It is 2012, one would think that something like being openly gay wouldn’t be such a big deal. Unfortunately, there are many of us who still go through hardships when coming out of the closet. Not everyone in this world is as open-minded as they should be when it comes to human rights equality. Sadly, there is still plenty of ignorance in this world and sometimes it comes from the people that you would least expect.
I, myself, am gay. I first became fully aware of this at 15 years old. At the time, I was extremely close with my mom who told me, “you can tell me anything honey, anything and it will all be okay.” So when I first realized that many of my emotions and attractions were towards women, I immediately thought she would automatically accept me but boy, was I wrong.
After I came out to my parents, things got so bad and my family was so upset, that they immediately sent me to therapy. The people closest to me at the time told me I didn’t know what I was talking about, and insisted that they knew I wasn’t gay. It got so bad that I went back to dating boys for four years, trying to pretend I was someone I was not. I became very angry and agitated, I hated the life I was living to try and appease my mother and society. I thought that it was the right thing to do at the time. Being so young, I was impressionable, so it was more important to me to live the easier life than be who I really was.
Eventually, I got to a point when I was 21, that I just knew I couldn’t hide who I was anymore. I could not continue to live a lie and a life that did not feel like my own.Coming out for the second time was harder than the first. I felt like an idiot for hiding who I was when I knew so young that I was gay. But once I did, I immediately felt so much better about myself - I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin again. I am so glad that I decided to follow my heart and not what society and my family expected of me.
Having many gay friends, we all have a different coming out story, but along the way I have realized there are 5 things that I think would be helpful to those who are about to show their true selves to the world.
No matter what happens, you will have someone in your life that supports you and is happy that you are finally being true to yourself. Hold on to these people, they will make you feel more comfortable with your identity.
The worst part of the coming out process, is not the actual act of it, it is the anticipation of doing it. Holding such a big secret inside, and holding back who you truly are is a huge burden. The weight of this secret becomes heavier and heavier the longer you go without telling anyone who you really are. The anticipation of not knowing someone’s reaction or how people are going to treat you is the scariest moment because a million different outcomes run through your head. The minute that you are able to be yourself freely, you automatically feel this weight lifted off your shoulders. Then you are finally able to stop running through every scenario of what could potentially happen.
Just because you have come out to your friends or family or both, does not mean you need to go shouting from the rooftops that you are a homosexual. Do it at your own pace, tell who you want, when you want. As each person accepts you and is happy that you are being your true self, the more comfortable you will feel telling others. Learn to lean on those who have supported you. If you do not feel comfortable having co-workers know, then you don’t need to tell them. Open yourself up to those you feel most comfortable with and then go from there.
Remember that your feelings are your own, no one can tell you who you are attracted to or who to fall in love with. When and if you start to have the realizations that you are gay, just know that you are not wrong for doing so. You are not the first gay person in the world and certainly not the last. In fact, your part of a huge community of many amazing people from everywhere in this world.
If you’re feeling upset or unsteady about your coming out process try and find someone you can talk to about it, but be strong in your emotions. You are the only one who knows what you are feeling and who you are attracted to. Be strong and proud of who you are, do not be afraid to come out of the closet (it is dark and scary in there :)). Know that there are many people who have been in your shoes and people who are in the same shoes as you are right now. Find comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Be true to who you are because who you are is beautiful.
Those are just some of the things that can help you when you are ready to come out to the world. Feel free to reach out to me to discuss more of the things that I have learned from my own experiences and my friends’ experiences. I always love talking to others about my story and helping those to find their own identity.