Dear Dr. Archer,
The last three years have been very difficult for me. After working like a dog for four years, I finally had enough money to move from Malta, where I'm from, to London in order to attend drama school. I was 22 when I started out, and I was excited about my future.
Malta is a very Catholic country, and being gay is just not something that's done or accepted. Although I had moved to a very liberal place, I still couldn't get myself to be honest with people who I had just met. I thought the best thing would just be to wait until someone came along who would be worth coming out for.
And then I met Clark. He was in the year ahead of me, and he seemed kind. We were often friendly with others, so even though he seemed to be flirting with me, I dismissed it as normal behavior and didn't get my hopes up.
I always kept him in my peripheral, however, and noticed him noticing me, pointing me out and always smiling. I didn't know if he was gay, but didn't want to ask because I was not out.
One night I was standing alone at a party. He came up and asked if I was okay, and I told him not so bad. He then asked if my low mood was due to relationship problems, and I told him it was more like a lack of relationship problems. He laughed, and started talking about what it was like for him to come out. He had just come out a couple of months earlier.
I wanted to tell him, but there were too many people around. We continued talking the rest of the evening, and to see if he was flirting, I cracked a few jokes that were not funny to see if he would laugh, and he did, very much. Not real laughs, but more like fake ones, but in a good way.
His friends came and told him they were moving to the pub since the school bar was closing. He told them to go without him, so they left, and we remained another hour and then headed home. Being brought up Catholic, I'm not a fan of sleeping with someone right away, but he gave me a lift home.
I saw him a few more times before we broke for the Christmas holidays, and heading home I decided to come out to people at home before starting anything with Clark. Unfortunately, it went badly because on Christmas Eve I got very drunk and kissed another guy and all my friends saw. It went from bad to worse.
Malta, being a small country, runs like a small village. People talk, and by the next day I was receiving emails from friends who weren't even in the country about it. I spent the rest of my holidays going from person to person, asking them to keep it secret until I told my parents. It was tough, but I felt being with Clark would be worth it all.
When I returned to school I found out Clark had a boyfriend. I was upset, feeling like I had missed my chance. A counselor I was seeing told me I should tell Clark about my feelings. Big mistake!
He was understanding at first, but then started ignoring me and calling his boyfriend whenever he saw me. Embarrassed, I told him he led me on, to which he disagreed. I was left with a strong sense of disillusionment, as I felt he had lied to me. He started acting badly towards me and ignoring me, which was painful.
I started my second year at school, and was bullied by classmates and the teacher, too. He was vindictive and resentful towards me, and kept trying to get me to drop out. He'd favor other students, trying to destroy me, but I did not report it. He never introduced me to people in the industry, never guided me, and I graduated with no idea as to what to do next.
I feel lost and empty, and feel like everything has been taken away from me. I have no personality, no ambitions, no nothing. I should be fighting for life goals, but don't know where to start. The events of the past three years have damaged me; I'm not the same person I used to be, like I don't have any control over my life or myself.
What on earth happened to me? Why do I feel like everything I think and do is stupid and fake?
I hope you've had fun with your little pity party, because it's time to bring it to an end. Yes, that's right; enough is enough. Everything that happens in life is a learning experience; that's how we grow!
I don't have to tell you that bad things happen to good people every day, but it's what we do with our experiences that separates the men from the boys, the winners from the losers, the survivors from the victims. I want you to be a man, a winner, a survivor.
Please take time to read my blog "The Power Of Hope" which discusses this very subject. You can empower yourself and emerge from this bump in the road -- and yes, this is only a bump – as a winner.
Please understand, Edward, I'm not in any way making light of your feelings. I think you have a victim mindset, and as long as you remain there, you will remain a victim, saying "Oh, woe is me!" and "Look at what they did to me!" You're really doing it to yourself with your attitude.
I also want you to read "Double E Is Haunted By His Past". Understand that the right attitude can totally change your life. Be sure you follow the links within this letter, because the advice I offer will also be very beneficial to you and your future.
Ok, Edward, enough with the pep talk; now it’s time to identify the cause of your negative attitude. You didn't come out about your sexuality the way you would have liked, but you chose to go out and get drunk, kiss a guy and be the topic of conversation among your friends.
That was a mistake, but it’s over and done with. At the same time the guy you loved rejected you. That happens to all of us, gay or straight. There's no guarantee that the one we love loves us in return. Stop overthinking it. It’s not the end of the world.
Now is the time to quit looking back and to start moving forward. There are countless gay support groups online. Google them and find one that fits you. You can also look for a gay support group in London.
You need to find employment and start making some good friends, focus on your career, find some hobbies and plan for the future. Heed this quote from Thomas S. Monson, "The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it."
Remember that a negative attitude is like a communicable disease, no one wants to be around it for fear of catching it. The sooner you start making changes, the sooner you will reap the benefits. When you stop viewing your life negatively, people will start treating you differently, and opportunities will begin to open up.
Your life will become happy, and your future will fill with possibilities. That is what I want for you and it all starts with a change of attitude. I wish you much success.