Growing up in southern Louisiana was a blessing and a curse. While I had to hide and bury the core of my being – my sexuality – I did however live in a place that celebrated life and living! We lived to eat, drink, and be merry. My early childhood was not extraordinary, but looking back, it was blessed. Summers were spent outside, climbing trees, making forts out of refrigerator boxes, and setting booby traps for my imagined prey.
I lived without a care in the world… until the day I discovered I was falling helplessly in love with my sister’s boyfriend. I vividly remember the day I first “felt it” — he was just coming out of the swimming pool when he flipped back his heavy mane of jet-black hair like only really cool boys could. I watched every drop of water collect and drip off the tips of his wet hair, on to his round shoulders, and down the V of his back, all the way to the base of his cut-off jean shorts.
I was soon admonished by my sisters and mom when they discovered my secret. “Boys do not like boys,” they said, and from that day on, I was very aware that something is wrong here and that fitting in and hiding the best part of me was going to be necessary for survival.
Flash forward to today, and that way of being and thinking is no longer necessary. In fact, I live a life that I love with my two partners, our four dogs, and our “God dog,” Bella (you can read more about our relationship in this feature profile from New York Magazine).
This part of A Thing of Beauty is a celebration of living — a life worth living. Nothing is stopping us from being who we want to be, loving who we want to love, and doing what we want to do. Just like the refrigerator boxes that I used to transform into elaborate forts, our lives can so easily transform from “nothing” spaces to “something” spaces.