The thing about traveling the country for a month by car is that you feel very alone.
You aren’t with your family and friends, the people who love you. You know they’re there, but they aren’t there, if that makes sense. You look around the coffee shop where you’ve set up to work for the day, and you think, “does anyone here really know what I’m going through? Does anyone care?”
You think about ways to numb the loneliness. You could do any number of things. That cinnamon roll looks pretty damn good. Is there a casino somewhere in Texas? Should you find a bar? But nah. You’ve been around the block a few times. You know where those answers will lead you.
So you sit with the feeling that’s nipping at your gut, and you breathe. And you breathe some more. And you realize it’s just a feeling, it isn’t reality. You’ll be fine.
The thing about coming out when you’re a teenager is that you feel very alone.
Even if you have wonderful parents and friends and you know you’re loved, they’re not on the inside of this journey with you. They’re there, but they aren’t there, if that makes sense. You look around the cafeteria and you think, “does anyone here really know what I’m going through? Does anyone care?”
You think about ways to numb the loneliness. You could do any number of things. There are drinks and pills and websites that could make you feel better, for the moment. You haven’t been around the block a few times.You don’t really know yet where those answers will lead you.
The more you sit with that feeling gnawing at your gut, the more you become sure that this is more than a feeling–it’s reality. And you’re not sure if you will be fine.
Tonight, as The Trevor Project Awareness Tour with Bill Konigsberg kicks off in Dallas, please let me funnel my energy into impacting the life of at least one teenager who knows what this feels like. Please help me find a way to let her know that she is NOT alone. Any feeling of loneliness or shame or sadness that a human being feels is NOT unique. Millions of people have felt the very same feeling, and in that way you’re not alone, not in the least. And neither am I. We are bound by so much, and sometimes the answer is to reach out and let others know how we’re feeling. Lonely. Sad. Unsure we can make it. Whatever it is. Because by reaching out, we may get the strength to realize we can survive, and thrive. And that we will.