My story? I’m happy to say that my story is still being written, but here is the preface.
As a kid, I loved the world. I loved life’s mysteries, and I thought that I could do anything in the world. My parents and I began to attend church, and the congregation warmly accepted me. It was such a nice place. I was loved and learned about God’s plan for my life. Shortly after we started going to church, I had my first day of kindergarten at a private school. My excitement for this new adventure of school was quickly silenced by the other students. The bullying began on my first day. I was teased and pushed down for playing with the girls at recess. I was so confused as to why these kids were not nice like my church friends were. The teasing continued mildly until the fourth grade. Instead of stopping, it got worse. I had a dictionary thrown at me. I was told that if looked up the word “gay” there would be a picture of me. At the time I had no idea what ‘gay’ even meant. I figured if they were teasing me about it, it was a bad thing. A shameful curiosity lead me to actually looking up the definition. I couldn’t decide if I was more ashamed for letting their taunts affect me or that I thought that I might actually be gay.
(Don’t you hate it when books or movies say “Time Passed” and all you want to know are the details of every day and every second? Me too.)
So… Some time passed. The bullying became too much and my parents started to notice me crying every night. They switched me to a different private school where the bullying was minimized to playful banter. But this did not stop my growing internal struggle. The more research I did about being gay, the more my heart grew fearful. According to the teachings of my church, being gay was wrong. And the Bible even said that those practicing homosexuality would be put to death. The fear turned to sadness, and left me empty inside. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I came out to my mother. After weeks of debate, she told my father. Many family discussions, arguments, and disagreements followed. My parents had never gone through something like this. We all had no idea about what to do. I started weekly meetings with our pastor in which we talked about the sin of homosexuality. I also attended a reparative therapist once a week. Reparative therapy is a conversion therapy with the goal to change someone’s sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. The pressure that I put on myself to change was unbearable at times. I did what I thought I should to be right with my parents and God.
I don’t want this post to be about Christianity “versus” homosexuality. This is part of my personal story and I am sharing it so that you know why I am passionate about You Matter.
My pressures and fears turned to emptiness. I lost sight of myself. I felt worthless. If my homosexuality was going to send me to hell, what purpose did I have in life? Years of bullying had left me filled with self-doubt. My depression comes in waves. Some days it’s manageable, other days, it’s rough. I struggle with anxiety almost everyday. I constantly worry about what people think of me. I obsess over first impressions because I’m worried that people won’t like me. I strive to look perfect on the outside so that no one can find a reason to tease me.
I am in such a great place now. I have learned to accept myself, and I am proud of who I am. My parents and I are doing very well, and we talk almost every day. My boyfriend even comes over for dinner! I’m slowly learning that I am beautiful, and that the most important opinion about me is the one I have about myself. I am still writing my story and I know I matter.