As a child, I hated my life so much, I thought about suicide everyday. I remember being home alone when I was 12, doing homework. I was having a lot of trouble with it, but was too scared to ask my parents for help and too scared to speak up in class for fear of giving the kids at school another opportunity to make fun of me. I always felt so alone and trapped and, at that age, every situation was a “high stakes” situation.
I decided i would try to kill myself that day so I didn’t have to be afraid anymore and so I could finally escape my life. I remember lighting the Christmas tree on fire and sitting there, waiting for it to spread, but as it did, I got more and more afraid. The flames grew quickly and then I wanted to take it all back. I tried to fan out the flames with a broom, but then the broom caught fire. I didn’t know what to do, so I ran to the neighbors house and told him. I was so afraid of what my parents would do to me, I ran away that day. I prayed that someone would kidnap me, so I wouldn’t have to go back. I prayed that a van would pull up and pull me inside. Instead, I slept in an abandoned house and went to school the next day, like nothing happened. I was in the 6th grade.
As I got older, the terms of my slavery changed. My step-mother gave birth to her first child. It was my job to take care of him. When he would wake up in the morning, I would wake up, fix him a 4 oz bottle of Similac, change his diaper, feed him, burp him, put him in his swing in front of some colorful TV program and move on to my chores, occasionally stopping to play with him so he wouldn’t cry. All before my parents were awake. A few years later, my stepmother gave birth to another child and because I was older, my responsibility increased. I did EVERYTHING for him. EVERYTHING. My life was not my own, I had no childhood. What I wanted didn’t matter, what I needed didn’t matter, my purpose in life wa to make the lives of others easier. I hardly had any friends, because most kids my age didn’t like me, because I was gay, and the friends I did have were girls. My parents hated that I had female friends. They’d say, “What are you, a girl?” or “Do you think it’s normal for a boy to have girl friends, not girlfriends, girl friends?” They limited the amount of time I could spend with them. And by they, I mean my step-mother. But, then again, this is the same person who, when I was 7, said my sister and I could not hang out with a family of brothers we became friends with because “they’re Italian and you have nothing in common.”
The only time I didn’t want to end my life was during movies and prime time television. These were my favorite things. I LOVED THE MOVIES. I could escape the world for 2 hours. No one yelled at me or called me stupid. No one hit me. No one called me a faggot. I got so much pleasure from watching people be happy in movies. Like in movies, when a kid was sad and ran to their room and sat up in their bed crying and a parent would knock on the door and ask, “can I come in?” And they would ask what’s wrong and tell the child they loved them…. I loved it. I once cried during a movie when a dad held his daughters hand. I remembered thinking, “wow, he must love her.” And for a second, i felt like I was the character and I was loved. My absolute favorite were action movies. The Matrix, Charlie’s Angels, Kill Bill. I loved them because the characters seemed to have no real personal problems other than saving the world or exacting revenge and we always knew they would succeed, otherwise it wouldn’t be a movie. They had one job; fight the bad guys. I wanted that. If I could have traded in my life for a life as a member of a spy team, I would have done it in a second. Protecting the world with your life seemed so much easier than living.
I loved escaping and it didn’t stop with movies. I had a special VHS tape when I was a kid. I would record every music video, every live performance and I would learn the choreography and the song and perform them over and over again. I would feel confident. I felt people watching me and I felt that they admired me and loved seeing me perform, even though no one was really there. I would have fake interview with myself where I would talk about how Mariah Carey was my best friend. I would dream that I joined Destiny’s Child. In class I daydreamed that Britney Spears would walk in and tell my teacher that I had to leave early so I would film a Pepsi commercial with her.
In high school I came up with the scenario that I was a child star in the UK, celebrated by all, but terrorists wanted to kill me. So, my parents brought me to the US where I would live under another identity until the terrorists were found. Once I turned 18, I would start my career again and everyone that knew me and treated me terribly in the US would feel so stupid.
When I was 13, I began trying to bargain with God to help change my life. I would fast every other day to show how seriously devoted I was. i remember hiding food in my room so my dad wouldn’t know I didn’t eat it and the next day I would devour it. At 14, I tried making a pact with God. I said, “the past 14 years of my life have been terrible and if you would turn the next 14 years of my life around, I would work as hard as possible at performing, be happy and I would agree to death 14 years later at the age of 28.”
But the universe had a slightly different plan laid out for me….