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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Oswego chapter.

The link to Part 1 can be found here.

Acceptance of self can only go so far when the people you grew up with don’t truly embrace who you are. Self-acceptance is something I think everyone is striving for. We want to be happy, to know who we are, to know that at the end of the day being yourself is more than enough. To feel safe in who you are is a concept many are afraid of. A feared concept that makes people turn on the people they love, intentionally or not; the more self-assured you are, the more powerful you are. The less willing you are to let others step over you and treat you like nothing. 

The thing with self-acceptance is that once you begin to experience it, it’s easier to continue. To grow with acceptance and love is to welcome your own thoughts and perceptions while shutting the negative ones out.

I say all this because I have learned to accept my very queer self without receiving the same approval from my family. Coming out isn’t just to family, it’s to friends and colleagues as well. Whenever I have come out to my friends, it has been a hesitant endeavor. I would always test the waters, and make sure they were at the very least accepting of the queer community. Coming out as nonbinary always came later, but never once have I been met with ridicule or shame. 

I’ve had friends come to me and say I was the reason they figured out they were nonbinary. Being as open as I am about my identity has made other people more comfortable in their skin, and that’s worth so much more than whatever the people who don’t accept me think of my identity. 

Coming out is incredibly difficult. It’s not something I enjoy having to do, but finding the community I have has made it all worth it. Being queer and nonbinary is something I love about myself, regardless of how others may treat me because of it. At the end of the day, my happiness is what matters. I will take baby steps on loving myself for every flawed part of me. For now, I’m okay with where I’m at.

Tess (they / them) is a senior theater and creative writing double major at SUNY Oswego. They love reading, hanging out with friends, and writing in their free time.