Tessa, 24, Kentucky
This poem gave me a voice for my family to hear. The first time I spit that piece they had never heard it. Me being gay was a taboo issue. It was a way to force my family to listen. They couldn’t scream at me from the audience and my struggle was heard. It wasn’t talked about after, but slowly their ideas changed.
I grew up as a religious home school kid and I watched a few of my friends who also identified as queer, struggle in that world and I wanted to give them a voice or at least feel that they were heard.
This piece was one of the first pieces where I was willing to be honest even though it was uncomfortable. Since then I’ve written pieces that were hard to write, because I know now that it’s okay to be honest about who I am and my experiences.
To those struggling: You’re more resilient than you think and the world is changing.
Leaving the closet behind
As I sat in my grandparents time capsule kitchen,
my grandfather asked me “so who’s the man in the relationship?”
With his 1950’s psychology training, he still believes that homosexuality is a mental illness.
Not my fault but something that needs to be fixed
Meaning equality is always going to be eclipsed by his prejudice
My grandfather grew up in a time when homosexuality was underground
People gathered in secret, calling themselves friends of Dorothy.
And like Dorothy, I will fall from the tornado of intolerance, and judgement and wake to my life in color
And if the house lands on some homophobic assholes in the process,
That’s fine with me; I’ll just steal their shoes.
my yellow brick road journey led me to her
found solace in the curl of her lips,
the softness of her body and the face she makes when she is reading or solving a crossword puzzle
She is the opposite of everything I thought I wanted
but she is everything that I need.
The way she holds my hand with confidence, combats my insecurities
but some days I still feel like I have the curse of medusa
I am unable to love her properly for fear of being found out
Like my eyes turning her to stone.
But she is resilient, her love blooms for me
Cracking itself through the concrete
But they call us weeds in God’s garden
How can loving her be a sin?
When being with her is like a piece of heaven
And they say we won’t make it to heaven
Living as a suicidal skeleton in the closet was hell enough on its own
And I know I’m not the only one
Who hides behind locked doors,
placing their butterflies and love notes on the shelf.
Why should we feel ashamed for being ourselves?
And many don’t make it.
Carving valleys into the landscape of their skin
Terrified to tell anyone or let anyone in.
Since when did wearing your heart on your sleeve mean being crucified
And there were times when I believed that the only answer was suicide
Nights spent on bruised knees begging God to love me
make me “normal”,
make me “acceptable”,
make me “straight”.
Begging him to change the world to a place I won’t be hated
Forget praying the gay away
Because whether you believe it or not, I know now that, God himself made us this way
We are all his children
let go of the label we are all simply human.
I just want to be able to hold my girlfriend in public,
even when it’s sweaty
And someday even walk down the isle to meet her
I want my future children to know that its ok to have two mommy’s
But for now I will be clicking my red heels together, waiting for this world to become a place we can all call home.