Not So Different At All


Photo by Kasey Jo Reed

“There is no such thing as ordinary love” Rebekah Schnaubelt

Students are gossip all around. It is another tiring Monday morning as teenagers crowd the cafeteria to get breakfast. It seems so simple, a chicken biscuit or muffin tops, milk or juice, but life outside of the school walls just adds to the complexity of every individual’s life; however, judgment is based on the assessment of one’s appearance.

Teachers walk around making sure students are behaving, seeing that they are in their designated areas like border collies herding sheep. Time is going by slowly like it does every Monday, the hand dragging itself on the clock to the next second.

You stare at the clock listlessly, breakfast untouched, waiting for the day to begin. Each day is filled with a new mystery, a new adventure, a new assignment, a new friend, a new challenge. Patience is a distant thought as you shake your leg anxiously and imagine today’s agenda.

When the bell rings, you collect your bags, throw away the breakfast you never eat, and walk to class with your fellow students. Some people rush to get their favorite seat, others linger because they dread a lesson on polynomial functions.

You sit in the first open desk you can spot in the front of the room. The class is quiet, exhausted from their fun weekends. Occasionally there is a whisper or so, and you wish your friends were in more of your classes.

The teacher lectures the class with a new lesson that you hardly pay attention to. Your mind thinks of yesterday’s events, last night’s dreams, and today’s plans. When the teacher asks a question, no one answers or raises their hands. It is so silent that crickets should be chirping. Ultimately, the teacher answers the question and proceeds with the lesson.

As the day carries on, class is generally the same, except the students become more lively and chatty. You shuffle through your teachers: the one who speaks in monotone, the one who yells, the one who makes you laugh, the one who is great at teaching, and the one who makes you wonder how they became a teacher in the first place.

A few friends are in some of your classes, where you share light conversation about your weekends and agree to make plans for homework that never get scheduled. You wonder where you will ever fit in as the others around you do the same.

You know you are different because everyone is different. However, you are aware that your differences are not usually accepted. You keep to yourself and try to be what the others around you expect. The person you become is not the real you.

In gym, it’s as if your secret has been let loose. You keep your eyes focused on the ground as you dress because you are positive they now know the truth. You try to disappear into the background until the end of the school day when you board the school bus home like your fellow students.

IPod playing, eyes staring out the window, seated with a person you were assigned, you head home. At your house, you get off the bus and go inside. Sometimes your family is home. Sometimes they are busy.

Dinner is at six. Part of the time you eat microwave ramen alone, or you share a family gathering around macaroni and hamburgers. If your family is present at the table, you discuss your day.

At your turn, you never feel as though you are being completely honest. You always feel as though you are lying because you are not being your real self.

You fear that if you are honest, those who love you will see you differently. You believe no one would treat you the same. You have been raised to see that the person you are is wrong, and so you hide, completely uncomfortable in your own skin.

Often you imagine what it would be like for at least one person to know. If you tell a friend, will they stick behind you and support you? Or will they turn away in disgust and torment you?

Too many times you have heard of the verbal and physical abuse that comes with telling the truth. There is always a glimmer of hope for acceptance, but there is too much shame in the truth, so it remains a secret.

In telling your family, you fear disappointment and abandonment. It seems cruel to think that those who are meant to love you unconditionally will possibly disown you.

You are confused. Why is it wrong to be the person you were born to be? Why are you judged for something you didn’t choose? Why are you sinful for being happy?

For moments you consider telling the one who owns your heart. Your body chills every time you lay your eyes on them, your heart races excitedly, your knees become weak, and you know it is love. You desire to be with them every moment. You desire to hold their hand, to embrace them in your arms, to sooth away their sorrows. In your free time, you write their name over and over again with hearts. Their last name seems to perfectly become yours. Your mind wanders to going on a date, to getting married, to raising children, to growing old together.

However, you never tell your friends, you are never honest with your family, and you never confess your love. Your fear of rejection causes you to live in lies and misery. Life loses its joy, and you sink into depression. You will never feel accepted. You will never feel loved. You will never feel happiness. All because you can never tell them that you love the same sex.