I have always known from a very young age that somehow I was different to a lot of my friends at school. I remember the latter part of my Primary School days very clearly and had always been aware of my complete ‘disinterest’ in boys at school, specifically through the period of time when all my girl friends started to really get interested in boys and dating. It never bothered me at first until my friends started noticing how I was not bothered following THEIR interests.
It was at Primary School when I first learnt about gay people and different sexual orientations. It never really occurred to me that maybe this was something I should really take notice about until a ‘friend’ of mine actually accused me of being gay and nicknamed me ‘Gayle!’ Oh how I look back and laugh at this now! As much as I denied it back then, she had probably sussed it out quicker than I had!
Naturally, as most gay or straight people do, my first ‘crush’ was on someone at school, and this happened to be a girl. It didn’t really take long for me to realise that there was a little more to this ‘crush’ than perhaps just admiration or ‘growing pains’ while I matured. My feelings and awareness of women instead of men, as I grew up, completely overshadowed any possible thought in my mind that I might be straight and ‘normal’. Pretty much from then on, the rest of my youth was spent decided; I was gay and that was cool by me.
Although quite a social butterfly while growing up, I remained petrified of telling anyone. No-one can ever teach you how to tell someone else this. No-one can do it for you. And really when you’re that young, no-one is there to help you. There was no internet or websites to look up advice. So I was just stumped with HOW DO I DO THIS?!!! At the age of about 12 I finally mustered up the courage to try and tell my best friend I was bisexual. I suppose most people try and persuade themselves that this might help ‘cushion the blow.’ Her response wasn’t of disgust but more of disbelief. ‘Well I just think you’re going through a phase,’ was her repeated response. She was so persuasive, that part of me actually believed her. This was my error, having listened to her.
I spent the next 8 years or so trying to disregard my real feelings and actually try and forge ‘relationships’ with men. I actually had a great time in spending my teenage years ‘experimenting’ but to me, it was all fake and just an act to try and persuade myself my ‘phase’ would come to an end. Even though deep down I knew I stood no chance in supressing the real me.
During sixth form, I confided in a close friend one afternoon that I was gay after having overheard a group of completely ‘stuck up’ girls talking about gay people in a really disrespectful manner. She was so excited and supportive, it gave me a real boost that ‘hey, actually this is ok!’ She said she had her suspicions and was really great at talking with me about how I felt about it all. Wow, a breakthrough!
Going to an all girls school secrets don’t stay safe for long and probably within about a week, rumour had spread like wildfire. My friend I had originally confided in would give me examples of some of the rumours she had heard which was always a good laugh to lighten the mood. Apparently at one stage, I had made a full announcement in the Common Rooms to everyone! It was that time when I really began to realise WHO my friends were.
This could not have been more true. Another ‘friend’ who I had considered to be very close to, suddenly started acting very strangely towards me. After a boozy night out one night, I received a very abusive and insulting phone call from her, which then again, forced me back into my shell. Once rumour spread around school of this abusive rant towards me, many others turned against her instead of me. Pupils and students who I didn’t even know very well myself turned against her and to cut an already long story short, she departed sixth form at the end of that year. That’s when I knew that society was quite accepting and supportive after all.
It was only when I started university that I really came out of my shell. I joined a Rugby Club and to this day it was the best decision I have ever made. I joined a group of girls, who were all a crazy mix of outrageous personalities, loved life, love fun and socialising. Most of all they were completely open, honest (probably a bit too open and honest at times!), accepting and supportive of each and every one of us. REAL friendships were made and I began to realise just how much I had missed out on being part of this community before. It was here I met my first girlfriend. Having not really experienced a relationship with a woman before, I didn’t really know what to expect.
As time passed, I knew I had to take the final step in telling my parents….. and every time I thought about it, my stomach just churned! When I look back at it now I realise that, as nervous as you may be in telling your friends, if they do not accept you for who you are, then they are not worth your time. Many have not been worth my time and I have built bigger and better friendships with others who don’t judge. Your parents however, you have not choice in deciding. It’s a big step and an important one to tell them. Although I waited until very late on, I still think I chose the right time. Having a girlfriend meant I had something to show for it, something to back me up and show them, ‘this is not a phase. This is not a joke. This is me and I’m happy.’ I still remember clearly remember my mothers response. ‘So its like that, is it?!’ With a grin of course…. Of course they knew all along (my sister tells me frequently!) so it has never been a big deal to them. They have always accepted my partner into their lives just as much as anyone else I would be in a relationship with.
I suppose the moral to my story is to choose your friends wisely and don’t be afraid to confide in those who have gained your trust and know you well enough. Chances are, they probably already know too! But friendships are really important to have in helping you. Don’t do it alone. You WILL need someone or something there, even if only just to be a presence of support. I never had websites or social media to guide me through. Speak to people who you KNOW won’t judge you.
I plodded along in that first relationship for 5 years thinking all was fine. I let my ‘friends’ try and persuade me it was something else. I let my own mind try to supress what was really underneath. Take some time to experiment and don’t settle until you are happy. I can honestly say that the relationship I have now makes me the happiest person I know! But it’s taken time and heartache to get here. But be patient, it doesn’t get perfect overnight.
It has taken me just over 2 decades to work it all out and there have been some great highs and some hideous lows in my own quest to be #HappyOut. When you get to finding that one person you know is the love of your life, I PROMISE YOU, it will all be worth it.
By Fridge Bitch #Happy Out –
Thank you & remember each person is different so you story will be a different one! The Outing xx
#ComingOut #Gayisokay #Lesbian #HappyOut #TheOutingProject #Gay #LGBT #Stonewall #Out #YoungPeopleOut #GayOut #ItGetsBetter #StrongerTogether