I’m not like everyone else. When I look in the mirror I don’t see myself. I see a body, and it mirrors my movement. logically I know it’s me…but it’s not me. When I picture myself I don’t look or sound anything like that person. But everyone else sees that person in the mirror. It feels like I can’t escape that person.
When I lie in bed trying to fall asleep I get a feeling of discomfort throughout my body. I am aware of how certain areas of my body feel and it makes me uncomfortable. I feel gross.
When I’m out, I feel the way my body rubs against my clothes. I feel a wave of anxiety every time I go to the ‘ladies’ bathroom or when the cashier refers to me as ‘young lady.’
When I’m at college I can’t help but cringe every time a classmate greets me with ‘hey, girl’. Every time I hear my name in the register, every time I’m referred to as ‘she’ by tutors I feel a sudden sense of internal confusion.
I am endlessly putting on a show. Every day, every conversation I have, every time I think I’m being watched. I’m constantly studying the situation, grasping for clues of what behavior is expected of me to try to fit in. I keep feeding society the ‘lesbian’ they want to see. I’m not doing it because I want to. I’m doing it to avoid that awkward silence. To avoid that mockery and humiliation. This has led to a deeply ingrained sense that I can never be myself around other people. And so my life is an endless and exhausting acting job.
The problem is, the act never stops. There is a distance between me and everyone in my life. Friends, parents, siblings. No one knows the person behind the act. Not truly. If anyone gets too close they might see behind the curtain…they might see the inner me, the cause of awkward silences, stares and mockery. So no matter how many relationships I have, they are not with me but with the character I play, the person in the mirror. This leaves me intensely lonely.
I don’t hide in the closet because I want to, no one does. I hide because I’m so scared of being found out. I’m hiding the whole sense of who I am- my real personality, opinions and thoughts. Hiding that makes me hate that person even more. It makes me feel like my true self is terrible and unworthy.
Anon, 17, Herts Youth Connexions Hertfordshire