For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a tomboy. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I proudly (and naively) said I wanted to be a boy! My mother always dismissed it as a phase. I remember always picking out the cute girls wherever I went, but I didn’t think twice about it. Even when I fell in love for the first time, I didn’t stop to think that this didn’t go along with all the heterosexuality around me, but I was eager to tell my mother about the exciting discovery of my first major crush. I was only 8 years old, the concept of homosexuality was beyond me, and I pretty much unknowingly came out. Her calm, but very firm response:
“Girls don’t fall in love with other girls. It’s not normal.”
My attraction to girls became my cross to bear. Clearly it was frowned upon, and clearly there was nobody else like me because girls didn’t fall in love with other girls, according to mommie dearest. I thought I’d try sharing my secret with someone else anyway, but that person ended up telling everyone that I liked girls. It didn’t help the bullying I was already experiencing in school. I didn’t know what gay and lesbian meant until those labels were maliciously attached to me.
A few years later, I decided to try again with my best friend. He was always comfortable telling me things he wouldn’t tell anyone else, especially things that concerned his love interests, so I thought I’d give it a shot. He was a bit unsure how to react, but he didn’t see me any differently and he even posed as my boyfriend to quiet the gossip about me in school. He became my hero and I owe him for life.
Eventually I discovered I wasn’t the only one through the power of the internet, but it wasn’t until the end of my junior year in high school that I completely came out to my peers, having been inspired when one of my classmates came out and I saw how supportive everyone actually was, contrary to my belief.
Now the big question: was I ready to come out to my parents? The answer was NO. Not only were my parents very devout Christians, but my dad was a youth pastor. I had wished they died never knowing. Unfortunately, they found out through my carelessness. In my rush to get to band practice, I forgot to sign out of my blog. When I came back home, my parents were in the basement watching a movie. I went on the computer and saw to my horror that my blog was open. I signed out and hoped maybe my parents didn’t see it, but I had a very bad feeling as I could already feel the air thick with tension. I went down to the basement and peeked in, casually asking what movie they were watching. It was dark, but I could see the heartbroken look on my mom’s face. My dad only glanced at me and he answered in a very flat voice, “Unbreakable.” I went back to my room and I called a friend, telling her how I thought my worst fear had come true. Moments later, my mom knocked on my door. When I opened it, my mother was standing there barely able to hold back her tears. She was devastated. My father couldn’t even look at me. Needless to say, he refused to acknowledge my existence unless he absolutely had to in the following couple of weeks. Eventually the storm blew over and I was back in the closet, pretending to straighten out, which meant wearing girly clothes because my mom believed that if I looked feminine, I would act feminine and therefore become a straight girl. Fortunately, college was just around the corner, so I ditched the feminine act, saving it only for when I had to come home for breaks.
Flashing forward to the present, I still live at home with my parents, but I don’t bother with the feminine act anymore. Every now and then my mom gives me hell about my short hair and how I dress like a man, as if it’s the first time she’s seen me like this. With my dad, it’s don’t ask don’t tell, otherwise it’s as if nothing happened. One thing my dad did say to me was that he’s not convinced I’ve changed my lifestyle. I’ve decided that once I move out and I’m completely independent of my parents, I’d tell them once and for all, and if they still can’t accept it, then at least I don’t live under their roof anymore. My parents had intended to not tell anyone else in the family about me, but I came out to my brother and a few cousins and received nothing but love.