Somewhere Over the Rainbow This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 14, 2011
By , Manchester, CT
I always knew I was different. I felt out of place, like I didn’t really belong, didn’t really fit in, but I never could figure out what it was that made me different. I smiled whether I was happy or not, and I was a great actress, saying the right things on cue. I was the same way in the early relationships of my youth, and the many little boyfriends I had. Everything felt too rehearsed. Like I was reading a script, one that had been over read and was very overdone. Around my friends I was always the funny one. The tough one. The tomboy. Everyone expected me to be the solider. The elastic band. I was always expected to bounce back no matter what happened, I had to be strong for everyone else. Eventually, this began to wear down on me. On the outside I continued to be the funny, strong one. Inside, I was breaking. I lived in the image of what everyone expected me to be. I don’t know when or why life started to lose meaning for me but it did. I was empty, broken. I tried dating guy after guy to no avail. Nothing ever seemed to make me whole again. I felt as if I didn’t know who I was, as if something was missing in me. These feelings came after months of wondering why everyone else seemed to be running on one frequency in their minds, but my frequency seemed to be either above or below the rest of the world. Here’s how it started.

The first time I realized that I might be something other than the heterosexual picture perfect American dream was in fifth grade, when I acknowledged my first female crush. I was very young at the time, but this was the first time I ever thought I might be something other than straight. At first I denied, denied, denied. There was no way I could be bisexual or a lesbian, I told myself. Imagine trying to explain that to my friends and family, I thought. In fifth grade when words like gay and faggot are often synonymous to stupid and dumb, there was no way I wanted to face those realities. After months of deliberation and arguments in my mind, being lesbian or bisexual seemed to make sense; more sense than being straight. At least I would have a reason as to why I felt so different. It didn’t mean anyone had to know, or at least that’s what I told myself. I had no idea how self-destructive it was to keep that kind of secret. At around the beginning of sixth grade I settled on being bisexual. That way, no one would have to know. I could go on dating boys, and living the fairytale life I always dreamed of. I could have a wedding, and have kids. I’d live my happy ever after with a fairytale prince. Who would have thought that it wouldn’t be that easy?

The first time I came out to someone was in February of 2009. I remember at 2:00 in the morning, uttering the words to my overtired best friend after a conversation about bisexuality. “I think I’m bisexual,” I told her, hands shaking, glad she couldn’t see the terrified plea for acceptance etched across my face in the shadows of a dark winter’s night. She responded with a simple, “Cool,” which to this day still fills me with hope for humanity. I’m still inspired that a young girl, at only twelve years old, could tell another twelve year old girl that it’s cool to be bisexual. The fact that she so nonchalantly accepted me gave me reason to hope for the acceptance of others too. Eventually I told more people, in that following March, and in the past few years since I first came out of the closet. I no longer have to hide my feelings, or tuck them away from the rest of the world. I am no longer trapped in the confines of my own fear and confusion.

There was the challenge of overcoming adversity too. In sixth grade, when I first started coming out, not everyone accepted me with open arms. There was one boy, an intimidating, tall character who heard about my sexuality. “Bull dyke,” he sneered at me in the hallway. I had always put up a façade, had always pretended that words couldn’t get the best of me, but those words did get the best of me, in that situation. Those words hurt. More than sticks and stones. In fact they hurt so much, that I started cutting myself. I was dealing with accepting myself, and there he was around every hallway, giving me that sneer. It’s almost three years later, and those words still hurt. The worst wasn’t the words though. It was the laughter. The mocking laughter of bystanders. People who saw me getting hurt and did nothing to stop it. Eventually, the kid moved away. The other kids that did nothing to stop it forgot, or just no longer cared. I started seeing a therapist, and she helped me sort out my issues and develop new coping mechanisms. Life went on. It got better, it always gets better. Life isn’t always easy at times, even now. I don’t believe life is ever easy though, all you can do is stay strong, follow your heart, and push through, and you’ll never go wrong. I bet that sneering kid doesn’t even remember me anymore, but I remember him. And the scars on my wrists are proof.

The worst is when people dismiss it as a phase. Phases last a few months, maybe a year. Not almost three years. I don’t really know what I am right now, but I know I am somewhere under the lesbian, bisexual, non-heterosexual umbrella. And not knowing is okay with me right now. Eventually, I hope to be completely open about my sexuality, and I think that day will come soon enough . As for right now, I love my friends, I love my life, and I love myself. And that’s enough for me. It really does get better, for anyone going through the same thing as me. Just believe in yourself, because you are a special person. Everyone deserves to live without constant harassment for their sexual orientation. Although I am not out yet to everyone, and I am still scared, I pray everyday to God for the strength to get me through. Yes I still believe in God. Although many religions slander homosexuality, and all of its counterparts, saying it is sinful and against God’s will, I do not believe that I chose to be gay. Nor do I believe that God made mistakes in his creations. I do not believe it is a sin to be who I am. Lying is a sin too, so I can’t live under a contradicting law. As for me now, I still am that tomboy at heart, I still put up a strong façade, but no longer do I leave it up. I let my true self shine through: through my poetry and my writing. I am finally completely happy with myself for the first time in my life. Sure I do not have the courage to be completely open with everyone, i.e. most of my family, and my neighbors and family friends, but all my close friends know. They all love and accept me for everything I am. I don’t have to hide myself, and they’re completely okay with it. I was afraid to be open at first because I thought people would treat me like a different person, but they don’t. Anyone who really cares about me accepts me just the way I am. One thing I’ve learned is that there is no one you can be but yourself, and trying to be otherwise just sets you up for heartbreak. When you are yourself, and you believe in yourself, no matter what skin color, background, age, ethnicity, or of course, sexual orientation, you will have a bright future. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

mdholla said...
Jun. 5, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Hey there, little me! You are amazing and I hope you continue to share your story! You are an inspiration, even to me and all my friends I tell about you. Love you!


Ms. D

mpreveloutionary said...
May 29, 2011 at 11:14 am
wow this is so good. you are a brilliant writer, and have really touched me with this story. its the kind that could save someone's life. bravo
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