My whole life there have been expectations about how to live the “right” way, even though the “right” way wasn’t my way. The “right” way is what everyone else pictures what your life should be like. A world where there are societal standards is a challenging place to live and actually be happy. Everyone has their own definition of the “right” way to live, but the journey of my life made me realize how to live my life my way.
In my household, we go to church on Sundays with my grandmother, and we pray before we eat and go to sleep. We are Christians, so I was taught romantic relationships should be between a man and a woman. Even though that’s what I was taught, that’s not what my heart felt was right. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was attracted to girls, but seventh grade was a game changer. I saw this beautiful mixed girl who went to my school, and who I had heart-eyes for. She was an upperclassman, short, with long hair and big lips—and she was feisty.
I saw her around because my friends were her friends. I just felt like she had to be mine, but at the same time, I was nervous. One day, we all ended up going to an event after school in the library, and I saw her starting to approach me. My heart was pounding out of my chest, my hands were clammy, my eyebrows started to rise from excitement. As she came closer, my smile got bigger, and by the time she was right in front of me, I was grinning from ear to ear. That was our very first conversation. Since then, we began to talk every day, and talking led to dating.
The whole school knew that we dated, but outside of school, it was like I had a whole different life. I had to hide it from my family and everyone else because they were strong believers that only men and women should get married. I didn’t want anybody to judge me or treat me differently because of my sexual orientation.
People started to slowly catch on because of my choice of dress, my interests and my actions. I’ve always dressed like a boy; my mom couldn’t get me to wear a dress for anything in the world. I played basketball and football. I would always play with my boy cousins and we would climb trees and hop gates.
It wasn’t hard to catch on. Even though I did those things, when people asked if I liked girls, I would tell them, “no”—for the simple fact that I didn’t want anything to get back to my family.
One day, my girlfriend texted me and it popped up on the screen. My mom saw it and started to ask me questions about my sexuality. I told her what she wanted to hear instead of telling her the truth. I know how my family is about same-sex relationships and I wasn’t ready to tell her yet. The plan was to tell her after I graduated high school. Things didn’t go as planned, and after a few years, things were getting more and more obvious. I was put in a situation where I couldn’t lie anymore so I finally told my mom I like girls. She took it way better than I thought, but she didn’t accept it at first. It took her a long time to accept who I am, but now she loves me for the real me and not for who she wanted me to be.
After coming out to my mom, a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I do not have to live a double life anymore or worry about my mom finding out about my sexual orientation; I don’t care who knows because I’m finally able to be myself. As much as I wanted my mom to accept who I am right away, I had to understand not everybody is going to like the decisions I make, and I have to live for me. I have to do what makes me happy.
When I stopped caring about what other people think of me, I felt like I was actually free and able to express myself my way, not society’s way. As long as I’m doing what makes me happy, that’s all that matters.