October 1999

Last month I wrote about being strong. Being strong comes in handy when we are afraid. And being afraid happens to me sometimes. It is like it doesn't even warn me, suddenly I am afraid. And I don't always know what it is I'm afraid of.

My friends would say being afraid wasn't something that happened to me. I just finished fighting a battle with my principal about our school constitution. They would think nobody who was going to stand up and fight a decision by a principal was afraid. I was afraid the whole time I did it. I ended up winning, because he was wrong, and I knew it, and I think even he knew it. So now I am afraid he will hold it all against me. I win, and I'm still afraid.

Being afraid doesn't always stop me from doing things. But it doesn't make things easy. The big thing we keep writing about in here is coming out and being afraid of doing that. Even though I think my parents would be cool about it, I'm afraid to come out to them. Afraid it would change my life by admitting to them I am gay. That they would look and me and my friends differently.

I sure am afraid to do it at school. I'm active in student government. What would they all think to find out I am gay. I've helped start some good programs, but would I get support from the other council members if they found out I was gay? I don't know. And I'm afraid to find out.

Does not doing what I am afraid to do here mean I'm not strong or does it mean I'm not stupid. When is it right to do what you're afraid to do and when is it right to say, okay, this is scary and I'm not going to do it. I fought the principal, heart thumping, for three days. I went over his head to change his decision. I was afraid but overcame it, because I was right.

But I could never admit to the kids in my school that I am gay. It's sad, but I would lose a lot of respect. It's not a right or wrong thing. It's for me, a smart or stupid thing. I like being respected and a school leader. I don't want to ruin that. But the funny thing, I live on the edge. Most of my real friends know. And they don't care. One teacher knows, and he doesn't care. I tell things in little pieces. I drop hints and do wild things. One person online said it's like I want to get caught and found out but I don't want to tell the world.

Maybe, or maybe I like fighting my fear, but I can't beat it totally. And maybe it is my fear that keeps me from doing too much and wrecking what I have.

This isn't the only thing I am afraid of, but maybe it is the biggest one. Sometimes things just get me scared. But when I think about it, I figure out that whatever scared me, a hard test, a big assignment, being afraid I will die someday, whatever they are, they are things I can either do something about, or things I can't and might as well try to forget about.

It's too bad I have to be afraid to show who I am. But all you have to do is read what happens to kids who come out in some places, and maybe being scared and not fighting the fear is a good thing when it comes to coming out. And maybe sometimes being strong just means learning that you have to live with what you are afraid of. We all get scared and afraid of something. And we all have to do something with it or just live with it and let life go on.


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