming in Florida. Oddly enough, two things changed my views, one is my personal writing.
As you likely don’t know, I am an aspiring comic book writer. Most of my protagonists are based on parts of my own personality, whether it is my outward goofy and hopeful nature, or my sometimes tortured angry innermost self. Writing these characters has given me an odd feeling somewhat resembling peace. In my comics, I can “do good.’’ I can help people, I can battle against the forces of darkness, often inspired by what I see in the real world. This takes my mind off of my romantic life as well.
The other major thing that has helped me with my self-confidence is of all things social media, more specifically Instagram. For every Nick Jonas or Kim Kardashian who, though not intending to, cause many people’s self-esteem to crumble (including mine at times), there is a Chae Desara, or an Allison Kimmey, or an Elliot Page, who are comfortable in their own skin, and don’t adhere to what society deems normal or attractive. Another inspiration is Machine Gun Kelly. If he can have Megan Fox come to love him for who he is, maybe there’s hope for me yet.
Another change is my identity in general, as I noted earlier I fall somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum. This is news to the few people who know this… Including myself. I used to see things in black and white. I used to think I was straight as an arrow, but then I suffered three significant losses that forced me to reevaluate my life. I lost my dog Riley, my grandmother who died of COVID-19, and my uncle who I would often consult when working on my writing projects.
Since their deaths, I have come to discover I’m not quite as straight as I once thought. So it’s been quite the wild ride as of late. And what’s funny is since I discovered this I sleep somewhat better. I don’t need to load up on Melatonin and other pills to fall asleep. I can actually look at myself in the mirror and not be perplexed by the person staring back. I’ve also been on a writing spree succeeding in finishing transcripts for two of my comics. I’ve also started to actually be awake during the day instead of sleeping through the light only doing my activities under cover of darkness.
What’s funny is I haven’t gone about “coming out” to most of my family due to a couple of reasons. One I really don’t want members of my family arguing with me. I’ve already gotten into debates with one of my aunts about whether or not gay people get into heaven and I really don’t want to do it again.
I think who I choose to love is no one else’s business but my own and my own eventually romantic partner. I remember when I would show even the slightest bit of “interest” in an actress on TV one of my parental figures would chime in “at least we know he’s not gay!” So I do not seek to have to tell them that I am technically on the LGBTQ spectrum.
I have not sought to personally inform most people of this because I really don’t want it to be the focal point of who I am. I highly respect those who use their sexuality as a platform to better the world. But I wish to be remembered more for my writing than for who I loved.