Dear Phone…my high school experience that made me not trust people

Dear Phone,

It’s been a while. Sorry, that I’ve been neglecting you. It wasn’t intentional. I started a new job and I’ve been trying to adjust my schedule to my new one. Because I started my new job, it’s like the first day of a new school. You need to get adjusted to these new people and play the game of “do I just let it all out or let it all out in small spurts?”

In case you never had to play that game, consider yourself lucky. It’s a game where you pretty much determine how open are you with your life. Think of it like a pool, do you want to just dive all in with it or are you going to go in slowly? I typically go in slowly. Frankly, I’m not a trusting person. Besides many years in retail that have ruined people for me, I’ve been burned too many times in my life that makes me not trust people. I blame high school for this. Yep, It’s time to go back into my closet.

I was bullied all throughout high school…actually, it was all throughout schooling grade 4-12 but we aren’t going to go into those demons. I bullied because I was different and didn’t follow many social norms that my high school wanted me to. My parents have always referred to me as not a follower. But I was bullied because they all thought that I was gay. Even before I actually knew I was, I had people constantly calling me names like the gay boy, queer, fag, etc. Now, at this point in my life, I was starting to question. So you can only imagine what this did to someone who really didn’t know who they were. It felt like that I was being forced to decide before I ready. I was under a microscope.

Now, I never got beat up but it was a lot of verbal or mental abuse. I did get threatened with physical abuse but it was very small. The most physical abuse I got was when I got slammed into a wall and held there. Yeah, sounds like wonder experience right? Luckily, that was the only time. I would walk down the hall and get a comment thrown my way. I was walking home once and got “fag” screamed at me in the middle town. I also had a comment made about the fact that I was enjoying a lollipop and minding my own business. Don’t you just love conservative Ohio? It was like they were obsessed with me. I was the Regina George to their Janice Ian.

The worst part of it all was the feeling that I was all alone. Sure, I had “friends.” They never really stood up for me. I didn’t really find those friends until my senior year. Spoiler: Since we are talking about friends, I don’t really talk to anyone from my high school except for one that I got really close to my previous two jobs. Anyways, high school was a rather lonely time for me because I was bullied and I really couldn’t trust anyone. I would open up to someone and then it would end up across the school. When I thought I was bisexual, I told a couple of former friends. I need someone to talk to and just looking for that support system. Then it when its crap. I decided to cut them out of my life because I finally got a backbone and not be walked over. In return for my sticking up for myself, they threaten to out me to the entire school and make my life hell. Yeah, they literally did this for months.That was probably when I started to put my guard up and not let everyone in.

It’s just easier to hold people at a distance until I could judge whether or whether or not I feel safe telling them personal things. I think it also affected my coming to terms with myself. While I didn’t come out in high school, I really help with my overall coming out to myself. College helped with that to a certain degree as it showed me how accepting that people would be. We will have a full conversation about college another time because while it’s a slightly happier story, it’s a lot to cover.

Now I’m not telling you all this so you can feel sorry for me. But rather so you can understand me more. Why opening up is new to me and why I do the things that I do. Yeah, I was bullied and it wasn’t a fun time for me but it made me who I am today. I could have done without the abuse. I don’t think anyone should be bullied, especially because they may or may not be gay. I did have one guidance counselor who was the light in the intolerance. Even when she wasn’t my counselor, she was still there. She was one of the only teachers that actually did something. She stood up for me.

A lot of time, teachers just rule off bullying as “kids just being kids.” They don’t usually step in until it’s too late and wonder why kids aren’t speaking up about being bullied sooner. My story could have ended worse. I never had thought like making it all end or going to extreme routes to get even. I just had hope that it would get better. Yes, it’s extremely corny but it’s true. I had hope. It did, for the most part, get better. Bullying needs to be taken seriously or high school students, especially if they are LGBTQ. They need groups to where they can feel accepted and loved. I never really felt that in high school and it took me a longer to fully accept myself. Most schools are intolerant and don’t want to have groups like that.

People come to terms and accept themselves at different times and ways. But having that acceptance from others while they are figuring it out, it will only help them and allow them to live their life sooner. No one should be in the closet their entire life. That’s like hiding who really are. Don’t hide who you are. When you hide that, you are doing more harm than good. Just be you and if people don’t like, then fuck them. You will find people who will.

I promise not to be so depressing next time. This was extremely depressing. But it was part of my life and it’s time that I open up about it. We will have a full conversation about truly accepting myself because high school was only a chapter in this novel.

Yours Truly,

Steven Kaufman

P.S. Since we are now dating, make sure you follow me on Twitter and Instagram. I’m like the social media mogul version of Tinkerbell. Just instead of people believing I exist, I need those follows to live.

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