After years of being called names and harassed by classmates, certain that my parents would disown me and believing that even the best of my friends would shun me if they knew the secrets I was keeping, my only solace came from the box of Tylenol PM that I'd stolen from the drugstore and kept hidden under my bed. For a month or two, I would examine this box multiple times on a daily basis, looking at it as sort of a friend that would take me away from all that I was struggling with. If I went with this friend, I would never have to be called another name or cope with the disappointment of friends and familyI would be free. Then, a month or so before my 17th birthday, I emptied these pills onto the floor of my bedroom and swallowed them, one by one. Crawling into bed, I lay back with my head on the pillow, closed my eyes and waited.
That was 15 years ago. And, it does seem like a long time ago because so many things have happened between then and now. So many wonderful and amazing things have happened that considering all of it now is absolutely breathtaking. At 16, I had dreams of sipping cappuccinos in an Italian café, writing stories on a Greenwich Village bench, making movies or kissing another man. All those dreams have come true. Those dreams and many of the ones I have had along the way. But I would not have been able to do any of it had I listened to that voice within me that told me there was no point in living.
What I couldn't see then was possibility. The possibility that there was so much more than what other people were thinking about me or, really, what I was thinking about myself.
Today, my mother tells me that she hopes I meet a good man, she openly tells co-workers that she has a gay son and, sometimes, we even check guys out together. Several years ago in undergrad ( for being a gay screenwriting major ) , I was invited to have a hilariously fun dinner with the film director John Waters. Four years after coming out, I wrote a letter while traveling in Africa expressing my support for words like "faggot" and "dyke" to be included on the list of derogatory terms banned from use in the school district where I'd gone to high school and junior highwe were met with total success. Three years after coming out, a Gay/Straight Alliance was created at my former high school and I was asked by those students to return and speak about my experiences as a gay teen and coming out of the closet. Two years after coming out, my younger brother wrote an article in our high school paper proudly stating his relation to a homosexual while another student wrote a separate article that included a list of teachers that students could turn to if they needed help discussing their problems, the very same teachers that I had turned to for support. And, just before my 18th birthday during my senior year of high school, I wrote a letter to seven of my friends telling them I was gay. I was met with seven hugs and the words, "That doesn't change a thing. You are my friend."
December 7, 1995. That's the day I took all those pills and laid down to die. I cannot tell you how much time had passed with my eyes closed there waiting for death, but something seized me as I lay there that made me sit up and pick up the phone to be taken to the emergency room. What grabbed me was a shred of hope, unrecognizable in that most desperate of moments, that asked me to live another day, then another and another until I began living a whole life I could never have imagined for myself. Today, as cheesy as it may sound, that date is very much like having a second birthday.
I chose to live. And, it is absolutely the best decision I have ever made.
IN THIS ISSUE [ LINK HERE OR FROM THIS ISSUE'S MAIN INDEX ]
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php Anti-suicide project reflects on cases
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php DePaul vigil remembers teen suicides
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Kirk Williamson
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Tracy Baim
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Toni Weaver
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Amy Pirtle
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Bobby Pirtle
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Eric Marcus
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Alexandra Billings
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Caleb's Story
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Karlis Streips
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by John R. Cepek
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Judy Shepard
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Lee Lynch
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Kristi Keorkunian
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Joshua Plant
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Chris Hill
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php Trevor Project Chicago events
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php Stopping Bullies in Illinois
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php Mother of Slain Teen Gwen Araujo Addresses LGBT Youth Suicide by Sylvia Guerrero
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Carl G. Streed Jr.
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Thom Bierdz
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Kit Duffy
www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php by Vernita Gray