Diary of a Queer Kid, “The Escape”

By Ashley Simango

Alright, let’s set the scene straight.

18 years, a qualified nerd. Not the most social person on earth. First year college student. My life so far has been pretty much pre-set. I have been living according to anyone and everyone’s expectations and standards. Every expectation but my own. If l had it my way, l would be out in the rain, soaking in the beauty of nature. I would be out in the sun, soaking up all it had to give. But like always, l chose to stick to the script written for me. But now? Now l am going to unsettle my own demons because l am taking back the pen. I am authoring my own script.

Diary of a Queer Kid isn’t the best title l could give to a mini biography of myself, but l am quite sure that l am not your average college kid. I am the kid in the back of every class, in the corner of the room. I am the kid sitting alone in the cafeteria every lunch. I am the first kid to leave the room after class ends. I am the kid who loves taking walks in the rain. I am the kid who finds comfort laying in the dark, simply reminiscing. I am the kid you find in the park after all the kids are gone. I am the kid who puts their boredom on paper, their emotions on paper. I am the kid who appears to never have anything to say when really l have way too much to say.

But today is not about that, it’s not about the past. It’s not about remembering every reason why l am the kid that parents tell their children to stay away from. Today in the diary of a queer kid, l leave a different mark, a different footprint. l make a decision to escape.

I sit alone, like l always do, but this time around, something is different. I am looking anxiety dead in the eye and telling it that it cannot hold me back anymore. I tell it that l am escaping the life it paved for me. Pen in my hand, paper in front of me, l put my thoughts on paper and it sounds like this:

Anxiety: Escape? Escape what? Ashley are you out of your mind? What are you talking about? What happens to the comfort zone. The comfort zone you built around you simply because no one expects anything better from you. You’re leaving that behind? What’s going to happen when the grass is not as green as it looked like from the other side? What’s going to happen when you finally voice yourself only to find that your audience has a carnal mind? Are you going to come back begging for acceptance and understanding like you always did? Again? Don’t do it! Don’t try to escape the hold everyone has on you! It’s not worth it, Ashley.

Ashley: No! This is my diary, l am the queer kid. This is my life, my happiness, my own peace to protect. So, No! Gone are the days you had me by the throat. Gone are the days l would overthink the simplest decision but hurriedly adjust my life to everyone else’s decisions. Now l own you. This is a new chapter in my diary, not yours but mine. Yes, l am ready to walk out of my comfort zone and redefine what l stand for. Redefine myself. I am not coming back to beg, to beg for validation, to beg for attention, to beg for affection, to beg for approval. This is the diary of a queer kid and l get to hold the pen and write only what l want.

That’s just a glimpse of the first page of a chapter in the diary of a queer kid. l transitioned, l made it out. It seems logical for me to call the chapter “The Escape”. And now that the scene is set, maybe it is time l put down my pen and try to converse with the students around me. What I used to see as a bleak collection of people is starting to shape up like something I could call a family. I look at them and l see a world waiting to be discovered. I see friendships waiting to be formed. lt is quite funny how someone else might see only a cafeteria filled with normal students because I see a new beginning. With a beating heart and perhaps a shaky voice, l make my way towards everyone else. Chapter 2 will have to wait.

23 February, 2023