Joteria

He is thirteen

Navigating school hallways and people and the nooks and crannies of his developing body

But one thing he can't figure out

Is what's wrong with him

Why does a high pithced voice come out when he opens his mouth?

Why are his mannerisms so "girly"?

Why is he deemed "gay"?

What makes it a bad thing?

He is fourteen

Navigating school hallways and people and the nooks and crannies of his developing body

He is taller now

That high pitched voice has been replaced with a deeper one

But there is a voice in the back of his mind

Telling him he's not good enough

Telling him his friends hate him

Telling him he doesn't belong

He is fifteen

Navigating school hallways and people and the nooks and crannies of his mind

He's bisexual now

Nobody believes it

But maybe if he does there's a chance he'll end up normal

Whatever normal means

He is sixteen

Navigating school hallways and people and a boyfriend 

They are each other's first

He is over the moon with how much he likes him

He brings him home but introduces him as a friend

How he wishes he didn't have to

The voice is still there

It is louder and angrier and confused

It says he is a disappointment

To his friends, his family and himself

But when he gets his first car it shuts up for a second

He is seventeen

Navigating school hallways and people and firsts

First breakup but he's not as sad as he thinks he's supposed to be

First hookup but he wishes he hadn't gone through with it

First time in Sephora and he is mesmerized by Fenty Beauty by Rihanna

By this point he knows he's not bisexual

Still doesn't say the words though

He is eighteen

Almost done navigating school hallways and people and the nooks and crannies of himself

Graduation is quickly approaching

There are college applications and caps and gowns and people he will probably never see again

He's excited to say goodbye

He says the words to himself in the bathroom mirror

"I'm gay"

He cries in relief

He is nineteen

Navigating a college campus and new people and the nooks and crannies of his queerness

The voice is still there but it's quieter now

He changes his major because he realizes he hates science

He joins the speech team because he loves advocacy

And he ends up finding an incredible group of people who help him navigate all of it

He even has a mentor who is brown and gay too

Who teaches him how to be unafraid

Unafraid of his queerness

Unafraid of his browness

Unafraid of being both

So when his mentors graduate and leave

He can teach the next one

How to navigate school hallways and people and the nooks and crannies of himself

This poem is about: 
Me

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