Megan lounges under a tree at Denton Square. Her feet are flat on the ground and both hands dig into the grass behind her as she watches a squirrel dance to an acorn ten feet away. She tilts her head, raises her chin and watches the sun warm the damp earth through the leaves blowing in the cool breeze.
Her mouth cracks open and sun reflects off the rainbow tongue ring trying to escape like its owner. Megan escaped to the square to calm herself after an awful morning that followed a panic attack.
The 18-year-old, skipping school, struggles to deal with the stress of being in a school where she feels like she doesn’t belong, surrounded by nobody that cares about her.
“I don’t really have any friends, just two or three good friends at school,” she says as she lets her legs lie flat on the ground and hugs the library book now lying in her lap. She just finished reading “Hear Me Out”, about teens confronting homophobia. “I had a really bad anxiety attack this morning. I was in a room full of people that I had nothing wrong with. I just couldn’t deal with it.”
The attack sent her to the school nurse where she called her dad to let her go home to take her anxiety medicine. On the way home she was pulled over for her very first speeding ticket.
“It was just a really crappy morning and when I got home, I was like ‘Daddy, I can’t go back to school. I just a horrible day and this week hasn’t even been great so can I just go home.’ He was like ‘No, Megan. You need to go to school’.’ I was just like no; fuck this. I can’t deal with it. I know my body is trying to tell me that I need to take a day off for myself and just be able to enjoy living for just one measly day,” Megan says.
Birds shout obscenities to a couple French Bulldogs walking past and Megan reflects on the happiest day over her life. The day her first girlfriend asked her out.
She brought Megan her lunch at school and was texting her “all these cute things,” before texting her that she’d pick her up after school to drive her to her car. When Megan walked out, her ex-girlfriend was waiting, told her to get in, and drove her to her car.
“She wrote on [my car] ‘I think you need a girlfriend and I want you.’ It was the sweetest thing anyone had done or said to me ever,” Megan says.
Megan says the two broke up because the ex-girlfriend was secretly talking to her ex-girlfriend and that she didn’t want to hurt Megan.
“But she did and the way she broke up with me was just really crappy,” Megan says. “I was just blind by having my first girlfriend and being so in love and I was just really blind. And now when I look at it, I was really happy in the relationship but it wasn’t a healthy relationship at all.”
Megan came out to her sister last summer. Two weeks later, she was taking her ex-girlfriend on a date. Struggling to come up with ideas, she texted her sister for advice on the perfect date destination just as her parents picked up her sister’s phone.
“They came in my room and were like, ‘Megan are you dating a girl?’ I’m like, ‘What? No … no I’m not! No.’ I was really scared,” Megan said.
Growing up, her parents taught that homosexuality is sinful. After coming out, her house filled with tears and deafening screams until she ran away. Eventually, her parents accepted her.
“I think seeing me being really happy made them finally accept that I was, well, gay,” Megan almost whispers as the ground darkens from a passing cloud. Though they broke up, it was the happiest seven months of her life “and I’m definitely gay.”
Megan still fights to understand why her mother and father struggled to accept her sexuality.
“Her mom is a lesbian. My aunt is a lesbian. My cousin is a lesbian and my other cousin is gay. I don’t know why they are so mad about me being gay,” she says.
Megan is the second oldest child and has “some suspicions [one] might be gay.” But they’re just suspicions. She’ll be leaving for college next year, but doesn’t want to leave Texas unless it’s to go to a forensic science program in Missouri.
“I’m actually kind of in a long distance relationship right now,” Megan says. “She lives in Missouri.”
“I was just joking around one day and was like, hmmm, I think I’ll join a lesbian dating website,” Megan says, flushing her pale, makeup-less cheeks.
“What do you know? It worked out. Honestly, the way we describe our relationship is we’re literally each other’s soul mates and she’s literally my other half. I know you’re like, she might be catfishing me right now, but I know she is not. We Facetime all the time, literally. I hope I get to actually be with her in close proximity.”