I grew up in a very strict, religious and physically abusive home environment where mistakes were severely punished and there was no room for self expression. Most of my life up until my teen years I lived in fear and in instability. I learned quickly that being invisible and trying to be as perfect as possible was my only way to survive in my home life and I carried that to the world in my adult life. I never had the chance to develop my own personality, my own personal style or even just simple personal boundaries growing up, so when I finally moved out of my parents house at the age of 20, and started college, I had no idea how to navigate in the real world.
I guess I’d been programed to just fit in and try not to be seen. I was scared of drawing attention to myself or making too many waves. I always based my decisions on how others would react to me or based on what others wanted. I always had feelings for women, but I suppressed them and told myself that couldn’t be me. That what I felt wasn’t right. I was never physically attracted to men but I started dating them because they liked me and I thought that was what I was supposed to do. They treated me well so I didn’t think what I felt mattered. At one point I was in a relationship with a guy I didn’t love and I always felt weird with him but since I’d never learned to listen to my own intuition and let that guide me, I stayed. My only saving grace was school. When I studied and learned I felt in control and I felt more in charge of my future. I excelled in that arena. One day, I found out I was pregnant by this guy with whom I was in a relationship.
I didn’t love him and I couldn’t fathom a future with him. That day I did a lot of soul searching and I decided I would get an abortion. We both agreed and I got one. That was the first decision I’d ever made strictly based on my needs and wants. It was the first time in my life where I’d asked myself what was right for me and focused on my feelings. Honestly I felt so good and free. I had never felt so grounded in my life. After that abortion, I started doing more soul searching and asked myself what I would do if I didnt care what anyone else thought. The first thing that popped into my head was to stop dating men. I realized that I never was atrracted to them and I’d only been dating men to please my parents. I was single for about a year and then one day I bumped into my first love, and she was a girl. I’d dated several people but I’d never felt attraction, lust and butterflies for someone before meeting her. I finally understood what all the hype was about and at that point I knew I was a lesbian.
I came out to people one at a time and I didn’t care what they thought because I was so happy. My parents and so many people I knew told me it was a phase and that it wasn’t me, because they were used to me fitting in to their definitions of who I was, but I felt so alive that there was no turning back. It was a second birth for me and since then I’ve been on a journey of self discovery and self love. I realize now that I have a right to exist and that I matter and what I feel is important. It sounds so simple, but I had never lived like that before. I never want to go back to being invisible and being afraid of who I am. My past has informed my present and will continue to inform my future. I’m out, i’m proud, I exist and I matter.