Gay. Fag. Homo. Gay. Fag. Homo. Gay. Fag. Homo. Rinse, repeat. Day in, day out, this was my existence in High school. These words turned weapons were highly effective in the destruction of my emotional state. They made me breathless, made my every waking moment incredibly painful. Rural South Carolina, and the gender conformist bubble that still exists there, almost lead to my demise. When my father found an old suicide note from me in a side table last year, he called and was understandably panicked, thinking it was recent. It came as a shock to him, but not to me. I knew that feeling almost every day, and never said a word.

I still reflect on those times, wish I could tell that kid that it gets better, that who he is is okay, that he’ll eventually find the right people and this life will be worth it.

I’m not quite sure why I’m compelled to write this, but if you’re depressed, or just struggling to make sense of your self in this world, please find help. Don’t let your pride stop your growth. If you can’t confide in friends or family (I couldn’t), counseling is a wonderful resource. It helped me through some of my hardest times. Your life is of value, and you are so worth it. And if you’re in a spot where none of those resources are available, dig in your heels and fight. You’ll make it through.

You have my sincerest thoughts and prayers, and anything else you need. If you have no one to talk to and wish you did, please get in touch. I mostly don’t know what I’m talking about, but at minimum I can listen without judgment, and sometimes that’s all that’s necessary.

Good luck, friend.

NOTE: At the top of this, I used some language I find fairly offensive. If those words trigger you, I’m deeply sorry. Those words were once incredibly painful for me, but eventually they became just words. I hope you’ll one day find the same.