I think one of the main reasons I like doing stuff for myself, and all around being independent, is because growing up people always took care of everything for me. Don't get me wrong it was absolutely great, and I DID try to watch and learn for myself, but when it came down to it most of the time all I had to do was smile and say "please" and "thank you".
See as I've mentioned in previous entries. I grew up an only child with my mom and grandparents. Well everyone knows how grandparents tend to "spoil" kids, and my mom was an older mom, and very attentive. So I did get quite a bit of attention. I don't really think I was "spoiled" because if there's one thing I always prided myself on it was being polite, friendly, pleasent, and generous. But I definitely got used to expecting good treatment from people. My friends were the same way. I don't know if I just had the personality of a kid who was used to being taken care or what, but most of them fell into the same pattern. I remember my first grade teacher saying to someone after he'd tied my shoes "well the reason Kevin never learns is because you all do it for him."....of course at the time I was a bit miffed that she was discouraging people from tying my shoe, but she probably had a point.
In middle school I had a little "entourage" of friends and classmates who used to follow me around, laugh at all my jokes, etc. I really don't know why. I guess I was fairly entertaining. In High school it was much the same. I drove, but my friends usually just took me places because I was known for having a poor sense of direction, and not liking to drive. At parties they were always there to take care of me when I drank too much, and actually I seldom even had to worry about getting or paying for the alcohol, I just had to show up. I went on lots of fun trips with my closest friends. Most of the time people would take notes for me in class and I'd just xerox a copy, since I had such a lousy handwriting. And I clearly remember when we were about to graduate and I was talking about going to college somewhere else, my two best friends said to me "well you're going to have to live with us so we can look after you".
Of course this makes me sound very selfish and helpless. Which I really wasn't. I was the one with the emotional/social skills who could make people feel better, cheer people up, or saying something funny. I also didn't have much of a sense of "property" my attitude with even my more casual friends was always "just help yourself to anything I have." And I always did quite well in school and often helped people with their homework, I was also good at "teaching" people in a way that they'd understand. And I was blessed to be part of a very nice group of people where most of the guys were very "fatherly" all into looking out for everyone, fixing stuff etc. and the girls were very "motherly", into taking care of everyone, and being supportive.
Also in general I always attended friendly, nice schools. Oh there were cliques, and goodness knows alot of gossip, but pretty much anyone could go right over to any other group and just start talking to them without being harassed. Don't get me wrong, many people didn't like other people, but the reasons were usually personal, and mutural. In most cases, if you had enemies you'd made them yourself.
Anyway the point of all this is that I didn't have a tough time as a "gay teen". Of course I wasn't out, and wouldn't have considered it. No, I liked everything quite the way it was thank you very much. But I didn't actually feel "isolated" or "uncomfortable". I was always pretty self-assured, and never gave a flying F%#@ about public opinion. If there was one thing I did learn from my mom, it was that society, religion, and politics were all far from perfect, and intelligent people had a responsibility to question accepted "facts" for themselves and decide if they made sense. And I did take an active stand against bigotry. My friends tended more toward racial intolerance, though sexual and every other type of intolerance in general were also common (I mean it was the deep south), but I was always the one who did the talking when we were around minorities, and frequently made it a point to remind them "be nice", "so it's not hurting you", or "there's nothing wrong with that". I also made it a point to get to know people who were "different", they were usually the most interesting, intelligent, and often loyal people anyway. People knew where I stood, and occasionally when they were mad my normal "clique" would say stuff like "YOUR friends" or "THOSE people you hang out with", but they didn't bother them. So as arrogant as it sounds I always pretty much figured if I was gay and society at large didn't like it.....then society was just stupid.
Anyway I've been checking around, doing some research, and finding alot of sad facts and statistics. I've read some very sad stories about gay teens who ended up killing themselves. It's tragic. I hate how bad some people have it. I hate how bad some people on this site have had it. And I wonder; what can I do? SHOULD I continue with psychology and become a therapist and try to help people feel better emotionally, on an individual level? Or should I become a sociologist and help bring the issues to the forefront by doing and publishing studies. Maybe try to manipulate social thought into a more accepting atmosphere? Maybe I can help as a writer? Perhaps I could try to write something with large market appeal that would also portray homosexuality in a positive, sympathetic light? Also what can I do NOW? I don't have alot of free time, and I'm a little strapped for cash, but maybe I could do some volunteer work or something once or twice a week?
I just don't really know. I'm not the activist sort of type. In reality I'd find it much too difficult to risk offending someone, even if it were for a good cause. I'm not blunt or outspoken. I'm not affriad to speak up, but I can't help trying to present everything in the "softest, least likely to offend" manner possible. And I'm the sort of person who would freak out if I did hurt someone's feelings. "oh my gosh, I've just upset the fundamentalist.".........probably doesn't make for the best "warrior", but if there was something I could do to just be supportive or helpful in general, that would be great. I don't know, does anyone have any ideas?