Now here I am, almost a year later, wrapping up my first year at the school of my dreams. I look back at that day, and I realize that a lot has happened since then. I take this post to reflect.
On May 9th, I took in a friend for the night who was kicked out of his house, with the predominant reason being that he is gay. I had always heard about these situations, but I never understood the severity until that moment. Having to ask my parents that night to let me bring him home, when I wasn't out to them, was odd, but they knew where my heart was. That night is still in my head, and I always think of my friend and the struggle he faces. I know I'm very fortunate with my family situation, and I can only hope that one day, he will be able to enjoy life being who he is, and not who his parents want him to be.
On May 15th, I started my first relationship. Needless to say, the three months that we had together were wonderful. Before we left for college, I wrote him a sappy love letter, being the big sap that I am, and I kept a copy for myself, just for memories. I pulled out the letter last week, and I realized that I am just a huge sucker, and I was just so happy to be with him. (I may or may not (may) have teared up while reading it)
On July 31st, I came out to my mom. If you read my earlier post, you know that her reaction involved laughter. She didn't make the process easy for me with her laughter at the lack of surprise of my statement. I remember the racing heart, sweaty palms, and stutter that I had as I uttered the simple words, "I'm gay." That night, I couldn't be home, after that event, so I went to my friend's house and just talked with him and my boyfriend so they could calm me down. That day will also always be in my head forever.
On August 24th, I moved in to Duke. That was perhaps the happiest and most nerve-wracking day ever. I was constantly affronted with lots of new people, and introverted me just couldn't handle meeting over 100+ people a day for O-week. But at the same time, I was so happy to meet people that shared interests with me, be it engineering, math, science (cause these are my only interests (I am in Pratt)), or guys. I didn't have too many gay guys at my high school, nor was there much of a dating community where I lived, so meeting other gay guys here at Duke was helpful and inspirational. I have learned about so many at-home experiences and I have made such wonderful friends through this community and the entire Duke community. To the class of 2015, if you are reading this, welcome, and be ready to make friends for a lifetime. I know I have in my time here, and will continue to make great friends for many years to come.
But even a year later, I reflect back, and I realize that I haven't changed a bit. I'm still good ol', extremely nerdy, optimistic, happy, and motivated Cameron. I have stuck to who I am since I have been here at Duke, and I plan to change for no one. A lot of things happened in this past year, and I had plenty of times where I could've put up a good front to please others or to make others like me, but instead, I stuck with me. Because of this, I have made wonderful friends and relationships with people who like and appreciate me, not someone who I am pretending to be. I may be gay, I may be a nerd, I may do math for fun, but I am an individual. And I am an individual who I can live with day to day. A quote from Oscar Wilde goes, "My great mistake, the fault for which I can't forgive myself, is that one day I ceased my obstinate pursuit of my own individuality." We are a community of individuals, all unique. No stereotype will ever define us all, no matter how hard people try to formulate such gross misrepresentations.
I encourage everyone, but especially to the incoming class of 2015, to remember what Mr. Wilde says, and remember that "You are you, truer than true," or so says Dr. Seuss.