Every so often, there seems to be some kind of drastic change. The first, obviously, came with the two years of sexual abuse by a teacher starting at eight.
I grew fat, stopped speaking almost completely, lost my grip on reality, had grotsque nightmares every night and became constantly jittery and nervous. Yet, there was one positive. I went from being one of the worst students in my class to one of the best.
At about fifteen, I starved myself, and I was handsome for the first time since eight. I still rarely talked, but I stopped being made fun of. My art skills dramatically improved. I went to an arts high school, like the "Fame" school, and people were amazed by my paintings.
At about eighteen, I came out to my friends and family. The nightmares ceased. Social skills gradually came to me. I was never a reader, but I read for hours every day. I wrote poetry and short stories. I was still not sane: sometimes, I thought I could predict the future.
At about twenty, I dropped to ninety-six pounds (I'm 5'9'')and had a psychotic episode at college. I thought I had caused a riot at my school and assassins were out to get me. I was admitted to a psychiatric ward for ten days, or so. The spell ended. Within a few months, the madness which had been with me for more than a decade, evaporated. I finished my last term while living with my parents. At twenty-three I moved out.
I feel my world shifting again. The first catalyst, I guess, was finally getting a boyfriend. We met on New Years Eve 2008. We were together for three months. He was older. He bullied me. He told me the sexual abuse was my fault. He didn't want me to see my friends. He often said he had a thing for underage teenagers, at times just being obliviously insensitive, at times to hurt me. I'm not weak. I don't understand how I let myself be treated that way. I broke up with him in early April.
A month and a half ago, one of my best friends committed suicide. He had gotten drunk and had unprotected sex with an HIV infected man a week earlier.
I'm sick of my life. I'm twenty-six and since college my only social life has been going to gay bars. I don't have sex for years at a time. I get drunk and the attention I recieve is like a drug. I look eighteen and I'm attracted to guys who treat me like a child.
After my horrible relationship experience, I've been interested (mildly) in younger men. I talk with them, without learning their age, and they turn out to be twenty-one, or twenty-two. I'm smarter than they are. I feel in control. Yet, it also feels like a different side of the same coin.
Recently, every time I find a man attractive, I grimace. If he finds me attractive, it causes even more torment. It's a gut reaction. It's unconscious. I'm giving up being gay. This wall, which has always been there, preventing me from connecting with a man, has gotten stronger. I can't help it.
I've had one major crush on a woman. She was a lesbian. Secretly, I suspected she had been sexually abused. We flirted a few times. The first time we met, she embraced me so tightly, like a lover. (She was drunk: and kind of crazy, in a wonderful way.) It felt so good. I thought of her constantly and held my pillow at night, imagining I was holding her, even when my boyfriend was beside me. I still think of her.
The memory of her haunts me. I know that I can feel as strongly for a women as I do for a man. I know that sex is not something I'll ever enjoy. I feel like with a women, I won't carry this baggage with me.
Maybe it's my imagination, but since I've grown this beard, I've gotten less looks from men. I don't look like an insecure twink. I look older and more masculine. The girls seem to like it. I find myself flirting with women more often.
I'm not intentionally changing. It's another rollercoaster ride, when, in truth, I prefer calmness, stability. Will I turn straight? I don't know. It's just a possibility. Maybe I'll find a man who is kind to me. Or, maybe in the end, nothing will change, and this confusion, isolation and disillusionment won't lead to something better.
Yet, I'm letting this beard grow. I'm also buying new clothes and on Monday I start a new job.
I don't want to jinx it, but I hope this is the start of a new chapter. That would be great, because after the abuse left me broken, each one has been a little happier than the last.