by crys tyler
from my book, The Most Popular Freak in School, available on Amazon & Barnes&Noble
CONFESSIONS OF A GSA PRESIDENT
Unless you are a queer person, there's no possible way you can say you understand what it's like to be LGBTQ. But the beautiful thing about a Gay-Straight Alliance, or Gender Sexuality Alliance as it's been renamed at my old school, is it's a place for students of every identity to come together to celebrate equality, love, and acceptance. Especially in high school, that's a hard thing to come by. And it takes a special kind of person to facilitate that sort of atmosphere. Sadly, even though I held the position, I questioned whether or not I was a special enough kind of person. The truth was, and still is, GSA my first two years of high school, was always a place for me to be myself and talk about whatever I wanted, whatever I felt like I needed to talk about. When I became president that got taken away and replaced with responsibilities. I never got the time to step back and take it all in. And I wasn't allowed just to let loose and feel comfortable anymore. I had to maintain a certain image and become as positive and open as the group I was running. I had to embody the message I was trying to get across. I'm not saying I wasn't ready, because I accomplished some wonderful things during my reign, but it's hard running a club for queer students who need your help and guidance when you still are a queer student who needs help and guidance. Maybe I tried too hard to live up to the presidents that came before me. Perhaps I had too premature of an understanding of what being queer meant. But I did my best then, and I'm doing my best now. I held that position because I had a passion to share my pride and inspire others to do so. And I did that.
My biggest insecurities have been verbalized to me before. "No matter how hard you try, you'll never wipe out bullying. Your pride is pointless. This is not a fight worth fighting. You're outnumbered". It's hard being shot down even when you do everything you can to stand up for yourself and others. But all it takes is one voice to remind me why it's important never to stop spreading the message.
CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE PLAYWRIGHT
I've always had a serious passion for creating and telling stories because of all the books and movies I fell in love with at an early age. I was obsessed with the concept of fantastical happenings and happy endings invented by stories of fantasy. I didn't have the brightest or happiest upbringing; most of my happiness came from any means of storytelling. I was inspired by the stories I loved as a kid to create my own stories and concepts. When I grew up and saw that these stories that I loved all started as an idea in someone's head, I realized I had that power in me to bring my own ideas to life. From a young age, I started making my own books out of computer paper, a pen, a stapler, and a dream. I started by writing my own versions of fairy tales because my happiest place as a little kid was in the fairy tale and fantasy sections of the library. I truly believed I would be a published author by the time I turned 16. But a lot of other passions I had got in the way of where I wanted my life to go. Still, I noticed writing kept coming back.
I wrote for the school newspaper. I wrote and performed a monologue for the annual drama club show. I wrote essays that became best in the class; I won a $2,000 scholarship for my writing. Right after high school, my original play was selected for an off-Broadway theater festival, and I was able to bring my character, Crystal, to life on stage in her blue masquerade ball gown. But it's hard to take on such a big role at such a young age. I wore the hats of director, writer, producer, and lead actor, when all I had done before that point was set and costume design. But at such a young age, all I cared about was the experience and having a good time. The first run of my play I'm proud of, no matter what standards anyone else held, I know I did my best, which was all I could do. The part that hurt was performing alongside other young actors who fooled me with friendship to get their spot on stage and jumpstart their own careers. Some wonderful friendships came from the experience, but by others, I felt used.
After the first run ended, I hit a low point in life. I went from my biggest pride to a depressed, struggling first-year college student. I clung onto the script, hopeful it could get picked up again. I went into the following year optimistic, and I was lucky enough to be given another stage in an LGBTQ theater workshop. This time I worked with a more experienced editor and director, and older, more experienced actors. I again got to bring Crystal to life, but I'd come to regret this run of my show, as the person I had trusted to direct was not one to be trusted with my script, or with me at all. His intentions went past, wanting to put my story on stage. That was the last time I performed that version of the script. That same director pushed me to submit my personal script to bigger, grander stages, only to face rejection. But I knew if I were to showcase this story again, I had to remaster it my own way.
I miraculously became one of the youngest known performed playwrights by what feels like a miracle, or an accident. This will forever be an amazing memory and accomplishment that has helped me grow and learn more about myself and where I want to go. But I don't want to let one big accomplishment from this early, confusing stage of my life define the rest of it. I have too many other dreams.