Yes, it's past the deadline, and has been sent in, but I'd love some feedback anyway.
Real name: Charlotte
State: Ontario, Canada
Bio: I am Charlotte. I am a lesbian. I am genderqueer. I am told I am funny, which I like to believe is true. I like to believe I am a good friend, or that I try my best to be a good friend. I want to live my life helping others as best I can.
It’s hard to think back to the time when I was first figuring myself out. I had never really even thought that “it” could happen to me. It wasn’t something I thought about, yet.
When I first thought that I might be gay, it was very relieving. I had been having these feelings about women that kind of freaked me out and made me wonder why I was having them. It’s weird, but the thought that they were lesbian thoughts never occurred to me. It wasn’t until I had watched a gay movie (one of my favourites, Mambo Italiano) that I began to wonder if I could be gay. It would explain a lot. I began to explore the idea in my head. It let me explore my new feelings freely, without judgement of myself, which gave me that feeling of relief. I began to check out girls on the street, often turning my head to get an ‘extra-good’ look. Essentially, I owe myself to that movie. It was the catalyst to everything that has happened in my ‘gay life’.
I’ve gone through a lot of stages. Relief, regret, confusion, frustration, depression, desperation, anger, pride, more than I can remember. I still have some to go through. I’m always learning. I hope to be always learning and growing.
After relief, I experienced regret. Not regret about being gay, regret about telling my mom. Now, before you think, “Oh no, she got kicked out,” I have to tell you my mom was incredibly supportive. I regretted it because I wasn’t ready. I was just coming to terms with my sexuality. I wouldn’t change any of it. Later on, I told her a quote I had heard someone say. A father asked his daughter who had recently come out to him, “How did you know?” She simply responded, “How did you know you were straight?” I hope that helped her understand how I felt, because it perfectly sums it up for me.
The confusion. I would say most LGBT people go through this at one time or another, and I was no exception. While I was certain I liked girls, I sometimes felt attraction for men. The same thoughts I had had when I first starting ‘appreciating’ women came into my head. “He’s hot,” would pop into my head, followed by “Eww, gross. He’s a guy.” It’s really a harsh push back when you begin to question your sexuality once you’ve already come to terms with it. This is really where Oasis came in and helped me. I began to read about other girls who were having the same feelings. I had to look deeper into my attraction to men and pinpoint what I was attracted to. It didn’t come to me immediately, as with everything, but it really helped me sort out my feelings. I came to the realization that my attraction to men was purely emotional. I can still point out a hot guy when I see one, I just don’t want to be with him.
The frustration I experienced had nothing and everything to do with my sexuality. Before I explain that, you should know I live in a small town; one of those small towns that gives a bad name to small towns. There was no particular incident that led to my frustration. All the little things seemed to add up until it was overwhelming. I began to despise school, feeling physically sick at the idea of going. I would watch, when I was at school, the people around me, living their lives without a thought as to how their actions were affecting mine. The frustration led to depression, and the more frustrated I became, the more depressed I became. It was a vicious cycle that led to a breakdown. My breakdown was jarring, but allowed me to really put things into focus, instead of letting them pile up on me until I drowned in them. I finally realized that the stupidity of others shouldn’t affect how I live my life. And I’m glad I reached that decision. I still get harassed, and I still get frustrated, but I don’t let it control my life.
Desperation is almost as bad as confusion. Once you get past that confusion, you feel restless. Almost like, ‘I went through all that so I could sit at home ALONE?’ It was about this time in my life, when I was most vulnerable to fall in love, that I did fall in love. Hard. I fell in love with my then best friend. Who knows why so many people fall for their friends? Is it because they’re safe? Because we know the relationship has worked thus far? Or is it because they know so much about us and we know so much about them that we delude ourselves into thinking that it will work? Maybe a little or none of the above? I’m not even sure why it happened to me, but it did. I can’t change it now, even though I don’t feel the same way. My feelings for her started small, but grew and grew until I was Head Over Heels. Eventually I was so desperate, I let her screw around with my head because I was blind to her manipulation. I haven’t spoken to her in about 6 months, and I’m glad. I was angry with her. I was so angry it was depressing. I was angry and yet still desperate. Our friendship didn’t end because I fell for her; it ended for reasons I should have clued into long before. My desperation and the events it led to, unfortunately, were a big part of my life. It included my first kiss, my first love, my first heartbreak. And I know I’ll probably face many more. There are things I regret and things I don’t regret about those months, but I’d never take any of it back.
I like where I am today. I am proud. That is so good to say after everything I’ve experienced. It’s something I’d like to say to strangers on the street and people I’ve known all my life. I am proud. It’s taken me forever to get here and yet it feels like it’s all happened so fast. Being gay is really one of the best things that has happened to me. It’s helped me grow as a person and realize whom I value as a friend. I know I deserve to be treated well and equal. I know I am no different from a straight person and yet so different at the same time. When people talk about gay pride, I wonder who in their right mind wouldn’t want to express their pride. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Being gay is not a big part of me, and I hope people can see past it.” While I certainly hope people can see past my sexuality, it is a big part of my life. I’m not a girl who just “happens to be gay”, because I would be a completely different person if I wasn’t gay.
Looking back on all the things I’ve been through, I realize my sexuality is a blessing. For me. I really treasure being able to be comfortable with who I am. And it’s taken me forever to be able to say that. Even though they hurt, these past four years of confusion, and desperation, and frustration, etc. have been the most productive years of my life, and I treasure them.
What I’ve learned from my ‘gay life’? Being gay is not a phase, but there are phases to being gay.