Thank you for slamming your door not only once, but three times into my car because you were parked too close to me. And also, thank you for trying to run me over the past few days. I love the rush of adrenaline I get from almost dying.
Finding Dory AND Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and moreeeeeeeeeeeee
In honor of national coming out day, I have decided to share my coming out story. It isn’t that special, but maybe (hopefully) it will help someone :) (ps. I meant to post this yesterday, but I had homecoming, and was really busy yesterday…)
Growing up, I always had feelings for older girls/women. I remember being obsessed with my preschool teacher. Every time I saw her, I would smile and I ALWAYS wanted to impress her. Everything I did at school was to show Mrs. Holly how great I was.
Fast forward 7 years.
I am 11 years old and living in Austin, Texas. My best friend lives next door and is a year older than me. We have sleep overs every weekend, no matter what. We had been friends only a few months, but were already very close. Although we were beginning to grow out of the doll stage, we still enjoyed pretending to be a family with her baby dolls. One day she asks me to spend the night at her house (just like every weekend), and then whispers “We should practice kissing… for boys!”. 11 year old me had never heard the word “gay” or “lesbian”, but they thought of having practice sounded good to me. So that night, I had the typical lesbian first kiss at a sleepover.
I soon realized I really liked kissing girls, or at least, my friend. I also quickly realized that other girls at school were starting to notice boys and have crushes. I figured the reason that I didn’t like any of the boys at school was because none of them were that cute.
So middle school starts. My best friend moves away, and I still have those feelings for older girls. I start to focus on why I feel so different. I had friends who cared about me, but I felt lonely. 6th grade was also the first year I heard the word gay.
My mom was in seminary (graduate school for pastors), and we switched denominations because the Methodist church had an official standing that stated a pastor could kick out any gay persons in their congregation, and she didn’t agree with that. Since we lived in the family housing on campus, this was a hot topic that I heard a lot about. I soon started asking questions about “gay” and why it was such a big deal. I learned all about homosexuality in such a healthy way, no bigotry or negativity.
This year has so many amazing and terrible things all in one. I met my best friend in the whole world that I could not live with out. She moved into the apartments next door and out moms introduced us. We clicked the second we met and have been inseparable since. I also was finally a part of the youth group at my church. There was one girl, Alex, who was a senior. She was so pretty and so cool, and I had those feelings for her. I started telling myself that those feelings were because I looked up to her as the big sister I never had. She was my idol and I followed her everywhere.
Seventh grade is also the time in my life where I wanted so badly to be popular. I tried to wedge my way into the “popular” crowd at school. I began to ignore my “old weird” friends and eventually abandoned them. I was an awful person to them, yet, the cool kids never accepted me either. Towards the end of the year I went to Corpus Christi with my marine biology class. We got to spend the weekend there and I thought it would be the perfect time to become popular. I clinged to the popular kids and was a bit annoying. Finally, on the last day, one girl flipped a bitch and just started screaming at me about how much she hated me and how annoying I was. I cried the whole way home and then stayed at my best friends house for the weekend.
I got over that, but I still was plagued with those feelings for Alex. What did that mean? Why was I as obsessed with her as I was with Mrs. Holly? Could I be gay? On youth sunday, I ended up in tears as I asked myself these questions during the service. No one knew why I was crying and I wasn’t about to tell.
We had neighbors, Holly and Kaci, who were lesbian. We were very close with them, and I kept telling myself that one day I would go knock on their door and talk to them, but I could never get myself to do it. I was set on thinking I was bisexual, because I had had crushes on guys at school.
That summer, we moved from Austin to Midland (aka hell on earth). I was miserable there. I was in culture shock. In Austin, most everyone accepted LGBT people. The LGBT community in Austin is quite large and out and proud. Not many people older than 12 use “gay” “fag” or “homo” as an insult. In Midland it was different. I knew one person that was gay in Midland, and even he had a hard time at school so much that he was home schooled.
That fall my mom, sister, and I went back to Austin for Holly and Kaci’s wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and I had so much fun. Although I had realized I was gay before then, I had never accepted it and just thought I could always hide it. That night all I could think was “this is what I want. I want to be this happy. I want to love myself, and I do, even if I am gay”. I was staying at my best friend’s house that night and I softly cried myself to sleep wayyyyy after she had gone to bed.
This begins probably the worst and scariest part of my journey: coming out to a few close friends and family and trusting that no one would tell. I started with Alex. She was in college now, but I still texted her often checking in and asking for advice on little things. I remember texting her something like “I really want to tell you something…” and then I ran to my bathroom and started to hyperventilate. I knew I needed to tell someone, but I needed some kind of courage and strength. I started with “remember last week when I told you about how I had a crush on that guy Bryce? yeah… um. It was a lie. I think I am gay” (Bryce was a close friend that ended up being the guy I would tell people I liked because he would eventually know about me before other people, and I knew he would play along.). About 2 minutes later I got a text from Alex saying how much she loved me and how proud she was of me. She asked if I had talked to anyone else and if I was okay. No. No. I wasn’t okay. I was so unhappy in Midland. I felt trapped. I was scared of people finding out my secret.
That Christmas, I came out to the other pastor’s daughter at our church. She was much older than me (in high school), but she had become like a big sister to me. After the Christmas Eve service, I went up to her and asked if we could talk. She was busy and about to leave, so she told me she would text me later. That night I got a text from her asking “is everything okay??” I answered “I think so” and then I came out to her. It was nice having one person IN Midland who knew my secret, and we talked almost every week as she drove me to youth group.
I slowly started to come out to more and more people I trusted, my best friend, my mom, my dad. All took it extremely well and no one ever had anything negative to say. The only bump in the road was my mom. Not because she was against homosexuality, but because she wanted to control me and who I came out to. She chastised me for coming out to the other pastor’s daughter. She wanted me to come out to certain people I wasn’t quite ready to come out to, or would talk me out of coming out to people.
My grandpa (Papa) had been diagnosed with lung cancer a year before I came out to my mom, and that year we had found out it was terminal, he has 6-12 months to live. I wanted so badly to come out to him and my grandma (Whammy). My mom for some reason, did not want me to come out to him, and just wanted me to stay in the closet until after he passed away. I wan not going to do that. He had practically adopted a woman who was gay and loved her the same. I knew he would be the same with me.
I started going to church camp and weekend retreats. It was always fun and something I could look forward to. Every person leaving the 8th grade got to go to “eighters” or sex camp. It was not how you would imagine a Christian Sex Education camp to be. It was actually informational, with real facts. They never once condemned sex before marriage or homosexuality, but because of where my camp was, they tried not to mention it much, not to avoid it, but to stop any hateful people from running their mouths. This was a tri-area camp (meaning it had 3 times as many people as any normal camp), and there was a guy, Gideon, who was friends with a friend of mine. I was out to said friend, and I thought I could trust her. I was wrong.
Gideon started telling the guys in his dorm that I am gay. I didn’t know that these rumors were going around until the last night at camp, which is always the most emotional. We were waiting to go to worship and just hanging out in the dining hall when my friend Madi finally told me what people had been saying about me. I tried to look astonished and just brush it off, but inside I was having a panic attack. We got to worship, and I set next to Jonna, a leader I had become quite close to. As soon as I sit down, guess who sits next to me? Gideon. I almost got up and left the room, but decided that would make it look like I was gay, and that was the last thing I wanted people to know. Half way though worship I started crying. Jonna leaned over to ask if I was okay and I said no. She told me we should talk after we got back to the dorms. So I trudged through worship, all with Gideon trying to comfort me. I would just push him away and ignore him.
When worship was over, I went straight to Jonna’s bunk and waited for her to get back from taking other girls to get their meds. When she came back, we sat outside and talked. I told her everything, and I mean everything. I told her about my mom, and how she wanted to control me. I told her about Gideon and I told her I was scared. She was there for me, and I am so thankful for that. We talked for almost 5 hours, got yelled at for being up so late, and then walked into a pitch black dorm where I ended up waking everyone up because I am clumsy and walked into a bed…
The next day my mom had called Gideon’s youth pastor and, although I only ever speculated this, told her everything that had happened. Gideon came up and apologized. I didn’t quite forgive him yet, but I accepted and I knew he really was sorry.
That year I started my Freshman year. It can easily be classified as the most mentally draining year of my life. I cried everyday as soon as I got home from school. People all around me made fun of LGBT people and condemned them, including teachers. I was miserable.
Two things gave me strength that year. The first was my friend Emily, the sister of the aforementioned Bryce. She too was gay, and our families were very close. For her birthday, she decided to go to Pride in Austin and invited me. I will admit, I had a bit of a crush on her, and was excited about the fact that I would be spending a whole weekend with her in my favorite city. That weekend ended up being probably the best weekend of my life (so far). We stayed in one of those tiny houses. You know, the kind that look so cozy, but also like storage units? We started off the weekend with going back to my mom’s seminary because parking was free (for me), and it was close to everywhere I wanted to take Emily. We went to my favorite off beat toy store, we met Holly and Kaci for lunch at an amazing Japanese place, we went to buffalo exchange and a ton of quirky thrift shops. Then, we headed to Pride. It was amazing to be somewhere where I was accepted, and not condemned. I felt so free. We went to the festival and won cute little goodie bags filled with stickers (which I would put on my school binder, without thinking). Then we went to the parade. We sat on a curb infront of the Capital and enjoyed ourselves. The next day, we went home, tired, but filled.
The second thing that gave me strength that year was my English teacher. On the first day of school, I walked in and my gaydar went off. She was tall and thin and had a short pixie cut. Although normally that wouldn’t trigger anything, she also had one of those “about me” slide shows for the first day of school. She said she was married and had 2 cats, but that was all she would tell us because students shouldn’t be nosy. Thats when all the bells and alarms and whistles went off in my head. I HAD A GAY TEACHER. Thank the LORD!
I never really had to come out to her either, she just sort of caught on. One of our first writing assignments was to write about injustice, so I picked LGBT people and injustice. I also had all the pride stickers on my binder, and that is when she started to get it. She was such an amazing teacher. Any other teacher who heard “gay” “Fag” or “homo” would just ignore it, she wouldn’tt. She would call people out and be angry. Her classroom was my safe space. At the end of the year we had a research paper, and of course mine was on LGBT rights in the US. Finally, one day I went to her class during lunch and we just talked. She basically came out to me, and we talked about how hard it was to live in Midland and be gay. I’m so glad I had her and her room for that year, I may not have made it through with out it.
Around the same time, my mom was having a hard time at our church. She had posted the equality sign as her profile picture on facebook, and many people in our church had a problem with that. After several months of being hated on at the church, they gave her an ultimatum: Never post any of her personal beliefs online again, or be fired. So she quit.
Lucky for me, a wonderful church in Lompoc, California wanted my mom! At the end of the school year it was a pretty good posibility that we would be moving. At that point I knew that if we moved, I would come out of the closet for good.
I was at the same camp where I was outed a year earlier. My family group was made up of so many wonderful people that I love, and so I “tested” out coming out. The keynoter had actually just talked about LGBT people (in a very positive way), and many of the questions we were asked were about LGBT people. At one point the keynoter had said somehing like “coming out takes a lot of bravery. But from what others have told me, it is like a load of bricks coming off your shoulders”. I quoted him and then said “I would know what that feels like, because I am gay”. It really was a load of bricks falling off my shoulders. The group was so amazing. I was a bit worried because one of my closest friends, Blair, was very quiet the whole time. But we were walking back to our dorm and she was like “I kinda had a feeling” and then I knew she was okay with it.
The rest of my summer was amazing. I decided I would come out on July 1st, on facebook. I happened to be out of town when July 1st came around. I was staying with my aunt and uncle (who already knew) and helping my aunt watch my little cousins. It was June 31st, and I texted my mom and said “I’m coming out tomorrow for good”. She texted me back, angrily, and told me she didn’t want me to because she wanted to be there for me when I did. I said no, I am doing this my way, when I want to. She was mostly upset because she was at a camp where she did not have service and couldn’t check in on me through out the day. I understand now why she would be so upset, but I needed to do things myself in my own way, and that was my way of showing my independence.
So the next day I did it. I posted on facebook “With PRIDE month being over, I feel like it was an amazing month! DOMA was found unconstitutional and Prop 8 was overturned! Congrats everyone! Plus, it adds to the excitement of moving to California!
Ps. To the 90% of my friends/family who don’t know, Im gay!”
(I do not suggest to others to come out this way. Although I do not regret anything, I now realize how impersonal this was and how I hurt some family members feelings for not telling them before)
I was lucky to only receive positive things from other people. I felt so much love that day (and the rest of the week really…), and I felt so confident and happy. I was on such a high. I was still out of town and didn’t have to face my friends back home. We still hadn’t moved yet, which is why I chose to come out before. I wanted to be able to see my friends in Texas and talk to them. I had pretty much broken all ties to my “friends” at school, but I was still really close to my youth group. All of the guys were really accepting and sweet, but the two girls were a little weary at first. They stayed clear of me and talked to me less. I honestly didn’t care that much because I knew I was moving and probably wouldn’t see them again.
The only people who have had some kind of a problem with me being gay were my grandparents on my dads side. My grandfather is a catholic deacon and my grandmother is very conservative. They have never really acknowledged my sexuality and things have been a little tense between us ever since. To this day, they still don’t say anything to me about it, and if anyone brings it up, they leave the room.
And that brings us to today. I am 100% happier than I was 2 years ago. I am out, I am happy, I am proud. I go to a wonderful school that has students that accept me for who I am and I have so many amazing friends. I am comfortable with who I am and who I love. I can’t wait to see where life takes me.
The moral of the story is this: It gets better. My story may not be that bad, but I know what its like to be stuck. To be trapped in your life with all these secrets in your head. I know what its like to come home from school and then spend the rest of the day crying. But if you keep going, it does get better. Something or someone will come into your life, and give you a reason to keep going. Just know that it gets better.