Ode to You: Thank You

Malachi Mungoshi

“We know that some of you are still scared. We know that some of you are still silent. Just because it’s better now doesn’t mean that it’s always good.”

David Levithan, Two Boys Kissing

 

I’ve often wondered what it feels like to be oneself. Unapologetically, and unequivocally, and all those other wonderful words that connote to strength and courage and all. I have often wondered about these things. I still do. Because from a young age, being myself was never an option – at least not a safe one. I look back now at the challenges I faced, the isolation I felt long before that of social distancing was even an imaginable reality…and I feel a pang in my heart for my old self, my younger self. 

And I look at the world today – I am not much older than I was ten years ago, but I am hopefully wiser. I hear words like “queer” used as self-expressive terms, not derogatory ones. I see the likes of the Class of 2025 wearing their many colors with pride, reveling in the beauty of living. And that just makes me think of myself – of many of my friends, especially those back home. I realize that the courage, the strength, the love and the fire that lies within those after us is as a result (in part) of the courage, the strength, the love and the fire that we had to muster in the darkest, most dire of times. 

And as David Levithan seamlessly writes in his novel ‘Two Boys Kissing’, it is true that some people do still live in fear, myself included. That sometimes silence is the best option, only because it is the safest. And that in as much as the status quo is improved, it is not quite “good.” But it is also heartwarming to see love embraced, love celebrated and love be. So to the Class of 2025: Hello, Welcome and Thank You.