Jared – One Amazing Teacher
Jared – One Amazing Teacher

Jared – One Amazing Teacher

Jared is an English teacher in Brooklyn, New York. He’s always looking for new opportunities to expand his mind, whether that be by traveling to a new place or reading anything he can get his hands on. Originally from Utah, Jared grew up in a large traditional family. This was difficult because Jared is queer.

“It didn’t just feel like ‘us versus them’, but it was me versus everyone else.”

“In Utah, there is a strong community, and I was part of that community, but I didn’t live up to community standards,” he said.

The church his family adhered to, especially when Jared was growing up, centers on building families with a mother and father at the head. Any other variation is considered sinful. “It didn’t just feel like us versus them, but it was me versus everyone else.”

“The paranoia that you develop,” he said. “You don’t want people to know because you’re afraid everybody’s going to reject you and cast you out… ‘Are they thinking of me? Do they see who I really am?’” As hard as it was, Jared left Utah shortly after his senior trip. Ironically, it was him doing the rejecting and casting out. All driven from his own beliefs.

His escape allowed him to see things he’d never seen before and do things he’d never done before, but he found that this experience haunted him further than just Utah. He still didn’t feel like he had anyone else to turn to and was on guard with most people he met. He started to push away the gay community that he had striven to find.

“I did what a lot of gay men do and I projected…” Jared said. “I didn’t like other gay men for behaving certain ways, even though I myself was gay… They call that internalized homophobia.” Running away allowed him to get a sense of freedom and dulled the pain of the self-hatred that had accrued during his time in Utah, but it never went away.

Luckily for him, the people around him were always willing to be open to him when he was open to them. “I always was surrounded by good people wherever I was. Even in my stupidity,” he said. It was only when he put his guard down and allowed people to be close to him that he started to see himself change for the better. In the end, it was him finally realizing that only by facing the fear that others may in fact reject him for who he was, that he could finally accept himself. He could also finally give those he left behind an actual chance to reject or accept him. In a sort of homecoming, he came back, came out, and finally got the real verdict from friends and family on who he really was. It turns out that they universally loved him for who he was and who he is.

That has also followed him to Brooklyn where current and former students all recognize the love he has for them and the great desire he has to help them find their voice and share it with a world that needs to hear it. Even when the world gives every indication it doesn’t want to hear it.

Though it was scary to open up to others when all he anticipated was rejection, once he did, he not only learned about others but also himself. He learned that beliefs, as strong as they can be, are often very, very wrong. Most importantly, he learned that what gets in most of our ways in us actually growing up and progressing is our own fear that we won’t be acceptable to others.

The successful learner now gets to be the teacher. “Until that fear is faced you will continue to have older adults rejecting themselves as they desperately seek the approval of others. Just like they did as children. They don’t recognize that they can be their authentic selves and still be acceptable and valuable to others. Sadly, that then becomes their example to the next generation and the dysfunctional cycle continues.”