I Came Out in High School and I Don't Regret It

High school: It feels like a distant memory yet I only graduated a year (and some months) ago. High school was an extremely rocky road for me; I challenged myself in my classes and took on many responsibilities, like editor-in-chief of my school paper and president of my choir, lost my dad junior year, and suffered some major senioritis, but the one thing I did in high school that stands out most to me was coming out as gay to my family and friends, and I will never regret it.

Freshman year (2014) I decided I needed a fresh start, as we all do when we officially enter high school. About 3 weeks before school started, I chopped off all of my hair and made some pretty daring style choices (like tucking my yoga pants into my combat boots. Yuck, I know.) But 9th grade became a little hard for me when I started to realize I was a lot different from my peers, and not just because of my fashion choices. 

I fell in love with a girl, a friend of mine that I had known for years, but I didn't really recognize it until the end of that year. By then, it was summer and my opportunity came and went. I kept up my facade of being in love with a cute boy I had only seen in the hallway and knew nothing about only to hide the fact that I definitely wasn't straight.

So then I entered my sophomore year (2015) with another hairstyle and new-and-improved sense of fashion. Suddenly I was beginning to feel like myself and the way I wanted to identify. It wasn't until November that year I gave in to that little voice in the back of my head that said, "It's time," so I started dating that same girl from freshman year.

I came out as bisexual to my mom about a month and a half later, and it was surprisingly really hard for me to do, even though I knew she would love and support me no matter what. When she reminded me of this, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I called my girlfriend to tell her the good news and finally I felt like something was right and that I felt confident in my identity. 

But that's definitely not the end of my story.

For 2 whole years I believed that I was bi, and that's always how I had identified myself when talking to others. Coming out to my friends was really hard for me, especially telling my best friend, but our bond grew even stronger when I told her. (I can't believe I ever worried about that!)

It wasn't until my senior year (2017), 2 years into dating the same girl, that I finally came to terms with the fact that I was not bisexual, but am actually, 100% genuinely gay.

It was my mom who helped me realize it. She was always there to talk about the topic of the LGBT community and what certain identities meant and it felt so good to talk freely about these things with her. While we were having a discussion one day, she asked me why I still identified as bi, even though that wasn't who I really was, and it kind of caught me off guard. She had known all along.

It was a wake up call. Part of me still believed that if I identified as bisexual I would still somewhat fit in, but I realized that with my hair cut short and dyed and my still-bold but cool style there was no way I was going to fit in anyway. Finally I felt confident enough to say the words, "I'm gay," and let it just be another part of who I am. 

Yes, being out in high school is hard, especially when your local LGBT community is extremely limited, but if it weren't for my dire need to accept myself and be who I am I would still be lying to myself about my identity even into my first years in college. I have never been more proud of myself than I am today, but not as much as I will be tomorrow. It is truly a blessing that I get to be able to share my story and feel supported by so many people all of the time. My heart constantly overflows with gratitude for every single person that has positively impacted me in some way throughout my coming out process.

Coming Out Day is October 11 and I, among so many others, use that day to celebrate our journeys of acceptance and self love, and that is why I feel so comfortable telling my story. For those of you readers who are struggling with your identity or know people who are, the right time will come and the ability to say it out loud will hit you as suddenly as it hit me. It may not be today, tomorrow or even next week, but it will come when you least expect it and most likely change your life for the better.