Middle School is a rough place, but I still decided it was time to come out. That was a bad decision! Now it’s all around school, plus my crush. I get all of the restricted calls, texts, and Facebook messages saying: “You were never liked and always hated, NOW YOU WILL STAY THAT WAY!” I feel really guilty that my parents have to pay an extra $5 a month to block restricted calls on my phone. Of course I block them on Facebook and ignore their texts, and of course now I have like two friends, but that’s a temporary solution. I am afraid to start school and hear all of the nasty comments and to get bullied by other kids my age. And to make the matter worse we play football or any game with catching or physical contract, I’m the kid in the corner or sitting out on the field because I don’t like sports. When I’m changing in the locker room before and after gym I’m afraid that kids will pick on me or take my clothes out of my locker. I don’t know what to do. I would greatly appreciate it if you could email me back.
P.S. your videos inspired me to come out
You’re right; middle school is a rough place. It’s bad enough that pretty much everyone there is in the throes of some of the roughest years of puberty. But there’s just something about the environment of middle school, something about shoving all of those hormones into the same test tube, that just brings out the most vicious, animalistic tendencies in kids. I wasn’t even out in middle school and I had an awful time there. I’d venture to say that everyone has a rough time in middle school. It is a truly awful place.
I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of the same old and tired words of encouragement: “don’t let it get to you”… “things will get better”… “just let it roll off your back”… and so on and so forth. Like I said, I wasn’t out in middle school, but kids still made my life a living hell, and I remember people telling me a lot of those same things. None of them made me feel any better. Trying not to let a bully bother you is like trying not to let a fly bother you– it’s pretty much impossible. So believe me, my friend, I have been there, along with pretty much anyone else who reads this column (leave a comment if you agree, guys).
Alright, here’s the thing, these kids do shit like send you Facebook messages and call you on your phone because they know it bothers you. Their goal with all of this bullying is to get under your skin, and the minute they sense that it’s working, they fucking swarm. They’re like a school of idiotic, twatty sharks. As a result, many people in your situation start to develop a bit of a thick skin. I’m not talking about just gay kids, either. I’m talking about anyone who doesn’t fit the norm: kids with weight problems, kids who may have some sort of learning disability, or just kids who are arbitrarily labeled as inferior by the mob. You develop this thicker skin simply because, even after you grow up, there’s no escaping jackasses. Sure, when you get to college or get your first job, these morons may not shove you into lockers or send you bitchy messages on Facebook, but there will always be people who feel like it’s their God-given right to push you around, harass you, or try to make you feel inferior.
Getting that thick skin comes from first realizing that these people are completely and totally beneath you. Especially in the era of cyber-bullying, bullies send messages and use phone calls because they’re too cowardly to say that stuff to your face. Even bullies that resort to physical force do so because they lack the mental capacity to use actual logic and reason, and people who obsess over and point out other people’s flaws are simply trying to divert attention away from their own. This is middle school. Everyone’s worried about whether they are normal. Everyone is stressing over every pimple and every new hair and every new growth. Everyone is insecure there, which is why they’re so ready to dogpile on you. But guess what? All they can see wrong with you is that you’re gay. So what? That’s not even a real flaw, especially if you don’t treat it like one. Will and I respond the same way whenever we encounter these fuckers online. Any time someone tries to call us faggots, we’re always like “how observant of you” or “so, what’s your point” or “did you come up with that all by yourself, sweetie?” I guarantee that if you walk through the halls with a “long hair don’t care” attitude, people won’t bother you as much. Sure, your problems may not disappear completely, but I feel like things would at least improve. Will was the only out kid in his entire high school, which was smack dab in the middle of “Hicksville”. But guess what, no one gave him any shit, because he refused to take shit from people.
So I would suggest embracing yourself, as difficult as that may be sometimes, and werking what you got. If someone asks you whether you’re gay or not, treat it like a non-issue. If someone tries to call you “fag” or “sissy” or “queer” or whatever, just shoot them your best bitch face and counter with “That’s all you’ve got? How original…” If people try to give you shit for not playing football, just tell them you can’t afford to mess up your beautiful face. If some guy in the locker room accuses you of peeking, counter with “At you? I hate to break it to you but you’re not that attractive.” You can even look to your favorite gay vloggers for inspiration. Walk through the halls channeling your inner Tyler Oakley or Miles Jai or Michael Buckley or Will or whoever. These are all people who had to put up with a lot of shit in their younger years, and have managed to turn their so-called defects into assets. After all, there’s a reason we look to them as role models.
In the meantime, I also encourage you to channel your focus and energy into more pleasant things. You say you have “like two friends”. Great! Awesome! Spend time with them as much as you can. Find some sort of extracurricular or athletic pursuit that you do enjoy. Act or paint or read or write or dance or…hell…juggle for all I care. Point is, there’s got to be something out there to make you happy and counteract all this negativity. Just because there are people who are pissing you off doesn’t mean that you have to stay pissed off all the time. For Will, he found reading and soccer. I, on the other hand, found acting and writing and swim team. As much as I would love to say that the rest of your teenage years will be carefree and painless if you follow this advice, I’d be lying to you. Sure, you may be able to minimize your problems as an adolescent, but you will never be able to make them go away completely. Thus, it’s important that you find something that you’re passionate about. If you don’t have positive forces in your life, it’s easy to let life’s problems overtake you and drag you down. Issues like this one seem a lot more manageable when you have happy things in your life to balance them out. So if you haven’t found your happy, I suggest you do some soul searching and find it.
Oh and one last thing: I don’t know how many kids you have at your school, but statistics dictate that LGBT people make up anywhere between 6-15% of the population. So unless your school has, like, twenty kids in it, I can pretty much guarantee that you’re not the only gay kid at your school. They may not be out or even know it yet, but they’re there. Just some food for thought 🙂