Excerpt for Queen Called Bitch: Tales of a Teenage Bitter-Ass Homosexual by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

A NineStar Press Publication

www.ninestarpress.com

Queen Called Bitch: Tales of a Teenage Bitter-ass Homosexual

Copyright © 2017 Waldwell Goode

Cover Art by Natasha Snow ©Copyright 2017

Edited by: Jason Bradley

Published in 2017 by NineStar Press, New Mexico, USA.


This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.


All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, NineStar Press, LLC.


Queen Called Bitch

Tales of a Teenage Bitter-ass Homosexual

Waldell Goode

Table of Contents

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

About the Author

Dedication

To Reed Morris, for the unique way you bicker me back to sanity.

Acknowledgements

I have to thank an unyielding God for seeing this dream into reality. Daniel Ellis, my first true fan, and without whom, this book could’ve easily wasted away in a file folder I never would’ve checked twice. The Dimaanos for who they are. Every teacher, mentor, family member, stranger who told me to “do.” My mother, one thousand times over. I know strength and resilience because I know her. And my sisters Crystal, Amber, and Tatayanna—you are my foundation. I would not bother existing without the three of you. Oh, and Mrs. Hamilton for failing me in chemistry. Yes, you were right!

Preface

You have to know who you are in order to find the joy in the work you have yet to do.

– Debbie Allen

Let me preface this by proclaiming to you, I don’t know anything. I don’t know politically correct terms, I’m not absolutely sure about the advances of any “gay agenda,” I’m not sure what offends people or what could be taken as offensive, and I am most certainly not sure of exactly who I am. I’ve been struggling with this question since the day I was born, and I’ve been in dire frustration trying to figure me out ever since.

That being said, there are a few things I’m absolutely positive of—my mother loves me, God is real, and Reba McEntire is a musical goddess who will sing beautiful melodies as Jesus Christ descends from the clouds in the midst of the rapture. I know I’m beautiful. I know I love me. I know that I’m lonely, and yes, loneliness sucks shit sometimes, especially when you can’t ignore it anymore. I know I will make it in life even if it’s merely by the skin of my teeth, and I know I can’t bear to think otherwise. The reason why I present the aforementioned introspections as truths is because they are largely beliefs. Beliefs are beautiful because no one can take those away from you. If you believe something that can’t be disputed, why not embrace these prevailing thoughts as realities?

Okay, so that was innately bad advice—that’s how idiots are created. I’m sure Bill O’Reilly believes he’s smart and is taken seriously as a political commentator, Sarah Palin believes governing Alaska really means something, and One Million Moms believe they are not bigots. However, this isn’t about fucktards who still don’t seem to grasp basic concepts of Civil Rights; this is about a queen called bitch struggling to discover who he is in rural America, or Hell as the more informed identify it. So, in reference to beliefs, maybe there’s some middle ground. Beliefs, as I profess them to be, are fundamental thoughts that provide individuals a safe house of ideas and moral reckoning, allowing them to further act in good conscience—or conversely, to justify acts by manipulating said ideas to supplement one’s choices. Let’s hope mine are the good, conscience kind.

In all that I know, and even more so in all that I don’t know, life sucks. I mean, it fucking sucks. Objectively speaking, I’ve lived a great life. I was never abused. My father, uncle, cousins, mother, sisters, or aunts never tried to rape me, no Academy Award winning material here, but I know I’m not who I used to be. I’m not the person who dreams endlessly, or always has a smile, or even wishes someone well like I used to. I’m not the happy queen in the corner, distributing cookies and motherly advice like I’m Mother Theresa with a penis, speaking words of optimistic promise while encouraging someone to fall in love with every breath they take. I’m more of the person telling someone to just survive the best way they can, and that’s no way to live. Even Tarzan had Jane, that lucky bitch (Jane, not Tarzan).

Even though I’ve never passed out baked goods and the only mother I remotely resemble is Mother Nature (because I wouldn’t flinch while making a bitch bleed), I will be the first to say I need a better me. The reason why I’m writing this, is I feel that going through my past and examining beliefs I strongly support or reject will provide adequate insight as to who I am or where I went wrong. I also realize I have somewhat of a vulnerability issue, and this is a way I can express who I am, safely behind the comfort of my computer screen wrapped in my Snuggie. So kick back, audience of one—more likely none—it’s time to discover the real Princess WaWa, a subject I’m sure consumes your every waking thought because I’m that important. Soon, I hope to discover why I am a queen called bitch, and these are my tales as a teenage bitter-ass homosexual…

One: Ryan Murphy’s a Fucking Liar

I officially begin with this because it is one of the more poignant issues I’ve been dealing with. It’s not that I have anything against Glee. I applaud the nature and success of the series, but I dislike how certain plot points, characters, storylines, and adolescent relationships deviate from realities concurrent with that of the authentic experience of my life. Glee is an excellent series, bringing awareness all across America of certain groups that have been neglected or outcast in a universal school setting. There isn’t any show that has mastered such a feat at the level Glee has, which is why the series remains a phenomenon, reaching and inspiring children all over the world to be themselves and embrace each other’s differences. Unless they’re Asian, in which case they’re promptly reminded to remain silent and take their proper places in the background where they belong; it’s amazing they’re allowed to consider themselves series regulars and not simply extras. I hate what they did with the token Asian character, Tina. They tried making her a more prominent character later in the series, failing miserably.

Reflecting on Glee, I would say their portrayal of high school is fairly accurate minus the students who appear to be better suited for an AARP commercial. I would even say my high school career was somewhat similar to Kurt’s, the token gay character. I was unsure of myself freshman year. I spent my time mostly in solitude, trying to avoid much of the ridicule I received in my eighth grade year. I was involved with the drama team where I met fellow weirdos like myself, I was hiding the fact that I’m gay, and I unwittingly thought no one knew it—despite how blatantly obvious it was, and everyone else must have been previously enlightened.

Sophomore year was even better. People began to know me and who I was, that I wasn’t a predator and spiritually intertwined with Satan. I came out as completely gay that year. Even I wasn’t buying the bisexual nonsense I fed myself and others in years past. I began to dress as I so desired and fully embraced the inner, gayer me. Being involved with the local university’s theater department, I had become acquainted with more degenerates who celebrated abnormality.

Junior year was when I finally came into my own. I led the drama department to a couple of victories as I was cast in the main role, and attended the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia Community College. I enjoyed myself the most that year, even though Governor’s School was stressful as hell and I failed chemistry. Senior year, the focus was on finding money to attend a university or college, and that didn’t happen so I suppose one could consider that a failure, but I considered it an opportunity to fuck around for another semester.

My high school career, one could say, was excellent and probably everything it was supposed to be. A necessary step in my life, but I can’t seem to shake the part about loneliness. For my senior trip at Governor’s School, we went on a boat ride for an hour and a half. In a tiny vessel meant for maybe eight to seat comfortably were crammed fifteen people shoulder to shoulder, stuffing packed lunches into their mouths as the tour guide blabbed on and on about the three foot deep lake that takes twenty minutes to travel from shore to shore. Rounding the trip for the fourth or fifth time, my English teacher, sitting beside me, established conversation as a means to keep me either from sleeping, or hauling my ass overboard. Our discussion grew from her love of animals to my high school experience, to her decades—long marriage with her husband of infinite years, and on to the scandal of her marrying her old high school principal. She asked me the one question everyone in my high school career managed to avoid, ignore, or already know the answer to. It was remarkable. Before that moment, I had never considered it. I wanted to contemplate the depth of my relations, possibly due to a lack of allowing myself to ponder the grim truth of deeply rooted negative dispositions I choose to utilize as defense mechanisms.

She looked me in the eye and leaned in close. “Waldell, are you lonely?” She spoke as if she was asking about the weather.

Although we were gently gliding atop a lake and I had consumed two bottles of water with my complimentary lunch, my mouth ran completely dry.

I took a second, regained the wind that had instantaneously been trounced out of my chest, and replied with a smooth and concrete, “No. I have amazing friends.”

Somehow she knew. I could see it in her eyes. That wasn’t what she was asking. She would clarify, and there would be no way I could playfully avoid its severity or laugh it off as I had become accustomed to doing.

She looked at me with deeper expression now, and asked, “No, but Waldell, are you really lonely?”

I began to look away and pretend to notice an area of the lake I previously hadn’t seen; we circled back for the thousandth time and nothing could’ve been missed. I couldn’t avoid it. I couldn’t make it funny, laugh it off, reference my mother or her alcoholism. I could only be honest with my professor, and in doing so, stop lying to myself. This is the one instance I can recall when lighthearted commentary failed to enter my mind when I needed some sort of comical relief… or relief in general. I looked her in the eye again, and with all the gusto I could find out there on the lake with sixty other people strolling along the pier, going about their day, eating their triangularly shaped cold cuts, I told myself the truth for the first time in four years with a single word.

“Yes.”

And here lies my problem with Glee. Kurt is an amazing character. He’s beautiful, funny, witty, he has flaws, and the greatest attribute a creator may accomplish with any character is the fact he’s human. I appreciated that representation of a homosexual teen in mainstream media. Before him, there weren’t many who closely resembled me. Friends and family who were familiar with the show deemed me “black Kurt,” or “Blurt.” I admired him, the character, his weakness and ultimate triumph over an oppressive society. As Oprah taught the world, one of the singular greatest gifts a person in the media can give is lending voice to the voiceless. That was Kurt Hummel, analogous with millions of gay teens all throughout the world, struggling to find themselves against social pressure and bullying. Kurt, portrayed by Golden Globe Award winner Chris Colfer, was a hero in a generation needing one.

I relate to this character. I understand this character; he lives in a small town, I live in small town. He knew he was gay from a very young age, and I remember when I was five and my father told my sisters they were turning me into a faggot. Kurt might as well have been real as far as character development goes. Many people felt or feel as if they know him. My biggest hindrance isn’t Kurt. It’s Kurt and Blaine, the boyfriend he found by transferring to a private magical school for gays only. Where was my Prince Charming, willing to stop the world and sing me thirty-two bars of a romantic cliché written nearly one hundred years ago, warning me of the freezing air outside as a means to keep me inside and eventually sleep with me? Where was my holiday crush, dying to sing a song with me made famous by a legendary songbird and famed homosexual porn star husband? Google Jack Wrangler, your life will be better because of it. I’m happy for the characters. I’m glad that it was as simple as taking a trip to Gay Land, picking out the sweetest model, and driving him back home to live out your days in happy gay bliss while each of you takes turns being more perfect. Kurt and Blaine are so wonderful, they even have sex in a special teenage special gay way, fully clothed, when Kurt loses his virginity.

Truth is, there was no guy willing to sing me anything. There isn’t a school of gays you can attend while testing the waters, trying to sniff out the next Neil Patrick Harris. Chances are if you’re a gay male and you’re from a small town, you won’t get many Prince Charmings knocking down your door, willing to make you feel special. Hell, chances are if you’re a gay kid attending high school in a small town, you’re probably the only gay in the vicinity—the only openly gay one, of course. Where was my romance? The best I’ve gotten was a thirty-eight-year-old on Grindr lusting after a minor’s dirty pictures he never received. I didn’t go to the prom with my boyfriend, I was never sung to or caressed in that way, I don’t know what “I love you” means beyond friendship, my first and last kiss occurred in tenth grade and the next day the boy denied it ever happened. The only time I’ve ever been called attractive was by a straight bi-curious friend who considered me his “experiment” that led absolutely nowhere, and the only date I’ve ever been on was a non-date with a gay guy who just wasn’t interested in me that way. Glee is astonishing, but honestly sometimes even after you’ve had the proper revelations and accepted yourself and others around you, life still hurts.

It’s not Glee’s fault that I don’t have anyone. I take sole responsibility. But I blame them for hope. I, along with the rest of America, cheered for Kurt and Blaine’s first kiss. However, their kiss didn’t make me any less alone. It’s me who still cries in the middle of the night for reasons I “thought” I didn’t know, but in actuality was avoiding. It’s me who lives with the moment my teacher decided to get personal and made me truthful. It’s me who has no one and continually decides to largely suffer in silence. How do you tell a friend, “Hey, I need you” without sounding weak? How do you admit it to yourself without remembering how painful it is? And how do you still believe in love when it has never happened to you?

I falsely call Ryan Murphy a liar, because it has never happened to me. He’s deceitful because he made me forget that characters, while closely resembling real people, are fiction and their stories can have endings that include tremendous declarations of love and overwhelming displays of affection because they’re written in. As a real gay teenager living in a real small town, I have been living the truth of what Glee has to avoid if only for their namesake; there is quite possibly no love story waiting for me.

Two: Cher’s Crucial Question

Most gay men have heard the song. I’m willing to bet that most know it by heart and are probably singing the lyrics or humming the tune right now. Cher’s “Believe” has always been more than a song for me. As it has been to many gay men before me, it’s an anthem declaring strength and beauty in surviving past loves. A strength so fierce it resembles Cher’s vocal cords, not an effort easily mastered. In this song, its allure, its powerful chant resounding endlessly throughout one’s soul—empowering us note by note to celebrate each other’s inner strength—lies a simple question that has tormented me since the moment I stumbled upon Cher’s Pandora station. It’s not that I don’t know my answer; it’s that I don’t care too much for the answer I’d supply when personally addressed with the question. Silly as it may be, when Cher asked whether or not I believe in life after—you know how it goes, I felt like the only homo in the world singing this song and thinking in response, “No.” I mean, I’m sure just now I broke a gay law or something.

I’m not sure when I first realized the unfortunate response that revealed so much about who I am. It wasn’t the entire question that befuddled me. I believe in life after love. I believe in life after anything. I’m a black gay man. If there’s one thing I should excel at, it’s surviving. What I understood from Cher’s multi-platinum single is that I don’t think I believe in love. At least not for myself—I’m almost certain it happens for other people. Perhaps I’m the only one undeserving, not needing, or incapable of love. Like a true American, I’ve formed my ideas of love and relationships from my parents and the culture surrounding me. My parents divorced when I was extremely young, and considering 49 percent of marriages end in divorce. First world society doesn’t necessarily demonstrate the strongest example of respectful unions. Furthermore, all my life I’ve learned silent lessons about how love damages the spirit. It does not uplift or enrich one’s essence of being.

Although I was very young and don’t remember my parents’ breakup, I sure as hell remember the aftermath. The day my father left was the day my mother began a never-ending denouncement of his existence. Anger grew into rage, which settled into a (I wish I could say subtle) vulgar bitterness. The reasoning behind the breakup was never given in specifics, but I know it was justified and if my mother hadn’t left him, I don’t know where we’d be today.

My father adopted my oldest sister; she’s the product of a previous relationship of my mother’s, and I’m told we lived in familial bliss for seven years. As reported to me, one night my father returned home from one of his drinking excursions and inappropriately “touched” my eldest sister. In later years when I asked for further clarification, the instance being more than a decade ago, the question was still understandably unwelcome, and I failed to receive any more information regarding the topic, and honestly I didn’t need much more information than I already had. Regardless, my sister was molested and it is my father’s fault. It has always been that way, it always will be, and no amount of detail will ever alter that conclusion. There’s no acceptable form of molestation, and knowing this, I searched for clarification simply to justify my own curiosity. In any case, my father’s actions tore my mother to shreds and our family was never the same again.

Growing past such a horrid event, my sister Diamond, the survivor, strangely enough has never given up on the idea of falling in love. She loves wildly, vibrantly, fearlessly, without caution, any light-skinned, tall African-American male who’s in possession of a million dollar smile. One month prior to her graduation from Norfolk State University, her boyfriend and his mother kicked her out of the apartment she and her boyfriend of five years were sharing.

Inevitably, after moving back home, anxiety set in and we all walked on eggshells in her presence. Her life at that point was anything but harmonious. He really tried to break her, and because of who she was and where she came from, he never did. True to form, one month later she graduated Norfolk State and moved to Maryland, pursuing a teaching career and an entirely different kind of light-skinned African-American male with a million dollar smile. Fortunately, after all this time, I think she’s finally understanding her worth.

In accepting that my mother and sister have the worst love lives on the planet, I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be genetic. It has to be. It’s an unproven and entirely untestable theory, but for whatever reason, I feel that because my mother and sister had repugnant love lives, I’m destined for romantic disaster. I know this is insane, unfounded, delirious, and doesn’t make any sense, but ultimately, I don’t want to marry my father. I don’t want to reflect on my love life and only see mistakes, accidents, and what shouldn’t have been. I want to be stronger than that. I want to not need someone to make me complete. Because as my mother taught me, once you allow that to happen, you choose to release your power, and somehow, someone skillful enough to deceive you may choose to diminish you with whatever you have chosen to relinquish. That’s what love does to my family. It destroys us. Love for us is basically every bad Lifetime movie ever made.

There is a saving grace; I know it isn’t genetic and there are miracles every day. Couples who choose to be together and continuously love each other with faith and respect are rare, and I have never met a couple fitting those standards until I met my friend Karen’s parents. They have been together since they were fifteen, and they still love each other. They treat each other with respect and look at each other endearingly. Naturally, they’re foreign—Filipino to be exact. I’ve become so enamored with this couple’s success, I tell everyone about their love. I can’t express enough joy that there are still people who marry and love one another, and live happily ever after. Or, at least ever after. Many people think I’m giving the synopsis of a Danielle Steel novel because there is a distinct gleefulness that encompasses me when I relay their story. I know I don’t know everything about their lives, I know they do love each other.

People, my family and friends, pretty much everyone I share their story with, are quick to remind me that anything could be happening behind closed doors and that I shouldn’t think their life is perfect because it appears so through a window. I know their lives aren’t perfect. I know that anything could be happening and they must’ve really tackled some seemingly insurmountable quandaries over the past twenty years. Just the same, when he looks into her eyes, I feel their love and that’s something I’ve never experienced. It’s not jealousy. It’s not envy—okay, maybe a little bit—I consider it admiration. In its purest form, it’s aspiration. For the first time in my life, there was a relationship I could aspire to have sometime in the future. A relationship, not to conceit, but worthy of me and all I have to give, and all that I am. It’s not that I decided years ago I was never going to find a love like that; it’s just initially, watching him watch her, I had begun to believe it was possible.

To declare you are worthy of love is harder for some than it is for others. Every now and then, I feel like I’m the worst person in the world and I don’t deserve a second glance from anyone remotely human, but I can say that I do. Relationships are founded on more than personal reservations. Since I’m currently working toward overcoming irrational fears genetically forced upon me by my mother (I can asshole-ishly blame her for anything, really), I think I’m due for a love adventure. Sometime soon, I hope. Small towns aren’t the ideal setting for gay love stories; then again, they aren’t exactly the ideal location for black men who can impersonate Whitney Houston and Tina Turner (which I’ve done more than once, thank you!), so I think I can make do for now. Who knows where I’ll be in the future? The only thing to do is remember that my mother and sister have their own stories and mine does not have to follow a similar plot. Mine, God willing, could be the extremely rare, affectionate saga that plays on your heartstrings and fucks with your emotions but is ultimately triumphant and moving. Some story in which you can see Katherine Heigl portraying the lead role. I just have to recall how Mr. Anghel looks at Sofia, and remind myself it is possible. And so, permitting myself to believe in love, I can firmly state I believe in life after it, also.

Which brings me back to Cher. I feel that with an affirmative yes I can finally shut the fuck up and go back to dancing whenever the song’s playing on the radio or plays on shuffle. After all, I do believe that is the original purpose of an eternal anthem, motivating all to move rhythmically to a classic beat. I don’t know where I’d be if Cher hadn’t asked me that question. I’m 1000 percent correct when I say there is quite possibly no love story waiting for me, but why not bet against all odds when Cher’s in your corner, pushing you to believe just a little more?

Three: IFLYSM

Friendships are good, right? I mean, they’re prosperous, long, and supposedly last forever. Eventually you begin to see yourself through your best friends’ eyes and can’t imagine life without them. That’s how it’s supposed to go, yes? Always wanting the best for them and wishing them well, being present when they need you, answering when they call, reminiscing in between lengthy periods of visiting one another, being the constant that continually makes their lives better because you genuinely yearn for their success….

This is what friendship truly is and how it’s to be executed in its full, illumination. Friendship, and the mere act of being a friend, provides great comfort and nourishment to one’s soul. True confidants love each other with the wholeness of their hearts, considering the other person’s happiness above their own. Or, as some relationships unintentionally impact lives, leaves half the friendship bond bitter as hell.

That one might just be me.

As any reasonable disclaimer should begin, I officially pronounce my love for my best friend. Tyler Paulson is everything I’m not, and should desire to be. He’s optimistic, kind, loving to anyone in his presence, is certain of who he is, and more importantly, who he loves. I know I am a better human being because I’m able to hold him so close to my heart. It’s pertinent that I express my love in its depth now—this isn’t about how much I enjoy my friendship or my love for him, it’s about a disgusting reality; I secretly want him to fail.

We used to spend hours on his couch talking about men, women, and oddly enough, feet. We’d discuss our futures and imagine our ideal lives as the night grew darker and discussions turned more personal. Tyler, always the dreamer, wanted to marry whomever he was dating at the time, always sure he’d found his soul mate in his flame of the week. Craving nothing more than love and sustenance, his desideration was admirable and irrefutably romantic, even if I couldn’t stop cringing whenever he’d reference The Notebook. Perhaps I was uncomfortable with any references he’d make to his life resembling a Nicholas Sparks novel because I felt like I’d be the one dying of cancer and ending up alone, and that’s a fate I haven’t any want for.

In contrast, I viewed my future as pragmatically as I could. Focusing on a writing career in some sense of the term, I wouldn’t permit myself the slightest desire or need of a love life. Relationships with other people cannot be predicted, and decidedly I for damn sure was not going to factor in the wants and desires of someone else when it came to my future. I planned to leave Virginia and never look back. My goal was to be successful, work hard, and take chances toward prosperity. Then, maybe I could pursue a love life after I arrive wherever I chose to be in life. Virginia was too small for me. I planned to escape any way I found possible. After considerable years of success and commensurate wealth, I would adopt a little girl because I honestly wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to raise a son, especially not alone. My life was planned and calculated and everything it should’ve been. Everything life is not, in reality.

Well, life happened and Tyler moved away, and we never spent time on that couch again. We embarked on separate lives, seldom communicating since people are busy or they soon take on responsibilities they didn’t have before. Seeing him once a year became a privilege not lost on me. I focused on my future, and supposedly ironclad plan. Working in overdrive, missing nearly every lunch period of my senior year, I had to try to make my future work. I had to secure a life for myself away from that small town, because with every day and every hour, I belonged less and less to Farmville, and I was determined to force my way out. In that time from August 2011 till December 2011, I was accepted into seven universities, and couldn’t afford any of them. I applied for government loans so frequently to no avail; it felt like Obama personally sent me a fuck-you in the mail. Whatever. I wasn’t able to college how I wanted, blah blah blah. That isn’t important anymore. The door closed on me while I was on my way out. Everyone else got to get on their planes out of there and I was stuck with an invalid ticket, and it was my fault. No college. No university. No out. Fuck me. Then I viewed not attending college as the greatest personal failure I’ve ever had to endure.

Meanwhile, Tyler fell in love all over the place. Whenever I would speak to him, it was all about Taylor, or Kenya, or Kayla, Amethyst, Magic, Jasmine, LaQuisha, Tammy-Lynn, and other colorful names that all required his attention.

Tyler Paulson describes himself by who he’s with, at least he used to when we were all dreamers. He once told me, “we are nothing without love” and, “it makes me not want to die.” While I still fail to understand the effect another person can have over another, I respect that this is how he strongly feels concerning matters of love. I’m jealous of his susceptibility of affection, I’m in no denial that I’m definitely lacking the necessary skill and natural ability in that department. Repeatedly, he found love in person, over the Internet, and probably with every other girl who suited his fancy. I’m not trying to allege anything here, but he is Tyler Lawleen Paulson. He and love definitely used to be a thing.

Among all the women in the universe, there was one girl who outbitched the others, winning poor little Tyler’s heart. He decided to attend San Francisco State University in California to build a stronger relationship with his cyber love. It was that easy for him. Tyler hadn’t met Andrea in person; the entire genesis of their relationship existed online and through their Blackberries. My naïveté led me to think an internet-based affair would be drama free—not quite. They argued and fought, everything other couples do, only they did it across the United States of America without ever meeting. That’s dedication. Hell hath no fury like Tyler’s black, fearless girlfriend. At eighteen and seventeen, they chose to love each other. When Tyler arrived in San Francisco, his girlfriend enveloped him with open arms, and so began their lives together.

Lounging around my home as I routinely checked Facebook, my stomach instantly tightened, invoking sickness and physical despair upon seeing their physical embrace. As I read Tyler had departed Virginia and arrived in California, thunderclouds formed and stormed ferociously over my being. This was uncommon for me. Acrimony has never run parallel in relation to a friend’s joviality. Even after I was unable to attend any university of my original choosing (Emerson would’ve meant the auction of vital organs / body parts. Considered hawking a kidney, drew the line at telling my nuts which one I loved more and which one was tuition), I remained delighted and cheerful about my friend’s accomplishments. Normally, I’m genuinely thrilled and support my friends in their endeavors, so this was completely unexpected and new to me; I felt terrible. I have many friends, one best friend, and I couldn’t bring myself to offer the proper congratulations. Forthwith, like a good envious Christian, I dropped to my knees and prayed for his prosperity and happiness. I may jocularly remark of how I’ve become a revolting, nasty demon… that crossed a line even for me. If I can’t be happy for my best friend, then clearly I don’t deserve happiness for myself.

I think one of the many reasons I couldn’t bring myself to glorify Tyler’s arrival in all things gay (San Francisco), originated from the first picture he uploaded, smiling in an eatery. He was holding his girlfriend in his arms. In an expeditious fashion, I mentally traveled back two years ago and found myself perched on his couch, massaging his teacup feet. We were partaking in a conversation we’ve had a thousand times, comfortably waiting for his mother to serve us some kind of ridiculous folksy spread we had both become accustomed to. I couldn’t help recalling one of his lasting, overly dramatic pontifications of love and love everlasting. How he’d fight and die for love, and how nothing else was of any meaning. I’ve come to realize he’s finding that now, and I’ve begun to fathom why I’m mad as hell.

It isn’t just his dream coming true, it’s mine. I’m the one who wanted to get out and start a new life for myself, and he was the one who was supposed to have all the love. I was comfortable with that. I would’ve pleaded for that, but now his dream comes true and mine goes to shit. I’ve worked for everything; I’ve worked to get out. He just fell in love. I know I resigned myself years ago to surviving on forthcoming independence and success. I know I did it to myself, but he didn’t have to take my dream, too. He didn’t have to leave me here alone with no way to get out, when that was the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. The only thing I dreamed and prayed about for myself, and somehow he got to take it all. Now I think if I never sat on his couch, the winner wouldn’t have taken it all… and then again, I know there’s no foundation for that to be true. He’d still be in California and I’d still be here, alone.

He was—is—my best friend. I’ve loved him more than I loved most people, I know that. I never fell in love so I never gave someone everything, but if there’s one person I gave it most to, it’d be Tyler. He was my closest friend, and like the day he moved, this is the end of an era. Once a year turns into once in every five years, and soon enough that’ll be more like once in a decade, or once ever. There aren’t any more hugs or creepy-ass foot massages or hearing him call me “Delly.” It’s simultaneously the death of a friendship and the death of a dream, both of which are leaving me destitute in the rawest sense of the word. There isn’t even anyone left to help me pick up the pieces. Their dreams all came true. There isn’t any boyfriend to speak of. I’ve always been the one in opposition to having one. Again, the only thing that seems to remain constant is that I am the main contributor to my own failure. I realize that I’ll probably handle and come to terms with this like I do most everything, in solitude.

The only rectitude I can use to justify my unbecoming emotions is the ‘stranded, island, drowning, only one can be saved’ scenario. Without a doubt, if ever we were on a deserted island and I and anyone Tyler has ever dated was drowning, he’d choose the person he can fall in love with, and if the situation was reversed, I’d choose him every time. It’s not a character flaw, it isn’t even worth inquiring about, it is just who he is. Tyler Paulson is the person who falls in love.

Nearly two years ago, we sat on his couch and fantasized about the lavish ways in which we’d live out our lives together. He decided we needed a poster and since I didn’t, and in some cases still don’t, like the word no, we embarked on that adventure together.

He wrote IFLYSM and I, in my refined and elegant manner, asked, “What the fuck does that even mean? Is that some goddamn homoerotic prayer?”

He laughed. “No. It means ‘I fucking love you so much,’ dick head.”

Smiling at the sentiment, I made a suggestion: “It looks like a word. Why don’t we make it one? Iflysm.”

In agreement, he responded, “Our own special word, just for us.”

And if he uses it on one of his girlfriends, I’ll fucking kill him. My idea of my future and personal fears of our dwindling friendship is something I have to let go, I wish Tyler Paulson the best future anyone can imagine. No one deserves it more. Even if the last time I’ll ever see him was that brief moment in April when he came back to visit Farmville, I cherish what time we did have. There are memories, there was the couch, and then there are our own special little words. If this is officially it, I’m glad for at least a brief moment I’d gotten to use words like iflysm.

Four: God Said, “Fuck ’Em!”

Happy people annoy me. Jubilation is pre-career suicide for any artist. We have to suffer; what else are we going to painstakingly display for your consumption? What self-respecting artist acknowledges blatant euphoria, let alone has the audacity to publicly express internal satisfaction? This is a new one. I’m somewhat familiar with contentment—not necessarily possessing the nerve to explore the emotion.

As I stated, happy people tend to be annoying. They are resiliently joyous, lacking reason or depth. I loathe having a bad day, then interacting with someone who cannot stop smiling, even after discovering they’ve contracted an STD—it’s partly why my tenth-choice liberal arts college has been such a drain on me. Sorority girls and frat boys shouldn’t be so ecstatic after discovering they’ve circulated oral syphilis amongst themselves. The experience of joy was a foreign concept for this homo, and often times I remain unsure how to accept it. I mean, I am a queen called bitch.

There are brief moments when I can’t ignore it, times when I laugh like an idiot or cry like a six-year-old girl watching the ending of Frozen. Happiness could be the equivalent of slitting my artistic wrists, but I will say I recognize the feeling, and I’m not arrogant enough to say my gaiety is warranted. The only absolute I’m sure of is when you feel it, you feel it. Yep, there goes my only chance at ever winning an Emmy. Now I’ll never meet Shonda Rhimes.

My family never had issues with happiness. Both of my parents suggested that was all I was ever supposed to be. I just didn’t feel it. I don’t like reflecting on negative past events; they’re all trials and tribulations I’ve worked through and feel I’ve sufficiently survived up to this point. On the other hand, I am the one who decided to engage in self-reflection as a means of understanding why I’m bitter and who I really am. I can’t say that I remember everything; I remember more of how I felt during past events in my life. I’ll try not to draw anything out or be entirely too dramatic, while being as honest as I can. I’m gay, we have a thing about facts and skipping the bullshit.

You’ve heard the story: gay kid, embarrassingly effeminate, and I thought I was the straightest kid ever. I wanted to be tough, but weighed considerably less than others. I wanted to be big but was incredibly tiny. I wished to be tall, but I was always a foot behind, and I wanted to fit in, but I was gay.

Needless to say, my childhood made for a very uninteresting one. I didn’t have many friends, and everyone made fun of me. The only peace I found was watching Whitney Houston in Cinderella. Starting in the third grade, it really began affecting me. Since I moved for the first time from my home in Halifax, Virginia, I was with different people in a different small town that was predominantly African-American. Halifax was predominantly African-American, but they were mostly family members who knew and loved me to begin with. Since we attended school in one of the smaller towns, elementary, middle, and high school students rode the same bus. I mean, can you say Bumfuck, Virginia? Diamond (fifteen) attended the high school, Amethyst (eleven) attended middle, and I (eight) elementary school. For the most part, we all looked out for each other and I suppose I felt protected. It helped that Cumberland was a population of about six people and a turtle. Naturally, every red-blooded boy in high school wanted to sleep with Diamond, who’d long since blossomed at about the age of twelve or so. By default, they knew not to fuck with me.

One day I guess she had a really bad case of PMS and stayed home to eat chocolate cake and cry because she didn’t go to school that day, and I was vulnerable. I can’t remember what they called me; I don’t really know what they said at all because it wasn’t important. I remember running off the bus crying. They hurt me. My mother saw me crying, having taken off that day to look after Diamond, and called the bullys’ parents. Not sure how productive that was given that most of the offenders were close to eighteen. Diamond came back to school the next day and laid down the law, or whatever popular teenage girls do to snotty-ass teenage boys. After my sister’s act of heroism, I dried my eyes on the cloak of protection she engulfed me in, having less to anxiously cry about day-to-day. Not that as a third grader I didn’t enjoy crying every now and then. It was probably more related to heavy Lizzie McGuire episodes than any bullying.

That was the first time words ever really hurt me. A year later, I moved to Chesterfield, a predominantly Caucasian environment, and people accepted who I was, mostly. I even think my fifth grade teacher Mr. Wrigg was gay. He took really good care of me, making sure we fifth graders were treated fair and equally.

Moving back to Cumberland after a year and a half of Chesterfield, things were different. I had remained there for two full years and I believe I grew into my surroundings. I made fun of myself before anyone else could. If you can’t beat them, join them, right? I’d mock myself every day, opening myself up for personal ridicule because hey, fitting in is so worth it. I berated myself for other people. I’d say I regretted it, but it kept the tears away.

I moved in with my father at the start of seventh grade. Any acknowledgement of his past transgressions has been glaringly ignored by everyone who knew of the circumstance, especially by anyone of blood relation to either the victim or assailant. Again, I relocated to a predominantly African-American area and they literally isolated me. We were required to sit in groups during history; I always chose a corner alone. When our desks were forced to face each other, I always turned mine away to face the wall instead of someone else. They’d mock me for any reason: my teeth (the overbite and gap), my clothes (despite that it was a school uniform) and I didn’t get why. I figured it would be hard to mock someone you couldn’t ever see. Still, they found a way.

At lunch, out of sympathy I was granted the privilege to sit at a table of about six kids, and believe me, they let me know it. It wasn’t until I began sitting alone that others followed. My table of one grew into a table of six, and I couldn’t help feeling like the head misfit at the reject table; I loved every minute of it. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who didn’t quite fit the status quo. Apparently, I was the only one too odd to fake it like everyone else could, which is why I chose to step out and do something my peers wouldn’t.

The same year, I encountered a girl named Tiffany. During PE we would always work together and chitchat. I thought we had some kind of relationship as pleasant acquaintances making the day go by quicker. One day someone came up to us, “Why do you associate yourself with him?”

Rolling her eyes, “He won’t leave me alone.” I wasn’t hurt, and I took the hint. Little did they know, I was the only one who really talked to her and she would secretly beg me to be her friend when no one was looking. Imagine my surprise when she had no one to run to as she was booed off the stage during one of our seventh grade award ceremonies. I would’ve been there for her, but she couldn’t be seen with me, and I let her run off stage alone. Nothing she said would’ve mattered if I had the courage to stand up on my own and clap for her, but alas, I was weak and scared. I don’t know Tiffany anymore. It’s been five years since that incident and I hope she’s doing well now.

Another year and I left my father and Newport News behind, and paid my proper respects to the misfit table I cofounded. I moved back in with my mother, stepfather, and Amethyst in the eighth grade, to the other side of Bumfuck Virginia adjacent to Cumberland. Diamond left for college. I was there for a month when my mother left my stepdad and we moved to Chester, and again I was thriving in a predominantly Caucasian environment. There, many of my peers even assumed I was gay but did not negatively judge me for it. I was asked out by a girl on a Friday, Victoria... I never learned her last name. She was sweet and asked me to be her boyfriend on a note card because I made her laugh. True to form, I went home and talked it over with family members, like every thirteen-year-old boy thinks to do, and on Monday returned with an affirmative yes. Comfortable in that space, most people were treated with kindness and understanding, and the students were actually required to learn. Bullying occurred, only I avoided it. There, I was introduced to learning methods Prince Edward school district didn’t use until high school. Thriving in school, two days after accepting Victoria’s love request, my mother informed me we were moving back to Prince Edward, having reconciled with Herbert. I never got to see where things would’ve gone with Victoria, but I think it worked out better for her in the long run. Leaving my only girlfriend became yet another thing I could justify blaming my mother for.

Back at Prince Edward, unknowingly for good, I was heavily ridiculed, referred to as “Gay Lord” often. Being thirteen and in eighth grade, I failed to understand how magnificent that title was, only recognizing the discontent and hatred behind it. I never cried; those days were behind me. There was no berating myself at the amusement of others; I held it in. Externally, I was quiet and gay. Internally, I was fucked. I watched High School Musical 2 repeatedly that year, and to this day, I don’t know why it did, but it brought me happiness and was one of the only things that made me smile during that time. One day Amethyst wanted to watch something else on TV. I begged her to let me watch High School Musical 2, for the fifth time. I cited stress-related reasons when she asked me why I had to see it. Then she said something I will never forget.

“What stress do you have? All you have to do is be thirteen and in the eighth grade.” And then the little gay bitch fire inside me ignited.

I fired back, “You don’t know what I have to deal with everyday. Everyone hates me and I don’t know why!” Tears streamed down my face. I was unaware High School Musical 2 became my salvation. It released fears, anger, doubt, confusion, and any other emotion I refused to allow. Amethyst tried denying me of that, and I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing a knife and jabbing it into her throat until she lay lifeless on the blood-stained carpet.

Fortunately, it didn’t get that violent. No knives or blood was involved. I did endure a severe catharsis that day, though. I ran into my room, cried for several hours, and for the life of me couldn’t realize why I was trying to conform to the ideals of people who disapproved of me. I knew I was better than that. God knew I was better than that, and if I couldn’t live my life for myself, I had to live the way God wanted me to. Anything had to be better than accepting the wretchedness I committed myself to. I don’t know what it was. There was no need to tote around bibles or dress like a Quaker. God made me who I am. I should love who I am. People were going to hate me regardless. If they were going to hate me for who I wasn’t, they might as well hate me for who I am, because I am a beautiful person. No exaggeration. God said, “Fuck ’em.”

I began accepting who I am in ninth grade. I met my best friend, my other close friends, joined the drama team, and I became better. I became me. I didn’t cry about being hated. I began appreciating life for the most part. Shockingly, remaining in Prince Edward my entire high school career, I don’t want to say I came into my own, because I don’t know what it means and I don’t think I’m there yet, but I got a little closer.

Through the help of one of my peers, Carol, she and I performed in the local university’s theater department and gained a rapport with some of the theater students. I was delightfully surprised by how normal I felt there, again a predominantly Caucasian environment. I mention races because I’m accepted primarily in Caucasian environs. It’s not that I don’t want to be around people of the same race as myself; it’s that for an epoch it felt like they largely didn’t want to be around me. I love my color and my culture. Every single white kid didn’t love me either, don’t get me wrong; at Prince Edward and Newport News plenty had a profound distaste for Princess WaWa. Nevertheless, at Longwood I’ve met two of the best people I’ve ever encountered backstage during our production of Grapes of Wrath, powdering dirt on our faces. Well, for me it was ash; there wasn’t any fake dirt dark enough to noticeably appear on my skin.

Rumor has it, as Derek Island, a blue-eyed blond college freshman, entered the dressing room to change, I remarked, “Dirt never looked so good.” He glanced in my direction wordless, astonished.

Here’s an issue I find with myself as a person. I never met him before, and here I was making a nonchalant sexual remark to a random Aryan three years my senior. Carol’s mother told me she heard about it one day as she drove us to practice, which is why I assumed sooner or later I was going to be served papers and escorted off the campus, publicly banned for life. I’d be forever known as the guy who got banned from a school named Longwood for a sexual remark. There would be years of easily accessible snide remarks. When I went to apologize, Derek said, “Don’t sweat it, I’m closeted af.” since he’s closeted anyway. Well, actually he said he’s “no homophobe,” but was closeted just the same.

When Derek started reading my Facebook statuses, our friendship really began. His message read, You have some really cool thoughts and I’d love to text you sometime. He gave me his number. I can’t say I’ve ever had a crush on him, but I can’t say I never have, either. There’s a charm to Dare Island. We spent Christmas together via text message. I know his heart; it’s pure and just as beautiful as his diamond blue eyes. I love him.

I never knew how much I did him until Whitney Houston died and it felt like I was going to stop breathing. In all my moving and changing schools, she had been with me ever since Halifax. I championed her comeback and prayed for it to last. Sadly, it didn’t. No one else really understood or got my depression or incessant mourning like Dare did.

That same year, I didn’t get money to attend Emerson like I planned, either, thus entering into a stupor of self-hatred. It was a hard burden, one for which there was no solution. A melancholy misfortune rained upon me, and I wasn’t shy about shouting profanities at the forecast. I was cruising Facebook on my cell phone one night and I saw one of Dare’s many statuses referencing Whitney’s last single, “I Look to You.” Trying to remember how long it’d been since I heard the song, I looked it up on my phone and reviewed the lyrics as if I was listening to her with fresh tears. Whatever the lyrics might be: trite, preachy, whatever word or judgment a person would like to place on that moment—I did what I must do. Fighting a losing battle, I laid down my burdens with Jesus. God only knows what it took for me to let that go—life has only taught me how to hold on to things, the things that hurt me.

On my eighteenth birthday, I watched Seasons of Love from Rent as the clock struck twelve, and I couldn’t stop myself from crying, thanks to him. Another person was responsible for my tears. It wasn’t because I was inadequate or because they made me hate myself, it was because they loved me and that was something new to me. I’ve conditioned myself for hate and I know perfectly how to handle it, but accepting love was an overwhelming venture. I was afraid I couldn’t contain it. The faggot. The Gay Lord. None of it mattered anymore. For the first time ever, love was louder than any discontent I’ve ever felt. That’s more than a gay boy from Halifax, Virginia could ever wish for.

I’m thankful Derek could love me when I couldn’t love myself, for being strong when I am weak, and for being Christian when I forget to be. Here I am, delving even deeper into the end of my career before it begins, burying myself farther into the ground with every word and notion of love, happiness, and the healing outlook of that thing called God. I doubt this will be worthy of the bargain section at Walmart. Good thing I’m a nobody anyway. I will say this; after turning my desk around and facing the wall, berating myself for the amusement of others, I cannot just as easily turn away from love, this artistic lethal injection called happiness, as one would think. I don’t know if many people know this or if it’s Kim Kardashian and me, but after you’ve measured life otherwise according to the haters, adhering to Rent’s demands by measuring your life in love is freedom. I just hope Kim doesn’t make any more reality shows, at this rate, she’ll be inaugurated in 2024.

Five: The God One

I found God within myself, and I loved her fiercely.

– Ntozake Shange


First and foremost, I would like to apologize if there are excessive references to popular culture throughout this chapter. Pop culture has always been a part of my life, and while it doesn’t define who I am, at times it certainly articulates what I am trying to say better than I ever could.

I found myself procrastinating writing this. I think I knew what it would require me to do, something I’ve never so much as attempted to do before: define what God means to me and what He or She has been to my life. I’ve always looked at my spiritual relationship as personal, shrugging off questions about Christianity or personal faith. It’s gotten to the point I don’t know what to call It because I feel it’s so unique to me. What I believe works for me, and it is true for who I am, which is why I believe in it. I don’t think anyone distanced from my realm of thinking would understand my faith, at least apart from my heart. The idea of God has never been presented to me in a way I felt represented my beliefs. It must only be me who feels a specific connection, right? I’m guessing as I’m hoping I’m wrong. I wouldn’t have an issue with having a completely uncommon relationship with Christ; I am curious as to how crazy I really am.


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