With a Desire to be Free

I’m not good with beginnings. Never have been. I’m more of a middle and end guy. Beginning from a previous end is one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn. For the past year or so, I’ve considered myself a nomad. I’ve traveled to three continents and back. I’ve worked. I’ve lived. I’ve seen. I’ve toured. I got lost. I spent three months without unpacking my suitcase before having to repack it to venture out on another excursion.

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All of this was done under the assumption that it wouldn’t be done. You see, my travels abroad were not endorsed by my mother and father. They wanted me to get a job and start saving money and live with them. That was something I couldn’t do, nor could I have explained to them why it couldn’t be done. I defied their request and promptly boarded my flight at 10 one rainy night.

This all started years prior on a cool Southern afternoon. I was ready to board my flight back to the Northeast Corridor and return to school. That evening, I would tell my mother that I am gay. I would lose all that I knew and would have to rebuild my character, my soul, my sense of self, from the ground up. Years of reflection have told me that it was this sense of self that I lost. I spent two years under constant fire–hearing the likes of “no mother raises a faggot,” “you are not God’s best,” “you are going to die and burn in Hell,” “you won’t be able to handle your life.” Worse was how she said it and that my father never defended me. It was how my mother looked at me as if she were looking at someone who was not her child.

She did look at me like I was not her son. She did criticize who I was. She was wrong. She is wrong. That experience taught me that I have more power over who I am than I initially thought. You’d think it to be common sense, though if who you are is never challenged, you never realize all that you are or could be.

This is why I now consider myself an advocate.

Any one of us who have been admonished by anyone–society, close friends, family–are desperate to be understood. We are desperate to be free. We want to live our lives and be who we are without any pressure of conforming.

Conformity. Funny word, that one.

Why do people feel the need to conform? What about our societal structure tells us that we should conform to this small pool of potential selves? I simply told my mother that I am gay. You, the reader, could have told your father that you want to be an artist, not an engineer. You could have told your mother that you wish to not be called by a gender-specific pronouns. You could have told your best friend that you no longer understand the value of organized religion and will stop attending religious services.

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The point is, we all have a desire to be free. Though we live in a country that calls itself free, do you not find it ironic that freedom is actually hard to come by?

Hello. My name is Philip. My story is not new. My story is not the worst one or the best one out there. But I believe in history: you must know where you have come from to figure out why you believe what you believe and what you can do to change that or enhance that belief system as you grow into the future. I am not perfect. I don’t want to be. What I want to be is a sponge that soaks up information and thoughts and spits out more and more questions. So let’s get started.

Blue sunrises, Philip

Images by: Nyttend – WikiCommons and J. Billinger – Media Wiki

Philip Henry

Philip Henry

Philip Henry is a social media analyst and website technician for VenusplusX. He is an engineer in the Metro D.C. Area.
Philip Henry

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