ACCEPTANCE was a foreign sensation. Instead of a warm hug on a rainy day, the acceptance I longed for came with a slap on the face along with words so vile that it pierced through the remaining sanity I had. Fear slowly crawled into my consciousness; it swallowed my very being until I no longer recognized myself.
I learned to bow to their every word. Akin to an object, I was programed to blend into the shadows. I put on a smile when I needed to, I pretended to like what they adored, and I copied their every move. I was always cautious because one wrong move could lead to an endless catastrophe.
Pride was an unfamiliar spectacle. The first time I saw a flag adorned with the colors of the rainbow, I was struck with confusion, and yet I was also intrigued. To a larger community, it was more than colors and a flag – it was a sign of protest. It gave the oppressed the voice they needed, and for me, it stood for acceptance; a feeling I have finally found through people who share the same struggles and adversities as I did.
For a moment, the pride flag was the light shed upon the dark turmoil that surrounded me. It served as a little reminder, that no matter what society says, I was one of the few individuals who shined beautifully, like a bright and colorful rainbow after a dark angry storm. F MARIA PAMELA S. REYES