That's how long I've been a member of Oasis, though I was a guest long before I ever signed up. When I was sixteen I was afraid of what would happen if people saw that I was a member of a website like Oasis. I didn't want people to know that I was gay. Even so, Oasis was a site that allowed me to read the rants, raves and encouragement of other people like me. After I was done gaining courage from Oasis' users I would quickly delete my history and do something else.
A few months before my seventeenth birthday I finally signed up on Oasis because I saw how helpful the people here could be. Gay culture was still new and weird to me and I harbored a lot of anti-gay sentiments (especially towards flamboyancy). My internalized homophobia lead me to thoughts of suicide but I didn't bring attention to that to the users of Oasis. Instead, I wrote poetry.
I've always been better at bring my thoughts and feelings into words through metaphor or humor. So, that's what I did. I know that Jeff doesn't particularly appreciate teen poetry but the fact that people responded to what I wrote here is the only reason why I stayed alive. I adored the encouragement that Oasisers gave me and, while I was younger, took to heart the sympathy they gave me when I wrote a particularly sad poem. I attribute this website to my love of writing today, however much my style and perspective has changed. This website kept me alive through my coming out.
During my first year here, however, I often sought pity and not encouragement. I wrote of what I feared could happen if I came out to my parents. I wrote that my parents were kicking me out, I had been disowned, I was staying with friends to keep off the street, etc. In my mind, I viewed it as an inevitability and therefore not a lie. My mind, however, wasn't exactly the healthiest place at the time. I constantly thought about suicide and didn't want to tell anybody about it, so I lied to get the sympathy I craved. I did think that my parents would disown me if they knew that I was gay.
During my senior year of high school I got fed up with my parents and decided that I didn't need their support anymore. So, I packed some clothing, put my valuables in boxes hidden in the basement and came out to my mother. As I expected, she didn't take the news very well. She cried and I left to stay at my friend Kayla's house for a while. My father was on a business trip and didn't hear the news for a few days, but once he returned home he called me and wanted me to come home.
"You mean... you still love me?"
My father told me that there was nothing wrong with being gay and that he wanted me home for dinner. I asked him if mom still loved me and he said yes, but she would need time to adjust.
That night I went back and deleted all of my negative entries on Oasis and started over. After finally having come out to everyone (my friends already knew) I didn't realize why I had lied. It was as though all of my fears had come from watching too many episodes of Oprah. Why had I lied? Lying had come as second nature to me. I told people every day that I was straight. Perhaps not in such a blunt way, but keeping up the facade of being attracted to girls when you're, in fact, not takes some skill with lying.
That day I also vowed to never lie again.
I guess after that I didn't need Oasis very much but I stuck around in case Oasis ever needed me.
It's been four years since I first set eyes on this website and 3 years, four weeks since I used Oasis to vent my frustrations.
The people here are like I was when I was not-so-much-younger but I don't think I relate.
I have little to give back to Oasis anymore and I'm not sure why I return. I've sorted out my life now. I know where I'm heading. I love life, I love art.
I don't think I am needed here.