I grew up in a family where things were better left unsaid so as to not cause any problems. Growing up in a small town, in a small area in New Hampshire, everyone knew what the next person was doing so one wrong doing, or one little rumor, always got back to the family. Of course, this may have had something to do with my brother being a tattle tale; not because he was looking out for my best interests, but because he was looking to preserve his own image. Even in high school he instructed me (yes, instructed me) to stop being friendly with one particular person in my class because everyone was starting to ask him if I was gay. What was I supposed to do? I was a friendly person in high school. I talked with everyone, but I certainly didn’t want people to think I was gay. That wasn’t allowed then and there. As it turns out, she did end up stalking me for quite some time my senior year of high school, but that’s not the point. The point is, I was not supposed to be gay because that would be bad.
Well, you know what? I am gay! There, I said it. It has only taken 40 years for me to admit to it, but it’s better late than never. Because of the oppressive and sheltered environment in which I was raised, and because of the times that I grew up in, I was forced to live my life (until recently) as someone who just wasn’t me. Now, I am not about to go around and shout it from the top of my lungs that I am gay, but that’s simply because I feel I shouldn’t have to be associated with yet another label. Being gay has absolutely nothing to do with who I am as a person. It doesn’t define me. It doesn’t make up my personality. It’s just a preference. Am I going to hide from that anymore? No. I just don’t feel the need to go around announcing it to everyone. If you want to know then ask. I will certainly tell you. I am still me despite who I choose to have a relationship with.
Admitting that I am gay certainly had its struggles, especially since I was in a relationship with a man. I was forced to hurt someone so I could do what was best for me. Certainly it was a very selfish act, but it wasn’t fair to either one of us. I was miserable and depressed all the time and he deserved to find someone who was truly right for him. I certainly know now why all of my past relationships with men failed almost instantly. While my disgust most certainly had something to do with them as people, it wasn’t the only factor! If I only knew then what I know now. Everything happens for a reason, though.
I am finally liberated, though, because my best friend leaned over to me one night and said to me in the sincerest way, “You know you’re gay, right?” And while I can jokingly say, “Thanks, Jennifer, for turning my world upside down”, in reality, she turned it right side up. Living as someone you’re not certainly takes its toll on you. Depression and anxiety are not the best ways to live a happy and normal life. When you’re dealing with something that is frightening and life changing at the same time, it only exacerbates those symptoms. Today, while I don’t live free of depression or anxiety, I can honestly say that I do live a happier and normal life. Discovering a huge part of who I am has certainly lifted a huge weight from my shoulders, allowing me to be happier and more fulfilled. My focus can turn to working on other aspects of my life or just living in the moment if I choose to do so. I can just be me, only a little controversial now.