Sometimes being a kid feels like being handed a stack of puzzle pieces and having to figure out how to put them together. Maybe you like sports or comic books. Maybe you really like to read and do wheelies on your bike. You take those pieces and you set them down and eventually you start to get a picture of yourself. For those of us who are gay, sometimes we got a piece we didn’t want. There was space to be a hockey player, and there was a space to play in the band, and there was a space to like books, but there was no space to feel like you wanted to die when your best friend went to that dance with that stupid boy.
They looked at the shape you were making and declared it wrong. They told you that you were supposed to like that boy in your chemistry class. They told you the shape you were supposed to make with all of those pieces of yourself. But you couldn’t do it. Every time you arranged them, every time you started to put them together you could see they weren’t going to make the right shape. So you pocketed a couple pieces here, and you broke the edge off a couple more, there. It didn’t feel like you any more but it fit.
Oh to live in a world where everyone has a Lena who gives them the freedom to be a teenager and to decide if you like art and sports and whether the guy you like is more Caleb than Toby or whether “he” actually looks more like Emily Fields. That world is coming. It’s coming one Lena and Jude scene at a time. It’s coming one conversation with my children at a time. That world is coming and it warms my heart that my children will never have to take pieces of themselves and stuff them deep in their pockets, or break them apart to try to be anything but who they are, or to try to love anyone but the person who sees every single piece and says “beautiful.”