Monday, March 4, 2024

Microstory 2096: Before I Came Out

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When I was pretty young, my dad told me that he once jumped off a cliff in Boy Scouts. I think he said it was a hundred feet or something, which may or may not have been an exaggeration. Because of the way my brain works, I interpreted this to mean that jumping off a cliff was some kind of a requirement, which immediately took me out of the running, because I’ve always been afraid of heights. That’s not a phobia, by the way, because it’s not irrational. You fall down, you could die. It doesn’t even have to be that high. You could fall from your own height, and still crack your head wide open. Some time later, I either learned that it wasn’t really a requirement, or I forgot all about it, because I did join Cub Scouts, and eventually moved up the ranks as appropriate. I graduated to Boy Scouts with a group of other boys, and we stuck together for a little while. Over the course of the next several years, almost invariably, when one of them would attain the highest rank of Eagle, they would stop coming to meetings and camping trips. I started noticing this throughout the whole troop. If they didn’t quit sometime before, they ended up seeing reaching Eagle the end of their journey. By the time I turned 18, I was one of only a few kids my age left. Everyone else was younger, placing me in a de facto leadership position in many cases. Despite the fact that I initially ranked up faster than most of my peers, I was the last to finally get Eagle. In fact, it was four weeks before I turned 18. I don’t think there was a rule that said that I was disqualified at that age, but I definitely wanted to finish by then either way.

Shortly thereafter, we went on a canoe trip, which we would do every year. It was set to be my last. I knew that I wasn’t going to be involved in the organization for much longer. Since all of my “friends” were gone by then, I shared a canoe with my dad. In the middle of the trip, we came across a cliff that looked like we could climb up to from the side. It was not a hundred feet up, but it wasn’t six feet neitha, I’ll tell ya that much. I was still afraid of heights—which, like I said, is rational—but older, stronger, and more confident in my abilities. So we got out, checked the depth of the water below the cliff, and then made the short trek to the top, where we jumped off together. I dunno, I think it’s rather poetic that the one thing that almost stopped me from experiencing those ten years of my life was one of the last things I did for my scouting career. I left the scouts, and I never looked back. I don’t regret the activities that I participated in, but I can’t look back on the whole experience fondly either. Those people suppressed my sexuality for many years beyond that. I just got so used to being someone that I wasn’t, and it took a lot for me to decide to live as my true self. I was in my 30s before I came out as omnisexual, and I will never forgive them for that. I could have been so much happier. How many others went through something similar? I’m still attracted to women, so at least I wasn’t lying about everything, but there are those who can’t express themselves at all, and that was never okay. I do not tolerate the excuse that it was a “different time”. A part of me wants/wanted them to change, but another part of me just wants to see them destroyed. I’m vengeful like that sometimes.

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