I don’t consider my coming out to be this defining moment where I said “I’m gay,” out loud for the first time, although that moment was important for me. Rather, I think of my coming out as the moment I finally started to feel like I fit in to something.
Let me explain, my whole life I never felt comfortable and I had no idea why. I never felt comfortable in dresses from homecoming, and yet I look just like everyone else. I thought I must not be as pretty. I never fit in with a group of girls. I always felt different but I told myself its because I didn’t understand makeup or fashion. I had a bunch of boyfriends, but I never felt connected and again, just thought I was heartless.
I steadily tore myself down for YEARS thinking the reason I never felt like I belonged was because I wasn’t good enough in one way or another. I went to college and found my place with a really good group of friends, and yet something was still wrong. Now it was a connection issue. Why couldn’t I fall in love? Why don’t I like this guy as much as he likes me when he is perfect on paper? Oh, and remember I was in a very, very small RELIGIOUS SCHOOL. Classes taught by monks and priests. Therefore, I didn’t know anyone in the LGBTQ community. It never even really crossed my mind because I wasn’t around it.
And then it all happened. My friend came out to me and slowly we started hanging out with people in the LGBTQ community and it all started to make sense. I felt FREE! Completely myself. It’s a feeling I will never be able to explain to friends and family, but when you finally feel inside like you belong somewhere. That you don’t have to fit into a certain category or wear a certain trend or style to be pretty or feminine. It was freeing.
I truly believe if I would have been exposed to the community sooner, I would have found myself much earlier. That is why I think PRIDE is so important. Visibility can make the difference between feeling lost and finding yourself. HERE’S TO LIVING THE REST OF MY LIFE LOUD AND PROUD!