What is your biggest fear in life? Is it death? Failure? The Syracuse Clowns? What if I told you that at one point, mine was simply being myself?
The thing is, I’m not alone. There are so many people in this world who are terrified of being comfortable with their sexual identity, whether it be out of fear of rejection, lack of acceptance by family and friends, or fear of doubt that what you feel for others isn’t actually real.
I have been there, and I’m here to tell you why your reason for staying in the closet does not, and should not, take precedence over being who you want to be, and who you truly are.
Society, for lack of a better word, sucks. I understand how judgmental society is. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions on everything, and is less than skeptical to share them, and unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid people like that in this world.But not everyone is as cynical and judgmental as you may think. It may sound cliché, but the people that love you and understand your beautiful, unique self–those are the ones that will be there for you, even if you don’t realize it. Nowadays, people have so many opinions about who you should be, how you should identify yourself, and even who you should love but the thing is, those who have different opinions shouldn’t matter to you. Those are the people who are so insecure with their own lives that they think its okay to tell others how to feel, and ultimately, how to live–because anybody naïve enough to create more oppression and more hate in this world are the people that are not happy with themselves.
The people in your life now, they ultimately are always going to be there for you. They are in your lives because they love and want to protect you. And although they may want the best for you, you may feel like when it comes to coming out of the closet, they may not be that supportive. And honestly, that’s okay. Our parents grew up hearing about so many tragedies caused by homophobic bigots, and though expressed in a different context, moms and dads get concerned about our “choices” because of the horrible people our world is filled with. When you really think about it, everyone just gets scared or worried because they are afraid of what others will think. It’s the downfall of living in such a judgmental world.
The best way to show them how ready you are to live with the negatives of the world, the readier they’ll be to support you in all of your decisions, including this one. Show them how proud you are to be you. Whether you like girls, guys, or both, it’s okay to be who you are. We shouldn’t live in fear of what others think, because at the end of the day, what should matter to you and what matters to your family members is your happiness. At the end of the day, your parents and your friends just want you to ultimately be you, and have you okay with being YOU!
When I first had curiosities about girls, I was absolutely terrified. I grew up in a strict Jewish-Republican household, in a very prim and proper town, and everyone was always looking for something to talk about. I convinced myself it was just a phase, because boys are what I was “supposed” to like. If anyone ever found out, I would be the subject of discussion everywhere I went.
In the end though, I did tell the world. I left the closet, and I left all of the fear and cowardice with it. And now, I am the happiest I can be. I love who I am. And I love who I surround myself with. At the time, my family had difficulty adjusting to my feelings and thoughts on love and relationships. They didn’t quite understand, and honestly, I don’t blame them– but because of this, I felt like an outcast. I felt unloved and unwanted, but that did not stop me from becoming the person I am today. And I wouldn’t trade my decision for anything in the world.
Though society continues to tell us otherwise, we need to celebrate our differences, because they are truly what make us beautiful and unique. So much time is spent worrying about if we are too weird, too girly, too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too quirky,too awkward, too gay, too straight, too smart, too loud, to masculine, too “anything”–and we have to stop this, because it’s no way to live. Our differences, and our sexual preferences and our identities are what make us US, and we simply have to stop apologizing for being who we are. Stop living in fear of yourself and of others, and simply start being you. Because the YOU that YOU are is enough!
By: Allison Epstein