“Navigating the treacherous waters of adolescence is no treat on its own, but it is even rougher when you are trying to hide or suppress something that’s a huge part of who you are. I think I always knew. I just never wanted to admit it to my friends and family, and, most of all, myself.
“Throughout my teenage years I would develop relationships, often longing for more than just friendship from my male friends. Not really understanding why I felt the way I did, but always wishing that it would pass. ‘It’s just one of those phases.’ ‘It means nothing.’ I would often tell myself these things in my struggle to figure out what it all meant.
“After all the time of carrying this weight around with me, I remember when I finally confided and came out to one of my best friends. She just responded with, ‘Of course you are. I’m glad you can finally admit it to yourself.’ How could she be so sure, when I wasn’t sure at all?
“It was something I struggled with for years. Years of putting up an exterior that didn’t fit with who I was. In fact, I was more comfortable with the façade of who I was than with my true self. I would often compromise my thoughts and beliefs to make sure I fit this mold, this concept of who I was supposed to be, who I was expected to be.
“‘Of course you are…’ The moment I heard those words, I knew I was done being someone, something other than who I truly was. That’s when I knew I could start living my life fully and without reservations. I could finally be me.”