Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Parenthesis = Stage Direction. As it’s written for a stage production.

(A boy is partially obscured by a single spotlight, his body half in and half out.)

”It’s hard being me. Everything has become like a routine.”

”Admittedly, it wasn’t so predictable to begin with and I thrived on that ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ feel. But after a while things slowed down and that life I had was replaced by a dull repeating cycle. Especially because nothing after the day I came out was ever again as turbulent as that moment and the ensuing months.”

”You see, being trapped beneath an oppressive umbrella that is the ‘gay’ label; lead to some startling truths that I discovered of myself. I struggled at first because the expectation of my behavior that filtered down through the media and directly into the minds of my generation was not one I felt I associated with.”

(Pause as the young man steps into the light completely.)

I wasn’t feminine, or masculine. I didn’t like the color pink nor did I play sport. So what was I? I suffered long and hard over that question. But I was sure of one thing; I would never lose myself.”

”Eventually as I came to accept myself, my friends and family did too. I was told many, many times that I didn’t look ‘like one of those fags.’ It was as if no one had considered the possibility of a gay man that didn’t look like a more humanly proportioned and anatomically correct Ken Doll”

(He smiles and walks over to a lone bookcase and pulls out a photo album.)

But this isn’t about those people. They don’t matter, those people who can’t get over it don’t matter to me.


There’s something about the camaraderie that comes with being gay. The topics are different, the conversations themselves are different. Straight people do not get it; Bi-Sexual’s definitely do not get it. Parents and Family in general do not get it. There’s a closeness, and I guess it helps to survive, well…that, and humor. We pride ourselves on our condescending and narcissistic wit. It’s our shell, our wall from the outside world and their attacks.”

(Young man snaps book shut and sits on the floor, his chin resting on his knees)

”I wasn’t fast enough to build that wall, that separation of emotions from reality. And if you don’t learn that, the anger and the hate that’s directed at you…It will eat you alive.

(Boy shuts eyes, sighs once and then stands to lean against the bookcase. The single spotlight splits into four shining on a square, each spot colored differently. One blue, one green, one red and one yellow.)

Those words, the slander, the insults, they don’t go anywhere; they stay in your head and echo.

(The blue spotlight shines brighter. And a voice calls out)

‘Stay the hell away from me you fag!’

(blue fades and green brightens. Girls voice )

‘People like you should go fucking die!’

(green fades, yellow brightens, voice sounding like an older male)

‘Don’t touch me you freak!’

(yellow fades, red brightens. Thick accented man)

‘You look at me one more time and I’ll kill you.’

(Silence. Spotlights fade into darkness and the young man is illuminated once more.)

…On Mondays, we go to the gym, out of the four of us I believe I’m the only one that goes just to workout. The other three spy on whatever wets their appetite, and trust me it varies daily. It makes me wonder why I’m expected to be a sexual deviant. Because I’m a man? Or because I’m gay? Or is it both?

On Tuesdays I have work with Thomas. Now he is the queen of queens. He’s a prickly bastard, barely shows any emotion. I’d liken him to an animal but even animals show sadness. No, he’s a cactus far to sharp to look at but at the very least interesting to look at.

Daniel used to be my best friend. He dances and actually has a boyfriend now. In that aspect I want to be like him. But he traded away his self respect to get his man. I don’t want to do that though. I enjoy every part of who I am, the cowardice, the bravery, every last contradictory trait I have are mine and mine alone.

There’s definitely the expectation that I should be fit. That I should be a ‘gym-bunny’ But why is that so? Who said I have to be ripped like a god? Yet I still find myself compelled to try. And in a way, I’m glad I did feel that compulsion, because it was on a Friday afternoon that I got my first taste of the unexpected.

I had asked the boys if they wanted to come with me to the gym that evening. Daniel had considered it for a moment before saying that he had a talent show to prepare for, otherwise ‘that bitch Sophia would win’ Thomas refused outright and Matt just shrugged. So I went alone. About ten minutes in I was puffing for and say down on the benches, apparently I forgot to put my water bottle in my gym-bag. I was about to go to the bubblers, feeling uneasy about public services like that, when I was handed a bottle by a stranger. He smiled at me with a second-hand grin.

”Thirsty?” He asked, his voice was barely understandable amidst a thick foreign accent. I resisted the temptation to point how obvious his question was and instead drank gratefully.

“Thanks…” I muttered and waited for him to leave, but he stayed. “Um…hi?” I offered. Again he smiled and claimed the seat next to me.

”I’m Mikel.” He said.

“Michael?” I repeated.

”No, Mikel. M-I-K-E-L” He spelt out. I ignored the stumbling words in my mouth and instead nodded. He started talking to me then, and I found myself a new gym buddy.

(Young man stops and sits down at the edge of the stage.)

I didn’t tell anyone. Mainly because I wasn’t sure how I felt. My Mum, whom had been distancing herself from me because of the whole ‘Gay’ issue, would reprimand me for talking to strangers. The boys would just grill me, and then probably steal him regardless of my interest. So I held my tongue. And waited until I saw him again on Friday.

On Monday, I didn’t say anything as I worked out alone. On Tuesday I didn’t say anything at work to Tom. On Wednesday I watched the talent show and missed the winners announcement, still I didn’t say anything.

On Friday, I dressed nicely. I normally didn’t have any muscles to show off, but my frequent trips to the gym were paying off. Sp I wore a grey singlet and a pair of light grey trackies.

He was waiting for me outside. “Hey Mikel” I called out. I was so happy, sickeningly so. He sort of frowned and beckoned me to the side.

”I must talk with you.” He said as we stepped into the shadows. “I’ve been told by my friends that you are gay?” I blinked furiously. I wanted to deny it, say it wasn’t true but how could I deny something that I had spent years pretending wasn’t true and had only just begun accepting it myself. It was a part of me.

So…I nodded.

He was silent, then hung his head, his shaggy hair masking his face. “I’m sorry, but I have to go.” And he did.

What was I supposed to do!? Tell him how I felt? Ask him not to leave? What the hell was I meant to do? Should I have lied? Deny one very important detail of who I was? Because I had fallen in lust? Was I being punished? Maybe God really did hate gays…

(Young man wipes eyes and composes himself)

Sometimes I think they are right. Those people that say nothing worth having comes easy. And I deserve to be happy. That’s what I’ve learnt, if I had to change myself for someone else, like Daniel, or cut off myself from what I felt like Tom, or sleep around to feel better about myself like Matt, then I wouldn’t be me.

I thought maybe I could give up a part of myself. But I, in a non-narcissistic way, love myself. I love every part of me. And while I may change my clothes, or my hair. Or an aspect of my body that I don’t like. I will always be the same story writing, alcohol drinking, gym going, food loving queer I am today. A long time ago, I wouldn’t have been okay with that. But after seeing the result of people denying themselves…put it this way, I could do a lot worse.


Mikel taught me one thing, that sometimes the routine is better. Because the unexpected? Well, it can hurt like a bitch.