I grew up knowing I was different, but also realizing that I needed to conform. To religious attitudes, to what my family wanted, to what I realized was the “norm.”
I was very successful in conforming, and for some time I convinced myself that certain “lifestyle choices” were wrong.
But it was futile. I was a sensitive young man, with interests in music and literature. And in other young men. As a religious young man, I was also fixated on how wrong certain “life choices” were. I outed myself without knowing it.
Accepting myself was a difficult process. I had to make difficult choices, not least of which one about religion. But being able to finally say “I am gay” has given me something I can’t quite describe. Some would call it power. Others would call it freedom. But I can only describe the feeling as the quiet after a heavy storm.
I will not trade who I am for anything.