Let’s start off by talking about sex… okay, now that I have everyone’s attention, let me begin lol…
This is a subject I never in a million years thought I would write about. In fact, I always have been quite private and even on the shy side growing up. When the mention of sex came up in a room, I felt so uncomfortable and uneasy. I remember my friends talking in high school about it and my face would turn bright red. Some friends used to tease me jokingly that I would get so flustered about the subject.
Even in college, I remember groups of (girl) friends would jokingly put a porno on, and I just felt completely uncomfortable to the point that I would make any excuse to not watch or get away. I couldn’t fathom watching a porno in front of other people especially just friends, but it seemed so normal to them.
I was always very curious growing up, and I’m definitely not the shy type (ask my wife lol). So I wasn’t completely inexperienced by any means, but I didn’t have sex until I was in my early 20’s. I never really had any serious relationships. I had a lot of crushes but never acted on anything. I was comfortable with myself but was scared to be vulnerable with anyone else. I remember feeling misunderstood and afraid to even open up to friends about how I really felt about a lot of things. I kept way too much in out of fear. I didn’t see it then, but I know it now. What it all came down to was the fear of my sexuality.
Growing up I personally struggled with my own sexuality issues against what was the “norm.” I lived in a bigger city, right outside of Pittsburgh, PA, until I was 14-years-old. Right before my freshman year of high school, I moved to a smaller town – Weirton, WV. Weirton is not a little “hick town” by any means. In fact, it’s only about 30 minutes away from where I lived prior, but the mentality was a lot different than Pittsburgh. I thought people were actually more friendly, but I think open-minded was something that was lacking at that time. And well not just there but a lot of America in 1997.
Moving to a new town, I wanted to fit in. In fact, my mom signed me up for soccer in the summer, which I absolutely hated at the time, in hope that I would find some friends at my new school before it started. Everyone was nice, but I didn’t quite fit in with that crowd. And when I found a group of kids I did fit in with, the last thing I wanted to be was different. I finally found FRIENDS, which is life and death when you’re 14 lol (I say this jokingly but it was completely how I felt at the time). So I covered up my own identity and anything I thought or felt differently, I tucked away. This was my chance to survive high school in a new school.
I didn’t dare talk about sexuality, because I knew I felt different than my friends did. They all were boy-crazy. So I became boy-crazy. Unfortunately, that wasn’t who I really was but I acted the part well. It became second-nature. But deep down I knew I felt different about girls than boys, and although I don’t consider myself completely 100% lesbian, I definitely am more attracted to women than men by far. Any time I experienced anything with another woman I truly liked, it just confirmed the fact.
Let me set something straight (no pun intended) as well – I was not raised in a religious home. Neither of my parents go to church regularly. I did go to church with one family member quite frequently when I was young and even by myself when I was a young adult. But my parents didn’t go much at all. And my mom is one of the most open non-judgemental people I know on this planet. I was harder on myself than my parents or family ever were on me.
I remember going to church and hearing about homosexuality being a sin over and over again. It stood out to me so much because I knew how I felt. I used to repent for this over and over again, but struggled so hard with this because deep down in my core I knew it wasn’t wrong. I did no harm to anyone by how I felt. It was who I truly was and how I truly felt.
But when it came down to it, for years I never could accept how I felt.
I never dealt with it.
I ignored it and beat myself up over it internally, thinking it was bad or wrong.
I met my best (and straight) friend, Sheena, at a powerlifting meet and became close with her through social media. Eventually we starting hanging out. I needed that friendship more than anything at that time in my life. I was going through issues with my husband (at the time), and Sheena always was there to listen and not judge my decisions or views. In fact, she was probably one of the most open, real people I had ever met up to that point in my life. She helped mentally (without even knowing it) change my perspective and accept myself more. Being around her reminded me of the people I grew up with back in Pittsburgh, and I felt like I was starting to remember who I really was once again. That open-minded, loving, outgoing person that I buried away. I was so lost at that time of my life, and she really accepted me. Being around some of her “out” friends, and seeing how normal, not afraid and accepted everyone was, really shocked me. I didn’t imagine it could ever be that easy.
I remember a moment when I broke down crying, driving home from visiting her, because I finally was able to admit it to MYSELF how I felt.
Accepting my own self changed everything for me.
It was like I was a new person… a much happier person.
It was like a GIANT weight was lifted off my chest. Eventually, I started telling certain people that were close to me my “secret.” I had never been so scared in my life. My heart raced so hard telling Sheena. I was so scared how she would react. And she just accepted and loved me the same. Nothing changed. In fact, I was lucky enough that EVERY person I truly cared about including my family accepted and loved me the same. The way it should be. And it truly meant the world to me. It still chokes me up talking about it now.
I’m thankful to have so many people in my life truly love me for me. And it makes me happy how accepting the world is becoming. It gives me hope. My hope is that as the world changes and grows that less people have to struggle with “coming out.” That they won’t have this fear, and that people can just be accepted for who they really are.
This is (part of) my story. I guess ultimately some people can accept themselves without any doubts or fears at a young age… my wife being one of those people. She’s fearless and I love her for that. Others struggle more… like myself. I don’t think anything changes the fact that I “came out” and accepted myself when I was ready to.
My days of fear are long gone. I am happier than ever. I am proud of who I am. I’m proud of my wife and our life together. And it feels damn good to finally be free.