This isn’t something I like talking about but I feel like it is something that should be talked about more often because it is effecting more and more people and it breaks my heart a little bit more every day. Last night I texted one of my friends I hadn’t seen in about two years. Here is where I should probably give you the background.
Two years ago one of my close friends was really struggling with his sexuality lets just call him James (not his real name). James never admitted to us that he was confused but it became something that consumed him he was so worried that someone would find. When I first met James he was always so happy he wasn’t worried what people thought if him he took on life with two hands and he was just one of those people that was awesome to be around. He was one of my first friends when I moved to Auckland at that point I didn’t have many friends here and he introduced me to a lot of his friends who all became my friends as well. One of those friends Sarah (Not real name) and I got along really well she became one of my close friends and it was awesome we got along really well. We would all hang out in the weekend and quite often a couple of nights after work/uni it was awesome I hadn’t really ever had friends like this.
After a few months James began to change. None of us really noticed at first he just got really quiet he would just go to uni and go home he was always making excuses that he couldn’t hang out with us for one reason or another. For a while we just thought he was busy but then we noticed a change in his attitude. This whole time he was questioning his sexuality but none of us knew. He was scared that we wouldn’t want to hang out with him if we knew. He was worried his parents would disown him and that he would be lonely for the rest of his life but none of us had any idea that all of this was going on in his head.
We hadn’t seen james in a few weeks which was weird because we used to hang pretty much every weekend. One night we were having drinks at Sarah’s house. Her Mum was away and a few of her friends were there too. Her friends were going to a birthday party so they all left but a smaller group of us stayed at Sarah’s we were all taking turns at playing our favourite songs at the moment. James refused to choose a song. But we didn’t push it too much we were just stoked that he was there. It was Sarah’s turn to choose a song earlier that week Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert had released the video to their song ‘Same Love’ she decided to put the song on and play the video. We were all sitting around watching the video. Half way through the video james got up from the table and went to the bathroom. We didn’t think much of it until he came back to the table.
“Guys there is something I need to tell you” he said. I remember those words specifically as he began saying the word ‘something’ I saw a tear roll down his cheek. Before he said anything he began apologising. We had no idea what he was apologising for. We had no idea why he was apologising. We were just as confused as him only we were confused about different things. We were confused where all of this was coming from James on the other hand was confused about his sexuality. He started by saying. “I understand if you don’t want to be my friend anymore but I feel you guys deserve to know.” First of all there wasn’t anything that was going to stop any of us being friends with James… Unless maybe he had killed someone. At this point we were all a bit confused and didn’t really know what to say. Sarah just went over and wrapped her arms around him to comfort him. Eventually he just blurted it out “It isn’t easy for me to say this but I think I am gay. No wait I know I am gay. I am sorry. I know you probably want nothing to do with me know but I have really enjoyed being your friend and I hope one day you will be able to understand.” It was that point that Sarah and I both burst out laughing. I am not sure if it was relief or if we just thought it was funny that his sexuality could change our view of him. James was pretty much a brother to us and sexuality wasn’t ever going to effect the way either of us thought of him.
It was quite a surreal moment. I felt terrible that he had been going through all of this by himself. I felt bad that he had been thinking about this for so long but the guilt really kicked in when I realised he thought that his sexuality could alter the way I thought of him. Sarah and I then spent the next couple of hours assuring him that nothing changes and that if anything now that it was out in the open that we wanted to see more of him. Sarah was excited to judge cute guys with him and we all enjoyed the rest of our night.
For the next few months we all hung out a lot. Sarah and James became extremely close. She convinced him that no one would be concerned about his sexuality. Eventually James told his family who all took it really well. The happiest moment was when James introduced us to his boyfriend Richard (not real name). We were all so proud of him. He had almost completely cut us off and all because of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s song he had the courage to open up to us. James and Sarah became super close I got really busy with work and our friendship grew distant. We would catch up occasionally and then it got to the point where we would just text and never really hung out.
Last night I got this weird feeling that I should text Sarah. I don’t really know why it’s almost 2 years since I’ve even talked to her I messaged her and said. “You were with me the first time I heard Same Love” The song that changed James life. Thanks for being there” from this I was expecting a response along the lines of ‘Wow it’s been a while we should catch up’ or ‘haha what a night that was. It’s amazing how things have changed’ The response I actually got was somewhat different. “<3 <3 may I tell you something, you lovely human” my response was obvious “Of course you may! x” what came next shocked me “It’s kinda depressing so I hope I’m not about to kill your mood. But I have been hospitalised twice this year for attempting suicide and I’m literally sitting here writing more goodbye notes as I got that message from you and even though it’s totally simple it helped. You are wonderful thank you” At that point I stopped I was listening to music. I couldn’t hear the music any longer. The world around me could have been put on pause for all I know. Sarah was the one person who had always been there for everyone. Sarah was the strong one. Sarah was the happy one. Sarah was the girl you could always count on for everything. Sarah had so much going for her. How is this fair? How is this possible? Is this some kind of sick joke? all questions and thoughts I was feeling and thinking.
It didn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense it won’t ever make sense to me. I just don’t understand how life can be so cruel to someone that has such a big heart. It isn’t just Sarah though there are people every day fighting their own battles. Some battles are bigger than others but they’re still battles. There is nothing saying my battle is bigger or more important than yours. When you’re going about life think about other people understand that you don’t always see or know what is going on but inside each person is a heart. Inside each heart there is love but there is also pain. Sometimes the pain seems more than you can handle but it’s the small things in life that can make it a better place for the people around you. As I am writing this Michael Jackson ‘Heal The World’ just came on shuffle which is really weird timing but I believe everything in this world happens for a reason. Everyone is here to serve a purpose. You deserve to be here as much as anyone else in this world and yes we all have out battles going on James overcame his sexuality and Sarah is in the middle of her battle right now but she said it herself the small things are what make a difference.
You can make a difference. Think with an open mind. Do things for other people without expecting anything back. It’s as simple as being friendly to your next customer or the next person that serves you in a shop. Don’t under estimate how much the little things can make a difference. If you’ve got a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time reach out to them. Ask them how they are. Take a moment out of you life and listen to someone else, see how their life is going. A problem shared is a problem halved and if each and every one of us halved a problem there wouldn’t be many of them left.
I found this quote and think it is really fitting. Next time you’re frustrated that your taxi hasn’t arrived or that they put pickles in your burger and you didn’t want pickles try not to rage you never know what battle that taxi driver is going through right now. The person that made your burger could and probably is fighting a battle too. Breath in… breath out and ask yourself is my life ruined because of this? It most probably isn’t smile and move on.
If you made it to the end of this post thank you for taking the time to read it. I realise it is quite long but I hope it has helped in some way. 🙂