Title: Queen Called Bitch: Tales of a Teenage Bitter Ass Homosexual
Author: Waldell Goode
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 7/24/17
Pairing: No Romance
Genre: Memoir, Memoir, Lit, gay, coming of age, African-American, family drama, high school, college, humorous
A loud-mouth, black, gay teenager struggles to find himself in rural America. After having realized his inability to attend his top-choice school, Waldell Goode embarks on a journey to reevaluate why the grand departure appealed to him in the first place. He learns that as much as he can control his nonexistent love life, there are other factors that aren’t as easily mutable. He comes to terms with his peculiar relationship with his mother, the inevitable heartbreak in store for him no matter how hard he’s tried avoiding it, and the voice of God, in all her beguiling glory.
A Short Story by Waldell Goode
I’m in love with my barber and he calls me “friend.” He doesn’t know about my unrequited desire (ya know, I’m starting to think this is my thing), although, I fear he may have suspicions because once I remember being lost in thought while in his chair when he told me to look down (like, I’m sorry – are your eyes hazel or some hue I’d have to Google?).
There’s a warm embrace upon walking in his shop – not from his muscular arms but the environment he cultivates – and I sit in his view a couple seats down from a little girl, her eyes the same shining pools of joy I swim in roughly every fortnight. She runs over, he scoops her up and I recall what love actually looks like. I miss my parents. And my parents’ parents. And all my best friend’s parents too.
His English fluency has improved dramatically since I was first introduced a year ago, and I cannot say the same for my Spanish. Naturally – he spoke to her in their native language and I witnessed her roll her eyes when he looked away, and pick-up the broom and the dust pan without hesitation.
I looked at him from the position of my chair, whose case of paternity utterly obliterated any brewing romantic longing I could’ve accrued, and said, “She’s too young to be working.” And my bilingual, brown-eyed barber threw his head back, laughed so grand exposing bright green braces and simply said, “I know.”
Normally, I struggle peeling my eyes away from his sculpted physique, however she stole the show. I watched her watch him, waiting for him to study my hairline like some unsolvable riddle, to cock her head and make some rebellious’ gesture – snapping back into a smile before he could blink. Literally. He paused for a quick phone call and she made sure to kick the fuck out of my footrest to collect the hair lying under there with such speed and accuracy I had to be sure it happened. When I looked to her again I saw her dumping the evidence in the trash can behind her without looking back. In the those twenty minutes she’s worked diligently harder than I have in most of my adult life (Not that I admit to being one).
And after he finished and twirled out his magic mirror anticipating my approval – fore I was GORGEOUS – he bent at the knee to kiss her on the cheek and indicate how extraordinarily pleased he was with her skills. Connecting at the same level (he’s fairly short anyway), their eyes receiving one another shone with astronomical lustre.
I handed him $20, he gave me back $3 on a $15 flat fee and as I was leaving, I saw his munchkin return vigorously to her temporary occupation. I told him he should keep the change (even though when he pulls out a wad he’s usually hard pressed to find anything lower than a $5), because she may get to go to OZ one day but he has to personally pave her yellow brick road, first.
One last glance in the mirror, at the occupants of this randomly diverse, unifying hole-in-the-wall, and at the future father and daughter are creating for themselves.
And my heart hurts because I love my country, and some people will never truly see how great it is. We are one when we don’t try to be.
And then my black, gay ass from Halifax, VA pranced merrily all the way home.
Queen Called Bitch
Waldell Abraham Goode © 2017
All Rights Reserved
ONE: Ryan Murphy’s a Fucking Liar
I officially begin with this because it is one of the more poignant issues I’ve been dealing with. It’s not that I have anything against Glee. I applaud the nature and success of the series, but I dislike how certain plot points, characters, storylines, and adolescent relationships deviate from realities concurrent with that of the authentic experience of my life. Glee is an excellent series, bringing awareness all across America of certain groups that have been neglected or outcast in a universal school setting. There isn’t any show that has mastered such a feat at the level Glee has, which is why the series remains a phenomenon, reaching and inspiring children all over the world to be themselves and embrace each other’s differences. Unless they’re Asian, in which case they’re promptly reminded to remain silent and take their proper places in the background where they belong; it’s amazing they’re allowed to consider themselves series regulars and not simply extras. I hate what they did with the token Asian character, Tina. They tried making her a more prominent character later in the series, failing miserably.
Reflecting on Glee, I would say their portrayal of high school is fairly accurate minus the students who appear to be better suited for an AARP commercial. I would even say my high school career was somewhat similar to Kurt’s, the token gay character. I was unsure of myself freshman year. I spent my time mostly in solitude, trying to avoid much of the ridicule I received in my eighth grade year. I was involved with the drama team where I met fellow weirdos like myself, I was hiding the fact that I’m gay, and I unwittingly thought no one knew it—despite how blatantly obvious it was, and everyone else must have been previously enlightened.
Sophomore year was even better. People began to know me and who I was, that I wasn’t a predator and spiritually intertwined with Satan. I came out as completely gay that year. Even I wasn’t buying the bisexual nonsense I fed myself and others in years past. I began to dress as I so desired and fully embraced the inner, gayer me. Being involved with the local university’s theater department, I had become acquainted with more degenerates who celebrated abnormality.
Junior year was when I finally came into my own. I led the drama department to a couple of victories as I was cast in the main role, and attended the Governor’s School of Southside Virginia Community College. I enjoyed myself the most that year, even though Governor’s School was stressful as hell and I failed chemistry. Senior year, the focus was on finding money to attend a university or college, and that didn’t happen so I suppose one could consider that a failure, but I considered it an opportunity to fuck around for another semester.
My high school career, one could say, was excellent and probably everything it was supposed to be. A necessary step in my life, but I can’t seem to shake the part about loneliness. For my senior trip at Governor’s School, we went on a boat ride for an hour and a half. In a tiny vessel meant for maybe eight to seat comfortably were crammed fifteen people shoulder to shoulder, stuffing packed lunches into their mouths as the tour guide blabbed on and on about the three foot deep lake that takes twenty minutes to travel from shore to shore. Rounding the trip for the fourth or fifth time, my English teacher, sitting beside me, established conversation as a means to keep me either from sleeping, or hauling my ass overboard. Our discussion grew from her love of animals to my high school experience, to her decades—long marriage with her husband of infinite years, and on to the scandal of her marrying her old high school principal. She asked me the one question everyone in my high school career managed to avoid, ignore, or already know the answer to. It was remarkable. Before that moment, I had never considered it. I wanted to contemplate the depth of my relations, possibly due to a lack of allowing myself to ponder the grim truth of deeply rooted negative dispositions I choose to utilize as defense mechanisms.
She looked me in the eye and leaned in close. “Waldell, are you lonely?” She spoke as if she was asking about the weather.
Although we were gently gliding atop a lake and I had consumed two bottles of water with my complimentary lunch, my mouth ran completely dry.
I took a second, regained the wind that had instantaneously been trounced out of my chest, and replied with a smooth and concrete, “No. I have amazing friends.”
Somehow she knew. I could see it in her eyes. That wasn’t what she was asking. She would clarify, and there would be no way I could playfully avoid its severity or laugh it off as I had become accustomed to doing.
She looked at me with deeper expression now, and asked, “No, but Waldell, are you really lonely?”
I began to look away and pretend to notice an area of the lake I previously hadn’t seen; we circled back for the thousandth time and nothing could’ve been missed. I couldn’t avoid it. I couldn’t make it funny, laugh it off, reference my mother or her alcoholism. I could only be honest with my professor, and in doing so, stop lying to myself. This is the one instance I can recall when lighthearted commentary failed to enter my mind when I needed some sort of comical relief… or relief in general. I looked her in the eye again, and with all the gusto I could find out there on the lake with sixty other people strolling along the pier, going about their day, eating their triangularly shaped cold cuts, I told myself the truth for the first time in four years with a single word.
And here lies my problem with Glee. Kurt is an amazing character. He’s beautiful, funny, witty, he has flaws, and the greatest attribute a creator may accomplish with any character is the fact he’s human. I appreciated that representation of a homosexual teen in mainstream media. Before him, there weren’t many who closely resembled me. Friends and family who were familiar with the show deemed me “black Kurt,” or “Blurt.” I admired him, the character, his weakness and ultimate triumph over an oppressive society. As Oprah taught the world, one of the singular greatest gifts a person in the media can give is lending voice to the voiceless. That was Kurt Hummel, analogous with millions of gay teens all throughout the world, struggling to find themselves against social pressure and bullying. Kurt, portrayed by Golden Globe Award winner Chris Colfer, was a hero in a generation needing one.
I relate to this character. I understand this character; he lives in a small town, I live in small town. He knew he was gay from a very young age, and I remember when I was five and my father told my sisters they were turning me into a faggot. Kurt might as well have been real as far as character development goes. Many people felt or feel as if they know him. My biggest hindrance isn’t Kurt. It’s Kurt and Blaine, the boyfriend he found by transferring to a private magical school for gays only. Where was my Prince Charming, willing to stop the world and sing me thirty-two bars of a romantic cliché written nearly one hundred years ago, warning me of the freezing air outside as a means to keep me inside and eventually sleep with me? Where was my holiday crush, dying to sing a song with me made famous by a legendary songbird and famed homosexual porn star husband? Google Jack Wrangler, your life will be better because of it. I’m happy for the characters. I’m glad that it was as simple as taking a trip to Gay Land, picking out the sweetest model, and driving him back home to live out your days in happy gay bliss while each of you takes turns being more perfect. Kurt and Blaine are so wonderful, they even have sex in a special teenage special gay way, fully clothed, when Kurt loses his virginity.
Truth is, there was no guy willing to sing me anything. There isn’t a school of gays you can attend while testing the waters, trying to sniff out the next Neil Patrick Harris. Chances are if you’re a gay male and you’re from a small town, you won’t get many Prince Charmings knocking down your door, willing to make you feel special. Hell, chances are if you’re a gay kid attending high school in a small town, you’re probably the only gay in the vicinity—the only openly gay one, of course. Where was my romance? The best I’ve gotten was a thirty-eight-year-old on Grindr lusting after a minor’s dirty pictures he never received. I didn’t go to the prom with my boyfriend, I was never sung to or caressed in that way, I don’t know what “I love you” means beyond friendship, my first and last kiss occurred in tenth grade and the next day the boy denied it ever happened. The only time I’ve ever been called attractive was by a straight bi-curious friend who considered me his “experiment” that led absolutely nowhere, and the only date I’ve ever been on was a non-date with a gay guy who just wasn’t interested in me that way. Glee is astonishing, but honestly sometimes even after you’ve had the proper revelations and accepted yourself and others around you, life still hurts.
It’s not Glee’s fault that I don’t have anyone. I take sole responsibility. But I blame them for hope. I, along with the rest of America, cheered for Kurt and Blaine’s first kiss. However, their kiss didn’t make me any less alone. It’s me who still cries in the middle of the night for reasons I “thought” I didn’t know, but in actuality was avoiding. It’s me who lives with the moment my teacher decided to get personal and made me truthful. It’s me who has no one and continually decides to largely suffer in silence. How do you tell a friend, “Hey, I need you” without sounding weak? How do you admit it to yourself without remembering how painful it is? And how do you still believe in love when it has never happened to you?
I falsely call Ryan Murphy a liar, because it has never happened to me. He’s deceitful because he made me forget that characters, while closely resembling real people, are fiction and their stories can have endings that include tremendous declarations of love and overwhelming displays of affection because they’re written in. As a real gay teenager living in a real small town, I have been living the truth of what Glee has to avoid if only for their namesake; there is quite possibly no love story waiting for me.
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Waldell Goode was born in Halifax, VA and is currently following dreams in Boston, MA.
7/23 We Three Queens
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