I wanted to be trouble for someone, too.
But I never was. I was always the good boy, the one mothers would say about me, “Why can’t you be more like Loren?” but actually they felt good that their sons weren’t like me.
I was like the designated driver of life for all of my friends. I took care of them when they couldn’t take care of themselves. I tried to take care of them even when they could.
I was Andrew Tobias’s The Best Little Boy in the World.
But inside myself I felt like the worst boy in the world. I was filled with guilt and shame and self-hatred. But I couldn’t let go of that facade that I was the best for fear that others would see me as I saw myself.
Constantly preoccupied with self-observance, I was invariably on guard. I could never relax. Am I walking as boys walk? Am I carrying my books right? What does my voice sound like? And even, Am I bullying the boys that have a harder time hiding their queerness?
It took me a long time to love myself enough to allow others to love me as I am, not as I tried to be. I lost a couple of dear, long-time friends when I came out, but I gained so many more after I began showing up as myself.