Ever since I was little I’ve known something was different about me. I always wanted to hang out with boys, I always understood them better than I understood girls. Everyone always asked me “do you like that boy,” or “do you have a boyfriend,” so I just assumed that I had to like boys, I thought I would grow to like them the way everyone wanted me to. As I got older nothing really changed much, I still looked at girls the way I was supposed to be looking at boys, I still felt like I understood more of what the guys were talking about when they talked about liking girls, I still hung out with guys all the time and acted like one myself. Eventually I started to feel differently about my best friend, I had known her since we were two so I thought the way I felt about her was normal, I thought it was just the way you feel about a really good friend. I made her do fake weddings with me, we even promised we would live together when we got older but I was clearly more serious than she was. I didn’t know it at the time but I was falling in love with my best friend; that was 6th grade. Later that year there was this boy I always hung out with, and my family started asking me if we were dating and if I had a crush on him. So I decided I did and I just didn’t know it, so I asked him out. We dated for two years, yet I never felt the way people talked about feeling about their boyfriends, holding his hand just felt wrong, being with him didn’t feel special at all.
For those two years I told myself I loved this boy, I told him I loved him, I told everyone I loved him but I just didn’t. In 7th grade I started getting bullied for acting differently and dressing differently than all the other girls, that year was a living hell. In January my friend and I started playing roller derby, that sport honestly saved me; it was my place to get away from everything, my place to be me. There were girls on my team who looked at girls the way I did, girls who felt the same way as I did. There was this girl named Hailey, she took me under her wing and taught me how to play. After a while I started feeling differently about her, but this time I knew what I felt. In 8th grade, I finally decided to break up with my boyfriend because it just felt so wrong being with him, that was the year I came out as bisexual. I thought I only liked girls, but I was afraid to admit it to myself, afraid to face the fact that I had no chance to be what everyone said was normal.
I was with Hailey for a couple of months until I started high school, going into high school I changed everything; it was my chance to start over, and I did. I started wearing more masculine clothes, and finally came out to everyone as lesbian. The first people I told were my best friends, they were super supportive and accepting of me. I started coming out to people at school, and most people were okay with it, but of course there were a few people who started treating me differently because of who I am. I knew people would hide from me in the locker room, I knew people would look at me differently when I was with another girl, I knew that there would be rumors, what I didn’t know is how badly that would all hurt. I felt betrayed, girls just assumed that I had a crush on them and when the people in my PE class found out I was gay, they all started changing in bathroom stalls and made a point to stay far away from me. I was finally starting to get used to all of this a couple months into my freshman year, everything was okay until my mom took my phone to read through my text messages. I had met a girl who I really liked, I texted her everyday and we talked about everything. After my mom took my phone I went and sat in my room alone crying, I felt like my whole world was collapsing and the weight of every secret I was keeping was on my chest pressing the air out of my lungs, the life out of my body. I wasn’t ready to tell my mom yet, and I certainly didn’t want her to find out like this and there was nothing I could do about it, I felt so helpless.
I sat in there for what felt like years waiting for her to come back there and say something. She finally came into my room, she set my phone on my desk and looked at me with tears in her eyes “Mom,” I said, but she turned away and left my room without a word. The sobs just started coming and wouldn’t stop, they shook my whole body for a solid half hour. I finally came out of my bedroom, I still couldn’t face anyone though. My eyes burned every time I blinked from all the crying, my face was pale and splotchy and I just felt so helpless, there was nothing I could do to stop my life from spiraling out of control. I spent the whole evening alone in my bedroom trying to figure out how I was going to face her the next morning. I lied there staring at my ceiling for hours waiting for sleep to come, but it wouldn’t; finally around 1:30 I dozed off despite the persistent feeling of guilt in my chest and the thought that my family didn’t love me anymore which just wouldn’t leave my head.
When I woke up the next morning I forgot about the whole thing for about five minutes, I felt like everything was fine, like the walls of my world were still standing just as they had always been. When I remembered everything that had happened last night everything came crumbling down all over again only this time it was worse because I knew I would have to face my family this morning. I got in the shower and stood there letting the water wash over my body, I felt numb to everything though, it was like nothing mattered anymore; like I had nothing left to care about. I stayed in the bathroom for as long as I could, I didn’t want to have to see my mom before it was absolutely necessary but after about 20 minutes in there I had to go out of the bathroom. I went back to my room, got dressed and grabbed my backpack and headed out to the living room. Usually when I go to the kitchen in the morning my mom is still in bed, but today when I opened the door she was sitting on the couch waiting for me. My heart dropped when I saw her but I knew there was nothing to say that could make this conversation go any better, if it was even going to be a conversation at all. I stood in the doorway for a second waiting for her to say something, finally she said “Why Eva? Why do you feel this way?”
“I don’t know Mom, its just the way I’ve always felt. I’ve always liked girls the way I’m supposed to like boys, I sometimes wish I didn’t, but its just a part of who I am, who I always will be. I’m sorry Mom,” I said as the tears started to fall
“You’re sorry?” she said “you don’t have to apologize for who you are, I am just going to have to get used to it like everyone else is.” I didn’t know what to say, and I couldn’t stop crying so I just stood there with tears rushing down my face. She opened up her arms and patted the seat on the couch next to her; I walked over to her and just collapsed into her arms. The tears had turned into whole-body sobs again, they shook me hard but my mom held me tight and we both sat there crying for a long time. When I finally sat up, she looked at me and said “If this is who you are, even if I don’t approve, I am going to love you no matter what, and I will always be here for you. It is just going to take me some time.” I was still hurting that she found out the way she did, and I know she was too but that short conversation was the first step in going back to how we were.
After that, everything started slowly going back to a state of semi-normality, of course she still wouldn’t let me have girls sleepover without interrogating me before and after, and she still avoided talking about my love life with anyone because she was ashamed, but things were getting better. Through all of this adversity I have come to the conclusion that closets are for clothes, not people. They are dark and lonely places with shelves upon shelves of lies and secrets being kept from the people you love. I am a junior now and I am with the most amazing girl, being with her makes me feel so loved and accepted; she loves me for who I am, not who I pretend to be to impress her. Every time I rest my head on her shoulder or hold her hand I know what everyone is talking about when they talk about love; when I kiss her its like fireworks every time. The walls of my life are back up, and stronger than ever. I am the person I was always meant to be, not in a dark secretive closet, not hiding from who I am anymore. I know I have a long road ahead of me with plenty of new obstacles, but I’m finally ready to face those obstacles knowing I’m not hiding anymore, or pretending to be someone else. I’m finally me and everything just feels so right for once, my life is under control and I’m with the girl of my dreams, my family is finally coming to terms with my being gay; I couldn’t be happier.