This is a piece of spoken word I wrote when I was 16 to vocalise my frustration and sadness concerning the first few years of boarding school.
Who am I? Am I what people think of me, or what I think of myself?
Everything changes but nothing changes.
I’m in these cages being battered from all sides,
Others are blind to what’s happening and they watch as I’m tightening
My grip on the bars, those scars not seen but heard,
My Vision’s blurred and I can’t stand it anymore.
Words and deeds ruin my day, far away from home
I sit and take the abuse, the rudeness and sadness.
I’m on the floor wondering, those around me blundering in their carelessness
As they neglect me, I have no respect, no defence against them except the endless denial.
‘I’m not, I’m not’
Week after week I become meek, fearful of the beaks of others
Who think they speak with authority over me.
And even when I retort, they find sport in my voice, a choice of insults
To use, my lisp and stutter flutter as I argue, but
Afraid to say the wrong thing I retreat into myself not daring to admit it.
Most nights in third form I would run to the loo, sit down on the toilet stool,
Slam my hand against the wall and cry, merely being in the company of others is destructive.
My head in my hands, I don’t understand why one part of my being is suppressing me
And making me afraid to be myself, in a world where self-expression and not oppression is encouraged
And I can’t even talk to my friends.
Did I have friends then? I don’t think so, I don’t blame them. Kindness towards me
was unfashionable. But I couldn’t hold it in for much longer.
And so after two years of secrecy and lies in a rush of adrenaline in a history lesson
A casual sentence of disarray, it’s midday and I say
‘Alright I’m gay’ to a shocked audience of two
Who knew, but never thought it completely true.
I can’t even say it loudly even though I want to, I want the whole world to know
But I’m not ready for that.
And as soon as those words are heard regurgitated in their minds
It all changes. they understood.
They have shocked looks on their faces
Stock still in their places, pens drop, Times stop
The backdrop fades and it’s just us three now.
For two years I was unhappy and depressed, being pressed into a corner
For being different, not able to express who I was, who I wanted to be.
The scorners look on with distaste, to them I could be waste
And as they jeer I ask myself ‘what have I done to deserve this?
Maybe I haven’t been the kid everyone expected, but just because I can stand
Away from the monotonous march of the penguins that everyone follows,
Blindly and unkindly berating those who would not join in, fit in,
Conform into society’s rules of behaviour.
‘Ooh denim jeans with elastic bottoms’ they cry and I don’t see why
As they then move on to have a fag, baggy trousers low, bum on show.
And I don’t understand! Yes it was acceptable in the eighties
But I should not be laughed at and mocked for what I wear, who I love
And be slated for wanting to love someone who is not normal.
The word ‘normal’ makes me want to scream, being mainstream,
Nobody in this world is normal and those who try and pretend they are are lying.
I should not be told how to love by people who
Are not sitting on a moral throne, smokers, drinkers, occasional drug users.
They abuse their apparent right to social normality
And instead of holding up high those who are different
They slam us down with a frown into the dirt, wipe their hands on their shirts and continue
With their narrow lives, afraid to become someone, someone like me because
They know that they are not hurting me, but hurting themselves
Those who take the path less trodden, they tread on us, me, we, the people
Who be ourselves, we, the people who try to be ourselves.
But you’re gay! Real words spoken by real people as if that somehow that justifies everything.
In jest and joke maybe, but these words pierce me, hit me
And knock me down and as my head swirls from the blow, tears start to flow
And again I lock myself in the loo.
My genetic setup has been programmed differently to others
And for that I am mocked by flocks of pathetic self-conscious people
Who don’t understand the hurt that their words mean, who carry on with their day after a casual insult
And I’m left in the dust cloud left behind by their innate destruction.
Sticks and stones? Fuck that.