Hello! This obviously isn’t about sports but as it [was] National Coming Out Day, I wanted to write a little something about a very important day and my experience with the coming out process.
Well to start off, hey! I’m Abi and I am bisexual.
I remember, in the years before I told my friends and family when this day would come up on the calendar. I always had the thought of “I could just tell them and get this over with, no more hiding, and crying, and so god damn high anxiety that I’m ready to scream into the void for all eternity. I could stop sneaking around like this. Could stop lying and nodding along. I could put an end to this ongoing fear of what was going to happen next.”
Yet I kept my mouth shut, for 9 years.
I was just 9 years old when I figured it out. I didn’t say a thing to anyone. I knew how people threw around “gay”, “homo”, and “the F-word I’m refusing to say here” like it was a red burn on your soul. I internalized all of those words, and I never said anything. I snuck any amount of LGBT+ information I could via movies, books, TV shows, and Tumblr (thanks Tumblr). I built a world around me where I felt safe enough to tell a friend or two.
It wasn’t until 8th grade when someone caught onto my secret. Whoever is was decided to make my life living hell and tell the entire class. School was a living hell from that point on but I survived with a few good friends. (Wow that part sounded like a shitty fanfic lol).
The years ticked on; I made new friends, went to high school, endured some more bullshit, and for some reason took French. People remained the same, being general assholes and telling me I was going to Hell or telling others “you shouldn’t talk to her, she’s a homo”.
If you think the American Public School System did anything about it, you’re very wrong.
My brain had been collecting up those people’s words and created a small ball of anxiety in me. I took every homophobic comment to heart and placed the sound clip in a small box in my mind that slowly turned into two boxes, then a filing cabinet, and then 2 or 3. Those filing cabinets filled until soon there were enough to fit into a library. And some days I couldn’t get myself to leave that library. I racked my brain over and over again, replaying every single soundbite.
Every joke, every slur thrown my way, every time someone wrote “that F-word that’s not fuck” on my notebooks, papers, and books. Every shove into a locker and every lost friend. I let everything destroy me. I was in a spiraling wheel of just flat-out hating who I was and wishing I was born Normal and being moderately functional. I would spiral out of control and then sew myself back together for school the next day.
It was Bad (TM).
I did find solace in the mix of this angst. I have amazing friends that got me through this AND French class. I found the Gayish Podcast around my junior year and the hosts (Mike and Kyle) who I basically saw my gay dads through the rough times. I watched shows like Queer As Folk and DREAMED about the day where I could just be me with no fear. I do have my aunts, who I didn’t come out to until after high school but I always felt like were my grounding point, somewhere I can look to and see that shit really is going to be okay in the end.
Everything wasn’t always bad, I had the highs and lows. But in my senior year of high school, I hit a really low, low.
It was about March 2018, I was stressed as hell about what I was doing next, how much it all cost, how much I was floundering like a fish out of water. It all hit a point where I just broke down, skipped track practice, went home, and lost it.
When my mom came home and asked why I missed track practice, I finally admitted it. I spilled my guts and laid quite a bit of it all on the table. My mom was understanding and listened, offered to get me help. Before long, my immediate family knew and they were lovely. But that weight of the filing cabinets still drags me down.
When my first “out” June rolled around, my mom offered to take me to a local Pride event. It was a few towns over but it was a nice little fest they through to bring people together. The whole time we were there I felt so in my element. I was throwing out Pride history facts (something I joke I’m a specialist in) and just reveling in being around people like me. She told me that she hadn’t seen me smile that much in a long time and thats when everything about what I was dealing with hit me.
I had been keeping all of these feelings and random Harvey Milk facts in up to the point where it almost ruined me and I was tired of it.
Not long after that, I went to my first Pride parade, a little Hellish but still one of the best experiences I ever had.
Then, I came out to my aunts. They offered to take me out to dinner and we talked for hours. It was life-changing, knowing that both experienced some of the same things. Knowing I’m not alone.
Slowly, I began to empty the filing cabinets and shred off of the things inside them. I started to replace those filing cabinets with books about laughter and love. Hanging photos of friends and family on the walls. Filling the room with colour and opened the curtains to let in the light.
It’s taken time and there are still a few filing cabinets left but things are a lot better. Two-ish years later, I’m still working on things but it’s all gotten a hell of a lot better. I still have to come out every day, it’s a never-ending installment in my life and I’m fine with that. That library is becoming a safe place for me to escape to when things get too stressful.
I’m omitting some things here, some of it I’m keeping to myself or a close friend because everyone doesn’t need my full story. If you’re someone dealing with coming out, it does change your life for the better. You find the people you’re supposed to find and you lose people along the way but if they leave you for this, they aren’t worth it. And life gets 4 million times better after high school, I promise that.
And now it is after midnight so National Coming Out Day is over BUT the sentiments still remain. Life keeps going on and what people say doesn’t matter. Love yourself first and become who YOU want to be because life is so so so short.
That’s all the wisdom I have for now. Be nice to others.