First off, I wanna start this post by stating how extremely thankful I am to have the privilege to live in a country that celebrates LGTBQ+ love. I also am so extremely gracious of the kindness I have been shown by my close family and friends and the acceptance and love they have showered me with over the years.
In 210 days I get to marry the love of my life, my best friend. I can’t imagine not being able to walk down the aisle to my future wife. With the wedding approaching, I have been reflecting on my sexuality, and the process of coming out, coming to terms, and being proud of who I am and who I love.
I remember being a child and chasing boys on the playground trying to kiss them, pass on my cooties and then run away laughing. I remember watching Disney movies and idolizing Ariel. I remember giggling when I saw my parents kiss. As a child, I was fairly “typical.” I had crushes on boys (and girls, but I didn’t realize that yet). I had boyfriends and first kisses and butterflies in the pit of my stomach.
If I go way back in my mind, I was 10 when I first really started to feel different. A new girl came to my school and we became instant best friends. The kind of friendship that just bursts like fireworks. I didn’t understand how I had ever been happy before she moved to the small town where I grew up. We called each other every single day after school, used walkie talkies to talk late at night and spent countless hours together. Usually she was doing my makeup and helping me feel beautiful in my tall, lanky, awkward skin.
I didn’t think anything was different about our friendship at the time. Now I know that may have been the first time my brain registered that my soul could love anyone, regardless of gender.
When I was 12, I met a girl on MSN (I feel embarrassingly old right now). I don’t even remember how or why I added her now. We started talking late at night. I would sneak on the family computer at 2 am and she’d always be on. She was the same age as me, but was older at heart. She’d be up at all hours of the night, smoking cigarettes and drinking liquor. I’d help fill the loneliness once in a while. I still never thought I was gay, or bi or whatever category my ability to love falls into. I just knew she intrigued me and I liked talking to her when the world was asleep.
We talked in the dark of midnight for 2 years. Eventually, I started to wonder if maybe she was hitting on me, or if I was just being conceited. We ended up figuring out that we had a mutual friend, which put my anxious mind to ease. I wasn’t worried that she was a 40 year old man trying to manipulate my 14 year old naive mind. Since I knew she was “safe” (I put this in quotations because I now know her age and gender did not ensure my safety), I agreed to go meet her at our mutual friends house. We agreed to meet there on a cold Friday, February night.
This is when I realized how, undeniably infatuated I was with her. I couldn’t sleep, could barely eat and could only think of her. I continued talking to her every night, now quietly on the phone under the covers in my room. I was nervous to meet her… Even more nervous for her to meet me. She seemed so much older than me despite our same birth year. She seemed cooler, more adventurous and daring. I felt boring in comparison. I kept planning what I would wear, what I would say and how I could possibly make her like me. (I still wasn’t convinced I was gay at this point…seriously)
The Friday night came. I woke up, showered and went to school, fell asleep in grade 9 science and came home showered (again) and tried to look good. I counted down the hours until my mom got home would drive me to pick up this stranger who I undeniably had a crush on.
When my mom finally got home and picked me up, my legs were shaking. We drove to the city to pick her up. I remember she was standing against a building wall, smoking a cigarette wearing a black hoodie and a red coat, jeans and converse. My heart sank in the best way possible, to the bottom of my belly. My mom parked and I got out of the car. I walked over to her and said “Hi.” My eyes bright with excitement. She smiled a crooked smile, her eyes burned into my soul. I’d say that was the single moment that I knew I was gay. We walked to my moms car and she drove us to our mutual friends house. We shared glances on the car ride home. Hands beside each other but not quite touching. The electricity in the car that night could have killed me.
We spent the night at our mutual friends house. We drank liquor and listened to music. I remember being jealous because my friend was undeniably prettier than me and I was worried she would outshine me. The dark stranger liked us both, that was obvious. It hurt, a lot to have someone you barely know like you, but like your friend more.
I remember it was 3 am and I was sitting by my friends fireplace crying. I felt like a drunk fool who fell for a stranger who couldn’t care less. Except she did care. When she noticed I had wandered away from them, she came and sat by the fire with me. She lifted my chin, looked into my eyes and apologized for making me cry (little did I know this would be the first apology of many). I said it was fine (it wasn’t). And then, she kissed me. Time. fucking. stopped. Nothing mattered in that moment. I felt high, like my soul was floating out of my body and I was watching from above. I felt like everything in my life suddenly made sense and I never wanted the feeling to end. I wanted more.
The weeks after were filled with sleepless nights spent on the phone. Countless conversations centred around my questionable sexuality and weekends spent together. After about a month of this, we started dating officially (secretly of course). I told my closest friends who were supportive though I could tell they were worried about the bags under my eyes and skipped meals.
About 2 months into the relationship, I felt the pressure of the isolation. My mom, once my best friend, now knew nothing about me. Only 2 of my friends knew I was dating a girl, and my dad was clueless. I felt like an alien in a world that wouldn’t understand. I started getting increasingly depressed and anxious.
The night I came out I was secluded in my room, glued to my computer, talking to her. My mom came in, grumpy asking for help cleaning the kitchen. I lost it and started screaming saying “I can’t, I’m busy!” I couldn’t handle spending time away from talking to the one person who I felt understood me, my stranger of a girlfriend who gave me a feeling of not being alone.
My mom walked into my room and sat beside me, looked at my computer screen and asked why I was talking to her (my secret girlfriend) so much. I broke down crying, the kind of crying that hurts your body and leaves you in a shaking, vegetative state. I looked at her, knowing this would change our lives, and told her she was my girlfriend and that I was bi. She started crying, and hugged me and told me it was okay, and that she was glad that’s all it was. But I could tell her brain was full of thoughts. We agreed not to tell my dad for a while. We knew he’d have more trouble coming to terms with my sexuality.
This was the beginning of a whirlwind of events. Girlfriend after girlfriend after boyfriend after girlfriend.
And now, I look back, and don’t regret a thing. Not the bullying (it made me fucking strong), not the months I spent in hiding (it helped me understand myself), not the girl I hit for making fun of me for being gay or the school I got expelled from and definitely not the first girl I dated (cause man, did I learn).
And now, in less than a year I get to marry a women who treats me like gold, and who I can’t imagine my life without. This is proof that *It gets better.
To anyone out there struggling to come out, think of your life 10 years down the line. What do you see? What do you want someday? Know there is a community of LGTBQ+ people who have your back.
Note: These are just fragments of memories. I spent a lot of time blocking this time-frame of my life out of my mind.