Updated: Jun 5, 2018
I am not the type of person that solely expresses myself through rainbow pride or being gay because this does not define who I am as a person, it is just one part of me.
With that being said, I am PROUD to be who I am. I am no longer ashamed of being different as I once was. I strongly believe in equal rights for our community and I know the overwhelming fear that comes from being apart of it. It is real and although we have come so far, we still have a long way to go.
I didn't have many things that helped me before coming out, most of what I currently follow started after the fact.
So today, I will share my [long] story & a few memories that relate in hopes of helping someone who is confused, alone, or scared. Some of these memories have never been shared with anyone else...ever.
One day we won't have to "come out of the closet." We'll just say we are in love and that will be all that matters.
My first memories of questioning my sexuality
I'm not sure that I could directly pinpoint the exact moment I knew. What I am sure of, is that I've always had an interest in women. Do I know a good looking guy when I see one? Sure. Have I had boyfriends in the past? Another yes. But nothing ever felt "right." I found myself trying to force things that I knew would never work.
The first time I remember asking myself "could I be gay?" was in middle school. But like most of us do, I pushed those thoughts away as quickly as they came.
I was in middle school 12 years ago. We have made long strides since 2006, but 12 years ago, being gay was even more uncommon than it is now, especially at such a young age.
The first time I remember "jokingly" saying the words out loud was at a friends house (still in middle school at this time).
I'm not exactly sure how the conversation began, I just remember four of us 12/13 year old girls sitting in my friend's bedroom and me saying "I'm lesbian" with a quick follow up of "just kidding," after a five-second silence that felt like five years. The other girls laughed believing it was a joke, and at that time maybe I thought it was too, but the idea was there. I don't think I once spoke those words out loud again until I was 22 years old.
Senior year of high school, captain of the Girl's Varsity Lacrosse team.
At this point in my life I could probably say I had never had legitimate feelings for a girl. Mostly because I wouldn't have allowed myself to do it...
This season not only gave me a best friend, Alexis, but eventually something much more than that.
Unfortunately, Alexis had a tragic family event occur. From that day on, we never left each other's side. For a good 3 months we were together any time we could be. Mid-November/early December is when things shifted between us. We had always been close and always spent quite a bit of time together, but this is when our relationship became more than a friendship. After a few weeks of the "does she like me back?" "did she just try to kiss me?" sort of thing, it was apparent that I had real feelings for this girl. It was scary and incredible and a quick hard love that I had never experienced. I often tried to tell my self that even though I loved a girl it was just this girl and if it was anyone else it probably wouldn't have happened.
If you're still reading, I promise we're almost done.
At this point, our relationship was a 3.5 year secret. There were some rough patches. I had months where I was just sad. I lived a lie every day; no one knew the real me, and although Alexis was in the same boat, she still wasn't quite ready.
I told one friend (but only because she asked and I couldn't lie as tears were streaming down my face). It was emotional and scary but afterwards I felt better than I had in a year.
A week later, I told my younger sister. It wasn't until the end of September that Alexis and I began telling our immediate family (parents and siblings). It started off as a gradual process but by early October it was public; everyone knew.
I am so grateful and so full of joy that we are where we are today. Coming out has done so much more good than is has bad, mentally and socially.
Alexis and I are so lucky and so thankful to have had such a positive and understanding response. Unfortunately, I know not everyone receives that.
If you are in need of a friend, someone that will understand and have your back, or just someone to listen, I am here for you.
Come out when it's right for you and do it for you only.
No matter how scary it is to get past, you will see there is so much light on the other side.