I started High School soon after my family and I arrived to the United States. I had no clue what High School was like or supposed to be like.
Before we escaped from our country, I only finished sixth grade. I spent a year in the deep south, rural area of the country in hiding to prepare for the escape and another year in a refugee camp. I did nothing but fooling around. To think about it, even when I was still in school, I did nothing. I don't remember studying much. I do remember isolating myself from the other kids, though. I do remember noticing I was different from them. I didn't know what was different, but I knew I was different.
I was not bullied by the others, though. I guess they respected me because I was smart or, at least, smarter than they. Or, maybe I just didn't give a damn if they teased me.
Anyway, that confidence didn't last when I had to take P.E. in tenth grade. I had no clue what P.E. was. On the first day, the butchy, probably lesbian teacher made me play softball. Unfortunately, I was the first one to bat. I didn't know why she picked me first; maybe it was because I was a tiny kid...who knew. Suddenly, some kid threw a ball at me. Then, a whole bunch of the other kids yelled...hit, hit, hit!!! What the heck? So, the kid threw it another time. This time, I hit the ball pretty far. And I stood right there...
So...the butchy teacher came over and grabbed my shirt at the collar and yelled, whatever it was...I had no clue and was taken by surprise.
She probably yelled, "What the F are you thinking?" Well, what the F were you thinking, butchy female P.E. teacher? I was fresh out of the boat...literally...I was one of those boat people! In my country, the communitsts threw grenades! In my country, I used to sell candies and bananas since age eight to help my family. How the heck was I supposed to know what softball was?
Anyway, that was the least of my concern during P.E. If I had no problem getting straight A's in all of my other classes, I didn't think it would have been possible for some softball games to bring my GPA down. My concern was my smooth body and hairless legs!
The Whites had hair; the Blacks had hair; the Hispanics had hair. My legs had no hair! AND my mom didn't have the money to get me a pair of sweat pants to hide them. My P.E. shorts were from my cousin. Why didn't he wear sweat pants before and hand them down to me? Every morning, for two years, I had to show my hairless legs!!! I was so conscious about it. I was horrified. I was so scared that one morning some kid would notice my legs and know I was gay. I thought my body was smooth because I was gay.
Have you ever prayed for hair to grow on your body? I know people do pray for hair to grow on their head but never on their body! Well, I did! I did for the longest time.
It is horrible how people keep on making assumptions and, therefore, torture themselves and other people. The butchy female P.E. teacher assumed I knew what softball was and acted in a very un-lady like manner. I assumed I didn't have hair on my body because I was gay and tortured myself for a long time. I assumed, I assumed, and I assumed many things about my being gay. At the end of the day, I locked myself within my own box, my own prison. I only came out to act, to play the main character of my own play...at all times, worrying that I would slip or forget my lines, not knowing when the play would end.
Today, the play has ended. And I am glad I have a smooth body.