Updated: Jan 3, 2021
There’s always going to be something drowning in the lake.
When you are queer and live in a world meant to drag you down, you’ll be what’s sinking. When you’re tethered to an anchor buried deep in the sand, you’ll always find pieces of yourself that break off, erode and wash away. A valley worn down over time. Vast, empty.
It’s hard to stay afloat when you see the pieces of those before you, artifacts stuck in the sand, dirt in their teeth, existence as a form of decay showing you that you are not meant to be here. When the ones who fought for you are gone, what do you have to pull you out of the currents?
The moments where it’s tough to be queer is when I’m outside, when there’s enough light breaking through the surface, when I’m caught on someone's fishing line. I feel glances in my direction, fish hooks digging into my skin, pulling me into pieces; I am food for the bottom feeders.
There’s always going to be something drowning in the lake, and right now, it seems like it’s me.
When you’re queer, the world ensures you know that you are drowning. You are one with the rocks and sand. The light does not penetrate through the freshwater enough to find you. The world makes sure that you are shrouded in darkness. The world makes sure you know you don’t belong anywhere near the shoreline unless it’s to tear your flesh apart.
There’s always going to be something drowning in the lake, and right now, it seems like it’s everyone who’s just like me.
We won’t always be the ones drowning; we won’t be the ones stuck at the bottom, rotting in the gutter, taking to the streets. Every day we exist is a rebellion.
Every time I present myself to the world, I am one step closer to dry land, even if I’m still miles and miles away. Self expression, bleach burning scalps like salt in a wound, scars and modifications like fish hooks piercing skin, is sometimes all we have. A lifeboat, a fishing net, scooping us up and taking us back to shore.
There’s always going to be something drowning in the lake, and right now, I don’t want to let it be me.
When you are queer and live in a world meant to drag you down, when you’re tethered to an anchor buried deep in the sand, you’ll always find pieces of yourself that break off, erode, wash away. There’s the struggle of feeling incomplete when you’re queer.
But even valleys, vast and empty, can be beautiful and whole in and of themselves.
Grayson Buckley is a sophomore at Northern Arizona University. He is an editor at Sonder Magazine. They are majoring in English Creative Writing, with a minor in Art History. They love poetry, painting, writing songs, and just enjoying the world around them. He hopes to one day be a published author. Grayson sells paintings, collages, poetry and handmade jewelry here.
"The first line came into my head and I just decided to run with it. I had to write a piece for a queer studies class, so "drowning in the lake" became a metaphor for growing up queer in a homophobic, transphobic world."