Ash

Arizona + USA

My Authentic Self

Female + Lesbian / 18-22 / Mixed / Agnostic

Ever since I’ve been alive, as far back as I can remember, I’ve known that something was different about me. I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly it was, but it was not something I was familiar with, or had much knowledge about. The only LGBT person I knew of within my family was my second cousin (a trans woman). Later, when I came out, it was a blessing to have someone who knew the struggles of coming out to family and friends. But she lived far away from me, so I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to her often when I was younger.

The first time I’d ever really fallen in love with a girl, was around second grade, on one of my best friends. Later in my schooling, I continued having numerous crushes on girls, while not really feeling attracted in the same way toward guys. The only guy I dated was a sweetheart and treated me well, but I didn’t feel the same tugging attraction towards him as I did toward girls. I loved him but not in a romantic sense. It was rather a friendship more than anything, so we cut it off.

In my Freshman year of high school, I began to truly discover that I was indeed a homosexual woman. I fell head over heels in love with a girl two and a half years older than me. She was an upperclassman, while I was a young (and stupid) freshman, but I was beaming when she told me she had loved me just as much as I loved her. We met in the hallway, and she then she proceeded to kiss me. It felt different than the way my ex boyfriend had kissed me, or in the way anyone had kissed me for that matter. It felt good, but deep down inside, I didn’t know how to come to terms with telling my mom about her or my sexuality.

When I came home that evening, my heart sunk in my chest. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my parents what had happened that day. It just seemed impossible to muster up the courage to do so. After that day, I let her go, the one person I loved more than anything in the world. The thing that fucks me up is the manner in which I did it, telling her I never wanted to have anything to do with her again. She was heartbroken, and heard she’d even attempted suicide. I still feel like shit to this day. She was one of the sweetest people I’d ever met, and it hurts to know I’ll never get her back. I could have lived a happy life with her, if only my parents hadn’t been so homophobic and I hadn’t been so foolish and insecure.

After a year of that incident eating me up inside, and getting approached by yet another girl, I was going to do what I had to do, without hiding a relationship and hurting another girlfriend. I decided to be open and honest about who I was as a person. I would come out to my mom and dad.

We were in the car, on our way to school. My mom drove me there, with my sister in the backseat. It would be better this way because if she was mad, I would be able to go to my counselor and tell her about it. The whole drive there, we were having fun, talking about whatever we pleased, when I stared at my mom with a blank facial expression. I looked her straight in the eyes, not even flinching and said, “I have to be honest with you about something. You have to know what’s really going on.” I said. She stared hard at me, a whole plethora of different emotions enveloping her face, “I’m gay.” The words slowly dripped off of my tongue. My mom scoured at me, speechless, while my sister started crying in the back. My mom began yelling at me, saying that she didn’t need this right now because my aunt was in the hospital. She then began interrogating me, saying that I probably had a girlfriend who was “making me gay”, and that it was probably just a phase. I starts crying uncontrollably. Her words stung, and her bitter attitude towards who I loved shattered the hopes of being with my girl. I flung open the door and walked to school the rest of the way.

That afternoon, after returning my school, my mom told me she had signed me up for therapy to deal with my sexuality. She continued to tell me that lesbians were disgusting and that I could change if I wanted to. I also learned that she had pretty much told everyone she knew about it without my consent, of course.

My dad was also there at the therapist, but to my surprise, he took my coming out very well, much better than my mom. He told me he still loved me no matter what, no matter who I had loved. That meant more to me than anything, to have someone support me in that way, and it awoke a new sense of confidence and hope within me.

In addition, the therapist surprised me just the same. She told me that my sexuality was a part of me that I could not change, and to love myself just the way I am. Therapy soon became my new favorite place, where I was able to tell her and gain insight about my struggles, while also patching things up with my mom.

At 15 years old, I had come out to my family, and I don’t regret anything about doing so. It was a difficult process, especially with my mom, but I’ve learned more about who I was as a person. 2 years and another girlfriend later, I am proud to be a Lesbian woman. I’m PROUD to have the courage to be my authentic self, and being able to embrace it within such a loving LGBT community.