~Release Blitz~ “That time I…Survived My Teens” by Craig Barker


That Time I… Survived My Teens by Craig Barker

Craig Barker

LGBTQ Non-fiction/Memoir

Release Blitz: 10.13.19

That Time I Survived Cover


The Saturday prior to starting this memoir, my ex-fiancé and I had two of his work friends over for an old-fashioned games night. And when I say “old-fashioned,” I’m talking about dice, cards, racking up your points on an abacus, etc. You know, the things people entertained themselves with before politicians blamed every violent fart that wafted their way on video games.

Stop doing that.

Anyway, seeing as I didn’t know who these people were and would’ve much rather spent the evening on the sofa with our dog, I was less than optimistic. If anything, the whole ordeal was going to be like sitting through a Christopher Nolan movie. Sure, I’d say I was having a great time to fit in, but in all honesty, I wouldn’t have a clue what was happening and I’d probably need to take a nap midway through.

Hours before they arrived, just as I’d started to have those “what if I accidentally say something so obscenely offensive or mind-numbingly stupid, I’ll be haunted by the memory of it for years to come” thoughts, my ex ran down into the basement in which I dwell, his eyes frantic, and begged—

“Please don’t talk about choking on dicks when they get here.”

Come again?

“Please, Craig. That kind of talk makes them uncomfortable. Don’t do it.”

I felt a flurry of emotions in the picosecond it took for his words to register: amused, bemused, offended. It sounded like a joke, but his face was full of fear—a fear that I would be unequivocally crude to these complete strangers, and that my behavior would burn bridges he obviously wanted to keep erect (more on erections later).

That was when it hit me like a pair of loose-hanging nuts to the taint; a realization that I, Craig Thomas Barker, had a pattern of behavior that stretched across my life since adolescence—

I’m the person you get warned about before meeting. I’m the person that gets warned before going anywhere.

Like Carrie Bradshaw, “I couldn’t help but wonder” why that was. So, in order to understand who I am today, I decided to take a look at the years that shaped me. I spread my life out on the table, lubed it with the flare of artistic exaggeration, and went at it until I found my answer.

This isn’t so much a memoir as it is a gay’s journey to discover himself; don’t expect structure, coherency, or a thoroughly thought out narrative with a climactic closing paragraph that gives any of this dribble closure. I’m no one special, I’m not famous, and I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said before, but I have lived a life, and all twenty-six years of that life has culminated in a single sentence—

“Please don’t talk about choking on dicks when they get here.”

This memoir explains why…

And it was cheaper than therapy.


That Time I Survived Teaser 1


“Go on,” he insisted. “I can’t help you if you don’t tell me.”

I took another deep breath, gulped down my fears, and looked my headmaster straight in his eyes. “Because I’m gay, sir.”

More silence, followed by a loud slurp of the headmaster’s tea.

“And what would you like me to do about that?”

“What would I…?” I repeated, perplexed. There was no reaction from him, no change in tone, no urgency. I could feel myself getting angry again because I knew in the pit of my gut what this meant, but I couldn’t accept it. “I’d like you to put a stop to it! I want you to tell the other teachers to do something. I want you to tell everyone to leave me alone!”

The headmaster shook his head. “This isn’t my problem,” he declared. “You’re the one that chose to disclose this with the entire school. You brought this on yourself, Craig.”

I shot up from my seat, throwing my arms around. “But I—”

“No,” he interrupted, also standing. “You’re responsible for this, and I don’t want you bothering myself, or any of the other teachers, with these issues anymore. Am I making myself clear?”

Anymore? I couldn’t help but focus on that word. In fact, everything that’d happened from the moment I’d stepped into his office felt preplanned. He must’ve known that it was coming—which meant he knew about the bullying and hadn’t done anything about it. Was he the one that was telling the teachers to ignore me? Was he the reason that Miss Omission’s promise of handling things went unfulfilled?

Needless to say, I was livid. Beyond livid. A fire of pure, unadulterated fury was ignited in my soul that day, one that still burns bright as I sit here typing this. Make no mistake—I am not someone who is bigger than this. I am not someone who will ever get over this. I am not someone who will ever move on. From the moment that bastard led me out of his office, a smile still on his face, I was tainted. A permanent scar of absolute hatred forever etched unto me.

I hate him to this day.

“Off to registration with you,” he said, pushing me out of his office. “And let’s hear no more of this, understand?”

The second his door clicked shut, I knew I was on my own.


Writing a biography has always baffled me. I mean, I’m writing my own but I’m supposed to do it in third person, right? I’m supposed to tell you I attended some top-notch school, help people cross the street, have a “relatable” passion for something and spend my weekends frolicking in a field of flowers…

I can’t do that.

My name is Craig. I like fried food. I write because I enjoy it. Please don’t make me do this anymore.

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