In light of the Atlanta pride parade this weekend, I decided to share my coming out story. I contemplated making this an entry. I’m comfortable with myself but I was hesitant to create this out of fear or judgement and backlash from certain family members. But, I decided to create this blog as a safe space and to share my story, so anything less than my raw truth would be hypocritical.
Like many others, self identity was a major theme of my freshman year of college. I’ve always found myself attracted to both men and women, I was just never open to discussing it. After all, I only ever had boyfriends growing up so my attraction to women wasn’t something that I felt needed to be shared.
I experienced a lot of “firsts” with this girl. I felt like I was on top of the world when I was with her, and it was nothing that could bring it down.
** Of course, imma keep it a stack with y’all because this is my blog, right? We had our issues. And when it was good, it was amazing but when it was bad, it was painful. But that’s another story for another entry. **
It was already obvious to everyone on campus that we were together. And, I felt like she was so important to me that I wanted the world to know about what we shared. The world, including my parents.
I’ve never been one to care about what others think of me. But for some reason, the thought of disappointing my family always put a lump in my throat.
For as long as I could remember, I had a hard time figuring myself out. I’ve always felt the pressure of being the best that I can considering I’m the first American born from my mother’s side and a first gen college student on my father’s side.
I remember being around six and feeling warm and fuzzy when certain girls came around. I knew it was a innocent crush but I decided to keep it to myself because I felt like I was doing something wrong. Black/Caribbean households are known for their homophobia.
I grew up to accept, love, and respect everyone that I encountered. So, why is it a problem when it’s the same gender?
I decided to tell my father about my relationship first, because he’s the more understanding parent. I facetimed him and immediately began laughing nervously and he raised his eyebrows at me. I remember what I said word for word. “I just wanna start off by saying no I’m not pregnant. (He looked like he was about to burst a vein waiting for me to share my news) But college is all about finding yourself and I’ve come to the realization that I like girls as well as I like guys.” Silence. We stared at each other and I swear those 5 seconds felt like a million years. I felt like I couldn’t breathe watching my father’s face go blank. He asked me if I was ‘experimenting’ with girls and I told him I had a girlfriend for 6 months at that time. I was ready to share my sexuality with them because it felt like suppressing that aspect of me was hindering me emotionally and mentally. Silence fell over the phone call again and I uncomfortably joked and said, “Well at least she can’t get me pregnant right?”
He assured me that he wasn’t upset with me, he was just shocked. It took him a few days to completely warm up and he told me that as long as I feel happy, he’s happy. He even spoke to her multiple times and joked with her. I got the easy going parent on my side. Next.
I call my mother two days later because it’s no going back now. I already came out to my father. I give her the same “college is about finding yourself” spiel. But when I told my mother, she thought it was a joke. “I’m waiting for you to tell me this is a psychology project/survey or something you’re doing for class.” She then proceeded to tell me that she doesn’t want to talk about it, and to only talk to her if it’s in regards to school.
I felt all of my courage and excitement leave my body as soon as she shut me down. Do you know how much it took of me to share that? I ignored my mother’s calls and texts for a few days because she made me feel small. She told me that we’ll talk more about it when I get home for the summer. That was a few months away.
When I got home, my mother told me that I’m not really bisexual and it’s because: 1. I’m in college, and 2. I’m in Atlanta.. Insinuating that this is an experiment that I’m going through. I felt sick to my stomach. It took me months to bring this up and it was completely shut down and invalidated in seconds.
There are certain things that a girl needs her mother for. I was battling confusion, breakups/makeups, and I felt like my mother turned a blind eye. I remember crying at my kitchen table begging her to listen to how I feel and her telling me she can’t do this and walking away from me. I felt completely alone.
At that moment, I realized that I would probably never receive my mother’s support. I couldn’t believe the woman that birthed me walked away from me during one of my most vulnerable moments because she disagrees about my preferences.
I say all of this to say, that I am still yearning for a healthy conversation with my mother about my sexuality. I also want to show gratitude to my father for being so open and understanding. I’ve learned that someone is going to disagree with everything you do in life, so live it the way you fucking want.
By the way, no one chooses their sexuality. It’s not learned behavior that you learn from watching 2 gay characters out of a million straight characters on a TV show. It’s not a choice. It’s something you’re born with and shouldn’t be ashamed of. I would never choose to be black balled, ridiculed, or feel unsafe for fun. However, I am owning everything that I am and the many communities that I belong to. I am unapologetically me. Periodt.