My high school façade was designed for survival.  I was different from other students, and didn’t wish to push myself from the herd.  Leaning heavily on the cartoonish persona from middle school, I deliberately designed an undefined identity.  I created a false identity by gathering adjectives to armor myself.  I hoped that no one would see through the smokescreen of descriptors, to spot the gay that would further isolate me.  I bent myself into new exaggerated images every day.  Masks were crafted for every student sub-culture.  I was Wal-Mart – a little for all but not everything to one; and no one to me.  To seamlessly navigate cliques, I accumulated a little knowledge about a lot.  This hindered the development of an authentic identity, based on beliefs, attitudes, and values.  I allowed peers to dictate my identity and silence my own interests.  I strived to fit-in, but gained attention because the adjectives that allowed me to nonchalantly shift cliques fixed a spotlight on me, and the impending question about my outsider status.  I sabotaged acceptance based upon authenticity by defensively rejecting labels.  I knew acceptance wasn’t me being made into a token.  Instead my rejection came from refusing my own skin.


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