Love wasn’t something I had for myself growing up. I had resentment. I don’t like writing that but it’s what I felt growing up in a world that told me I didn’t belong. The first time I heard gays go to hell was in 1st grade. I believed it. From then on I lived with a mortifying question, “Am I gay?” Being gay was the last thing a girl like me wanted to be and hell wasn’t exactly on my childhood agenda but it already felt like I was in it, I had asthma, eczema, and two front teeth going two different directions in the front of my mouth, noticeable traits for kids to point out and they did.
I got braces in 1st grade and they continued on me till I was in 10th grade of High School. I transferred to 3 different high schools from 9th-11th grade. My 9th-grade year was spent at St.Lucys, an all-girl Catholic school. You would think the in the closet gay girl would be excited about this but if anything it gave me even more anxiety. It was in 10th grade two months into St.Lucy’s, I had an epiphany, I couldn’t do it anymore. I quickly transferred to Diamond Bar High School where my anxiety continued and this was the year that I discovered I was more self-conscious than I was alive.
I felt like “self-conscious” was taking on a whole new meaning in my life. Some days I would have so much anxiety about going to a class, that I would go to the nurse’s office just to fake a sickness and get out of school. I finished my year at Diamond Bar High School but that summer I made yet another decision that I couldn’t go there anymore. Being the true Libra I am, (I cannot make a decision until I try every option) I transferred to a Co-ed Catholic School, Bishop Amat High School. Here I felt the most balanced. I made friends who were more aware of their sexuality than I was and that made me feel sane but not safe enough to come out.
It was 2012, the year I graduated from FIDM, I had another epiphany (I’m starting to feel like That’s So Raven as I write this), I had to say my truth. I had to speak the words that bring fear to my existence because the fear isn’t real. I had to say those words to my parents, my family & my friends that, ‘I am gay, I am a lesbian, I like girls.”
It wasn’t till after college I could say I discovered Self-Love. Back then I couldn’t put it into a phrase at the time except “coming out” but now I know what it was. Self-love is a transition like a butterfly from its cocoon, its necessary for its next stage. After all the years of self-doubt, self-hate & self-denial, I finally accepted that no one could tell me who I could be, what I could do, or how I should feel accept me. I was the denier, I was denying myself the opportunity to break my cocoon open and truly be who I was meant to be.
To me, Self-Love is the definition of understanding yourself enough to speak what you actually are into existence. To the world I wasn’t a “gay girl” I was a pretty straight one. I played a role that I let the world bestow on me even though it wasn’t me. I lived in false fear, that the way that others judge how I love could send me anywhere but up. It wasn’t easy, I trembled and stumbled on my words many times but to be able to spit out those words that you demonized is empowering. I love to say I am gay, I am a lesbian, I like girls! We all reach a point where those outside opinions no longer can be heard because the way we speak and feel about ourselves is so much more important.