I think my problem stems from my very first day of kindergarden. I had begged my parents for a specific lunchbox and managed to convince, or negotiated with, them. I’d earned this lunchbox.
What possible lunchbox could I have work, nay fought!, so hard for? I had begged my parents for a bright pink Disney’s Little Mermaid lunchbox. They, being the amazing parents they are, bought it for me. Side note: my parents have, deep down, always known I was gay. They never ONCE tried to fix it. I was always to be myself, as you’ll see.
I could barely sleep the night of the first day. Eating my eggs that late summer morning, I was pumped. I was prepared to rock. I was not prepared for my grave error. I hadn’t counted on the lunchbox standing out, and I was the one rocked.
I showed up for the first day of kindergarden with a bright pink, Little Mermaid lunchbox. And oh, the shade, the shade of it all. What type of shade? Well, this was also the day I learned the word “faggot,” which paints a sufficient enough picture. But I digress.
I went home in tears, blubbering as I told my mom. She picked me up and held me and I cried it out and then she picked up my face. “Honey, if you want a new lunchbox, we’ll get you a new lunchbox.” I’d worked so hard to get that lunchbox, but now I had the prospect to start over. This was a tempting offer, frankly. A legitimate restart, a real do-over. I thought, my brain racing to weigh my options.
"But…but I like my lunchbox…and I wanna keep it."
"Well, honey, you’re going to have to remember that tomorrow. They’re going to do it again, but you remember: this is YOUR lunchbox…And what they think doesn’t matter. You be who you are.” She then washed my face and sat me down for dinner. I marched right back to school for the rest of the year with that lunchbox. Thus, I took the first step on the to “I Don’t Care-dom.”
Coming soon: Part 2 - In which I ware bright pink, Tweety Bird Converse High Tops to the first grade. (This is also when my parents saw a pattern that continues today with bright pink dress shirts and bright pink underwear).