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Stephen

June 1997

Well, hmm... This must be that second column writer's block Josh Weiss was talking about... Heh. Well, I'll come up with something.

Okay, first off, the aforementioned Josh Weiss was the first to correctly respond about the lyrics -- only 2 hours after it was online! I was expecting at least 5 hours.. Oh well. As I had discovered only after I went to look at the page, I made a mistake in the lyrics - It should be `I set it up' at the end. Apologies galore. I'm not going to have a name the lyrics contest this month. Ha.

Well, I had just written an entire article, ending with the words "For next month, I'll actually plan something". Well this morning, as I went to mail this, I realized that it was still May 4th, so I'm going to plan this one instead. Nice idea, no? Here goes...

It is now May 14, for those who wonder how I could have done all this in one hour of thought. My discussion will be about low self-esteem. Recently, I was on a trip to Barrie, Ontario, with members of the orchestra. I was devastated, because I felt I knew no one on this trip, since there are few freshmen in the orchestra. On this trip, we billeted with host families from Barrie. I got stuck with a rather mature junior. Through the process of the trip, I got involved in many mature gatherings, and was accepted by the mature people there as another mature individual. This made me happy, and made me realize further that this was one of (if not the) only things missing from my life, as I felt completely whole when with these people. When everything got back to normal in Bethlehem, PA, with me in my extremely immature freshman class (and there are mature freshman classes), I felt very empty, realizing why I was unhappy, but also feeling as if I could do nothing about it. A friend recently pointed out to me that maybe it was because I didn't want to be happy, or wasn't trying. After thinking about it -- I've found the source -- low self-esteem. I was afraid to join a mature social group, for fear of rejection.

You may be asking, what is this ranting?, but I do have a point. The effects of low self-esteem surround everyone, everyday. Everyone runs into the problem at some time or another -- They deny themselves something out of too little confidence in themselves. It's not necessarily a gay/bi/lesbian problem entirely, but self-esteem does have a lot to do with how well a gay teen accepts his or herself (From this point on, gay refers to glbt). Now truly, there are several institutions in place to combat low self-esteem. From an early age, we're all told by our teachers and parents that we're special, we can do whatever we put our minds to, etc... But the world tells us differently. Gay youth are often rejected by family, friends, and strangers for something they can neither change or ignore. For some people, like me, that can seriously lower one's opinion of themselves.

If gay teens are to lead successful, happy, and fulfilling lives, I think we must all overcome these barriers. I hear people make comments that gay pride is dangerous for a teen in high school. That's only partially true. We need to promote pride in one's self. So, I say to any gay teenager reading this, or, even more, any teenager reading this, who feels like they are unhappy with themselves -- Keep focused in your mind that your happiness is all that is important. This may seem selfish, but only if your happiness doesn't involve other people's happiness, which isn't often the case. It is what you should shape your life to create. Don't drag yourself into something that won't support that, and remember that the next time you feel you might be rejected, because, if you never try, you may never get that happiness which you seek to obtain.

P.S. -- A week of school left! Everyone be happy!


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