It’s January 1st. At a cafe in Berlin, German rap is adding another layer of noise to the room. People are talking. They’re mostly Serbian, Chechnyan and Middle Eastern straight men, smoking shisha and looking at their phones. My heteronormative nature helps me blend in here although I don’t speak any German. I feel like I’m one of the bros, but I know I’m different. I’m queer. I put my headphones in to cancel out the noise and Taylor Swift asks, “can we dance through an avalanche?” I want to come out.
The past half a decade has been so strange. It felt like the first five years of my life that I’ve actually lived. I don’t remember much about my life prior to the night I was raped and beaten up in 2014. It’s like my memory was wiped. Today, anything prior to 2014 is a blur. I met my now fiancé shortly after my rape incident. My life changed drastically since then, mostly for the better. I still, however, carried the baggage from the past I remembered very little about.
I met my partner in February 2014 through Facebook. Back then, I was experimenting with all sorts of dating apps and ways to meet men. I was “putting myself out there,” and in the process, putting myself in danger. On the other hand, my risk-taking, while it landed me in a very traumatic situation, also allowed me to meet a good man. These contradictions were what made my life so strange. On one hand, I was happily experiencing love for the first time. On the other, I was dealing with the trauma of rape.
I grew distant from my family and limited the information they had about me. As my wedding date approaches, I feel a need to let them know I’m going to be happy with a partner who loves me. I want them to know I’ll have someone who watches TV with me every night. I have someone who wants to raise cats, dogs and children with me. However, I couldn’t do that as the person I loved happened to be a man.
There’s a lot to go through mentally before getting my mother to realize that all she wants me to be is happy, not straight and not popular in a society that only agonized her and wounded her. It will take a lot of self certainty to try and do the same with my conservative father. In 2019, I will try to take on this huge personal project, to share the happy life I lead with my family. Right now, my work on a film which will serve as my senior project is consuming. The film will debut in June, two months before my wedding. By June, I will attempt to come out, and in these journals I will share this journey with you all.