Updated: Aug 4
I was originally born in Tennessee, but have moved around my entire life from the early age of 17 years old. In the deep south there is a lot of animosity towards the LGBT community still to this day. At an early age I was very much a tomboy with the way I dressed and acted. I would play all the rough contact sports, nerf guns, G.I. Joes, and video games. I was the furthest from girly and would even buy boys clothing. A few years later I decided to cut all of my long brown hair off and spiked it at the top. However, I didn't understand why people would make fun of me or even call me a boy. I didn’t want to be a boy. I just didn’t want to be super girly either. I have deep memories of reaaaaaalllllllyyy wanting to be good friends with certain girls at school though. When I look back on it now I think it was a crush but I didn't realize what crushing on someone meant back then. I went all throughout my years dating boys and wanting to be with boys, but even when I was it always just felt like a best buddy.
"I didn’t want to be a boy. I just didn’t want to be super girly either."
It didn't happen until my freshman year at college that I drunkenly hooked up with a college friend, and it changed my life forever. I remember crying in bed the next morning, not because I was embarrassed. It was because I was absolutely terrified that I actually loved being with a girl. My butterflies and emotions were way more exciting than I had ever experienced with a guy, and that was the scariest thought. I shook it off and convinced myself that it was just drunk silliness. After that year of school I decided to make my first major move to San Francisco to chase my art career at the Art University there. Did I subconsciously choose one of the most LGBT populated cities in the world? Who knows. Probably. I moved to San Francisco and after a week met a guy through a mutual friend. We were hanging out one day and he randomly said to me “you are gay you know that right?” I was in shock. No one has ever said that to me. It was that moment that was like being hit in the chin with realization. I am a lesbian.
“You are gay you know that right?” I was in shock. No one has ever said that to me."
It took me many months to work up the courage to tell my family, but my sister was the first one I told. She was extremely supportive and only showered me with love as I was bawling. I told my parents next and to my surprise they answered me with “yeah we know and it is okay!” It was the biggest relief in the world because no child should ever fear their parents disowning them for who they love and some do. I was one of the lucky ones. My friends were a totally different ball game though. I knew I didn't want to have to repeat myself over and over and have to continuously explain myself. So I just decided randomly one day to blast it on Facebook. “I have had a lot of realizations this year and one of them being I'm a lesbian. Boom. YOLO!” haha. To my surprise again I was showered with hundreds of positive responses and likes. It was such a huge relief that most of everyone in my life supported me.
"You should love yourself no matter who you are or who you love."
It wasn’t until I went back to Tennessee to visit family and friends for the first time since coming out. I was sitting at the bar with a group of 8 of my friends and was absolutely ridiculed. “Your sex doesn’t count.” “You don’t deserve the right to get married.” “You are going to hell.” These were only some of the horrible things my friends told me and it broke me down massively. I felt humiliated and horrible about myself. I went back to San Francisco and my friends there reminded me that I am perfect the way I am and to show people who have their doubts that they are actually the ones in the wrong. I have spent my adult life constantly giving myself positive affirmations and reminding myself that I AM smart, beautiful, capable, worth being loved, worth giving love, and more. I have now met the love of my life, Christine, and could not be happier. She is my travel partner, my best friend, and my cheerleader. Now those same people who made nasty comments all of those years ago have educated themselves and seen the love that I have to give. In a lot of ways I think that has changed many perspectives on the LGBT community. It just goes to show you should always love yourself no matter who you are and who you love. XOXO