Words from the perspective of the young people:
I believe there is more to life than grades. I care about injustice. I’m gay. I want learning to be real. I feel stupid, or lonely, or clueless, or not enough in some way.
But no one knows. Or at least it doesn’t feel like anyone knows, or cares.
To speak about it isn’t safe. Who will listen? Who is that person that I can go to that will embrace my exploration, that is curious about me, that can hold my anger, pain, sadness? Who is there who won’t try to change me, deny it, try to fix it?
For many that person is No One. And I’m left to wonder. Am I okay? Why am I feeling lost and confused? Would people reject me if they knew this about me? Is everyone right, that I’m screwed up somehow?
Inside my head I’m spinning all over the place, not accepting myself, making up stories about what people think, how they’ll react if I say something. When I look around, what I see and feel is that the world is unsafe.
I feel blamed, likes it’s my fault. Like I did something to make this happen and I’m not doing enough to make it go away.
All this makes me anxious. It makes me sad, depressed even. I lose motivation. There is a ton of stress.
It might be that I turn to drugs. Getting high relieves those hard feelings, gives me an outlet for what is really going on. I might even cut myself.
Then someone notices that I’m depressed or anxious. They figure out that I’m drinking or getting high. And they get pissed at me. They blame me again. Maybe they take me to the doctor to find a way to help me with the stress and they demand that I stop cutting myself.
What they don’t do is listen. They don’t notice the reason for the lack of motivation. They aren’t able or willing to acknowledge the pain in my heart because of how much I care. The confusion and struggle in learning about who I am isn’t seen or understood.
By missing what is really going on, they confirm that what lives inside me isn’t okay.
And like that popular song about being gay says, there are parts of me that I can’ t change, even if I try.
Truthfully, it’d be nice to accept myself, to feel accepted as I am, and even feel loved.