April 1997

Hi all! Wow! This is my very first article for Oasis. I really hope, with the help of the editor, it will be readable and understandable. This one introduces me. Others about various subjects will follow.

Who am I?...

This is a question a lot of us ask at given times in our lives. As far as I'm concerned, I had an incomplete answer when I was a child: "I'm not like the others." I didn't really know why at that time. I always seemed to be kept off to the side or in the background among my pals. Of course, I was a boy, and there wasn't any special things about it, but I've never acted like my school friends.

The first big difference that changed my life was sickness. As a matter of fact, from the time I was two, and for a few years afterward, I had to live with a generalized skin disease. It took a long time for my parents (and for me, too) to find a cure. Traditional medicine failed several times. Finally, when I was six or seven, a remedy had been found. The disease started to regress but did not completely disappear. Even today, I can't eat or drink anything I want. I remain very susceptible, being allergic to some drugs and foods.

I'm the third of three children. Needless to say, my parents, especially my mother, wanted to compensate the disease and its affect on me. I was following a very strict diet --no candies, very difficult for a child, no orange juice, selected bread, etc. -- and I was regularly falling ill when a virus was around. In short, I was fragile. Even if my parents have always said the contrary, they gave me a little more affection and a little more love. I can today tell that my mother overprotected me. Being the last child, my position was sometimes critical in comparison with my brother and my sister.

I wasn't often going to school. This is probably the main reason why I felt different from others. In addition, I was pretty gifted at school since I learned a lot directly from my mother, at home. So I've been put in a special "class" of schoolboys by my friends, being a bit shy but doing extremely well in class. All of this has certainly created a gap and may have modified my conception of relations with other people.

The following is terribly logical. During my early teenage years, this body which was so difficult to keep healthy a few years ago was beginning to change a lot. In these years, I lost my self confidence. I was completely hopeless in sports practice, and a lot of people made me aware of it, including the coaches who always gave me E's. And when a guy wanted to do something real bad, I was often the victim.

Unconsciously, I was beginning to compare myself with other boys, from the class, the street, the neighborhood. Then to implicitly desire them. I knew something was not "working properly" in my sexuality and in my desires when I was 14 or 15.

High school (15-17 y/o in France) was a real delivery for me. I entered a different universe in comparison with previous years. I was still a teenager with his problems, some of them becoming more and more complex to manage, but at last I had a few 'real' friends, both at school and outside. Indeed, after getting in touch, through a small ad in a specialized magazine, with a computer geek, I was quickly accepted into a group of young computer fans, all around my age. Still today we regularly meet, even if we have all taken different ways and studies now.

Beside these friendships, it seemed I was growing more and more different from another point of view. Well, as for girls, I've had real good friends during these years, but nothing more. I've never dared to go further; not enough confidence in myself, no desire, a will to stay different ... I don't know, maybe all of those things. And I was seriously attracted by boys from high-school or elsewhere. But this was something I had trouble to consider.

The years after graduation (end of high-school here) were experimentation years, filled with doubt, joy and sorrow. I've had my first sexual contact when I was 18, with someone I trusted and loved at the time, but was quickly thrown away when I finally understood he made use of me only to reach other purposes. Since then my heart is empty. Two boys could have filled this place with warmth, but they're straight... As for "pure sex," I sometimes lived a few quick moments with people I wouldn't see twice. This was part of my reality in those days.

Today, I still have trouble to look in a mirror, right in the eyes, and pronounce the short sentence "I am gay." Maybe because I'm not really gay, maybe because I don't want to be categorized. Maybe because there's a ton of connotations in these three words, and I don't -- or don't want to -- share them.

In these conditions, I'm not known as gay among my close relations. My parents, especially my mother who is a very intuitive woman, have quickly understood I was fighting with some internal demons. Today, they know I'm "different" and accept it somehow. My father maintains this could only be a short passage in my life, my mother is more tolerant. In spite of some towering rages, mainly because of non-dialogue, I guess they're actually cool on this subject. They'll get used to it if necessary.

But they are the only ones to share this kind of little "secret". My family, and my current or old friends, except for one, don't know about it. It is sometimes very hard to live that way, but I'm inclined to let myself go. I accept this situation, without really accepting it.

What should I say more ? In these years of torment, music helped me a lot. I've never truly played an instrument ; on the other hand I've listened to lots of New Age music, Vangelis in particular. It was, and it still is, an efficient way to de-stress myself. I used to play the same CD every night before falling asleep, for months. I was making a clean sweep of my daily worries, and dove into music without any intellectual effort. I had sometimes the feeling of being one with the notes. This was a very nice feeling, a kind of gratitude, of complicity.

Here's a part of my life. At present, I'm 22, in an engineering school in France, studying computer science. I'm beginning to form a very, very strong friendship with a slightly younger boy. Let's pray...

Take care!

[About the Author]

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