Typing these words are sending tears to my eyes because this topic is so dear to me. I found myself with a heavy sigh, and all these thoughts are like avalanche inside my mind. Probably because I have a lot of things to say. Maybe these are the words that I wish I heard when I was there inside the closet.
Hello my friend, I am writing this to you.
Have you ever looked in front of the mirror and look close into your eyes and think, “it’s so heartbreaking.” because you’re scared, you feel so alone and the sad fact that you can’t be yourself in this world where people like you are getting so much hate, freaks you out. So much of your right to be free is being taken away from you.
I understand. And it’s alright to feel safe. Inside your shell.
Do you still remember when we were just little kids, they always tell us we can be everything we wanted to be when we grow up? At some point of our lives, some of us stopped believing that for we are getting aware of the harsh reality vs our real sexuality. We have no idea what the fuck is wrong with us then.
Finding out that you’re gay at a very young age is hard. Having no courage at all is much even harder. I remember I used to pretend to watch war films so that the people around me would not think that I am gay. Looking back, I want to hug that little boy. I can’t imagine that at a very young age, I self learned how to take away my own happiness to meet the society’s own definition of standard.
Let me share this to you:
When I was little around 8 or 9, I was playing on the streets when I accidentally heard the conversation of our neighbor to my mother, “…pero medyo malambot yang anak mo, no?” And by just hearing that, I felt an instant punch that sent shivers from my head down to my toe. And since I wasn’t “out” by that time yet, I tried to stay cool and continued playing with other kids. Those words made me real conscious because I know both my mother and our neighbor were staring at me. “Wait lang uwi lang ako ah,” I told the kids I was playing with and went to our house heading directly to the bathroom.
There I shed a tear.
I will never forget how hard I cried that day, avoiding myself to make a single noise because I didn’t want my other relatives to hear I was crying. I can’t really remember what happened after that and how I proceed with my day without anyone noticing I was hurt. But all I can remember is, I went to bed that night with a heavy heart. My mother and our then neighbor won’t even remember that. But my 9 year old self clearly remembers it all.
Mahal, you need to be strong. Because there are people out there who will try to force you to come out, there are evil people out there who will do it for you just to make you feel small in front of a crowd. Stay away from these people.
I want you to know that you are not alone. And never will be. To the countless nights you have to cry on your own, without having someone’s arms around your shaking shoulders, that’s the time you have to be stronger than the bastards of the universe.
Fuel yourself up with a hell lot of courage. Do it everyday as you strive to get out of that bed. Cultivate your strength from within and strongly win your worries, one battle at a time. Until the day that you’re ready to come out. By that time, it’s not going to be easy. But it’s going to be liberating and it’s going to give your heart a deep relief. The universe will bless you the happiness of being free.
Until then, stay okay. The fight is not over yet. To all the LGBTQI+ pals who made it out of the closet already, we are campaigning. We are fighting for the shared humanity in our own little ways every day. So don’t be afraid, because you can always get the help that you needed from us.
So the next time someone tells you you’re stupid just because you’re gay, hold your head high and make them look at you in the eyes. We will just be at your back, because we got this fight.
Artworks by Marrion Gette Magtira