Before I share my story, I want to thank everyone at Creators Media for giving us an opportunity to write about influential life experiences. I came here to write about my passion for the comic book world. But now, I have a chance to dive deeper and look back at who I've become today. When I realized I was gay, my life did a complete 180. This is a journey of self-acceptance, discovery and an eventual path to a happy, positive life.
Who Was I?
From ages 12 to 18, nothing appeared to be going right in my life. I was bullied constantly until the end of my high school career. I didn't have any friends, and the ones I thought I had ultimately betrayed me. I was dismissed by my peers and felt completely invisible. My issues with abandonment and loneliness eventually led to depression, social anxiety and even suicidal thoughts. My personality became cold and aloof. My mind had turned to darkness, and I believed it was inescapable. I thought I was worthless and would never discover the true meaning of happiness. To put it lightly, I hated myself.
This negativity later made its way into my dating life when I began college. I relentlessly settled for less than what I deserved. I found myself involved with men who only used, mistreated and neglected me, but I didn't care. I was convinced I didn't deserve anything better.
But my low self-esteem wasn't the only component affecting my dating life. Deep down, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't connect with men at all. I refused to admit it due to my fear of being alone — but it was true.
My first year of university was approaching its end. I completely avoided dating, thus taking time to self-reflect and improve my well-being. Then, it happened: A discovery that I never thought would occur.
A Sudden Realization
I never imagined that I would be attracted to women. I'm not sure if there was even a cause — I just felt it. From their involuntary beauty to seeing them smile, girls never failed to give me butterflies. At first, I was extremely confused by my feelings, but I knew this wasn't a phase. It took me four months to finally accept myself and say to others, "I'm gay." The negative thoughts and choices from my past were obscuring the positive person that needed to come out (no pun intended).
Who Did I Become?
Now, at 19 years old, I am a completely different person. Each day I wake up feeling enthusiastic and bright. I have realized the importance of celebrating life and everything it has to offer. My second and current year of university had an incredible start. I feel motivated to interact with people, and rarely feel nervous. The few, awesome friends I have always keep me smiling. Each day is a passage towards healing.
My bleak and empty feelings had washed away. The negative thoughts that graced my mind have been replaced by positive affirmations and hope. I no longer feel as if I'll never be good enough. Now that I've accepted who I genuinely am, I can live my life freely, and finally be proud to be myself.
My experience has inspired me to help others in the LGBT community and become an activist. I would love to be there for someone who might be struggling, and assure them that they are never alone.
Never giving up and being yourself are essential facets of life. It is never too late to be, or discover who you are. It is possible for everyone to live a positive and fulfilling life, no matter what comes your way. There is light at the end of every tunnel. Everyone deserves to, and should, love who they are.