A Letter To A Younger Gay Self

Stephen Fry addresses his 16-year-old self:

Oh, lord love you, Stephen. How I admire your arrogance and rage and misery. How pure and righteous they are and how passionately storm-drenched was your adolescence. How filled with true feeling, fury, despair, joy, anxiety, shame, pride and above all, supremely above all, how overpowered it was by love. My eyes fill with tears just to think of you. Of me. Tears splash on to my keyboard now. I am perhaps happier now than I have ever been and yet I cannot but recognise that I would trade all that I am to be you, the eternally unhappy, nervous, wild, wondering and despairing 16-year-old Stephen: angry, angst-ridden and awkward but alive. Because you know how to feel, and knowing how to feel is more important than how you feel. Deadness of soul is the only unpardonable crime, and if there is one thing happiness can do it is mask deadness of soul.

My own less mawkish take on the History Boys - almost a carbon copy of my own, often miserable, gay youth - is here:

A line it from the lonely gay schoolboy was almost too much to hear: "I'm Jewish. I'm homosexual. And I'm in Sheffield ...  I'm fucked." Somewhere in my mind in those teenage years was a similar refrain: "I'm Catholic. I'm homosexual. And I'm in East Grinstead ... I'm fucked."

But I wasn't fucked, of course. And not-to-be-fucked, not to turn into the tragic homosexual figure, memorizing "Brief Encounter," constantly chasing unrequited love, seeking refuge in the great worlds of Hardy or Larkin or Auden as a substitute for life: that was my goal.

And I made it. Happiness is an option.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Just In