Coming to terms with your sexuality can be one of the hardest things anyone will do. I speak from experience when I say that nothing about this process is easy. I can still feel the knots in my stomach that I felt when I was thirteen trying to come to terms with what I was feeling. I want to share this experience with you, because I feel if someone would have written something like this when I was going through it all, maybe it would’ve been easier. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so weird in my own skin. I’ll start by saying that nothing you are feeling is wrong. Whether it be scared, curious, nervous, sad. Every emotion in the book is absolutely acceptable, and you shouldnt let anyone tell you differently. I was thirteen when I really started to realize that I was gay. But I can remember even before that, looking at a girl in my class and realizing that I was maybe looking for too long, or focusing on parts of her that maybe I shouldn’t have been.
It was at thirteen however that I realized that it wasn’t something that was going away. At thirteen there are so many things going on in your life and with your body that it’s hard to be sure what’s real and what’s just something fabricated by your own mind. I remember I was in middle school. Middle school is the first real change we go through in our young lives. We are changing schools, meeting new people, and of course trying to find the place we fit in. So, when all my friends started getting “Boyfriends” and I didn’t, they would start to ask questions. Like “oh he’s so cute, he really likes you, you should date him”. Even though I knew exactly why I didn’t want to date them, being so young and having the want to fit in be so powerful, I did. And I would continue to date different guys throughout this time, hoping that eventually the nagging feeling in my stomach, telling me that something wasn’t right, would just go away. I remember I would make sure to overly talk about boys to my friends and family, just so they wouldn’t even have the slightest clue to ask questions. I would wake up hating myself because I didn’t want to be different. I didn’t want to be the girl that liked girls. I didn’t want there to be anything about me that would make me any different that my friends. Pretty soon I got really good at faking it. So good, that I pretty much had myself convinced that it had all been a phase and that it was gone. Though deep down I knew these problems would resurface eventually, I basked in the feeling of being “normal” for as long as I could.
It wasn’t until I started falling for one of my best friends that I was forced to come to grips with who I was. I remember we played on the same softball team and when I met here I instantly had this attraction to her. I thought she was absolutely gorgeous. But not in the casual “oh she’s really pretty” sort of way. It was a strong attraction. As we started to spend more time together, I really started to develop feeling for her. Each time we would hang out, I would swear that she was starting to feel the same way too. It was hard. She had a boyfriend. So in my mind, even if I was ready to come to grips with myself, there was no point. I was 15. I was just starting high school and it was the last thing I wanted to deal with. I was driving myself crazy. Making myself actually physically sick. I can remember they day she started dating her then boyfriend, when she texted me to tell me the “good news” and I lost it. I sat in bed crying for hours. When my mom came into check on me I had actually worked myself up enough that I was running a fever. Perhaps that was a good thing though, because it made me being in bed for hours at a time on a Saturday seem normal for someone who was getting sick.
During this period of time, I remember I was playing basketball for my high school, with my childhood best friend and the people in our strength and conditioning class were constantly asking me if I was gay. Or if I was dating my friend. God, I can remember going home crying because I was so mad at myself for not hiding it well enough. People would go as far as asking my sister (who was a year older) if she thought I was gay or if I was dating someone. This was by far the worst part of my high school experience. I felt like everywhere I walked, people were questioning me, or that they knew I was keeping up this ridiculous act and that it was all going to come crumbling down soon. So on top of dealing with all this outside pressure, I also had to finally come to terms with the fact that had fallen in love with my best friend. I was drowning myself in this secret I felt that I had to keep. I finally found myself at a breaking point.
It was late at night when I finally poured my heart out to her over a text message. I told her exactly how I felt about her and then I apologized for feeling that way saying that I know it was weird and that I just hoped that we could get over it and still be friends. It turned out that my feelings weren’t all that one sided. A few months and a break up later, her and I started dating. This may sound like the happy ending but it wasn’t. Despite her lack of caring who knew, I was still so afraid to start telling people. More importantly to admit to myself that this is who I am. It took me telling my sister, who held me as I cried and told me that she still loved me and that she didn’t care who I wanted to be with, as long as I was happy. It was then that I knew that I had to tell my parents. I knew their suspicions were at an all-time high about me and my then girlfriend already, so it was time to come clean.
As I called my mom into my sister’s room. The moment she looked at me I started crying. She right away started to freak out and ask me what was wrong. And I remember my voice shaking, I quietly mumbled “I’m gay.”. That was only first time I had actually said those words. I remember she called for my dad and I was so afraid that everything was going go bad. When my dad came in, I repeated myself to him and he came to me, gave me a hug and a high five and said “If you want to talk about, you know I’ll be here.”. It took my mom a few moments but at the end of it she gave me a hug and said “Well that’s okay, I kind of figured.” Now looking back at it all, I can’t help but laugh. But then, in that moment I felt like the wait of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt free. Like everything that was holding me back was gone. After that, I would tell my friends and family as it came up. I didn’t make a big deal about it because I didn’t want that to be the only thing that would define me. I had been so afraid of that happening for so long, that I made sure to just make me being gay apart of who I was. Not all of who I was.
Once I was open up about who I was, I was able to enjoy my relationship with her. It was amazing. I learned how to love another person with my whole heart. I learned how to be compassionate and empathetic. She became my person and for that I could never thank her enough, I truly am so thankful that it was her that I fell in love with. It lasted five years. In those five years I learned so much about who I am and who I want to be. I have so much respect for the girl that took my heart so long ago. I love her to this day and want all the greatest things in life to happen to her.
This isn’t a coming out story. This is me telling you that it truly does get better. And that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Maybe you’re confused, unsure of how you feel, maybe you are afraid to admit to who you are. Maybe like me, you constantly are looking in the mirror wishing you were someone else. Wishing that this was someone else’s battle and not your own. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. There is no right or wrong way to go about all of this. There is no time limit. It will all work itself out in the end. You cannot predict someone’s reaction when you decide to tell them about who you are, nor can you control it. The only thing you can do, the only thing you can control is the person you are. The way you decide to live your life. All though your sexuality at times can seem like the most defining part of you, it’s not. It is a small aspect of a whole person. So please, if this finds its way on the screen of someone who really is struggling with all of this. Know that you are not alone. There are people just like you going through the same things you are, thinking the same things you are. There are also people like me. People who have come out the other side and can tell you from experience that there is absolutely nothing weird about you. You are beautiful, you are unique, but most importantly you are you. There is no one else in the world who is exactly like you. Take your time, don’t rush and embrace all those things that truly make you, you.
[If anyone reads this and needs to talk, needs to vent or just wants to share their story. I’d be happy to listen. You can click on my name and picture at the bottom of this article and it will lead you to a web page, where you can find my Twitter, Facebook, or email.]