But I felt I needed to pretend that I liked boys. I sensed a pressure to conceal my true feelings about my life. And, I did this to gain acceptance with my peers. To find a favorable reception in society. This little charade was very difficult on me. A big strain on my little Polly self.
A point of note here. I DO like boys. I have several wonderful friends who are male. My brothers included. I like them a lot. They are two of the best men I know. I have nephews, and cousins, and stepsons, and grandsons, and I like all of them too. So yes, I like, and love, many people who are everything from boys to men.
I just don’t have any physical or sexual attraction to the male gender. Zero. Nadda. Zilch. Zippo. I mean, sure, I can spot a looker. Drop-dead-gorgeous is drop-dead-gorgeous. I’m not blind. I just don’t have any desire to be with him.
So back to the small version of Polly. I loved my days of youth, growing up on East Bruce Avenue. There are mainly good, warm, amazing memories there.
My young life consisted of getting good grades, going to Mass daily, behaving so I would get to Heaven, doing chores, and of course…. playing whenever time permitted. And pretending. About liking boys.
While this was unspoken amongst my family, I sort of had this level of comfort that “someday” it might be okay to be me, within my family clan. But for then, I had to keep my feelings under wraps. I could not profess at dinner, that I was wildly in love with Ms. Hammerle, my fourth-grade teacher.
There were other love-crushes of my early life. Never my friends. It was never like that for me. But people from afar mostly. And that is how it went. A quiet game of hiding.
But then, the gloomy, and dreadful day rolled around. I reached the “age of dating.” This was a completely wretched thing for me.
My first Homecoming, my Freshman year at Chaminade-Julienne, was lamentable. Oh, the misery of it all. I was awkward enough, to begin with. But a guy named Dwayne asked me to Homecoming, and I said yes. Not only was there no attraction to Dwayne, there were major flaws in this first date. We went to Ponderosa for the dinner. While all my friends were dining at places like Anticoli’s, and Sutmillers’s, I was ordering the #4 with a baked potato, at the good old Ponderosa. (The redeeming factor? I liked one of the ladies who worked in the bread area. I smiled at her that night.)
I don’t really remember much about the dance, at all. Other than I sat in a plastic chair, next to a kid in a Polyester suit. And we listened to really loud music for a couple of hours. Thankfully, Dwayne’s mom was picking us up early, in the family station wagon. The dance was going to last later than Dwayne’s bedtime. So off we went. I think there was a peck on the cheek, near those front steps of East Bruce Avenue.
Then my station wagon chariot turned into a Pumpkin before my very eyes. The happiest part, was the four white mice there, which I would keep and nurture as pets. I called them John, Paul, George, and Ringo. (At least, that is where my brain went, while I endured the kiss on the cheek.)
My message is this. We as a society should be advancing into a level of awareness, and acceptance. Not only about Homosexuality, but about a LOT of things. People as equal humans. All of us.
Be kind today. Be compassionate. And most of all, we should realize that we are all okay, born into our skin, one just like the next. We should treat each other accordingly.
And my second message? Good things come to those who wait.
“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of ‘not knowing.”
― Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves
When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. – Peace Pilgrim