Coming Out Late – There’s Always Time to Discover Your Sexuality

I came out “late,” and by late, I mean within the past year. This might not seem notable to others because of course there is always time to come out. It doesn’t have to be something you know about yourself immediately. Still, by being surrounded by people who seem to already know so much about themselves and their sexuality, I feel behind the curve.

For the longest time, there has been a corner of my psyche that I have been terrified of. If I went anywhere near it, I would shy away in fear of having to discover an aspect of myself that made me uncomfortable. Now that I have divulged what lives in that corner those uncertainties and fears have become incredibly present.

I have accepted myself on the surface. I’m incredibly comfortable sharing and talking about my sexuality. But, as soon as I dive deeper and think about what this might mean for me, an almost overwhelming uneasiness takes over. All of these feelings can definitely fall under the blanket of internalized homophobia, which almost everyone has to overcome at some point, but I never thought it would weigh on me so deeply, especially with all of the love and support I’ve received.

Credit: Isabel Castillo Guijarro

It’s definitely part of the coming out process, but I’ve been second guessing myself so much since decidedly stating that I’m not straight. Honestly, I’m still terrified of that part of myself, especially because I know that my sexuality will certainly change and grow over my lifetime. But still, the fear exists and is deeply rooted in a distinct vein of self-doubt that I’ve never really experienced before.

This is an aspect of myself that only I can decipher, only I can know my sexuality for sure and if I’m not sure then am I even able or allowed to come out? I’m terrified of fulfilling the trope of the “bi phase” that apparently everyone goes through in college. And in all honesty, what if it is a phase?

There are so many questions that I’ve been grappling with, and even as I’ve come out to close friends and some family, with overwhelming support I must add, I still am managing to maintain uncertainty in myself. In fact, writing this article now is producing even more self-doubt than I expected. Even still, coming out “late” has brought me into an incredibly retrospective state of mind. I’m going through every crush I’ve had that I have buried deep down inside, and I wonder if they were even real crushes. It makes me doubt the legitimacy of statements about my sexuality, and because of my deep-rooted internalized homophobia, it makes me feel the need to know for sure before sharing with any more loved ones.

Credit: Isabel Castillo Guijarro

The whole premise of coming out is a very heteronormative mindset of sexuality, in which I should “know” or have at least “experimented” to be fully secure in my sexuality. Heterosexual people have no need to experiment before fully realizing their sexuality, so why should I?

These ideas and questions are definitely being discussed on larger platforms and I know that they are valid, yet I still feel the need to have myself figured out as soon as possible. For some reason, I have this idea that as soon as I experiment further, I’ll know for sure, and that sureness is something that I feel the need to secure. I feel so unbalanced without complete knowledge of myself at this time.  

In recent years I have become incredibly comfortable in myself, and as all of that is uprooted, I sometimes regret my decision to realize this aspect of myself. Even still, I know that sexuality is indeed a spectrum and is dynamic, and that is what gives me peace. When these thoughts rattle around for too long, I remember that there is no need to figure it out right this second – or ever for that matter. I can let my sexuality be mine and because of that, the only person that it really matters to is myself. This mindset allows my sexuality to be fluid and dynamic while also something that I can engage with without fear.

 

Especially with the love and support from those around me, I know that no matter who I decide to love, I will always be uniquely and unapologetically me. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I know that I love myself first and that is what I’m defined by, not by when or how I came out.

 

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