Moving on, yesterday and today have been just odd days for me. I definitely feel good knowing that somebody I love knows who I really am now, but at the same time I fear being treated differently simply because I revealed that I was gay. Somewhat unsurprisingly to me, my grandma has supported me immediately, and I will share some of our chat in just a bit. Before I do, however, I'd like to share my coming out letter to my grandma. Some of the names have obviously been changed for my own privacy at this point, but other than that the letter is unedited. So here it is:
So, I've been going back and forth in my head contemplating as to whether or not I should email you with what I'm about to reveal to you, but I finally built up the courage to go through with revealing something that I've been struggling with my entire life; something that has eaten away at me on a never-ending basis; something that has taken a toll on me in so many ways physically, emotionally, and mentally. Before I go any further, I want to tell you why I chose you as the first person to share my secret with. First of all, I trust and love you very much. Secondly, of all the people I know, I think you may be the most understanding (or at least I hope) regarding my situation. Lastly, taking such a big risk and revealing my situation to anybody out here could potentially lead to rejection (I think anyway) and embarrassment, not to mention possibly putting my home and education in jeopardy.
So, by now you may or may not have guessed what I'm about to say. To cut to the chase, I'm gay. I always have been, I always will be, and I can say with absolute certainty that I did not choose to be gay. Trust me, I've gone through so much inner turmoil and hell that I've struggled mightily for a long time now, although I think I have done a pretty decent job in hiding the incredible pain. I've known that I was attracted to other guys, and yes only guys, ever since I was a little boy. I vividly remember certain times in elementary school as well as at home watching TV when I would see another boy I thought was cute, but I knew that it was considered wrong, so I always kept things like that to myself. I've also gone through many stages in this process, from a little boy to where I'm at now, and at last I have finally come to accept and embrace who I was born to be.
When I was a little boy, I knew I was attracted to other boys, but I was confused as to why. When I got a little older (early junior high), I tried my best to ignore my reality and attempted to be somebody I knew I was not... a straight teen. Then in my late junior high days to early high school days I literally hated myself for being gay. I prayed, no exaggeration, on a daily basis asking God to make me straight. Needless to say, my prayers were not answered in the way I hoped they would be during that time. Then, in recent years I've been doing a lot of soul searching. I've been trying to make sense of why I am gay, why God would make me gay, and how to go about being who I really am. In the last year or so I finally realized that God does not make mistakes, everything happens for a reason, and He certainly did not make a mistake when He made me gay. I take comfort in knowing that fact, especially with so much hatred directed toward gays not only from total strangers, but from the people I love the most.
I've been stuck in the closet for far too long, and I have been living a lie my entire life. Trust me, who you (and everybody else for that matter) have seen over the last several years is not the real me. I haven't had the chance to be the real me yet, and that is what I was hinting at when I emailed you the other day. But, because of a ton of reasons, I have not had the courage to come out and be myself. Perhaps the biggest reason I have not come out to anybody is because of all the homophobia spewed from this side of my family. My Dad, Papa, aunts, and the list goes on and on all speak their hatred for gays, which kills me every time I hear it, knowing they despise who I secretly am. I've heard the rhetoric of "faggots rotting in hell" for their unforgivable sins, but like I mentioned above, I take comfort in my relationship with God because I know He would not do this to me without me having any control of the matter whatsoever. He would not play with my soul, I truly do believe this, and I know in my heart that He has a plan for everything and everybody, and just because I am gay does not make me any less of a person as anybody else. Nor does it make me any lesser of a man.
That said, obviously I do feel like less of a person when I constantly hear family members use hateful language every time anything even remotely related to homosexuality comes up. I also know that some of these same family members have their suspicions about my sexuality. For example, one fact I didn't share with you or anybody else when I had that huge fight with ***** was that she called me a fucking faggot, and said that's why I never had girlfriends throughout my life. That statement hit me so hard, and that is one of the primary reasons why I can't stand her to this day. She attacked who I was, she pushed me further into the closet, and she made it crystal clear that she can't stand fucking faggots. Another example is a fight I had a long time ago with ******* of all people. She said almost the exact same thing ******* did: Fuck you, you nasty faggot. I've pretty much acted like none of this ever happened in order to protect myself and keep my secret safe, but there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of what they said. There is also not a single second of any day that I'm not hurting, stressing, and beating myself up, trying to find my answers and trying to figure out my coming out.
Back to the speculation, though, one of the reasons why I really don't like going to my **** ******* or **** **** houses during holidays is because I know they gossip, and I just feel it in my bones that they have their suspicions about me being gay. The atmosphere is so awkward and tense when I go to their houses, and I can feel the eyes on me, knowing full well what they're thinking every time I come around.
Sorry for writing so much, but I am pouring my soul for the first time in my life, still unsure if I will have the courage to hit the send button when I'm finished with this email. I fully understand if you don't understand this revelation, and I also understand if you want to have nothing to do with me after learning this about me. I just couldn't hold it in any longer. I had to tell somebody, anybody, or else I'm afraid I'll eventually just get so low that I can't get back up. I've been forcing myself through life for a long time now, not knowing what to do, so I finally decided you were my safe bet, even if you turn out not to be. All I ask is that you keep this between you and me. Whether you accept me or reject me, please, please, please do not tell anybody, please don't contact anybody out here to talk about this, and please don't tell anybody over there either.
Change is coming for me one way or another, sooner or later (hopefully sooner), and this is a very complicated process that I decided I needed to begin. I've thought about waiting until after graduation so I could get out on my own, be independent, and not have to worry about being kicked out or having my support disconnected, but I just can't take it any more. I can't. I just can't. Thanks for taking the time to read this, I know it's a lot to read and take in, but please keep this between us. Maybe this will be a positive first step forward for me in my life, or at least I can hope, so please understand how critical it is to me and my life. You can email me back if you want, but I'm not sure if I would feel right talking on the phone yet. I'm so ashamed and embarrassed even writing this to you, and I'll probably regret sending it as soon as I do, so I've gotta do it before I change my mind for the millionth time. I love you, and understand if you don't email me back.
So, there you have it. I received a response from her just three hours later, even though I didn't open the email until later in the day, extremely nervous about what she would say. I won't quote everything she said in her response to my coming out, but I'll share a few points with you all. The first thing she said is that she loved my unconditionally before, and she still does now. Then she really shocked me when she revealed that she has known that I'm gay for a few months now, not willing to elaborate as to how over the Internet. I'll find out how tomorrow when I visit her for the first time since coming out to her. I'm really not sure how she knew, so it'll definitely be interesting to find that out tomorrow. It also kind of comforted me in an inexplicable way, learning that she knew this for quite a while now. Then, she went on to tell me that I'm a grown man, told me to finish school, and then my life will be my own. She told me to hold my head up, ignore the ignorance and hate if and when I face it, and told me if certain members of my family disown me because I'm gay, then it's their loss. In conclusion, she told me she loved me just the way I am, she reiterated to not feel ashamed, and she told me to not let this prevent me from coming around as she feels the same about me now as she did before. Definitely a great response from her, and I truly am thankful that she responded the way she did.
I could not force myself to respond the her letter at all, still feeling (as I told her in a later email) weird about coming out. So, yesterday she emailed me with the title being "Hi". Basically, she just told me she needed to hear from me in person. I told her it still feels kind of weird right now, but I will see her on Tuesday, and since then we've had some minor chats online, but I think I will be able to explain to her my situation much better tomorrow in person. That said, I have to admit that I'm very nervous about going to her house tomorrow, which is strange as I've never been nervous around her before. I guess it's natural to feel the emotions I'm feeling right now, though, so I'm hoping we have a nice (but not mushy or patronizing) conversation tomorrow morning.
So, I'll let you guys know how tomorrow goes. In wrapping this up, I just have to stress how liberated I feel already, even though I've only stuck my pinky toe out of the closet so far. I can only imagine how great it will feel once I'm fully free, and I'm definitely moving in the right direction with my coming out, so it won't be long before I finally get to be me for the first time ever. I've missed so much in life living a lie, and it's about time for me to get one. Thanks, guys, for reading my ongoing story, and I'll blog either tomorrow or Wednesday regarding how my conversation goes. You all don't realize how much you've helped me in my struggles, not only from the comments I have received from many of you, but just by the fact that you are all taking the time to read about me at times when I have nobody to turn to other than this blog. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.