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At one point in my adolescence, I wanted to be a bird. I remember my brilliant ideas on how to become a bird or at least how to fly. I have this very resolute memory of my first attempt at flying. Standing on the high red slide that sat in the backyard of my old house I spread my arms out wide and looked toward the heavens. And I leapt. Of course I fell, even after my awkward attempt at flapping my arms. When I look back now I don’t see it from my eyes, it is almost as if I am seeing it from someone else’s eyes. I see my erect back, arms spread out triumphantly, and chin set in my determination to jump and fly…no matter what.  I do not recall when I first lost interest in becoming a bird, probably somewhere along my admittance into middle school or when I was too “cool” to pretend anymore. More than likely it was the former considering I still jump around my room pretending. Pretending, what? Well whatever pops into my mind at that moment.

Sometimes I still dream I can be a bird. And if I were, I would fly far, far away. Away from my problems, what I lack, my own self-doubt. Away from my family issues that always shake the foundations of my heart, no matter how hard I try to detach myself from their roots.

At some point in my middle school life I somehow set off the domino effect that would forever stick to me like hot glue. And so far, it has. I do not know when it first happened, where the first snide comment penetrated my innocent mind, or where I first began believing what was being yelled at me. I remember the decision I made and the wall I built around myself. For the most part, I can nearly remember every malicious thing someone has ever said to me, of course the kind never do really stick as well. They never do, do they? I feel like I can remember the first time someone first called me “queer,” or at least what I assume was the first time. It was a girl, big bulky girl, in elementary school. That was the first time. I remember running of the bus in tears, I didn’t know what it meant of course, but from the way it was said and how everyone laughed, I knew it was meant to be hurtful. The second time was on the bus; skip forward to the 6th or 7th grade, where I wasn’t as ignorant. I can still the feel of the sting of being called a “queer,” for the second time. I didn’t know what it meant, but I didn’t need to. Winifred, who rode the bus with me, let loose on the guy who called me it. Looking back I smile and sometimes laugh at how she stuck up for me as she condemned this kid from the way he was dressed to the “atrocious” face of his she had to look at day-to-day. I cried once again, not on the bus, but once I reached the sanctity of my home. In the kitchen balling my eyes out is where Winifred hugged and consoled me.

It wasn’t until the end of my 8th grade year that I actually broke the wall that I had built. I was terrified in my middle school years. Terrified to be singled out once again, which happened quite often. Friends that I used to call friends turned on me and joined in on what others would call me. It got to the point where I actually believed them. Once person started saying that I was gay, the rest followed without hesitation. There was a point in time where I believed every word of it, condemned myself for even existing. I began to produce the behavior of the stigma they so cleverly had given me. And I believed it. After all, who was I to refute what so many others were saying. It got to the point where I sunk into depression, became almost completely withdrawn and just fantasized about dying and how people would go on as if nothing had ever happened. I even thought my family wouldn’t care. So there I sat, lonely and depressed.

I think my rise out of my hole started at the end of my 8th grade year. I gained many friends, not a lot, but more than I had before. I started dating a girl, who was initially one of my friends. And then as ignorant as I was then, I broke up with her and asked her best friend to the 8th Grade Formal. Terrible thing to do, I know. Her friend said yes, and we “dated” a little into our freshmen year. But it became difficult considering I was now going to a different school and we stopped talking. I am a junior now. My wall doesn’t exist anymore. I am quick and witty, and don’t believe what others call me anymore. So at one point I believed myself to be gay, and there is nothing wrong with the gay community, but when I realized that I didn’t believe what others called me I realized that I was in fact the exact opposite of what they dubbed me to be. I began my constant obsession with girls, which still carries out to this day. I choose to be happy and optimistic, sure what others say might sting initially, but I brush it off eventually and retort back in some clever and witty manner.

I do not want to be a bird anymore. My desires have shifted to becoming an actor and that is where they seem to stick. In my soon to be seventeen years I have learned many things. I have learned that there is, in fact, no rest for the wicked, but also that I am not the stigma that they –society or peers- dub me to be. I am who I choose to be. And because of that, I love who I am. So when I look in the mirror, I see someone worthwhile. And I am right.