July 25th, 2002

WebCam Greg

Unfamiliar Territory

I find myself in unfamiliar territory. I’m experiencing for the first time a passion for learning. I truly want to absorb everything around me. This never before felt passion for learning is wonderful.

While in elementary school and high school, I very rarely did assigned homework and didn’t study that often. I maintained a 'B' average despite the lack of effort. I was able to achieve my grades by doing well on tests and quizzes. Most, if not all of my report cards have comments like, "Greg is working below his apparent ability." I think that if I had put any effort into my classes I would have achieved great things in school. As it turned out, I didn’t value my life and had no motivation to improve my scholastic abilities.

I was teased and picked on all the time at school. I picked up on concepts very quickly, which made me disliked by some of the other kids. I was called a brain or a nerd and instead of laughing at the comments, I let them tear though me like a dagger. I wanted to be liked and accepted, but instead I felt hated and alone.

In the fifth grade the school bully made a comment that I will never forget: "You’re a fairy nice guy queer through." At the time I had no idea what that comment meant. Even after my mother explained the terms, fairy and queer, I still didn’t see how that applied to me. Never the less that comment remained in my head.

The name-calling made me feel unwanted and I withdrew from most social contact except for a few girls that I considered my friends. I began to let my schoolwork slide, so I wouldn’t be called a brain or nerd any longer. I then developed an "I don’t give a shit" attitude toward anything and everything, which lasted through high school and part of college.

Now I completely accept myself for who I am. I have confidence in myself, I am motivated to excel, and I have a desire to experience new things. I’m excited to feel this way and I’m determined to learn as much as I can.

I also embrace the comment, "You’re a fairy nice guy queer through." - I am a nice guy and I happen to be gay. I now wear that as a badge of courage, instead of a sign of shame. I'm happy to be me and no amount of name-calling in this world can change that now.