So I've been thinking about a post by Dead Robot (That Was Good) for a number of days now. Good writing does that to you. Go on and read it now and then come back. I'll wait.
Finished. Good. Then let me begin.
That story got me thinking about many things. About being terribly depressed in high school. About a family I was growing distant from (how could they not understand I was depressed?). And ultimately it got me thinking about the person that saved me.
That person was the first person that I told I was gay. He was a friend. He was a confidant. He was moral. He was fair. He was principled. He was the man I tried to model myself upon. And he is one of the three critical people that made the man you see before you today. He was also the principal of the high school I went to. And the day that I told him I was gay, was the day that he saved me.
The unbearable pain of being the only gay man in my small town, in the county, and possibly in the whole region was more than my barely teenage heart could take. I'd been severely depressed for almost a whole year. I was literally at a breaking point. And yes, I now completely understand that there were other gays and lesbians sitting in my classrooms with me, but at the time I did not.
One day the principal called me to his office. When most people get called to the principal's office it meant trouble but I revelled in being called into the principal's office. For me it meant that he needed me to do something (probably on the computer) and that I would get out of some boring class. Was it a new computer to figure out and teach him how to use? Was it a new piece of software? Didn't matter. It would be good.
So I went into his office and I don't know where it came from, but I blurted out "I'm gay."
He looked at me and said "That's O.K." He paused, he smiled assuredly, and then continued "Can you look at this computer program for me?"
The conversation continued as if I'd said nothing at all. At the time I was shocked at his non-response. It was only later that I finally put it all together. It didn't matter to him that I was gay. It was as trivial to him as saying "it's raining outside." Me being gay didn't change his view our relationship one tiny little bit.
And once I realized that it made many things better.