From the time of this posting, it has been 4,278 days since I came out. 11 years, 8 months, 19 days.
This day forever changed my life, it was the first time I ever told anyone that I was, and still very much am, gay. I remember it clearly and it was not the most ideal setting. I was a freshmen in high school and I had been talking with a really good friend on MSN instant messenger. The conversation was silly, but it went something like this:
Me: Hey, I have something I have been meaning to tell you. Promise you won't tell anyone?
Her: What's up?
Me: I have a secret
Her: Ok, what is it?
Me: Do you know that thing, the thing that everyone always says about me?
Me: Yes you do, everyone always talks about it
Her: I know that you're a nice guy.
Me: No, hah, everyone calls me the gay kid, and I am.
I did it, I told someone. My heart was racing. I was sitting in the basement of my parents house on a really old computer we had setup to play video games on. For one reason or another, I had not been playing the Playstation. I just came out to a girl I went to high school with, we were just freshmen. We ended the conversation and I signed off of MSN, but not before sending myself the entire chat log to my old "hotmail.com" address.
The next day at school, I was sure that everyone knew my secret. There was no way that word traveled that fast in our small little town, there is no way my best friend at the time would tell everyone. Would she?
Fast forward to one random day and I was sent home with a grade mid quarter sheet. I was getting a C- in freshmen algebra. The moment I got home I had to show my mom so she could sign it and acknowledge she saw the report. Needless to say, she was not happy at all. I was told to sit at the dining room table and begin working on my algebra homework, this grade was not acceptable. My heart began to race, my palms were sweaty and my leg was shaking. Mom was furious about my grade but she was in the kitchen making dinner while dad was outside doing some yard work. It was the fall and leaves were all over our yard, I was supposed to be doing the yard work but my algebra got me out of the manual labor. Mom came over by me, still upset over my grade, and scolding me for the grade.
It slipped, it came up like word vomit.
Me: Mom, do you know Uncle Steve?
Mom: What about him!?
Me: I'm just like him.
Mom: What do you mean?
Me: I am just like Uncle Steve... I'm gay.
Mom: -silence and long pause- You think you're gay?
Me: I am gay.
Mom: Stay here, I'm going to get your father
It was a nightmare. My mom went to get my father and the three of us sat at the dining room table and discussed what had just come out of my mouth. My mom kept saying that I thought I was gay. She didn't understand how I was gay, even though I told her that "being a guy, our outward anatomy responds and it becomes very apparent what we're attracted to." This didn't go over very well. After talking about it for what seemed like hours, I was sent to my room. I didn't eat dinner, neither did mom.
The next day, Dad drove me to school. We rode in silence, it was awkward and I was afraid for what life was going to be like from this point forward. Before I got out of the car I remember what my Dad said to me, "your mother and I love you very much, Daniel."
I walked into school and passed a group of friends. They could tell something was wrong, I was pale and had the look of shock on my face. I didn't talk to them and walked away to sit in silence in the hallway.
Days passed and I don't recall eating. I know for a fact I lost 10lbs. Finally my mom started to talk to me. She told me that I had to tell my family the news, but before I could even tell them, she had already prepped them telling them that I "thought" I was gay. My brothers didn't say much, my sister told me "It's about damn time."
Whenever I think about my coming out story, I remember it being very traumatic. I lived in a small town, I had always been harassed and bullied for being the gay kid. Looking back on the experience and knowing what I know now, life was so much better once I came out. My mom was shocked, I dropped a huge bombshell on her. In her defense, she was only worried about my well-being. Her brother Steve, who I referred to earlier, died from AIDS. My mothers fear stemmed from the experience she had with her brother, a fear of losing another loved one to a horrible disease.
As time would go on, and the shock faded away, my mom became one of my biggest supporters and one of my favorite people. Now that I'm an adult, my mom and I have a really great relationship and I'm very open with her. At the time of coming out, 15 year old Daniel would have never imaged what 26 year old Daniel knows today.
This was the beginning of something new, and it took me until many years later to realize that this would open so many new doors. The process of coming out was truly scary but I am so happy I did it.
Do it sooner. I can only imagine what life would have been like had I just told my family even sooner than I did before. It will be hard, but sharing my true identity was worth it all.
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