Thursday, January 24, 2008

Childhood Lost

I think the title of this post is a little stronger than I want it to be. It's the right subject, but it makes it seem like I didn't like my childhood or I was one of those Hollywood actors that never got to be a kid. Even so, I'm just going to leave the title as it is, overly dramatic as it may be.

Don't get me wrong--I had a great childhood. I made some amazing friends. I've known some of my closest friends since elementary school, and even though we now live in different cities, I don't feel any less close to them than when I used to hang out with them all day/every day in high school. I even went to a 14-year reunion for my junior high last month, and actually enjoyed it!

I really did like my childhood. So, to be more appropriate, I think I should say that I feel that I lost out on a part of my junior high and high school life (and really even part of my college life too) rather than saying that I lost my childhood. I guess I just feel like I missed on part of the experience that typically comes with growing up. I had a great time without it, and maybe it's just the nostalgia in me, but sometimes I can't help but wonder how things would have or might have been.

Basically I feel like my being gay caused me to miss out on a lot of the experiences that come with growing up. I had a couple of girlfriends in junior high, but they were exactly what you'd expect from a junior high romance. I ended up not dating in high school, mainly because I never had a crush on a girl that was strong enough for me to want to date her. It just didn't interest me. So, I didn't date. I had no romantic life, and sometimes that's what irks me. I didn't get to talk and joke with my friends about who I liked or what girl I kissed. I even went as far as to make up stories about who I liked or who I'd kissed just to not feel left out of the crowd. I wasn't sad or lonely, but who doesn't count dating as one of the steps to growing up? It's part of the owner's manual, I think, but I missed out.

I guess being gay wasn't actually the cause of all of this comotion. These days there are kids coming out of the closet earlier and earlier, and I've read plenty of stories about two boyfriends going as each other's dates to prom or a lesbian becoming homecoming queen. The root of my missing out really stemmed from my being in the closet, but back when I was in school, people just weren't out (and this was not that long ago, seriously).

Things have come a long way over the last several years, and while a lot of people on the anti-gay side will claim that the gay agenda is somehow taking over our kids and our country, I feel like the changing tides have just allowed kids to be kids. It puts a smile to my face when I read stories about two gay high school kids that are accepted by their friends and get to take each other to prom. I love hearing about lesbian kids being the popular girls at school. It's not about corrupting our youth, it's about letting them be happy with themselves and who they are, and I honestly can't fathom how that can be wrong.

Maybe I'm being overly dramatic. Maybe my life wouldn't have been all much different if I had been out and dating in high school. Even so, at least now kids don't have to worry about the what-ifs and can experience the craziness of high school dating and romance for themselves. It probably wasn't all that I've made it out to be, but it would have been nice to give it a try myself.


At 24/1/08 3:29 PM, Blogger Shane said...

Your thoughts mirror my own experience in high scool. I too mourn not getting to date and grow up that way in high school. It wasn't until my twenties that I finally had the opportunity. All that lost time hurts and is unfair.

At 28/1/08 6:21 AM, Blogger Jay said...

Um... Really, you shouldn't feel so bad. My brother didn't date in high school, either. He's totally straight, too. He just didn't meet any girls he liked and decided to focus on other stuff (like academics, sports, and church). He was also extremely popular and fit in very easily without having to date.

Come to think of it, he didn't start dating until his Junior year of college (early 20s for him)... Which means I've currenly beaten him to the punch in that department. Not that it matters. He's married now with one beautiful child and another on the way.

When high school's over, it really doesn't matter anymore. It wasn't all that great, and if you're happy where you're at right now, did you really lose anything? I don't think so. Where you've been determines where you are.

At 28/1/08 7:50 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Hey Shane. Thanks for stopping by!

Jay. Good to hear from you! I see what you're saying, and you make a good point. Like I said, I think my post sounded a bit more dramatic than I meant it to sound.

Like I said, I really liked growing up. I had a great time in jr. high and high school. I have a bit of a problem with nostalgia and kind of a "grass is greener" mentality. So, I think this is where it all comes from. Just feeling like I might have missed out on something (even if I really didn't).

Anyway, you're right. I'm very happy where I am now, and that's what matters. Hope all is well with you!

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