I Wish I Could Just Choose

I think I was about seven when I learned to word gay.

We were driving up to my grandparents driveway

My grandparents had just gotten a bumper sticker stating the marriage equals one man and one woman

As we sit in the driveway my mom asks me if I know what the word gay means,

I shake my head no in confusion

This is something that wasn’t typically talked about in my conservative Christian family

My mom looks over at me and I wait for her to explain

She told me that sometimes men choose to marry men and sometimes woman choose to marry woman

I listened intrigued with what she was saying

She then told me that God doesn't like it when men choose to love men and same with woman

The word I found interesting here was choose

So I asked her “did you choose to love daddy”

“Yes” was her reply

This shaped how I would view love for the next decade

Love was not anything that involved feelings it was simply just a choice

That was easy enough to understand

So when I was eight and the other eight year old girls started to have crushes on boys I decided I should choose one to have a crush on as well

So I pick one out

And I say that I like him

He’s a smart kid with nice hair

Isn’t that enough for me to like him?

I’m in the eighth grade my friends start dating

I figure I should pick out a new boy to like and try to make something of it

While my thirteen year old self tries to flirt I can’t but think that something's not quite right

Why would I rather spend time with the cute girl in my class then the boy I’m supposed to like?

Shouldn’t I want to spend time with him instead of her?

I guess I should just try harder

I’m fourteen and going through my “Justin Bieber” phase

My room is filled with posters of the teen star

But I also have a poster of Selena Gomez and for some reason I like that poster a lot more then all the posters of boys I had hanging all over my room

I can’t figure out why

I’m sixteen and realize I should be dating someone by now  

I pick out a nice guy from church

He becomes my first boyfriend

We date for a month

He talks about the idea of marriage I can’t stand the thought of it

I didn’t want to spend my life pretending to like him

So I try to think of a guy I would like to marry and can’t think of single one

I think something's wrong with me

I think that I shouldn’t be feeling like this

I have to like him

Or at least some guy

But I don’t

I’m seventeen and a senior in highschool

I fall in love for the first time with the girl in my science class

I recognized the feeling I felt for her

What I thought used to just be “close friendship” was a crush

Everything finally made sense

Something just clicked

She made me laugh and smile even when I felt like shit  

She could light up a whole room

And her laugh made everything feel alright

And then things got really scary when I wanted to kiss her  

And I realized “oh shit I’m gay”

I pray for God to take it away

I try everything in my power to attempt to change it

I pretend it doesn't exist

I push it down and tell it never to come up

And as a push it down I begin to lose myself

I no longer want to do anything

All I can do is sleep

But not even that sometimes

I stare at my wall for hours at a time

Unable to move

Unable to think

Unable to do anything

I begin to mark myself with scars because it’s the only thing that makes the pain go away

I keep praying that God will change me

But he doesn't

I’m seventeen and a half

My mom finds out that I'm depressed and sends me to therapy

And when they ask me what caused all this I tell them I don’t know

Which just leaves them confused.  

It’s the summer after my senior year and I’m just happy I was able to pass my classes

I am now able to comprehend that I really am gay

But I also still think that it’s not okay

So I think about killing myself

I think about saving my family the pain of having a gay child

I think about not having to worry any more

I think maybe God would rather have me dead than living a life of “sin”

I spend the summer not wanting to swim because of the cuts on my body

I spend my summer hoping maybe I won’t wake up from sleep

I spend my summer wanting to sleep forever

I’m eighteen and freshmen at a community college

And I realize God doesn't hate me because I’m gay

I decide that it’s okay to be gay

I decide that I am gay and that’s actually okay

I decide that I will love who I am

I’m eighteen

And I come out to friends

They respond with “alright that’s cool, anyone wanna get Pizza tonight”

And with that response all I can do is smile

The only change that it made is when we talk about a future spouse they say she instead of he

And they ask if I’ll ask her out instead of him

And when they ask about a celebrity crush I’m perfectly free to say it’s Jennifer Lorance

I’m eighteen

I still hid from my family and a few of my “friends”

But I finally love who it is that I am

And while it hurts me to hear some of the words my family has to say when they talk about “the gays”

I know that I have people that love who I am

And I know that who I am is okay

So I go back to that day in my grandparents driveway

I think about how she says love is simply something you choose

And I wish it was just that simple

I wished I could simply picked who I love

But that’s just not the way the God made me

I can’t just choose

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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