I wrote this piece originally for myself. It was a healing piece about coming to terms with my past and embracing it. Embracing my past is important to me because being discriminated against, being put in violent situations, experiencing microaggressions, and being made to feel like less than a human being has made me stronger. Minoritized people who do social justice work have often experienced some deep trauma. It is important to focus on healing and take care of one’s mental health in order to be able to be activists for social justice.
This piece opens with my experiences being outed to my family. It specifically talks about my experience with my dad. The piece then goes into how the experience forced me back into the closet.
The next stanza talks about how during that time of my life, I would self-harm as an unhealthy coping mechanism. I would mainly focus on my thighs. I would also engrave words on my legs like “burden,” “f*g,” “worthless,” and other destructive words. It then mentions how I blamed myself for being weak in this situation. Despite the emotional abuse and gaslighting, I survived.
Next, the poem goes into how I had suicidal thoughts. The beginning of the stanza touches on my relationship with God at the time. I would pray to be straight or dead in the morning most nights. I
thought that I would not have the strength to continue living my life as a queer person. In the poem, I wanted to honor queer and trans youth who had committed suicide. In particular, I wanted to mention Leelah Alcorn. I remember being in high school when she committed suicide. Her story really touched me and has stuck with me. The poem then talks about the afterlife. It challenges the Christian notion of hell and debates if it was as bad as what I was going through. I wanted to explore the idea of “hell on earth” because when I was in that place, I was suffering. It felt like I was in a living hell. I fantasized that death would be nothing, just peace.
The next section of the poem is the most important to me. It starts with “But that morning yu woke up.” It shows that I have survived all the bad days and hell that I’ve been through. I have had a 100% survival rate through everything. The section of the poem continues with all the growth and progress that I have accomplished and maintained. It reminds me of the strength I found that I originally didn’t think I had.
The ending recognizes that I did not think I would have the strength to live this long. Most importantly, this poem thanks my younger self for having the strength to carry on even when I thought I couldn’t.
"A Poem For a Small Town Queer Kid,"
New and Dangerous Ideas: Vol. 2
, Article 13.
Available at: https://docs.rwu.edu/nadi/vol2/iss1/13
Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education Commons, Civic and Community Engagement Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Higher Education Commons, Race and Ethnicity Commons, Sociology of Culture Commons