High school sucked.

Society stole my youth from me.

Growing up gay is hard. Growing up gay in Hong Kong warrants decades of therapy, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Growing up a female gaysian in a town of predominantly Asian immigrants outside Toronto is just as, if not more, damaging.

There was a lot of compensating and a lot of avoiding. Being in such a homogeneous environment made it even harder to understand why I was different.

While others my age in other towns were moving onto third base, coughing after their first toke, nervously waiting as the bouncer checked their fakes for the first time, I was focusing my energy on on a sport. Mine was badminton. I became very competitive and it occupied all my after-school time and attention. I’d pass on weekend parties as I’d be flying off to out-of-province tournaments.

I got good at my sport through hard work and dedication – I ranked top eight in Canada and it instilled a priceless amount of discipline in me. I was particularly invested in it because it was the perfect scapegoat for me to avoid coming to terms with my sexuality.

I lost a chunk of my youth there. I was never in a relationship because guys never “felt right”. Having trust issues from getting ripped away from my first “best-friend” at a young age (another story, another day) certainly didn’t help. So I convinced myself that I just “haven’t met him yet”.

And all the while, “that’s so gay” and “you faggot” peppered every other conversation – not with bad intentions, just the unintended consequences of uncorected heternormativity.

At the time, I was convinced – absolutely, thoroughly convinced to the very pit of my soul – that I wanted something I could never have. I never knew how to articulate it in words, but Nine Inch Nails helped. It’s weird describing it, but I never knew what that “something” was – it was a feeling. I never consciously put two and two together to realize it was my attraction towards women. I just thought I’d never be truly happy and that I should just accept it – plain and ‘simple’. Perhaps it was because I thought I’d end up with a guy and I knew if that were the case, it’d just result in more pretending.

I was so fucking glad to get out of high school.

Sometimes I still think about it. But I choose to look at the silver lining – the achievements I’ve made, the character it’s built. It was my path. Absolutely nothing good will come out of dwelling on what a heteronormative, conservative society has stolen from me. It happened, but I’m here now.

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