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…