A story by Aaron Stymiest about coming out as gay:
My coming out story begins in 2011, when I was in 7th grade. Being a middle schooler, who is going to turn 13, I was figuring out my feelings and who I was. I never had a thought about being gay. I always had crushes on girls, and never knew about what was to come. One day, when I was in language arts class, my teacher said we would be getting a new student. It was a boy. I was excited at the thought of making a new friend. About halfway through class, he walked into the room. I remember that the world slowed down when I saw him. Despite my seemingly straight self, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “wow…he’s cute.” At that moment, I caught myself thinking that, and was confused. Why did I think that? I shook it off. However, I couldn’t stop looking at him. He was adorable. I was in an awkward mindset for the rest of the day.
Later, when I got home from school, I was quiet, and was doing a lot of thinking. My mother asked if I was okay. I said that I was, and that I was simply tired. I think I had trouble sleeping that night. For the rest of that year, I became a shy, quiet kid who didn’t talk to anyone. I could not get that boy out of my mind. People wouldn’t talk to me, or sit with me at lunch, and I could see some people point at me and whisper. All I had was my best friend, and he would always ask me if I was okay. I said that I was, but I was still battling my inner self to figure out who I was. At that age, nobody in my school really touched on the subject of homosexuality. I live in an area that is rather conservative, and any sexuality besides heterosexuality is naturally looked down upon.
It was summer. 8th grade was going to start in a few months. I noticed that my interest for girls had waned, and a strange-to-me interest of and lust for boys became prominent. At first, I thought that maybe it was a stage, and that I was simply subconsciously looking at boys as role models, but then I thought that absurd, for many of the boys at my school were not exactly the kind that were nice, or light-hearted. Many of them were into drugs, and got bad grades, while not giving any care to things that don’t involve them. That summer of 2012, I figured it out: I had to be gay. There was no other explanation for my inner feelings and thoughts. At that realization, I became upset and cried sometimes, for my dream of growing up and having a wife and kids was gone. I got over my old crush that was a girl. As usual, I didn’t really talk to anyone. I had social anxiety, and still am quite introverted. I was scared of bullying, because the words “queer,” “faggot,” and “dyke” were commonly used as insults between the straight boys. Oddly, I was never bullied. But at the same time, I went into a bout of depression, because I didn’t think I could ever get anywhere being gay. There were times where I just cried, and a couple times where suicide had crossed my mind. I never self-harmed, but I felt like it. This stage soon went away and I did not have any more of these devastating thoughts.
8th grade had come, and I finally found a group of friends. 4 other girls, and my best friend. One of the girls was my biggest crush from 6th to 7th grade, and she had became very good friends with me. I tried talking to the boy that was new the year before, and gave me the strange feelings. I knew by then that I was in love. He was cute, bubbly, and had a lot of friends. But he didn’t talk to me. It would be a whole year and a half before he did. 8th grade went by, albeit slowly, because it was boring and I was hiding a very big secret from everybody I knew.
Then 9th grade came, and the anxiety of my freshman year of high school took over. I made it a goal that year to come out of the closet and let my true self out, and to get rid of that old, antisocial, quiet personality that was covering me up. It wasn’t until Valentine’s Day of 2014 that I actually came out. I was laying on my bed, after a long day of seeing couples walking around holding hands, giving each other flowers and chocolates, and hugging. I had to do all I could do to keep from breaking down. Holding my feelings in wasn’t going to work any more. I couldn’t live in seclusion and fake identity. I gave up trying to act straight. My best friend and I were texting each other, and the subject came up about how neither of us had someone to be with, or to date and have. After a short time, I just couldn’t take it. I was sad, and almost crying. He told me everything would be okay, and I told him that it wouldn’t be in today’s society. He immediately knew. He knew right then and there that I was gay. He was fine with it, and supported me. As it turned out, he was too. He told me that he had known that he was since 6th grade, and had a crush on me from 8th grade, and still continues now. We never really got together, but it was great that we knew we weren’t alone. We had each other, and could be strong together.
During February vacation, I was in an awkward state of mind, and had trouble coping with the fact that the secret was out and someone knew about my long-held secret. At the same time, it was a relief that it was off my chest. It was like someone lifted the lid off of a saucepan that had steam built up in it from boiling water. However, this was just the first step of my coming out. Over February vacation, I came out to a couple other people. One being a fellow clarinettist (I am in the school band) who, at the time, was the only openly gay person. Then, I told the 3rd person. The boy who I fell in love with. After I told him, he was very happy, and said that it made him happy that I could trust him with it. Him and I became good friends, and it felt good to know that I had a group of friends that I could go to if I wanted to talk. With having this group of friends, I became a lot more confident about my sexuality, but at the same time I was preparing for loss of friends. I knew it would happen. Yet if they can’t accept me because I’m different, then they aren’t true friends.
It was about a month before I came out officially, to everyone. My crush found out that I liked him, and we grew apart. On March 9th of 2014, I was laying on my bed. It was Sunday, and I was waiting for my mother to get home so she could take me back to my father’s house, where I live during the week. I gathered up courage and strength, and finally did it. I went on Facebook, and made a status saying that I was gay. A number of people liked it and said they were proud of me for saying it. My mother texted me saying to take it down. I was scared. I thought for a minute that I would become one of those kids that get kicked out of the house for being gay, but that wasn’t the case. My mother pulled in the driveway, and waited for me to get in the car. Once I did, she started crying, and asked why I didn’t tell the family first. I told her that nobody does because a lot of kids get rejected. She talked to my father about it, and he talked to me about how he wasn’t very happy in the way that I came out, despite not caring whether I was gay or straight. My whole family, even my great-grandmother, was okay with me being gay. After a while, my mother talked to me about safe sex and getting a boyfriend, and that the whole thing about not telling family first was a trust thing, and I talked to her about many a family that told their kids that they are loved unconditionally, only to be shunned for being gay. We hugged, and went to bed.
Now, today, I am happy that I can accept myself, despite losing some friends, but gaining many more, and finally being able to express my true self. I do not worry about bullying. It doesn’t bother me. I’m too proud! After coming out officially, I have opened up, and am not so quiet. I have taken up a few new hobbies, including cooking, studying science, and being artistic. I now feel free and comfortable, and feel like I can take on anything the world throws at me.
If there is anything I can say to anyone reading this who is struggling with these feelings, and are still in the closet, afraid of coming out due to fear of judgement, then it is to be strong. Sometimes it seems like everything is looking down on you, and the world is against you, but I assure you, that is not the case. You are special, and do not deserve to be stuffed in a closet, scared to be out. It’s a bad feeling. Yes, you hear people make snide remarks about homosexuality, but who cares? They aren’t one to get involved in your own personal affairs. That’s your job. They also aren’t one to judge, for they probably have things about themselves that they themselves aren’t comfortable with. Just remember: it gets better. You should be prepared to lose some friends, but as I have stated before, they weren’t true friends. You will also make friends. Friends that will stay by your side through thick and thin, and talk to you about anything. It’s such a great feeling of lightness, freedom, and confidence once you come out. Not worrying about other people’s negative remarks, and the warm, toasty feeling of individuality shine inside you like a star just born. Now is your opportunity to be yourself, and to bring some light to this dark world we live in where anything different is frowned on. Nobody can force you to be that slave of society. Be that rainbow sheep in the all-white herd.
Story by Aaron Stymiest. Follow Aaron on twitter: @maineboy99