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#OurStories: I am a Misfit by Jay Bond

I am a misfit.

I used to hate this about myself. I wanted to belong. I wanted to be normal. The price for extraordinary was too much. The things boys my age engaged in like playing football, wrestling, discussing who had the biggest breast/ass or just plain looking for trouble was very distasteful to me. Yet I found myself trying to do all those things because I needed to fit in. I diligently looked for approval and thumbs up from a society whose views change constantly.
This week I found myself watching Glee again. The first time I watched it, it was mostly because of the music but this time I watched it with so much more understanding. Each character was on a journey to self-actualization. Their personalities evolved as they began to realize who they were as individuals. This evolution proved to me that acceptance is not a one-day thing. It’s a process.

I am GAY. Four years ago I couldn’t say those words. I couldn’t even think them. I had known since I was old enough to have feelings but I refused to accept it.

Why did I choose not to accept it?

First, I was concerned about what people would say. I needed society’s approval. Being gay ruined every chance for me to fit in. Second and most importantly was my faith in God. Acceptance would shake my belief. Acceptance would mean I was an unbeliever. Acceptance would mean I was backsliding. Acceptance would mean I was a sinner. I mean how can a queer boy be talking to people about God?

I still battle with acceptance every day. When the new guy I’m talking to asks for my social media I still feel hesitant to give it out. I don’t want him to see that side of me. The side that loves God so much. When someone is making homophobic comments, I don’t want to speak up because I don’t want to be identified as “one of them”. When people ask me if I’m gay I’m so quick to deny that I’m not because I don’t want their good opinions of me to change. All these because I want to fit in.

I strongly believe that Jesus died on the cross for people who considered themselves weak. The Outcasts. The ones who were lost. The ones people have written off. He died for me. His death signified hope. The hope of a better life and a greater tomorrow. In summary, Jesus died so that I might live my best life. His death came with a love experience. Love that makes you feel special and accepted. The love I have experienced in Christ has helped me to love and to accept myself. It has shown me that I don’t need to fit in. I am loved the way I am and that love should be the only standard for acceptance. What people say means nothing now.

Fitting in doesn’t guarantee happiness. Acceptance of who you are will guarantee you peace. I have never felt more peace and joy and happiness than when I decided to let go of the mask that society demanded of me and just allowed myself to be me. It’s okay to be GAY. It’s who you are. You didn’t choose it. I know I didn’t choose this. It is what it is. You can only truly accept yourself when you begin to love every single part of yourself. I used to hate being gay. Deciding to love that aspect of me allowed me to accept who I was. Like I said earlier, acceptance is a process. Sadly we will live in a country that tells us that we are abominations which in turn fuels the hate for ourselves. The truth is you are loved. And the only opinion that counts is the opinion of Love.

Finally, we need to choose to love ourselves. Only then can we be united and only then can we make a difference. The more you get comfortable in your own skin the more people you inspire to also accept themselves. There’s so much more to me than being gay. I have decided not to allow it to define my life. It’s just an aspect of so many beautiful qualities I have. You shouldn’t allow it to define you either.

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