The Hell You’re In vs. The Hell You Fear

In writing my Young Adult novel, Terra Paradox, I have reached into my own past, trying to uncover what little I do remember of being young. It hasn’t been an easy process, as much of my past remains a mystery even to me. But there is one thing that I’m pretty sure of: I never believed myself flawed.

I don’t know how many kids out there buy into the eternal damnation bullshit they’re fed, and actually fear that they may go to hell if they don’t straighten themselves out. Surely there are enough adults who feel that way and have sought the help of various ex-gay bullshit ministries. The sentiment must be there for that sort of thing to proliferate, but I have difficulty truly relating to it at all.

I never believed in Hell, not really. Except for the part where I was already in it. My fear came not from superstition, but from ostracism. I knew that other people thought being queer was the worst thing ever, so I could not tell any of these people about it. I couldn’t tell anybody that I was queer, because I would put myself in danger, here on earth.

I’m sure there are other authors out there writing about the sort of self-loathing many kids feel. I’m not sure I will ever be one of them. Rikki, one of the heroines of Terra Paradox, has grown up in a society which is extremely repressed. Homosexuality isn’t even an idea that has crossed her mind. When she finally discovers her own sexuality, she’s already rejected the teachings of the Church and so never fears for her immortal soul. But she does fear for her safety and place in the world, which is at first the only thing that keeps her silent.

My other heroine, Nika, grew up in the modern world. Yes, she’s had to listen to all the bullshit preaching, but her home life was mostly religion-free, so she never internalised any self-hate. How these two react when they get to know each other is yet to be seen, but it will be transcendental for both of them.

I am curious to hear from you, if you were a queer kid alone in the world. Did you buy into the concept of sin, or did you simply have to hide how you really felt? Did you have to hide at all? Or did you choose honesty despite the fear? There are so many stories taking place in real life that are worthy of seeing the light!

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