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If Gay Means Happy... A Pride Month Essay

If Gay Means Happy, a Pride Essay by Cody Wade

Many of us had a realization in grade school that the term ‘gay’ didn’t really mean stupid. Or, that it didn’t originally mean the ideology of being a descriptor for queer people. Rather, we learned that the old-school term for gay means ‘happy’. 

For many people, being gay means being sexually attracted to the same sex. But for me, gay didn't mean happy.

If gay means happy, then this is what gay truly means to me....

To make a long story short, I grew up in the Selectivitism sect of Catholicism — the branch of Christianity that means that you’re only a Christian on Easter, Christmas, or any presidential election year.

For myself, the topic of homosexuality was always a frightening one. I wasn’t attracted to girls, and despite trying to find a sexual connection with the opposite gender, I simply couldn’t. I even went through a phase where I bought Playboy magazines because I thought it would help my sexual awakening. I guess you could say the early signs of my homosexuality were always there because I’d look at the gatefold (of her gatefold) and say, “Wow, she’s fabulous, she reminds me of Britney. She should be respected and not sexualized.” 

I’d daydream about guys, and when I came-to from the daydreams I got lost in, I re-forced myself to try and pray to make myself normal again. This became a problem once I graduated high school because then, I had no other distractions. I had to actually face it. 

I eventually became sick, and after spending a month in bed, I realized what was truly making me sick — I was trying to hide how I was. An hour after realizing that I couldn’t change the way I was born, I went into the living room and came out to my mom.

She cried, went to bed, and that was the last of it…

…until 2 am, when she police-kicked open my door, turned on my bedroom light, and screamed at me to come into the hallway. I walked into the hallway to find her holding a shovel in batting position — angrily swinging it at me while shouting at me to ‘come at me’. 

I went back into my room, quickly packed a backpack, and shoved past her as I went to my car.

She tumbled back, screamed that I assaulted her,  and called 911 as I drove off into Dallas.

I called my Grandparents and stayed with them until things evened out. 

However, my grandparents weren’t the most helpful. I wanted to stay with them so I could focus on finding a new job and so I could try and start school again, but, they said no. I wasn’t allowed to.

I spent a few days homeless, and while squatting at their house, I eventually got a new job and started my new job training. After a week of training, I found a roommate in Keller and started working in Southlake as a weight loss consultant. In the meantime, I had to give up my dream of going to college, but on the other hand, I was happy to finally land in a place that was quieter and safer than my mom’s house. 

If gay means happy…

After a few months in Keller, I eventually met my first partner and we started dating. After going to a wedding with him, I put our photo together on my desk. 

Shortly thereafter, I was eventually pulled aside and talked to about a complaint. A co-worker of mine complained that my photo was inappropriate and that it was offensive to show off my lifestyle. When thinking back on it, when clients would ask who was in my photo, I’d happily say, “That’s my boyfriend”. However, my co-worker would overhear this in her cubical and would get offended.

This particular blonde-bowling ball worked a 2nd job at the local mega-church (Gateway I believe?) and believed that it was her duty to spread the word of God by complaining about others who didn’t live the way she saw fit. A southern blonde Dolores Umbridge, as you will.

So, as I was saying, my manager pulled me aside and told me that my photo was offensive to ‘others’, and that my photo would drive away business. She said I should know better, especially considering that I’d test this while living in such a strong pro-God community. She then made me sign a write-up, as, 'being offensive and crude to clientele’ was against company policy. Ultimately, I was told to replace it with a cat photo.

While I worked off a commission-based bonus, and I didn’t want to risk my income, I contemplated changing the photo. Until, later that week, I was awarded for being the 2nd highest sales in the entire district of 14 stores. 

I walked past my coworkers and my boss’s desks, which all displayed photos of their SOs, and went outside to call HR.

By calling HR, I learned two valuable life lessons. 

First, all HR representatives look and sound the same (are you also mentally picturing the same person that I am?).

Second, HR is not there to help you, HR only exists to help the company. 

A week later, they sent my boss and coworker to sensitivity training, and was forced to apologize. 

A week after that, my boss demoted me.

I went from 40 hours a week with bonus, to 10 hours a week with no bonus. 

Eventually, I was falling behind in rent, and eventually, was being kicked out for lack of rent payment.

In one last-ditch effort, I applied to a full-time position within the same company, at a location that was near my partner's house in Grand Prairie. 

After applying, I was denied. The company said that I couldn’t transfer within the company because I had previously been written up, and being written up puts a block on any promotions and transfers within the company. 

I was forced to resign, packed up my car, and was homeless again. Thankfully, my partner’s landlord let me move in with them until I got back on my feet. But, the new life I built for myself was being taken away again. This new corner that I was rebuilding myself in, crumbled. 

If gay means happy…

The day after moving in with my partner, I drove to downtown Dallas and hired an attorney pro bono who would sue my employer for workplace retaliation. I couldn’t sue for workplace discrimination, because in the state of Texas, LGBT discrimination wasn’t accepted under title-7 discrimination laws. But, my manager left a perfect paper trail of workplace retaliation, and according to my attorney, it was a textbook ‘slam-dunk 'case. 

We were going to go after them for my loss of wages, loss of credit for being kicked out, and enough money to make my negative bank account go back into the green. We weren’t gunning for millions, or gunning for a headline. We just wanted me to have a restart so I could try adulting again.

While awaiting judgment, I got a new job, worked full time, and my boyfriend and I moved into a larger space in Fort Worth. 

While waiting in limbo, I got more into tea (fun factoid for my fellow tea drinkers: I actually worked at Teavana until it closed, during this period!), started working for a higher-paying job, and was trying to navigate my place in the universe. While navigating my place in the universe, I hit a lot of snags and was held back from many opportunities (such as going back to higher education) because of my debt. But, it was all okay because, despite my limitations, my attorney was working hard to help me become whole again.

I was at bay. 

After a year and a half of sitting in this weird financial limbo, and after trying to get my ex-employer to settle, I eventually got a call from my attorney. I was pulling up to my driveway at home, so I put my car in park, answered the phone, and listened to him say the sentence that’s now engraved into my brain forever…

“The judge reviewed our case for docket placement, and after reviewing the case, he rejected it. He said although it was a retaliation case, it was rooted in an LGBT+ cause. Since LGBT people are not a protected class under Title 7 in the state of Texas, he rejected the case. We can not move forward…”

I that moment, my brain turned off. The lights turned out, the engine stopped, and my soul sank into my body.  

From whatever happened next, I can most certainly say, I was not in control of my body. 

I hung up the phone, walked into the house, went straight to the bathroom, and locked the door behind me.

My then-boyfriend noticed something was wrong, followed me into the bathroom, and tried to open the bathroom door. After struggling to open it, he eventually kicked the door down. 

He body-slammed me to interrupt me from digging the razor blade into my skin.

He stopped me from dying.

and I didn’t want to live.

If gay means happy…

After going through extensive mental-health recovery, and after several months of not working, I was in a mentally better place to start working again. Our landlord owned a jewelry shop and he hired me to do random odd jobs around the shop. I’d sometimes ride to work with him, and eventually, my mental health was starting to even out. 

However, one day, my landlord sent me on a work errand to pick up shelving at Lowes. 

While sitting in the road and waiting to turn left into the shopping center, a school truck rear-ended me going 60mph (or 96 kilometers per hour), which threw me into the other side of traffic where I was hit head-on by 3 more cars.

I crawled my way out of the car and crawled over to the sidewalk. I collapsed and turned over on my back. While lying there, I could hear the screams of a little girl being dragged out of one of the other cars… I also heard sirens, heard more screaming, and the worst part of all — I realized I couldn’t move. 

I couldn’t lift my neck or shoulder to see the accident, and I couldn’t do anything but lie there helplessly. I also couldn’t move when the paramedics loaded me on the stretcher, and I couldn’t move to grasp what had all happened.

When they lifted the stretcher into the ambulance, the stretcher was raised at a slight angle. That’s when I caught a glimpse of the scene — a 5-car pileup with my car in the middle. 

We arrived in the ER, and shortly thereafter, my partner showed up with my landlords. 

They couldn’t help me, and worse of all, I couldn’t help myself. 

After a scan/x-ray, the hospital determined that I fractured my neck, and also determined that I suffered a traumatic head injury. 

They put me in a neck brace, and eventually sent me back home.

This period of my life is also hazy, and I don’t necessarily remember what happened next. But, when it came time to deal with the logistics of the car accident, I learned that I’d have to work with the State Attorney General to resolve this accident since it was a school truck that hit me. They did write me a check to replace my car, but when it came to my medical bills, they told me I’d need to prove them with the help of an attorney. However, I was still injured. And since I needed all sorts of therapy, I’d have to wait until I fully recovered before my attorney could go after the State of Texas. This meant, my life would have to be put on hold again.

I was back in limbo again.

Throughout the next year, I went through physical therapy, went through extensive psychotherapy for PTSD, and also, went through a failing relationship. My then-boyfriend was developing panic disorder due to the stress of everything and after lengthy arguments about how my mental health was ruining his.

I completed my therapy, my neck healed, and my relationship of four years was inevitably failing.

My partner found another guy, started seeing him behind my back, and eventually moved out. 

Since he moved out, I was given a month to move out myself as well. So I packed my bags again, moved to a motel, and squatted with nowhere else to go. 

My half-sister reached out to me, convinced me to look for a job in Missouri, and convened me to leave Texas for good. 

So, that’s exactly what I did. 

I found a job, found a roommate situation, and moved across several state lines to start my new life over again…

After a week of landing in Missouri, and after starting my new job, I got a call from my attorney with the good news that this case was going to be resolved. After going back and forth with the state of Texas, the Attorney General’s office settled for an undisclosed amount to cover the hospital bills, physical therapy, and the remaining money I lost for being out of work.

I was glad that after going through so much, something I went through would have a final resolution. This meant that I spent my first week in Missouri, not only celebrating my move but also celebrating the grand settlement I’d be receiving from the car accident. 

After a few weeks of my final payment pending, I eventually for the wire transfer of the grand amount that was being deposited into my account.

I logged into my bank account to see that after everything I went through with this accident, and after my outstanding debts were paid from it, I saw the final grand total of $18.00 wired into my account. 

If gay means happy…

After taking five/six months to settle in Missouri, I eventually came out of my shell more. I be-friended my roommates, we went out, and I began making more friends. For the first time in my adult life, I was truly enjoying being in my early 20s. I was living the moment for the first time in my life and began enjoying being alive again. 

However, although I was living in the moment, I was also ignoring the rest of my PTSD. I couldn’t afford therapy, but I was doing everything else I could to recover from my problems. 


However, I did go on a few dates. The more dates I went on, the more I met guys who couldn’t be seen with me in public. The more guys that I dated, the more I saw that many of them were in the closet. After a while, I also noticed that the more gay men I met, the more I learned that the gay community in Springfield was angry. 

For the vast majority of the gay men I met had been sent to conversion therapy by their parents in their youth, or, many of them ended up trapped with a wife and kids, and lived their entire lives in the closet. However, I also learned that the more gay people I met, the more I realized that I couldn’t befriend them.

I didn’t live in my hometown, so I didn’t care who knew I was gay. However, many of them, they saw me as this out-of-towner who waltzed in being openly gay with no repercussion whatsoever, and it came off as entitled to them. 

While navigating dating and friendships, COVID-19 happened and the entire world (except for Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi) went into lockdowns. 

Unfortunately, I caught covid. It wasn’t during the first wave, but rather, during the second wave that hit around Halloween. 

You could say I was one of the lucky ones, because was one of the fortunate ones who ended up in the hospital. 

I don’t remember a ton of that weekend, but I do remember being scared. There was no one around me. No family, no partner, and no parent that I could call to my bedside.

I remember the nurse coming to my bedside and asking why I didn’t put down anyone for my emergency contact. 

And I remember not being able to answer her…

Three weeks later, I started writing about my experience in leaving Texas in a diary that I used to document my transition into Missouri. After several months of writing, I re-read what I wrote and realized something: This is already a compelling story, but how does it end? 

So, I turned my diary into a novel and started writing about everything I went through. 

While writing about Texas, I was re-living my most personal horrors in an attempt to finally put it down and move forward from it. I also began working out, dieting, and began losing weight. 

After almost two years of making friends and trying to better myself, one of my best friends got proposed to, and she said yes. 

She and I had grown close, and while navigating friends and dating, she and I had one of the strongest bonds that I had made in my adulthood. We related to each other so much, including losing our fathers at such a young age.

This friend and I eventually called each other brother and sister. We even labeled it on social media. So when she met her soon-to-be husband, she was finally living her fairy tale dreams of meeting a man and having a life partner. 

We daydreamed about her wedding day, and we daydreamed about how much better our lives would be for each other after living such tumultuous lives.

Until the wedding invites were sent out. 

Everyone got one.

When I began looking in my mailbox, I realized mine was missing. Week after week went by, and still, it never arrived. After coming up with dozens of excuses for her not sending one, I eventually gathered up the nerve to give her a call and ask what was happening. 

“Hey, I haven’t received my invite yet. Should I still plan on it?” I asked. 

After a long pause on the phone, she quietly replied, 

“Well…. I started going to his church, and we wanted to start our marriage off right with God.”

After processing what she was saying, I then asked, “So what does that have to do with me?”

Although I asked that question, I already knew the answer.

She replied, “Well, we wanted a Christian wedding, and I had to make a few sacrifices to start my marriage off happy. It’s because you’re, well… You know. I have to do what it takes to start my marriage off right.”

I sat on the phone and opened my mouth. I wanted to reply, but no words came out.

I hung up the phone, and I never talked to her again. 

If gay means happy…

On the day of the wedding, my entire friend group was getting ready to go. However, after talking about how upset they were with the decision to not invite me, we came up with a game plan:

Everyone goes to the wedding and the reception (which started at 1:00 pm), and afterward, everyone will meet up at the club to celebrate a Saturday night with me. Although I wasn’t invited, I didn’t have to be left out. 

I reserved a table at the club for a party of 6-8, and my faith in my friends was restored again.  

I arrived at the club at 8:00 pm, and after 11:00 pm, I eventually got a text from one of the friends in the group. They said that the reception ran later than expected and they weren’t coming after all. I had sat there for 3 hours, to have this wedding rubbed in my face. 

My friends stopped feeling like my friends, and I was alone again. 

I looked up from my phone, grabbed my jacket, and left the club. 

If gay means happy…

On my way home, I pulled over and stopped at one of the only two gay bars in town, and sat by myself at the bar. While trying to distract myself from being stood up, I sparked a convo with the bartender. After a few moments, I looked at the other end of the bar to see a larger group of older gay men (think 50’s-60’s). I watched them as they all looked everyone up and down, gossip about everyone in the bar, and watched them be unhappy as their only connection to each other was being fucked-over my living in Missouri. They all had failed marriages that fell apart when they came out to their wives, they were all still in the closet to some capacity or another, and they were all bitter by how living in their Missouri hometown essentially ruined whatever chance at happiness they’d ever have in life… 

I remember thinking back to all of the younger gay guys I had met previous to this. I remembered how nearly all of them were either sent to conversion therapy camps or how they were all trapped in marriages they couldn’t escape, and I realized that all of the gay men I met, would turn into this when they were older. 

This was their future. 

Then I looked at myself. What about my future? 

I was sitting at a bar while angry at my friends for ditching me. I was angry at being gay. I was angry at all of the opportunities I couldn’t have due to being gay. Also, I was angry for living in an area that supported homophobia and big religion so much that all of the gay men there had their lives ruined by all of the hate they had to hide from.

I was sitting at the bar and looked over at those older gays, and realized that all of my hurt and anger would pre-destine me to be them when I was their age. 

They didn’t choose this. All of the younger gay men I met didn’t choose this. And above all else, I didn’t choose this.  

While sitting at the bar, my anger turned into fear. 

I started to cry, grabbed my jacket, and drove back home.

If gay means happy…

A few months went by and I began heavily job-searching for any job I could find, in any famously-gay city that I could think of. I didn’t want to live in the South anymore. I didn’t want to live in the Midwest anymore. I also didn’t want to live in any big religious area that would predetermine me to live a life of pain, sorrow, and hurt. I was applying for jobs in San Francisco, Chicago, and Denver. I applied night and day — so much so that I began to lose sleep and became manic.

I kept losing weight, and with this, I was losing my sanity. 

In these 3 months of job-hunting, I had lost two more of my female friends by the same tragic fate I had met earlier with my friend who got married; my gay-accepting female friends met a homophobic man that they wanted to marry.

My social life was crumbling, my love life was non-existent, and I was losing all hope while becoming angrier and angrier. 

In this period, I lived the angriest day that I had ever lived. 

While job hunting, I did manage to finish my first novel about leaving Texas. Remember how I tried to commit suicide, as mentioned above? Well, when writing that part of the book, I decided to save that part for last. But after a year of writing this book, this was the last part of the story I had left to write. While lost in thought, and determined to finish this book, and accidentally pulled an all-nighter to finish the story. After writing the last page of this novel, I took a deep breath, dotted the last period of the story, and cried. 

I cried for two reasons: 

First, I cried because I felt relief. I gave myself the vindication I never got from all that I went through, and I was able to finally let go of the horror I endured. 

Second, I cried because I wrote my first fucking novel. It took a year to do it, and a year to re-live my trauma, but god damn, I did it. 

Before going to bed, I got in my car and drove to a local cafe to eat breakfast to celebrate finishing my book. 

After pulling up to the restaurant, I got a few texts back-to-back — all asking if I saw the news. While confused, I pulled up Reddit and saw what everyone else was seeing. 

The headline read — 

— hold on reader, before I tell you what the article said, I need to point out that life is full of coincidences. Sometimes, those coincidences are great. Other times, these coincidences can be cruel. Which coincidence do you think this was?

Anyways, the headline read, 

“The US Supreme Court Passed Legislation Making it Illegal to Discriminate Against Gays in the Workplace, Nationwide”

I lowered my phone down in my lap. I put my hands on the steering wheel, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. While trying to let out an exhale, I let out the loudest and most deeply-rooted scream I have ever let out instead…

I abandoned any idea of food, started my car, and drove back home.

Like I keep saying, if gay means happy… 

A week after that, I got a call from a bank I applied to in Northern Colorado.

Then the next day, I did a virtual interview.

Then the day after that, I got the job offer. 

Three weeks after accepting the job offer later, I packed my U-haul, said goodbye to the remaining friends I had, and moved halfway across the country.

I was driving with my two cats in a U-haul going towards a place I didn’t know. To new roommates I didn’t know, and leaving my life behind — for the third time in my life.

The biggest difference between this time and last time was, I was running from something in Texas. Now, I’d be running towards something.

A brighter future. 

After getting settled in Colorado, and going through a bad roommate situation, I eventually applied for County Housing Assistance, and thankfully, got a new apartment. My cats and I moved into our new places and we were finally at peace. After being kicked out after high school, and after bouncing around different parts of Texas and Missouri, I finally had a place to call mine. After 6-7 years of having no home, I finally had a place to call home. 


Quickly after moving, I kept working on myself. I picked up running and lifting, and eventually lost my 100th pound (yes, really! I went from 240lbs to 140lbs), and started exploring Colorado on my own. 

I tried to pick up dating again, and eventually got into a new relationship. I began writing my 2nd novel which was based on my friend group in Missouri, and started becoming the most confident I had ever been in being an openly gay man.

Except, something was wrong.

The more that I came out of my shell, the more that I noticed two problems: I was In a state full of transplants, and yet, didn’t belong. 

The more I dated and got involved with the gay community in Colorado, the more I realized that being in a place that was more open and liberal came with a trade-off. That trade-off was a classist trade-off.

The more gay men I met who were openly gay, the more I realized that they came from wealthy backgrounds. Many of the openly gay men I met (even my first ex in Colorado), came from such a strong background of wealth, that they had a freedom that I had never experienced before. They could afford to go be free somewhere, and they could afford to go explore their sexuality however they wanted without fear of their entire life falling apart. They could still return home, and they could never be limited by their sexuality.  They all had college paid for, walked into a 6-figure job, and didn’t experience having to struggle to survive and succeed in life. 

Now, I’m not trying to take away anyone else’s experience, because I did meet affluent gays who choose to go back into the closet to be able to live on their family's wealth. However, it is a choice they were allowed to have. They had what I didn’t: I didn’t have financial support to start my life, I didn’t have a clique of city-gays to befriend, and the biggest one of all — I didn’t feel the comrade that others have felt by being able to afford to live in such an open and accepting place. 

Whenever I did meet and date the other gay half of the community (aka the ‘less than 6-figure a year’ gays), I realized that monogamy was a myth. The more that I explored dating, the more I learned that I could date many amazing gay men, but I would have to be in an open relationship. I’d be a 3rd — a ‘trouple’ (as you will). With this trade-off, many of these gays also had religious-based trauma, and many of them were afraid to fully commit to one thing because whenever they did, they got rejected for their sexuality. So thus, open relationship. 

This was one thing I didn’t get to learn while in Texas or Missouri, that being openly gay in a liberal place like Colorado, was a financial privilege. 

After spending over two years trying to find my place in Colorado, I finished my 2nd novel. I dug deep into myself unpacking all of the hurt I went through (again), and continued to better myself. 

However, if gay means happy…

So, what did all of this mean for me? We'll get there, I promise.

In September of 2022, I was invited to serve tea at my best friend’s wedding in Carmel-By-Tthe-Sea. He met the love of his life, they dated until she graduated from college, and finally, their fairy-tale ending was finally happening for them. 

I went, served tea, and saw my best friend the happiest I’ve ever seen him. It was the closest I've ever been to the feeling of true magic.

On my flight back from San Francisco, something within me broke. A black hole grew within me like a virus and it consumed me, and eventually, began to ruin me. 

While trying ot fight the ever-consuing black hole growing within me, I was on the phone with a friend while having a conversation about loneliness, and expressed how I was struggling with having a stronger start in a place where I didn’t feel like I belonged.

She said, “You should stop trying so hard to date and stop trying so hard find friends, and you should really focus on being more comfortable with being by yourself. You need to work on yourself.”

Granted, she was only looking at my issue through the lens of a straight white woman who married a man with money, and she really was trying to help. However, with that one sentence, she reduced my entire experience of surveying as a gay man and turned it into being someone who is desperate. 

However, I wasn’t desperate. I continued to do things by myself. I went on hikes, I went to dinner, I went to several concerts, and traveled to see virtual friends all across the country, lost 100lbs, went to thearpy, wrote two books, and above all else, I did all of this by myself. My loneliness and isolation didn’t stop me, and no matter how heavy it got, I did not stop and I kept going.

Her phone call was the final catalyst into sending me deeper into a hole that I now couldn't crawl out of.

I continued to down spiral from the loneliness. I noticed people around me living the life that I always wanted. I wanted to have graduated from college, I wanted to have a decent-paying job, and I wanted to marry someone and start a family. I wanted that connection, and I wanted that community. No matter how many times I went out and had life experiences, I still came home to an empty apartment. 

Eventually, I stood on the roof of my apartment’s parking garage and peered over — ready to jump. 

I wasn’t sad,

I wasn’t angry, 

and I wasn’t hurt,

I was just simply done. 

After contemplating jumping, a virtual friend sent me a message, talked me off of the edge, and helped me seek therapy. 

After going to therapy for six months, I finally found a middle ground in coping with my loneliness. But, I was in debt again. 

So now comes the answer to the question I’ve been asking all along: 

If gay means happy…

…then why is it not?

First and foremost, fuck Texas. 

Second, fuck big religon and fuck anyone who uses God's name to justify their homophobia.  

Third, fuck affluent white city gays. I could almost overlook their gross-entitlement towards other gays if it wasn't for their blatant racism (no, really, they really are racist. Ask any one of them if they'd date anyone who is not white and watch them sweat like how I'd sweat in a cofession booth. They'll advocate Black Lives Matters and will 'YAS queen' to Sza while vominting in the back of the mouth at the idea of kissing a gay person of color).

Lastly, I didn’t choose any of this. I didn’t choose to be homeless three times, displaced from my home three times, didn’t choose to be fired from work for being gay, and I didn’t choose for any of my friendships and dates to make my sexuality conditional to being involved in their life.

To a point, I did have a choice in all of this: I chose to move away from Texas. I was also very lucky and fortunate to have an introspective ‘ah-ha’ moment about my anger in Missouri, and I was even luckier to have the opportunity to move to Colorado. 

But, all of this came at a cost.

Me being out of the closet, cost me my home,

It cost me 2 suicide attempts,

It cost me education,

It cost me many friendships, 

It cost me many career opportunities,

It cost me the prospect of finding a life partner, 

It cost me the prospect of being able to start my own family,

It cost me my youth,

And it cost me the ability to have true peace in life….

I spent many years waiting for some grand retribution and waiting to receive my flowers for going through what I went through. It wasn’t coming, so I decided to give it to myself. I did invest in my tea blog, and I had incredible opportunities from some amazing and incredible people I’ve met through it. I did give myself the freedom to blossom it. I also double-downed on my health, and like I said above, I lost 100lbs. I wrote two books (and might publish them one day).

Above all else, anytime I feel the weight of all of the loneliness that I’ve collected along the way, I have to remind myself that this the price of my freedom.

All of these realities, fears, and feelings are the flowers I had to give myself, just so I could simply be myself. 

Growing up, I remember watching the NBC show Will & Grace, when Grace was teasing Will over a break-up he once had in college. He wrote in his diary, “If gay means happy, then why am I so sad?"

In the show, it was a joke and it got lots of laughs.

However, it always stuck with me as being something that wasn’t a joke.

It felt true.

I’m almost 30, and I now sit back and watch all of my friends move on from college starting to find life partners, marry their life partners, start families, and go through the normal stages of life. Meanwhile, I’m still recovering from the shockwave of my sexuality blowing my life up. 

Despite all of my therapy, I’m still left with two reoccurring nightmares that sometimes wake me up in the middle of the night: The night I came out to my mom (the night she had the shovel and whatnot), she screamed at me that if my father would have been alive, he would have hated what I become... As for the other nightmare, I also have the reoccurring nightmare of somehow being made homeless for a 4th time. 

When these nightmares wake me up, I’ll lie awake in the middle of the night and begin to think about what it truly means to be gay. I’ll often think about how I'd finish the question, “If gay means happy…?”

For Pride month this year, I can finally say that if gay means happy…

...then maybe one day I will be, too.

Best wishes,

~Cody Wade

Aka The Oolong Drunk

“Blissfully Tea Drunk With..."

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1 Comment

Saric Guo
Saric Guo
Jun 05

You are 100% right about the "white city gays" - I also realized this in my 20s and stopped associating with them. My friends are every color of the queer rainbow; it's not about those men being gay. It's about their vile racism, classism, transphobia, and misogyny. Here in Missouri, many of them are Tr*mpers too.

Cody, you have had a hard journey coming to these realizations. You also have many privileges of your own - you are a white, thin, healthy, intelligent, young man. You could have easily succumbed to the toxic life of a self-loathing Central Missouri gay man. However, you are rising above that, and you are speaking for those who have had the same experiences, bu…

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