I hope all of you had a fantastic pride month! I have seen so much support online just this week. I didn’t even know that June was pride month! Which is a great surprise because my birthday is in June! My birthday and pride month are the same. Lucky me!
I realized that I have never shared how I came to find out I was gay to anyone. Not even myself. It took me awhile to piece all the signs in my life together, that I now know were because I like girls. It was only last year that I came out on Facebook to my Catholic family and friends. I never would have imagined that I would be doing that.
To be completely honest, the idea of being in love romantically with someone of the same gender did not even cross my radar until 2012, when I was a freshman in high school. The word “gay” was an expression of happiness or the name of a villain in one of my favorite Nancy Drew books. Now that word has a whole new meaning to me seven years later, I could never have imagined how that word would change my life so drastically.
I grew up with a very strict Catholic upbringing. We went to church every Sunday. I think we only missed mass a couple of times growing up. Yet, we would always compensated by doing the rosary or something else. I went through all the sacraments, baptism, first communion, confession, and confirmation. I wanted to be a nun for a while even because I thought that God was calling me to that vocation.
The truth though was that I never had a real crush on any guys, or had a boyfriend, or even found myself wanting one. I did not have feelings for any guys at church or school and was terrified when I learned what sex was and vowed I would never do it because it was disgusting. (I still feel like that to this day when it comes to men.) I assumed it was because being in a small town just made it hard to find any good guys.
At age 12, I thought I should be a nun because of that. After my friends started getting in relationships, I still did not have any real feelings for anybody. I tried to convince myself I did because that was what was expected of a teenage girl. I did not know there was anything different other than a male and female relationship. I came up with so many excuses why I was not attracted to guys, but I stuck with the nun one for a whopping 6 years.
I wanted to be super BFFs with some of my girlfriends more than anything. I craved that sisterhood-of-the-traveling- pants type of friendship with other girls. It never even crossed my mind that I was attracted to some of the girls around me in a different way than wanting to be friends.
The first time I heard the word “gay” was in 7th grade. It was during the time that Minnesota was voting on whether to block a proposal for gay marriage to be legal. I honestly do not remember who won, only that is was this huge deal and debate around school. I had only just found out about same-sex couples and trying to understand this new concept in the midst of this controversy, sided with my parents like I usually did when it came to politics. My parents are obviously against the “gays.” This only made it more difficult to be open-minded about any other sexuality besides heterosexuality, especially when it came to myself.
I remember getting so upset about new years because when we were watching the ball drop on TV they showed a gay couple kissing. I hated any shows that I liked when they brought in a gay couple. Honestly, I was scared. I had been thrown into uncharted territory at the exact moment it became a huge political and social controversy. I did not question my parents. I trusted them. I was easily manipulated at that time in my life. I was clay that was warm and ready for molding at all times because of my dad’s manipulation and emotional terrorism.
Even if I had felt differently about being gay at the time, I would have hidden it deep inside in fear of upsetting my dad. I was not allowed to think for myself and I did not know how. I was always the obedient one, terrified of making a mistake no matter how small.
I did not realize that I was not heterosexual until years later. I first started questioning my faith during my junior year of high school. Things had gotten really bad at home and I felt abandoned. That was a turning point in my life.
Once I started questioning my faith, I questioned everything, including my dad and my family. I was horribly depressed and there had to be a reason why. I started slowly putting the pieces together as my eyes began to open.
My senior year of high school, I moved across the country to Arizona with my family. When I arrived it was a whole new atmosphere. My family was open and wanted to talk to me about everything. I struggled greatly for a long time with my mental health and spiraled into a constant state of partial psychosis that landed me in the hospital after several months. There I made friends with other kids who were bisexual. Having friends that were not straight was something I needed to experience. I was more open to the idea. Eventually, I decided I was an atheist and finally let go of my judgment and supported the LGBTQIA+ community.
A year later, I ended up in the psych ward yet again and that is where I met my first partner. I will just call her Lana for her privacy. We were infatuated with each other and kept getting in trouble. We tried to secretly hold hands under the table and this crossed some boundaries at the hospital.
After leaving the hospital, we kept in touch. We flirted mercilessly on the phone almost every night. We lived an hour away from each other and neither of us could drive so we did not get to see each other, but we still were obsessed with each other.
After seven months, we ended up breaking up for something I later found out was not her fault. I thought she had cheated on me. I was heartbroken and I cried to the point of gagging. A couple of years passed and I had tried being in relationships with guys that did not last more than a month. Nothing lasted and nothing felt real. It was just my attempt at quenching that nagging thirst for some sort of social relationship outside my immediate family.
Next thing I know, after two and a half years. Lana and I got back in touch and I found out the truth about what happened when we broke up. Of course, her being my first love, we pretty much got right back together after a couple of months of talking to each other again. In the midst of this, she ended up at my apartment one night after her mom kicked her out of the house. The next 48 hours were emotional, beautiful, and intimate. We had talked about getting promise rings before and she had actually gotten one for me. Next thing I know, that promise ring was an engagement ring. Soon enough she was able to go home again.
My neighbor who had recently moved out, and was a close friend of mine, came over to hang out. Out of the blue, this dude puts this box down on my computer when my back is turned. I sat down and almost picked it up and moved it because it looked just like a box I had, then I noticed it was a different color. I looked over at him surprised.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“Something to show you how much I care about you” He told me.
I had already sensed something was a little off about him that day. He had my picture as his phone background so I cautiously opened it. Inside was this beautiful gold ring. I did not realize what was going on until he told me that he could get it resized. I also did not realize that the ring was made of actual gold and diamonds. I was completely taken off guard and a bit uncomfortable. I honestly did not know how to react. He soon left and I immediately went to talk to the staff where I lived about it. That is when I had to figure out how I was going to tell him I could not take it because I was already in a relationship with Lana.
Basically, I had to figure out how I was going to break one of my best friend’s heart. He was such a nice guy and went about it pretty much exactly how a guy should, apart from the timing, and the whole expensive engagement ring thing. That was a little bit too much of a grand gesture, especially considering he had never said anything to indicate his feelings for me.
That was another turning point for me. I realized that I did not have any feelings for guys at all. In my experience, all the guys I had been with, for however short of time were all creeps or seriously messed up in some way. If I were to have any feelings for any guy, it would have been my neighbor. I thought I did for a moment back before Lana and I had reconnected.
I had to do some hard thinking and soul searching after that to really figure out who I was. Soon enough I had realized that I was not asexual. I was not bisexual. I was not any of those other things I had thought I was in the past. I am a lesbian! I am gay!
On October 15th, 2018, I officially came out as gay on Facebook:
I was so excited to finally know who I was and feel comfortable. I did not feel like I was lying to myself anymore. There was not this nagging uncomfortable doubt in the back of my mind telling me that something was not quite right.
Disappointingly, I received almost no response from this post. It was a big deal for me to come out on social media. Even if all of your friends and family know already, it is nice to see their support. Honestly, even though it seriously sucked to have everyone ignore this big moment for me, I was not too surprised. I just took it as a blessing that they chose not to say anything rather than say something negative. If my family is not that supportive, at least they will leave me alone and not butt-in.
I am fortunate enough to now have my mom and family accepting me for who I am. They may not be going to Pride with me or talking to me about if I have any crushes on a girl. They may not be thrilled to hear about new things I am doing in the LGBTQIA+ community. But they do not stand in my way. They do not chastise me for it or make me feel bad about being gay, and sort of accept who I am, and that is all I can really ask for. I am thankful for that in so many ways. So many other people do not have that.
It may have been a rocky start, a confusing journey, and a painful path that led to me realizing the truth about who I am, but in the end I am thankful for my experiences finding love and losing love, having my heart broken and breaking someone else’s heart, and just experiencing different ways a person can love.
I never realized why people talk about love so much until I had experienced it myself. I now understand why this is such a huge and important deal to so many people. I understand how this amazing community bonds together to make a strong, unbreakable being that holds each other afloat and take care of each other. I understand that feeling of belonging that the LGBTQIA+ community brings to so many people. I understand why this community is proud.
I am proud to celebrate love and community not only in June but all the time! We should be proud. We have come through so much adversity and we still love unconditionally. I am proud to be gay. I see that pride running through every person in our community. All of us are proud to love. We are love! We are pride!