and he hasn’t stopped trying to be a voice online for people since and here he is today, all the way from California to share with us, what he wrote specifically for today Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Steven Boyle Yeah, this is exactly what I thought this would feel like um, before I get started I want to say I was
never brave enough to join Open Doors when I was here, I wasn’t even brave enough to
come out, um, so you guys are (exhales) awesome to me. This is dedicated to the very, very pregnant Kim McGlynn who helped me find my voice
This is called “Message sent, or I’m Nervous” Message sent, I am nervous for the first time-for
the first time free from fear of seclusion, of self-loathing, of social preservation.
Set free by four words: I can be loved.
And it’s not because I stayed up at night conversing with any cosmic ear that would
listen to me-listen to me! I am not that weird-or different! Or rather my love isn’t because
arguably I am kind of a weird guy, but you knew that. I can be loved. The world that birthed me is listening to the voice I hid in a moleskin
notebook where my pronouns weren’t changed. My brothers and sisters of common struggle
are recognized as people now, not billboards for a lifestyle misunderstood, robbed of morality,
and condemning comparisons like “No, I don’t believe bestiality is a sensible
progression from homosexuality. The forbidden love between man and animal is hardly comparable,
and wouldn’t be if fear-mongering wasn’t so tacky.
But that’s besides the point. I can be loved. And it has nothing to do with how he told
me four months later, two bottles of wine deep that he loved me, and it was the first
time someone said they loved me without an accompanying goodbye,
or as a friend. I thought that when I told him I loved him
the words would leave my mouth as a missile. Blasting him off his feet, throwing him through
a wall where he’d explode into a thousand pieces that he wouldn’t let me touch
or try to reassemble. I can be loved and the only reason why is
because I can allow myself to be loved by opening the door that I had fastened several fearful
locks on. When I shifted rusted bolts back, and unlatched the chain I released that fear of letting anyone in, which meant that I could let myself out.
And I’m out now, and I’m nervous. I opened the door and released myself into a world where I am vulnerable, but only because I am brave enough as a person to allow myself
to be vulnerable. I can be loved. I know this. Those friends
I was scared would leave-didn’t leave they stuck around armed with a whole arsenal of
jokes about gay sex that I laughed at, just not in the moment. When it comes to busting
friends chops, I like to do the chop busting. I can be loved because despite my religious
use of sarcasm there is a part of me that wants to be able to simply say thank you for
sticking around when I needed you most. I should put that in a poem.
I’m out, and I’m nervous. Not because people are going to leave, because if they
were going to leave they’ve already left and without even being conscious of it, I
am better for their absence. I’m out, and I’m nervous. Not because
I am afraid of being picked on. I am nobody’s fool, I am a product of generations of militant
military upbringings, broken homes and a family that when it came to love, only knew the tough
brand. I am George School and University educated, dedicated to the vow I made when I looked
death in the eyes during a staring contest until we both came to an understanding that
my work isn’t done quite yet. I am the person I respect and fear the most and I don’t
care who you are, but I’m not afraid of you anymore
but that’s besides the point (exhales) I can be loved. Released from fear’s tight
grip and surviving not one but two attempts on my own life I have nothing left but love.
It’s the strongest force I have ever tried to control. The thought of trying to close
the floodgates I opened sends chills down my spine that dance preemptively with the
victory over the notion that anyone can stop my progression.
I wonder, I wonder if the people who fear me and my kind fear us as much as we feared ourselves
when we thought of killing ourselves so we wouldn’t be a nuisance to the people
we loved and the people we were told we couldn’t. I’m out and I’m nervous. But only because
suddenly I have nothing left to fear except the horrendous amount of love I have been
hoarding my whole life. I am scared when he sees this side of me, and how much love I
have to give that he won’t think he deserves it because he’s been told time and time
again that he doesn’t deserve it. I’m out, and I’m nervous. I’ll spend
everyday convincing you that you deserve all the love in the world because I convinced
myself and I am a very, very stubborn person. Message sent, I am nervous but for the first
time-for the first time free from fear, of seclusion, of self-loathing, and of social
preservation. I can be loved, and i can love you if you’ll
allow me. And i will do nothing but love you as we sit and argue about what we are going
to watch on Netflix, or what we are going to eat that night because you said anything
but you really meant anything that isn’t Chinese, pizza, wings, or thai food. I will love you cause I can now, cause
there’s no good reason why i shouldn’t. cause I love the way you look me in the eyes
when you know I’m about to make a move or when you’re wearing that shirt I like and
I can’t to keep my hands to myself. I’m out, and I’m nervous. But the hard
parts over. I can be loved, and I will try to love more and more everyday. After the
hundredth date, after the thousandth kiss, and well after the first time I accidentally
heard you let one rip in the car after Chipotle, and after you get mad that I keep bringing
it up. Or how I told an entire assembly at a high school. Because what’s important is this, things
started to get better when I let things get better. I won against my fears because I bit
the bullet and initiated the battle until the enemy within me waved a white flag high.
I chose to be happy and I grew a candle of hope in a darkroom into a spotlight where
I could tell the world. I’m out, and I’m nervous. And it just
keeps getting better.