This Southern Faggot's Blog

I can’t believe it. Wait, yes I can

In the year 2001 I was 13. I don’t remember much about my life at this point, which is probably fine. I do remember that I was volunteering at a childrens museum downtown, every single hour I was not at school and they were open. Looking back, I remember that staying at the house did not feel right. I didn’t know why, but I never felt like it was a safe space for me.

When the museum closed, I would always go to the main library for a few hours and get lost in the shelves, reading anything I could get my hands on until they closed.

One day I went to the library before the museum and realized that maybe they had books about gay people. I searched and eventually found the book ‘Rainbow Boys’, which was pretty amazing to me at the time. I knew I could not possibly check out the book; I actually remember thinking ‘what if my parents look at my check out history some how!’. I ended up not going to volunteer that day and stayed in the library all day, without ever leaving, so that I could finish this book.

At the time, I thought this book had changed my life. Of course I knew about Queers, but that was all from interactions with people and media on the internet. This was the first time I had something physically in my hand that made mention of people like me. It made me feel like I belonged, somehow, somewhere and that was what I really needed at the time.

Shortly after the second book came out, I remember knowing about it existing, but I was not interested in reading it. Maybe I felt too grown up, or like that was a resource I no longer needed.

Recently, I have become obsessed with young adult gay fiction and picked up Rainbow Boys again. Somehow, this book still has a lot of power over me. I mean, clearly in very different ways, but I still feel myself drawn to it in a really powerful way. Yesterday I was at the library and picked up Rainbow High and also Rainbow Road and just finished Rainbow Road, the final book of the trilogy.

But the question that I keep asking myself is, why do I feel so drawn to these young adult books?

I think a large part of me feels like I missed out on my childhood because I never did have those typical growing up experiences. I was never very social, so I never went on an official date (still never have, unless you count turning tricks), never had my heart broken and never had that experience of feeling like I had fallen in love with someone. But, I mean, shouldn’t I be happy that I never had my heart broken, or falsely believed I had found ‘the one’? To me, it feels like for most people, these are things that came with the territory of being young. But I never had those things and I wonder how I would be different now if I had had those experiences.

Part of me wishes that I could go back and do it over again, but what would I want to change?

My family situation has had a large impact on who I am today, but growing up that was really rough on me. It’s easy to say that I would never want to change that, but if I could, I wonder if I would.

If I could, would I go back and change the fact that I never dated? Would I go back and open up myself to people more and probably get my heart broken?

Part of me loves reading young adult fiction because it makes me question all of these things. Reading these books forces me to look back on my childhood, which is something I generally avoid doing. I like that part. I like that it forces me to think about my life and where I have been. But reading these books and thinking about my childhood also makes me an emotional wreck. I cried for a really long time after finishing Rainbow High for a lot of reasons. Hopefully one day I will be able to look back on my life and be happy that everything happened exactly the way it did. In my mind, I know that I would not change anything, even if I could. In my mind, I know that I am the person I am today because of my past. But it’s hard to convince the rest of my body that’s true.