Not too far from where I am sitting now there is a town where I lived for several years as a child. Naturally many things have changed since then but I still have powerful memories of those years. In part because it was where I first realized there was something different about me, something unexpected, unsettling, and terrifying. It would become a life long secret, a never ending struggle, which shaped much of who I became, who I am now.
I moved when I was about to enter junior high and for a short time I thought I could be free to finally be myself but as many children of the 70s and 80s know, it was not to be. I knew what I should be.
Who I should be.
Yet it wasn’t to be.
It didn’t take long for the fears to return as I understood people are too much the same regardless of where you live and those who walked past me now wouldn’t except me any more than the ones I left behind. So I kept my secret held safely behind a mask and buried deep inside.
Regardless of all the years which have followed, it has always been this place, this time which has haunted me more than any other and now I have decided it is time to go back and face the past. I can’t say what triggered this but I know it is something I have to do. To walk those streets, to visit the places I still remember clearly and do so as myself. No masks, no filters. No hiding and no fear.