Thankful

Name: Elizabeth Mendenhall
Pronouns: She/Her
Instagram: lizzylou1990

A year ago I came out. It was the scariest time of my life due to the stigmas that were placed on me. I was 29 years old and had known I was gay since the time I was 12. For 17 years I shoved down my feelings, tried to date guys and that was a disaster. I never truly was happy. I never truly loved myself because I was taught being gay was a sin. I finally accepted the fact I was gay December of  2019 and I cried because I finally let myself say it out loud in the mirror of my car. It was a freeing moment but then I also had the realization of ok now how do I tell my family and friends?

Well in January I had a few drinks at home with my roommate/bestie of 4 years and it slipped out. I for sure had the deer in the headlight look and she smiled and said your gay? I quietly answered I am. She started to cry and told me she was so proud of me. She was the very first person I told and her reaction was everything I needed. From that night the self journey began! Over the next month I started therapy because I was battling depression and grief from losing my cousin, who helped raised me, to breast cancer. During my time in therapy, I got the strength to come out to my very conservative father, my religious family and my friends. My father was incredible! He said he had known since I was 2 years old and was just waiting for me to be ok with myself. My friends were the best and apparently all suspected it. My religious families reaction was what I expected it to be. I love but… Ugh that BUT at the end changes a lot, but overall I had an easy process and I am thankful for that!

I found out who truly loves me for me and who truly has my back. I have found that I can breath and enjoy life. I have an amazing community that has my back. I have a family I have created for myself with my friends that are some of the best humans a human could ask for. The best part for me about coming out was for the first time truly being happy. Truly being able to live my life and be authentically me. I am lucky to have the support that I do and I don’t take that for granted.

For years I had watched coming out videos, taken those quizzes of am I gay, and followed LGBTQ community members on social media. I had found Only Human and instantly fell in love with what they stood for. As a closeted gay woman, I was looking for a way to express myself, find a community and clothing that I loved. The first shirt I ordered was the Heart On My Sleeve shirt. I wore it all the time and still do to this day actually, as well as the other Only Human Shirts I now own. This community helped me become the person I am today. I am thankful for the stories that people have shared, the love that is put out and the acceptance of everyone.

If I had a piece of advice for someone questioning their sexuality or wanting to come out of the closet it would be: Be honest with yourself and know you are your own person. Reach out to others in the community that are out if you need support even if they don’t know you. NEVER be afraid to be the person you are because you are BEAUTIFUL, STRONG, and COURAGEOUS. I try every day to be the person I needed to see growing up.

Much Love,

Liz

Have a story you want to share? Click here.