At the end of the day, we as humans just want to be accepted as ourselves. This goes for all nationalities, all races, all religions, all sexualities, all genders. We just want acceptance.
I don’t see myself as an influencer but as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I do feel a sense of responsibility to be open and honest about my story in hopes that it’ll inspire others to do the same. Being yourself is a scary thing in general but being yourself knowing that there are people who will hate you for your sexuality is an even scarier thing.
I have to keep reminding myself; this is my blog, these are my words, this is my story to share. Opinions and judgments can’t take that away from me.
Since I came out, I have had a lot of people reach out to me with so many questions. When did you know? How did you know? Are you a lesbian? But you’ve dated guys your whole life, are you sure?
I decided today; this is such a big part of my life – I want to share it. And this is why I write.
To inspire, to influence, to hope that my words resonate with those who have gone through/are going through something similar, to be recognized as an ally for those who are still confused or afraid, to be someone’s safety net if they can’t talk to their friends or family.
When Did I Know
This is a really hard question for me to answer. When I reflect back on my life, from the time I was 12 until right now, there are moments that stand out to me. Looking at them from my current age and perspective, I can recognize that I was confused and having thoughts about girls but at the time, I had no idea. I just remembered being embarrassed and avoiding eye contact when I felt like that. But I didn’t know until I was 23.
And it’s not that I waited until I was 23 to come out because I had known my whole life, I genuinely did not let myself have these thoughts and I think I suppressed them for almost 10 years but they started to resurface and push through when I got to college and at that point, I just knew. All the signs were there and it all started to make sense why everything that felt wrong, was wrong.
There is one specific moment I remember from when I was 13 and had I listened to my gut instead of pushing down these thoughts I deemed “unnatural,” I probably would have come out a lot sooner.
So this specific moment, I had had my first kiss with a boy that summer, probably a few weeks before. Looking back, he was super feminine. As was almost every single guy I dated. Anyways, I went back to work at the family business after camp where I made $13 an hour so you know I was balling without a budget when I turned 14 that fall.
There was this new girl working there when I got back and I immediately took a liking to her. I thought she was so pretty and I would follow her around work while she told me what to do. She had such a positive energy and I just admired her so much and wanted to be her friend. I think she was 19 at the time, so six years older than me.
Being the supportive employees that we were, we went to see her perform in a play. I don’t remember the name of the play or what her character was, I just remember she had on a white dress and had to kiss a boy at the end of a scene. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her but at the same time, I felt like all eyes were on me while my eyes were on her, which wasn’t the case, but either way, I was humiliated and embarrassed and having kissed a boy, I knew what kissing felt like and the second she kissed the boy from the play, I wanted to be him. Red flag number one.
I remember wondering why? Why was I having these thoughts, she’s a girl, why would I want to kiss a girl? At the time, I had no idea what bi or gay or lesbian meant so I swallowed my humiliation and continued to follow her around work until she went back to college. Pretty sure I cried when she left and I never saw her again until this memory resurfaced and I found her on Instagram. She’s married now and they are a beautiful couple and she looks exactly how I remember.
Flash forward to high school, I remember having so many memories of the guys I brought home and my parents always asked me if they were gay. I think I gravitated towards feminine men because I subconsciously knew I liked women but society told me to be straight, so I was straight. Plus, all of my friends in high school joked about there being “the one” in the group (meaning the gay girl) and they always joked about it being me.
*Disclaimer: I do not identify or refer to myself as gay, bi, lesbian or pan. I do not know and will not force myself into a label until I am sure.*
College is probably where I took an interest in girls but never acted on it. I had a boyfriend for three years and the whole thing felt wrong. Physically and emotionally, we just didn’t click. Little did I know, I wouldn’t click with any guy after him either. Give me all the red flags. I was a walking closet at this point, but I still refused to believe it or act on it.
Most women experiment in college and although I was too scared of what people would think or how my friends and family would react, I had a lot of bisexual friends and so I’d ask questions. The same ones I get asked by a lot of you. How did you know. When did you know. Were you scared. Do you still like guys. Almost as if I was doing some investigation work for my closeted self. All the while being absolutely in awe of these girls who were so confident in themselves and their sexuality. And I was jealous of their freedom and their fluidity.
At this point, something in my life wasn’t working. I knew it, my parents knew it, the guys I was with during this time knew it, but I wouldn’t let myself believe it was because I liked girls. In my mind, I hadn’t met the right guy yet. That’s what all straight guys tell pretty gay girls though, you just haven’t met the right guy yet.
There was no right guy. Still, I went on a lot of dates, met a lot of men, did a lot of things I ultimately regretted because even though this one didn’t feel right, maybe the next one would and on we went until I was really depressed and unhappy with myself.
You know that feeling when you walk into a store and you love how all the clothes look so you pick them out, drape them over your arm and head to the dressing room? You try on different shirts, different pants, different jackets but none of them look good on you. Your shoulders might be a little too muscular or maybe your butts too big for the jeans and the jacket doesn’t work well with your height and by the end of the day, you’re disgusted in yourself and all the clothes you tried on.
That was me. But with men.
And that’s when I realized; maybe it wasn’t something that was wrong with them, maybe it was something that was wrong with me.
After graduating college, I only really dated one guy and I used “dated” loosely because we only got together a couple of times. When things with him didn’t work out, I gave up. I stopped giving guys the time of day, I put all my focus into my friendships and my work and accepted a job (working for Rob as the majority of you know).
In my mind, I didn’t have time for men and I believed that what was meant to be, would be so I put my dating life on the back burner and threw my energy into my career. For roughly five months, I traveled cross-country and internationally on this journey and it was one of the greatest experiences of self reflection and understanding I have had. Being one with nature will really do that to you.
It wasn’t through this journey that I discovered I liked girls, it was actually after when I had come home. It was one specific moment when I had the realization that I really didn’t want to date men anymore. In fact, I was so disgusted by the idea of seeing another man naked that even the thought of being with a guy made me cringe.
I won’t ever share with you publicly what this exact moment was (if you’re my friend, you probably know) but it went a something along the lines of “it just isn’t right” and “I promise it’s not you.”
I falsely assumed, having given up guys and dating in general for almost three months, I was just going through it. I don’t know what “it” was in this scenario but I had assumed I’d be back on my game when I got home and ready to try dating again.
I was ready to try dating again, but not with men. I kind of woke up with the thought one December morning, while this poor guy was still laying beside me, that I was curious.
I had yet to figure out what curious meant but I had begun to see women in a new way.
(Coming Soon – Coming Out Part 2: How I Knew I Liked Girls)