So I got this message earlier, and I get this message frequently, so read on for my life story.
There really wasn’t a moment when I accepted that I was gay. Not really, anyway. There kind of was, I guess. Wow I’m brilliant with words.
It happened kind of suddenly, to be honest. I went through some pretty harsh denial, though the fear there wasn’t really other people, it was myself. I didn’t want to be gay. It’s weird looking back, because now I wouldn’t change it for anything, but then I was terrified of it. Even when my mum asked me when I was around 14, maybe just turned 15, straight out if I was gay, I denied it. We were getting ready to go out somewhere, and I was laying on her bed watching TV while she did her make-up in the bathroom, and we were just talking. I think I might have been 14 actually, because I was still in the stage where I barely really talked to anyone at home. She asked me about how I had been acting, and I just tried to get her to change the subject. She didn’t though, because she cared, which was nice. She had always cared, and had always been concerned.
I was depressed. People use the term lightly, but I’ve looked back and talked to people about it, and I’m pretty sure I was. I went through all of this at like, 13/14/15, so I went through it early, but I don’t think the age really matters. I didn’t want to wake up, I didn’t want to speak to anybody when I did, and I would lock myself in my room and just do nothing. My mum came in once to talk to me, and I flipped and just went way over the top. I think that’s the point that she thought ‘okay, some thing’s definitely wrong’. I was horrible to her, I said awful things, and I basically threw her out of my room. I slammed my door, sat against it, put my iPod on and cried. She kept trying to get in for about 15 minutes, and I’m sure she was trying to talk to me too, but I couldn’t hear her over my music. It’s surreal looking back and remembering how scared I was that she would just know. I cried for a while, maybe an hour, before I had to go downstairs for water because I couldn’t stop coughing. She asked me then again, in the kitchen, and I cried. Like, uncontrollable crying. She kept trying to grab my hands because I was like, scratching my face while I tried to cover my eyes. I honestly don’t know what I was doing at the time, but I just couldn’t handle it, and I didn’t really have control over myself. She was crying and asking me what was wrong, literally begging me to tell her, but I couldn’t. It was there, on the tip of my tongue, but the thought of saying it made me feel sick. So I got my water, said some horrible things again to make her stop, and locked myself in my room
Anyway, that was a few months before this moment. She asked if I was gay. I had always been a tomboy, especially as a kid. I liked sports, I hated dresses, and I wore loads of tracksuits and stuff. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gay, but I guess that’s what kinda made her think. She said it really nervously, like she was scared I would just turn again. I couldn’t see her, because she was in the en-suite while I was in her room, but I could tell my her voice. ‘Are you gay? Because that’s fine too’. Literally the one thing that really should have set me at ease, allowed me to open up, but it didn’t. I wasn’t ready, and I was the problem here, not other people. So I froze, and I kind of just didn’t move. I remember just feeling terrified, and not replying. She went on to tell me a story about my brother, about how he had a ‘phase’ while he was a teenager. She had never told anybody, and only her, my brother and my brother’s wife knew. Me now, too. She told me that it was okay, that she had always accepted him for whoever he was, and that it would be the same for me. She opened the door for me, let me know that it was okay to say yes, but I didn’t. I told her that I wasn’t gay. I think maybe I told her because I still wasn’t sure, or because maybe it would allow me to convince myself a little more. I just know that saying that I was gay seemed impossible.
I hit ‘bottom’ or whatever, around the time of the incident I described earlier. I have never self harmed since, and I don’t think I ever will. I had never done it before then either. People always talk about self harming because they wanted to feel. It wasn’t like that for me at all. I don’t even know what it was about for me, to be honest. I didn’t even think, I just did it. I had just had a huge fight with my parents, and all of this crap was going on in my mind, and I just kind of lost it. Now it’s weird, because I don’t lose it. I’m really chilled out, and I don’t really get angry. Not to the point of lashing out anyway. But I was younger, and I did lash out. I remember just being out of control and like, ripping my hair out. Saying it now I sound insane, but I just had my hands gripping my hair and I pulled. I wanted to scream, so I just did that instead. Then I just kind of took the scissors off my dressing table, lifted my top and started like, hacking at my stomach. I honestly have no idea why. At the time, it felt amazing to be hurting myself. Maybe it’s because I didn’t like myself very much, I don’t know, but I remember it just feeling like the best thing in the world. It calmed me, and I felt so much better, but then everything stopped and there was just me looking insane with blood on my t-shirt. It didn’t do anything for me. It did in the moment, but afterwards I just felt worse. When I ran the scissors under the tap, picked my hair off my bed and threw it away, I felt awful. I felt ashamed. I don’t really tell people about that, because I still do feel embarrassed, but it happened. People think that I had it easy, that I accepted that I was gay and never had a problem. I think they have that idea because of how little it bothers me now, but I’m 18. At the time I was like, 14. I was almost completely different to how I am now.
I came out before I had really accepted it, and before I was ready, I guess. I wasn’t forced out or anything. It was the night after everything kind of went to the shitter. My dad had said that gay people ‘should all be lined up and shot’ after watching two men kiss on TV. After protesting, and trying to defend ‘gay people’ that were really his daughter, I went to my room. I guess I’d grown up a lot by then, because all I did was write my letter. I had already told a few friends by this point, so that helped with the confidence. I was never worried about my friends, not really. I had really, really great friends. And at 15, to have true friends, I was just really lucky. Anyway, I wrote my coming out letter. During that time everything had kind of blown up with my brother too. There was a lot of hidden family stuff, and emotional baggage that I didn’t know about. I kind of don’t mind not knowing, because I don’t consider him a brother to me any more (he burned that bridge himself), but yeah. Basically, he had overdosed, and everything was insane. I wrote that I had seen what keeping things in, and keeping big secrets, can do. I wrote that I didn’t want to keep myself hidden, and that I wanted to just be myself. I wrote literally about five pages, each one just the same thing, but like…defending myself. Like I had to defend the fact that I was gay. It’s stupid really, but that’s how it was. I also wrote ‘please don’t tell dad’. I gave it to her just before going to school, told her not to open it until I left the house, then went downstairs. I knew that she would have already opened it though, so I pretended to have lost a shoe and asked her to try to find it for me. They were on my feet…Anyway, I went to school and shat myself throughout the first and second lesson. I told my best friend that I had come out, and she kind of held my arm to stop it from shaking, not that it did haha. She was excited, and happy. As were the rest of my friends when I told them. Then my phone went off and I saw that it was my mum. I sent her a quick ‘can’t answer, in lesson’ and just left it at that. Then I got a text a few minutes later.
First line: ‘Charlotte, I’ve told your dad.’
The text basically said that they were both fine with it, that they loved me, and that they would see me after school. They weren’t there when I got home, which only made me more nervous. When they both appeared, I tried to act nonchalant and just watch the TV, but that was almost impossible. Dad just like, walked into the room, and was like ‘get up’. So I shit my pants, thinking he was angry, but then he just hugged me. He had been upset about me specifically asking mum not to tell him, I think. So he hugged like, impossibly tight, and told me that there was nothing I could tell him that would ever make him think any less of me. He’s been amazing, too. He has really, really tried. I gave him time, my mum too, to sort of get used to it. I let them call it a ‘phase’ a few times without going too mental, but simply telling them that it wasn’t. He defends gay people now though. It’s been three years, and he will pull people up on comments. My mum will tell my sisters off for calling something ‘gay’ when they mean bad. My dad asked my sister why it was so weird that two men were together on TV once, too. He went from saying they should all be shot, to telling people that there was nothing wrong with it. He changed, and he tried, for me. I am ridiculously proud of him for that. I think when you have friends and family like that, then it’s much easier to accept yourself.
I fully realised how small a thing it is one night in bed. You know when you have those super long thinky thought nights? Yeah, I was having one of those. I just thought a lot about it, and it just dawned on me like, it’s ridiculous. It’s such a small thing. I’m going to meet a person, marry a person, have kids with a person. I’m going to have a job, have a life, move around, have money, bills, a house. I’m going to literally have exactly the same life, there is no difference apart from the sex of the person I will be with. Instead of a penis, there will be a vagina and boobs. DEAR LORD. It’s nothing. It’s literally nothing. It’s a tiny, tiny part of who I am. At the time it felt like the biggest, but it’s just…not. I can’t even word it, but it was just like a huge realisation. I just realised how ridiculous it was for anyone to feel so strongly about something so small. If your parents love you, and you’re a good person, then it won’t suddenly make them hate you. Even if they say they are disappointed in you, they’re not. They’re disappointed in that tiny, tiny part of you. Yes, it’s important that they embrace all parts of you, and they accept that, but they don’t hate you. If they loved you before, then they will still love you after. They can’t stop, because it is literally so small. You’ve always had that part of you there, inside, and they loved you then. They loved that part of you without even knowing it, because nothing has changed. I just imagine one of my kids coming out to me, and it just feels like such a small thing. I don’t know, words are not my thing, but really that’s all it took for me. Taking a step back and really thinking about it. It is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. I wish I had realised it earlier, before I got so ridiculous, but I didn’t. I hope whoever asked this does, and the people that have asked in the past.
Just think about it, really think about it, and realise. That’s all it took for me.