Dear 17-year-old me: A gay man writes to his younger self

Crushes, insults, online softcore porn, indulgence, and reconciliation. If you could write to your younger self about what the future holds, what would you say?

Dear 17-year-old me,

How dare he? How can he just barge into your television screen, dance around naked, with nothing but a towel, and leave you all wet? Umm, I was referring to the sweating, obviously. What did you think?

Oh and your browser history. I bet those steamy David Beckham's nudes were great, but getting caught by your sister must have been embarrassing. Good job on blaming it on your classmate though! Next time, just go incognito. It will save you some trouble and your sister, a mini heart attack.

And hey, how are you managing your new-found beard? Oh wait, I mean your ‘girlfriend’. Messy, yeah? Your virtual worship of Mr. Luscious Abs must be making it messier. So, I think it’s time we address the elephant in the room. It must be tough to accept it, but you are gay. Oops! You have not figured that out yet. Let’s stick to bicurious, shall we?

'Chakka', 'Chikna', 'Baila' often bring back the scars of school life.

Looking back, I can see that those 15-year-olds were under the spell of gender norms. But what about the teacher who told a 15-year-old to stop sitting like Karan Johar? It was not the first time that the teachers silently attacked your femininity. Teachers who were supposed to build you into a better person did a fine job of breaking you piece by piece. You have lost so many pieces that it’s like a puzzle now, and getting each of those pieces back together is getting harder. But even after all those blows, you have made it through, so don’t let negativity push you back into the shell you made your way out from.

“Walk like a man”, “Talk rough”, “Don't be so emotional”, “Control those hand movements”. In the midst of these constant reminders to be a 'man', you lost something. You.

You have every right to be afraid of what you have experienced. But it’s time you break those walls of homophobia and come out, not to people but to yourself first, and get comfortable in your own skin. Because no one can be better at being you than yourself.

You don't suffer from homosexuality. Believe me, getting involved with girls is not going to be the cure. So you can stop working on your thesis of ‘Can vaginas pray away the gay?’ The amount of effort you take to think about a woman and masturbate has amazed me. Use it somewhere else and you will go places. And what is with forcing yourself to watch straight porn? Who are we kidding? We all know you drool over the guy anyway. Don’t cast yourself in the mold of what this heteronormative culture wants you to be.

Take my advice, stop praying away the gay!

The thought of ending up alone is frightening. Afraid of being devoid of love? Don’t be. Be a little selfish and love yourself first. A little bit of spoiling yourself is not harmful too. Finding love is not going to be easy. You might have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince charming. Your heart will be broken, and even you will break a few. But time and a strong support system will help you sail through. A friend once told me, “I was alone the entire time we were married. When I uncaged her, I set myself free.” 

Do not let your sexuality be the only thing that defines you. People are going to throw all sorts of labels at you but only you can define yourself. In this journey of self-acceptance, you will be learning a lot about people. Not everyone is going to accept you with open arms. Give them some time, they will come around. If they don't, consider it good riddance and move on. Living a double life may get tiring sometimes. But hold onto your horses. Come out only when you need to. Parents are going to be the toughest. Take all the time you want. One thing I know for sure, you will come out strong.

Of course, it is not going to be easy but then what is? Be strong. Wear your weakness as armor. People have struggled in their time to create a safe space for people like you. Don’t let it go to waste. Honor them. You will soon come across various LGBT support groups. You will meet similar people, hear similar stories, and know that you are not in this alone.

Soon, you will walk your first Pride, putting all your prejudice behind and not letting anyone ruin your rainbow. That will complete your journey of self-acceptance. Embrace yourself. Don’t try to smother that rainbow inside of you because no matter how hard you try, it will eventually come out. Shining.


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