I am what I was called, so what?

I was born in 1962, in rural Quebec.  I am the youngest of a family of 9; I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters.  My older brother is 3 years older than me, and 3 years from our older brother.  We did not share the same friends or interest.

When I was a kid, I had one good buddy: Pierre-Paul, but our friendship ended when Pierre-Paul’s family moved far away; I was 7 years old.  I was never alone, there were always plenty of people at my house, my siblings and their friends, my cousins and other relatives who came to visit, but I did not have a close friend.

I was a loner but life was ok, I was low profile.  I had the privilege to grow up on a land that was located on the shore of the St-Laurence River and I spent lots of time walking the shore or exploring the fields and the woods.  My best friend was my mom.  I have plenty of imagination and I kept busy helping with the home chores, doing schoolwork, or my ultimate favorite time was playing with Lego blocks.  I focused on school and building Lego works.  I loved creating with Lego™ blocks!

The other kids on my street lived far and were of no common interest with me.  When I turned 12 and transitioned from elementary to High School; my life changed:  “My life changed from easy-breezy to a nightmare.  High School was a totally different civilization.  There were “kids” at that school who were young adults: 15 and 16 years old.  I was so unprepared for this; I was just a kid who had been floating on cloud number 9.  And since I was not tough looking, I was kind of delicate, I was tagged rapidly: faggot, queer, from the moment I stepped foot in that school by those older “kids”!

For me, every day at that school was a terror.  One day, I was picking up books from my locker and of these older kids got close to me.  I looked up and our eyes crossed; in a very aggressive way he hit the locker right next to mine, I can still hear the sound of his fist on the metal door, still looking me in the eyes and adding to the noise shouted: “I will kill you, FAGGOT!”  I stood there, powerless!  I felt the hate of this stranger; he knew nothing about me other than I looked like a good prowl and he attacked!

I could not comprehend how someone could hate me so much, I felt hated to my core, to my fiber, and I could do nothing to change that.  I froze!  He left!  I hated going to that school!  What were my choices?  Talking to my parents?  No way, I was way too scared that if I spoke, the school would not act and it would get even worse, I felt powerless!  The other choice was dropping out of school but I rejected that option because I had a dream.

I already knew I was different and I felt that my freedom would only happen when I could escape this small town and its minuscule mentality and move to the big city and live my life differently, my way.  I was aware of my sexual orientation already but I was way to scared to come out.  In the end, I am what I was called, now I say: So what?!  I wanted to live my life free.  Being homosexual is not a choice; living my homosexuality was one.  I wanted to live my gay life and from what I was reading and seeing on TV, Montreal meant Freedom, with a capital F.

Montreal is a 7 hours drive from my hometown.  My mom was overprotective but there is one thing that her and my dad had in common for all their kids.  They valued Education.  I knew that mom would never have allowed or encouraged me to move out of town but since there was no University in my hometown, I could use that as a reason to get out of there.  The only way “out” was going to University.  There was my perfect excuse to move away, to Freedom, capital F.  I now realize that I had unconsciously set the intention.  For my own survival, I felt that I needed to get out of there or I would die.

I was raised Catholic and even though I did, at the time, have dark thoughts and ideas; what saved me from ending it all was prayer and my faith.  I now pray differently and my faith remains.  I ended up coming to realize that my only way out was to get my grades and get forward in school.  I also realized and witnessed that while my bullying classmates were spending their time and energy in terrorizing kids like me; they were not passing their grades and they sank!  When 2 years later, I passed my grades with high scores and I changed school, they stayed behind.

At that time I chose to love myself first and the result was that I was improving my quality of life as my persecutors stayed behind.  Had I dropped out of school or had I not taken action in persevering in my study to get out, the turn out would have certainly been dramatically different; choosing to love myself first made the difference.

I was a young adult when I finished college and came time to go to University and as I mentioned previously, my mom was very possessive and protective but making sure that her kids would have education was her priority.  So, I knew she would not be pleased but she would not oppose my moving out of the family nest.  I chose myself first and I managed to get what I wanted to, well almost.  I did not move right away to Montreal.  I moved to the closest big town where there was a University, one hundred kilometers away from home.

My head and my heart were filled with hopes and dreams; I was Free, or was I?  To be continued…

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