Advanced Essay #1 [The Dichotomy of Sexuality & Identity]


My goals of this essay were to explore and try to make the reader understand how sexuality, puberty, identity, and image all interact. I’m proud of the fact that for the first time in a while, I was able to write about these topics with a flow that coincided with my feelings. The random flow and revisiting of memories recent and distant was intentionally sporadic, as to capture my pace of thinking and it’s overlap with what I wanted to write about. I think if I made more time for myself to work on the actual consistency and focus of this piece I’d have put more thought into some of the subtopics I visit. Nonetheless, I’m proud of this piece and hope you can enjoy.


I joined social media when I was in middle school, probably 7th grade. I was about 12 when I started looking at my body differently. Resentment towards a prepubescent blocky shape. Fussing with hair, pinching at hips and thighs. Reassured that my body would stretch into a sleeker shape. Reassured I would be handsome, less feminine.

In 7th grade, I wanted an undercut. My mom shaved away the back and sides of my hair with old clippers, frequently asking that I sit up straight and hold still. Afterward, I must’ve burst into tears not moments after peering at my reflection in the mirror. It didn’t matter the cut or color, nothing would take attention away from my round face. Washing the freshly cut hair off my shoulders and back weeping quietly, “I don’t want to be a girl.”

The frustration I had toward my image peaked around the same time I got comfortable with my gay identity. Most media tends to portray homosexual identity in a damaging way. Though the nature of its representation should be empowering, it just creates a false idea of homosexuality. Emphasis on sex, body, clothes, speech, etc. There’s less discussion about bullying, prejudice, guilt, embarrassment, shame.

The shame can kill you. You sit in class, paranoid that someone knows or that someone could find out and tell. You survive the same way everyone else does. Jokes disparaging homosexuality. Slurs with delicious vowels rolling off your tongue, leaving a bitter aftertaste. It’s subconscious and trained. You ́re a sleeper agent, equipped with the perfect comedy to mask your identity. After all, no one knows it better than you.

Being directly asked about your sexuality during this time is the worst. You don’t want to fib, but it’s easier. Maybe you’re being asked encouragingly by male friends, wanting reassurance that you all feel the same affliction to a girl in your class. It could be asked in a mocking tone, by a bully or a group thereof. Until you accept the part of yourself fighting its way out, your answer will remain an untruth, buried beneath shame, guilt, and a false sense of wrongdoing.

My first crush was a boy that likely faced some sort of confusion like I had, but was raised in an environment that lacked tools necessary to understand such feelings. Prolonged hugs in the dark, spooning at sleepovers, confused hormones, unnecessary I-love-yous, and so much shame. He had girlfriends he didn’t have feelings for. I had girlfriends I didn’t have feelings for.

Bargaining is very common, especially while exploring other identities. Yearning for some sort of flexibility, a wider variety of options. Bisexual, pansexual, demi, poly, etcetera. The lies you tell yourself might feel easier when pondering your identity. Lies are moldable, soft, and easy. The truth can be hard to accept. It is inconsiderate and uncaring to what you want, it simply is.

You might consider others with a sort of opulence around their sexuality. Others not like you have more options, lavishly exploring sensuality and feeding their sexual appetite. This isolation can make you grow desperate, yearning for comradery and understanding. A community can be found, whether that be via web forums, clubs, or amongst other outcasts you find yourself crossing paths with.

Early in my life, I found myself with other queer youth in an Instagram group chat, dedicated to some sort of online fantasy roleplay. I didn’t have much interaction with other LGBT folk up until that point, so being surrounded by it was highly liberating. Hours were spent nearly every day, typing, locked into conversation with people much like me. This didn’t wash away my guilt or shame completely, it just made it feel less alien or strange.

I still held a scowl as often as I could, shrouding my rather soft look. After being told by another student that I “walked gay,” my strut became more intrepid, heedless of what was around me. I dragged my uniform shoes, left buttons undone, tried my best to carry a dauntless and uncaring image. Could the way I dress now, (spikes and all) be influenced or a direct causality of this? Yes.

I was constantly focused on my image when I was younger— still am really. My body, my face, my hair. The persona I created was cunning, deviant, sexual. This, in hindsight, was mainly influenced by the queer representation we’ve had and still had. Rebelliousness, disobedience, insubordination. We’re subliminally taught that our very existence, our queerness, is an act of defiance against society, and more often than not, godliness. As if we had any say in the matter of our creation.