Right before Christmas I started these two books by David Levithan. One is called Boy Meets Boy and the other is Two Boys Kissing. We are going to flashback and then go forward. It's actually all by accident that I read the books in the order that I did. I really wanted to read Two Boys Kissing first, but for some reason I chose to read Boys Meets Boy. I had both of the books with me, but I chose to read Boy Meets Boy first even though I wanted to read Two Boys Kissing. This may sound like extraneous information it is not.
It's an incredibly optimistic novel. It shows the world as how it should be instead of how it is. There's a nice mixture of representation in the gay community, you have the transgendered cheer leader, the boy coming to terms with his bisexuality, and of course the two main boys themselves.
There is however the contrast of Tony. He is the narrators best friend and his parents are very religious. Tony is saintly. He is almost a martyr. The author reveals that Tony is based off a the title character in a song called “Tony” by Patty Griffin. Tony kills himself in the song. David Levithan said that he wanted to rewrite Tony's story. The book is even dedicated to Tony.
That is why I probably should not have read Two Boys Kissing next. Thank god that I did, but it was not really a strong game plan. Where Boy Meets Boy is this uplifting novel, Two Boys Kissing is realistic. David Levithan wrote this book almost ten years after Boy Meets Boy.
The perspective David Levithan uses is very interesting. It tells the story of four groups of boys and it's observed by this omnipresent spirit. I know that sounds strange, I'm not phrasing it well, but this person acts like a chorus in the Greek classics. This unnamed character is gay and is advising and struggling with them.
Everything about this book is triggering if you are gay. I understood every single character. I understand that Craig and Harry want to show the world that it's okay to be gay. I can relate to Neil and Peter, even though I've never been in a relationship. Avery despite being transgendered is the most relate able character. He deals with body issues that even the most secure of us have. I hate to say that Cooper is the one I understood the most. The parents who didn't love, the parents who only realized they cared about him after he tried to kill himself.
I had to take breaks in this book. I finished it all on Christmas Eve. I sobbed. Multiple times, I broke down and cried. I set the book down. Took a break, put on Lady Gaga, and came back to it. Cried again. Sitting here right now there's a part of me that wants to cry. I finally finished it at four in the morning, Christmas day.
So, I took a shower. I even had my outfit planned out. All black. A shirt my father had told me was very feminine. I was ready. Except I wasn't really. I was sobbing and crying in the shower. Note to everyone that a shower doesn't help get rid of your tears if you keep crying. I thought I would burn some calories that day. It did not happen.
My shower was about an hour long. In between curling up on the shower floor and trying to collect myself. I tried to make light of it. Ask myself why I was crying. Because, Legally Blonde was a really emotional movie. Or the very positive thought that crying worked the abdominal muscles. If it did I do not see any improvement.
I tell them that I was only here to open Christmas presents. They don't open anything I bought them. I bring in a few of the presents and open them. I'm trying so hard not to think, not to break down and cry. I'm unnecessarily callous. My mother starts crying.
I really don't have any sympathy for her. My father tells me I need to get out. That I have ruined Christmas. Of course I have. I've spent no time with my family on a family holiday. I have no interest in talking to them. I am over it. Still, I'm a dramatic cunt and I told them Merry Christmas.
There are a lot things that I've experienced with my father. I know when I make him angry that he throws the money he spends on me against me. Sorry, you decided to have a child. I know he swears, but that day I thought he was going to hit me. I don't what held him back. Thinking about the concept of your parents hitting you, you shiver a little bit. I was so dead inside that I wasn't afraid if he hit me. If anything I would have known how to respond to that. There are a lot of ways I've imagined telling my parents that “by the way I'm a homosexual” and no matter how I did it. The reaction is always the same. Without even telling them I was gay, I managed to get exactly the reaction I always expected.
I stood there and listened to him call me a son of a bitch and a bastard. He threw around fuck for good measure and when he was done. I walked upstairs. I shut my door and listened to “Living For Love”. The Jenny Lewis song “Head Underwater” and then my parents left. They had a Christmas party to go to. One I had opted out of, because it sounded god awful. A bunch of middle aged, religious republicans. Choke me with a cashmere scarf already.
I finally hear them leave and I do what I always do when I'm depressed. I put on some dance music. I have never listened to my music quite as loud as I did to Britney Spears “Hold It Against Me”. It was also the most ugly thing to see me when the Madonna song “Holiday” came on. I was crying and dancing and wailing the lyrics.
Everyone needs a break from dancing at some point, and I am just casually sitting there eating a bagel when the garage door opens. I did not expect my parents to be home so soon. I shut the music off and calmly run up the stairs. My bagels still sitting there on the table.
When my father comes into my room. I really think he's about to yell at me about the bagel. Immediately, I apologize. He sits down next to me and he asks me what is wrong. Now he might have forgotten all the yelling that happened a few hours ago. But, I hadn't. Every time I imagined telling my parents that I liked boys. The way he reacted was how I imagined it. I was not going to talk to him.
He does apologize. But, he asks me what's wrong. I am not telling him. At this point I'm crying. Giving him a few word responses. I tell him everything that every child who has had to come out to there parents tell them “you'll be disappointed in me”, “you won't love me anymore”. And, he asks me if I want him to guess what it is.
I nod and he says it very calmly “Is it that you're gay?”
This is what I really needed to hear. And, he holds me. I can't tell you how badly I've needed someone to just hold me and let me cry. Just to let me not say anything and cry. How can you explain that to someone. Just hold still, I'm going to start crying on your shoulder, and I'm not going to explain anything to you after wards.
There was some talking as there needed to be and we went on with our Christmas. We salvaged it if you want to say that. Isn't that just like me. Merry Christmas parents, I'm gay. Could I have been more dramatic. Like come on.
So, I trek my way from the comfort of my bedroom. I say to her is there anything you want to talk about? She says no.
She asks me if there's anything I want to talk about. I want to know how much she wants to know. If I'm dating someone, if there's a boy I like (The answer is no on both counts).
We talk for a few hours. My mother was in denial. She reiterated that it was a sin and a choice I was making, but that I was an adult and that she still loved me. I nod and just listen. Now is not the time to say no one would ever choose to be gay. No one choose to have people hate you for no reason. If I could be straight, things would be a lot easier. And, I have read the Bible, but apologies to any religious reader out there. Some things in the Bible are fucked up.
When I finally realized that I was gay. Of course I didn't want to go to hell. I read the entire bible. I found the bible verses against homosexuality, but I also read some other things. The bible is interesting to say the least. I encourage you to really read it and not just go to church. Because I think so differently about it now.
What I found out and what I always knew. Is that neither of my parents are really okay with me being gay. My father thinks he can work me through this as does my mother. But, my mother doesn't want to know anything. Never once in our talk did she say I was gay. My mother physically cannot say “My son is gay.” It was hard for me to say it. I have to understand that.
I've come to realize that there were different levels of acceptance represented in Two Boys Kissing. I'm no longer Cooper. I'm no longer the person who wants to kill themselves, because there parents hate them. I'm Ryan. Working on it one step at a time and someday I'll have that love that Peter and Neil have. Someday that will happen.
Know that someone cares. That someone is me and every other gay out there, because we all understand. I don't need to meet you to know that I care about your struggle. We understand. I don't want you to think about your killing yourself like I have. I want you to know that someone cares. I don't need to like you to care about you. Everyone deserves to be happy and you will be. Just hold on. You can do it. I care about you and I love you just the way you are. It was RuPaul who told me that first.
It shouldn't take Kesha and Lady Gaga to tell us that it's okay for us to be who we are. It shouldn't be books or television that tells us we're fine. But, I'm so glad that they are here. Because, we need them. We really need them.
You will survive. You will be a better person. You will make it. I know you can. If you need someone to talk to, feel free to contact me whenever you need me. All of that information is at the top of the page.
If you are struggling with religious family members. Tony said something very wise in Boy Meets Boy that might help. He said that they were just trying to save him, to do the best they could for him. Your family is wrong for trying to change you, for not realizing that you are fucking perfect. It is however stemming from a place of love. They don't want you to go to hell. And, as awful as they treat you and as they make you feel. They want what's best for you in some sick twisted way.
Most importantly, stay safe. Be who you are, but be safe. That's something everyone deserves.