It has been confusing having one of the best things to happen in my life coincide with one of the worst, especially when the two are so intricately linked. The best thing, of course, has been embracing my homosexuality, and the worst is having it happen while the first girl I’ve let myself love casually casts me aside.
I don’t think what happened to me is all that unique, though. Coming out, I have learned, is rarely the product of simply knowing who you are and declaring it to the world. It spawns from the difficult, uncontrollable feelings, from that moment you realize why you hate everything about your best friend’s boyfriend.
It is these kinds of feelings that often lead to the breakdowns, tears, and fights that we closeted folk cannot seem to rationalize. I have read, though, that kids are beginning to come out earlier. The average coming out age is around 16 now. It used to be mid-twenties. So hopefully, as we all become more comfortable recognizing who we are right away, we can begin earlier to identify why we feel certain things and direct our efforts to those who will love us back. Coming out should be about taking pride in your identity, not about struggling to hold in feelings.
I always say I didn’t come out of the closet, but rather I was thrown out by feelings so strong that I could no longer deny them—not that I ever should have. The problem is, when there is a person you love strongly enough to embrace something you’ve been repressing for 23 years, you are bound to get very hurt.
What I have learned through all this, however, is that it is possible to simultaneously experience the immense pain of a broken heart and the incredible excitement of a new life. It is my understanding that these two things go hand in hand for a lot of people, whether they are straight, gay, or anything else.
This year has been a crazy one for me to say the least. The highs of dating, exploring, and gaining confidence have been so wonderful, and the lows have been lower than I’ve ever been. But even when I am crying to a friend about something a girl has done to hurt me, I remind myself how great it is that I am openly and honestly feeling this pain, that I am finally letting other people in to help me through it. Trust me, it is far better than sitting in your room alone and trying to understand why your stomach ties in knots every time that one pretty friend of yours sends you a text.