Hey, I am Tobi.
And I am standing right here, expecting one of the most important moments of my life.
I probably should give you a little bit of backround on me. When I grew up, I was usually one of the smaller kids. I never was really confident about myself. But there are definitely some people that say my blonde locks and my face don’t look too bad. I always feel like my nose is a little bit big though. At least I’m not fat. If anything I’m probably a bit too skinny.
Well, I probably had a more or less usual childhood. I always liked swimming, always had a few good friends and didn’t get into too much trouble.
And then, when I was 16 years old, it slowly began to dawn on me, that things might get a little complicated. That I might be one of those strange “gay” people. Those people my father always told me about that they were weird people that usually do dancing or horse riding or high diving. My father always showed some strange dislikes and prejudices, but that was, how I learned it.
There were some days he really could go on and on and on about those he didn’t like. He would rant about those mentioned sports or vent about the groups of people he doesn’t like.
Well, as a child you take to heart what your parents say.
And then I was forced with dealing I might be one of those persons myself. I actually was able to just ignore it for some time, but I slowly began to understand, that this was not likely to change. I mean, at some point you realize, what is hot to you and what isn’t. And if you find yourself sneaking peeks at all the boys around you, but rarely at girls, then there is only so much you can do. I chose continuously to avoid the issue as much as possible and kept it to myself.
Not too long ago I finally just got a huge crush on a classmate named David and started to spent a lot of time with him. He seemed to enjoy the times we got together and soon we had many small innocent touches on our meetings. After a while he actually worked up the courage to just give me a short kiss. I don’t think I ever would have been brave enough for that. But I definitely liked it. It was amazing. Soon we were kissing a lot and deep. Of course we told nobody.
Only four days later we were engaging in a heavy make-out session in my room. It was the hottest thing I had ever done in my love. Unfortunately we were too enthusiastic to pay any attention to our surroundings. By the time I realized that my parents stood on the threshold of my open door, it was far too late. They were really surprised and my dad just shouted: „Toby!“ He had that accusing tone in his voice. Then they backed off and David fleed from my room. He left without saying any word.
I don’t think we had a real conversation since that day.
And things at home have also been weird ever since that happened. We’ve never talked about it. I really expected to get a great speech from my dad the next day, but nothing. Well, at least I had peace for the moment. But it’s been really an uneasy one. I can feel their looks on me. The questions, the slight portion of disgust. I didn’t want to bring it up, I couldn’t, but I felt more and more like I wasn’t really a part of the family anymore, like I was something weird that just got tolerated. Maybe some of it was in my head, they didn’t really do anything to make me feel bad, but it got worse and worse. I even felt like I could see some kind of fear in the eyes of my father. So it got worse, but I think, at some point it actually set me free.
I spent more and more time out of the house and now I’m here, ready to do something just for myself without caring how the others might be affected by it. Probably doing exactly what my father fears to happen. I really feel like this is the right step. I don’t think there’s really any other way. I need to do what makes me happy and not other people – in every way. If they don’t agree with it, well then fuck them.
It will still take a bit of courage, but I can do it.
I feel like I can sense their eyes on me, but I try to shake it off as imagination. For a moment the disapproving face of my father appears in my mind. I brush it of and take a deep breath. A small step forward. I can feel my toes hanging in the air right now. I can feel the edge pushing into the middle part of my feet. I decided to finally do it. I stood here long enough. I need to take this jump.
Another deep breath, then a fast push off with my feet. It almost feels like the body does it all by himself. It performs the movement it waited for. In that brief moment of weightlessness I have a short moment to think. Was it the right decision? There is no going back now. But I don’t feel any regret.
Then I focus on the next rotation, finish it, stretch myself and dive into the water. I sink in deep into the water and it takes me a moment to swim at the surface. Instantly I hear a little bit of applause. I’m actually a little surprised by that, there weren’t even many people watching – my family definitely not, they don’t even know I’m here yet. Well, it feels really good.
I climb out of the pool and stand there for a moment, unsure where to go. But only a few seconds later I see David. He remembered. He came to watch. Now he gives me an approving, no an admiring and enthusiastic smile and he signals me to come over.
After he tells me I was great, we mostly just stand there and wait for the results to be announced.
I was one of the last participants, so that we have to wait less than an hour. Even without knowing if I actually had success, I already feel incredibly good. Something happened in me. I just tore down some barrier. Now I really realize that I need to pursue what makes me happy. It’s so much better. I can’t let other peoples tell me what to do, what my hobbies can be or – I take a short look at David on that thought – who I am allowed to love.
Twenty minutes later I have a big medal around my neck and know that I’ve won. It’s nothing too great. Everyone was allowed to join the competition and most just tried it for fun. But still I’m going to enter the next stage of the tournament and just keep trying. Who knows, I might even be successful. There was a reporter that told me I’m even gonna get a small foto and article in the local newspaper.
It really paid off that I started to train in secret. Of course many people have seen me training, but no one that really cared. And spending less time home made it even easier. I just had to choose a swimming pool with diving towers that no one else I know would go to.
It was really satisfying to use it. Today I took a big step.
I guess that my dad already knows by now. News like this always travels fast in our neighborhood. Maybe someone even called him to tell it. But I don’t really care so much anymore. He’ll have to accept that his son competes in a sport he likes to rant and grumble about.
David and I are going to go home now. I think we will have a long talk, I definitely have a few things to say. And I feel that it’s going to be good. 🙂