One of the things I hated about middle school was the fact that adults always wanted to talk about how your body was changing. Thanks for telling me that Mrs. Smith, because I didn’t notice how every single guy was suddenly taller than me or that I suddenly had boobs. Thanks for letting me know that my body was changing because I had no idea.
Middle school wasn’t only about my body changing, but it was also about me, as a person, changing. I began questioning my sexuality. Now I know what you’re thinking. No. I wasn’t questioning if I liked girls. Trust me , from the time I was 11-13 years old, liking girls was pretty much the only thing I was sure about. I just wasn’t sure if I liked guys. At this point I realized that I was “supposed” to like guys. My parents were asking me if there were any guys I liked. My friends were asking me if I liked any guys. Society was pretty much yelling at me that I should only think about boys. But yet, I was asking myself, “Do I really like guys or do I just want them to disappear?”
Before middle school boys were just there. All my friends were guys. In fact, I didn’t hang out with a lot of girls in elementary school because I found them to be annoying. I was the tomboy that played basketball and football with the guys, traded Pokemon cards, reenacted Dragonball Z battles and played in the mud, but when I got to middle school all of that changed. All of the sudden guys wanted very little to do with me and I started hanging out with girls.
I was confused by all of it. Guys that I once hung out with on a daily basis were checking out girls and I couldn’t hang with them because I wasn’t one of the guys. So hanging with the guys was out of the question which led me to hanging with the girls. This was difficult because girls usually didn’t understand why I didn’t wear dresses or skirts, or didn’t like painting my nails or any of that stuff. I didn’t really understand girls either. I was confused when some of my friends started wearing make-up, not quite understanding the point or appeal of eye liner and mascara. I didn’t understand why girls were afraid to approach boys or why they got so upset that Johnny was talking to Rebecca or Mandy, but not them. Not only were these questions perplexing my mind, I also found it difficult to be friends with some of these girls because some of them were really cute.
The tables had turned on me and I begin to think to myself, “Should I be liking guys too? It seems like all these other girls are liking guys.” This question led me to asking my guy friend D.J. to the first school dance, back in the 6th grade. I had known D.J. since the 3rd grade. He was the boy that everyone from my parents to my Youth Center counselors were trying to pair me with. When I think back to it D.J. was sort of an ass. I mean we were friends and he had his moments, but I never truly had a crush on him. I never wanted to share my first kiss with him (something that happened later that school year with some other dude. Ugh, that’s a different story that we will never discuss because I’m trying to erase it from my memory).
My “crushes” on guys were really just me clinging to guys who were nice to me because in middle school it was rare. My biggest “crush” was on my best friend Niko (who by the way is gay and has a boyfriend now, go figure). Niko was my best friend. He was the person I confided in, the guy who stood up for me, my rock. And because of all of this I developed a “crush” on Niko. Pretty much something everyone knew about because Niko and I were always attached to the hip.
I remember at the time asking myself, “Do I actually like Niko or do I just not want my best friend to leave me?” I would sometimes get mad at him when he chose to partner up with someone besides me in classes because I knew that if I wasn’t with him no one else would want to be my partner. I remember getting upset when he was “dating” some new girl. He would hang out with her after school while I would just be riding my bike around the neighborhood alone… Looking back at it I now realize that Niko wasn’t a crush, I was just lonely and needed my best friend.
However Niko wasn’t my only “crush” during middle school. Thomas was my “crush” in the 8th grade. Thomas was this guy who was chunky in the 6th grade and lost a lot of weight throughout school and by the 8th grade he was fit and pretty cute. Thomas was also one of the few guys who was nice to me. He was that guy that any girl would fall for, cute, sweet, and nice. I even got him a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. I remember giving him the box and feeling weird about it. I didn’t feel weird because I gave him the chocolate I felt weird because I gave a GUY some chocolates. I remember thinking that I’d rather be giving a certain girl in my math class a box of chocolates.
So there I was having “crushes” on guys and becoming more and more confused every day. This confusion was not just caused by society and everyone else telling me to like boys. A lot of this confusion came from me wanting to be normal. Normal is a word that I learned to hate and despise. At that point in my life I learned that being gay wasn’t “normal.” That me liking girls was not “normal” and was not okay. Unfortunately at this point of my life all I wanted was to be was normal. So I decided I was bisexual. Okay, that sounds bad. When I say “decided” what I mean was that I decided I would try to be half of what everyone wanted from me. I saw being bi as being half straight, being half normal.
Unfortunately middle school was not only a time when I was questioning myself, it was also a time when I was keeping a big part of myself hidden. It was a time when I was slowly dying on the inside without anyone knowing it, except for me…