Aron Rios submitted photo
Aron Rios submitted photo

Learning to Love - Aron R

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My story

Coming out is never easy and is always terrifying no matter what. There are so many unknown factors and that’s really where my story begins. I never really knew who or what I wanted in a relationship until I found my current partner.

I struggled day in and day out coming to terms with my sexuality not because I was scared of what people thought, but because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone important to me. So I struggled with this part of myself for a while. I didn’t know if I was gay because I was still attracted to women and I didn’t know if I liked men so I was in this weird state of limbo. I wanted to pursue men but was so scared to. It wasn’t until my friend told me something that I will never forget. He told me that

“Whether you date a man or a woman doesn’t mean anything to anyone. The only person who matters is you and if you date a guy it doesn’t mean you have to follow the labels society gives you. You identify yourself for you and no one else.”

That conversation gave me the courage to find myself, and after finding myself, I found my partner. I told my parents, but there were a lot of people in my family that didn’t know and that meant the most to me. I come from a big Hispanic family and I didn’t want to have to hide myself from anyone.

One day I decided to stop hiding. I was at a Fourth of July barbecue and my cousin had come up to me and asked why my brother always had cute girls but I never had anyone. The truth was I did, I had this amazing guy right next to me but he was only known as my friend. So on our one year anniversary of being together I finally got the courage to let the world know who I really was. I did it because I was tired of hiding myself from the world. I knew that even if my family didn’t accept it, I still had love and support from others who were like family. Plus I was tired of hiding my love for my partner and it wasn’t fair that we couldn’t be “together” around my family. So rather than telling each person individually I told everyone on Facebook. Boy was that scary! I made the post and it went out for everyone to see. The next thing I did was freak out! I had no idea what I had done and was pacing back and forth over what I just did. I wanted to delete the post as soon as I realized what I had done. I turned off my notifications so I couldn’t see who commented or reacted to it. That had to be the longest and most sleepless night of my life. I constantly woke up and wondered what people were saying and the next morning I checked. I was terrified for what was to come but surprisingly it wasn’t bad at all. I had so much love and support from everyone in my family and not one person turned away from me. My great grandma who is still alive told my mom,

"Mija he won’t be the first and he won’t be the last and I will always love him."

Knowing I had so much love and support was one of the best feelings in the world but what I remember the most was not the support, but being able to share my partner and my love with my family and not have to hide it from anyone. I know that I am very lucky to have my support system when so many others don’t but my coming out story wasn’t about finding a family, it was about finding myself and finding out how I can love.

My key takeaway

Finding out who I was and how to love with no bar holding me back.

If I could go back in time I would tell myself

I would tell him not to be scared of being yourself. If you can’t learn to love yourself then you will never be happy.

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