The past few months have been incredibly stressful for me. I was in a relationship, then out of a relationship, dealing with housing problems, adjusting to life off campus, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, trying to figure out *if* I can do something with my life, the usual identity crisis that I never seem to figure out, and more things that perpetually swim around in my head. I've had my good times, my bad times, my amazing times, and times where I wanted to crawl into a cave and fade from existence. On top of it all, it's my senior year. I've got one more chance to do things right here, to get involved, to reconnect with old friends. So, I sat down with myself and asked myself, "Self, what do you want to do with yourself this year? It's your last year. You only get one more shot. What are you going to do?"
After first answering myself by saying that I'm going to Disney World, I thought for a minute and my big revelation: "Self, I'm going to be gay."
"Good choice, my friend."
I didn't start coming to the Center or LGBT events until my sophomore year. It was a very different time back then and decided that I didn't want to get involved with the community. I had my fraternity. I had my a cappella group. I had the FAC program. Gay was never a major identity for me anyway. I didn't need the community. I thought I'd be fine without it. As time went on, I would randomly show up at a Fab Friday or pop in to use a computer for 5 minutes but it didn't become a regular thing until junior year. Even then, I'd come to Fab Friday and that was about it.
And so, I just went through the first 3 years of my college career being openly gay but not being gay. I'd go to a gay club here and there but that was about the extent of it. And for a while, I was fine. I was happy having a short emergence into the gay world and then going back to my normal life. But, recently, things have been different.
I've had this gnawing feeling in me that something just wasn't right. Something was missing in my life and I needed to find out what it is. I got tired of my same old routine. In the midst of just going through the emotions of life, I lost myself. I didn't really know who AJ was anymore. I can tell you what he's majoring in, what music he likes, and what he's involved with on campus. But I couldn't tell you anything about AJ.
So the soul searching began. What in the world is wrong with me? What aren't I having fun with my brothers like I always used to? What am I doing wrong? I'm not doing something right. Then, it hit me.
Me. I'm not doing me the right way. I've always associated the Center with being a very flamboyant, overly radical, just super-gay gay. That's not exactly my style (I do have my moments, honey). I ended up just staying away from it. Finding friends outside of the Center. It took me all of this time to realize what I should have known all along: The Center is what you make it. Going there doesn't mean that I'm being extra gay. It doesn't mean anything. There were people that I once resented because I thought that they labeled me as not being gay enough or thought they looked down on me for not making the Center my second home. And I was wrong. I was drop dead wrong. I was basing my view of myself off of what I thought others would view me as. Just revealing my insecurities about myself.
And so, I chose not to really acknowledge who I am because of that. I knew and accepted my gayness but thought that my gayness was not the gayness that was at the Center. This stupid ideology led me to not really have many gay friends, thinking I didn't need friends like them. I wasn't one of those gays. I don't need to be surrounded by gays all the time. I have a life outside of being gay.
All of that came back to bite me in the butt when I realized that I was neglecting myself of a world of all these awesome queers and allies. I was rejecting my community and that simply just cannot be.
It's with that in mind that I've deiced to be gay this year. You'll often see me planted at a computer doing work (Facebooking) at the Center. You'll see me be one of the first people to show up at Fab Friday and one of the last to leave. I've decided to have regular parties at my apartment for the gays and allies. It's time for me accept the community that's been here for me all along. It's time for me to be gay.