After coming out, hack struggles to find self-acceptance

first_imgI was drunk and lonely at my own going away party, four days away from calling Syracuse home for the next four years. I’d been nervously looking forward to what was in my future. A new home with new friends. New classes and a new life. This was a night to celebrate the excitement of looking forward. But I was looking back.The late hours of Aug. 17, 2012 were creeping into the early ones of the following day. Everything before has run together, and the days after are a blur. The day I first came out. The day I first said “I’m gay” out loud, instead of letting it repeat in my head, over and over and over. I just wanted to tell someone before I left for college. It was a goal that consumed me. It was a goal that I was constantly aware I was failing at.My right shoulder rested on the living room armchair, my left hand carrying the drink that I was slowly sipping on. I blocked out the 50 drunk high schoolers around me dancing to music blasting out of the small speakers on my counter top. People would come up and talk to me, asking if I was OK. Each time I wanted to just come clean and be honest, break down into an emotional mess and say everything that was isolated to my own tormented head.I had gone every day of my life that I could remember wanting to say it. Different loops of when, where, how and who ran through my mind in what felt like every waking moment.The party made worse everything that was already making me sad. It’s hard to pinpoint why I was too scared to say it. I can’t really explain why I pulled my best friend aside later that night and finally did say it. All I know is that expressing it out loud in the long and echoing hallway of my apartment building felt liberating in the moment.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEverything would be easy after that, I had convinced myself. But the short-term relief hasn’t provided me the same long-term liberation that I had hoped and expected. Not even close. Today, as I write this, I feel the same as I did four years before.I’ve spent the four years since as a writer, editor and general addict of The Daily Orange. Each and every single one of my 624 bylines has told someone else’s story. The past three months alone have included stops to St. Louis, Chicago, North Carolina, Queens, Houston and even a Donald Trump rally. I started by covering women’s tennis as a freshman, and finished by covering the Final Four to end my senior year.This is the last time my name will appear, and this is the last chance I have to tell the story that defines me. It’s a story that I thought, by now, would be easy to tell.In the days after my first coming out story, I felt like a pro at telling people.The next afternoon I told two of my friends on two different walks. One on Broadway near my home, the other in Central Park. I told another on Facebook chat and one over text. I told my freshman year roommate over the partial wall of our split double. (I was the first gay person he’d ever met!) I let down a girl who liked me at a party. I told people that were my friends and people that weren’t. I was riding a high, but it didn’t feel natural. I still had an uneasy lump in my gut before the words ever came out. It felt relieving, but it didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel like I was telling people about the person I wanted to be, just the person that I was.It wasn’t because I got negative reactions. In fact, I only got support. Sure, some people were surprised. Others said awkward things or asked awkward questions. One person apologized for not knowing, another proclaimed they always knew. Everyone accepted me. Except me.It’s supposed to be easy now. It’s no longer weird and people don’t judge you. The Supreme Court said gay people could get married, everyone changed their profile picture on Facebook for a day and it became normal, maybe even mainstream. I wish I was one of those people who could blindly bandwagon with the rest. But seeing the celebration of others only adds to the torture because it reminds me of a feeling I don’t think I can have. I’m a part of a community that I don’t feel like I fit into.There are so many success stories about people being themselves. It gets better, I’ve heard. It might not be a secret anymore, but it’s still a struggle. It was before I wrote this and will be after.Having this platform to write shows what I’ve accomplished. I came to The Daily Orange to write about sports. I lived a dream come true. But it’s also served as a way to perpetuate what I didn’t accomplish, and may never will.I still look back to Aug. 17, 2012, and to the hours that crept into the morning after. I remember how I felt, because it’s how I still feel. In that moment, I wanted the courage to tell people the truth. In this moment, I’m still trying to live that truth.Sam Blum is a senior staff writer at The Daily Orange, where his column will no longer appear. He can be reached at sblum@syr.edu or @SamBlum3.-30- Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 1, 2016 at 9:54 pmlast_img read more

QPR fight for Premier League survival takes on new impetus

first_imgThat’s if they fail to pay a potentially large fine for breaking the Football League’s financial fair play rules – who govern the second, third and fourth tiers.Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey says they have the right to refuse admission to their competitions to any team which fails to pay outstanding penalties.But he hopes there would be a resolution long before that.last_img