Who We Were

Jim Koury

Someone a while back pondered why we never connected as friends in our younger days in high school because of our shared liberal outlook. Sadly, back then I clearly was not who I am today. He most likely would not have liked me much at all, as I was a deeply closeted queer boy hiding behind a fake facade defined by a more conservative thought paradigm. I was one of those queers that I today loathe so much. A Log Cabin, Reagan-loving hypocrite who inside hated me every minute because of it. Yes, sad, but true.

Luckily, I lived my life in such a way that it catapulted me to salvation from the wretched life I led then. I thank the universal power every day that I found the courage to come out and align myself with who I REALLY was. I was able to cast off the repressive and self-degrading facade that I grabbed onto out of fear of those around me finding out I liked the boys and not the girls.

After I did come out and started realigning myself, my then-sister-in-law and I had a conversation during which she told me that she had not liked me at all. She also told me that the real me I was beginning to embrace was much better and more relaxed and that she sincerely understood why I had acted the way I did. She and I are today very good friends despite my brother and her moving on to different lives.

I also once had a friend from college, my best friend actually, say to me, “You are a man of many contradictions.” He also told me that I lived in my own private Idaho and that he knew me yet at the same time he did not. I have never forgotten what he said to me. When I think of it I just want to reach out to all those I degraded and defamed because they were what I really was but was afraid to admit it, or did not conform to the fake veneer that I used to define me, and profusely apologize to them. Maybe some of them are reading this now? I can only hope so.

One of those persons who come to mind is a dude that I took in as a roommate in Buffalo. After he moved in I found out he was gay. Given my fragile nature and fear of being found out, I kicked him out. Then months, and months later, I went to a bathhouse in Rochester, and who did I see? The dude I kicked out. Needless to say, he gave me a piece of his mind and then some! I felt such guilt and hate for myself at that very moment. There are others, as well. The funny thing is though, sometime after that, I took in another roommate who was gay. Due to the first instance, I learned a valuable lesson and did not take the same action I took with that poor soul the first time. I know today that being introduced to a second gay roommate was a sign of my impending destiny, as he introduced me to my first gay bar and other “things” that went along with being gay. He and I living together for a bit was part of a larger life plan that at the time, I did not, or would not understand.

I will be forever grateful that I did find myself. So much so that I wrote my book and put out in the open all those secrets I harbored that drove me to act the way I did. Yet at the same time provided the foundation for living my life the way it should be lived. Out in the open, with no secrets, and with no feelings of guilt and shame for not being the person on the outside as I was on the inside.

I do not know why I had the compulsion to write this today. I guess there may be folks out there who needed to read it. I guess I am a beacon of light that hopefully can lead someone to their path of truth and self-awareness? Whatever the reason, I am here always for those who need a bit of light and have the courage to step out and discover who they truly are because it shone on them.

Peace out peeps.

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