Coming out can be terrifying. It gets better. A saying that we all have heard. It is a general statement used to give us hope. It can be used for many different occasions. It is a very simple saying and usually used when we don’t know what else to say. For me, it was a saying I relied a lot on. If I could just make it to college it would get better. If I could just make it out of this town it would get better. If I could be honest about my sexuality it would get better. The funny thing about this saying is, that for me, it was true. All of it. It did get better. I came out of the closet and it did get better. But it didn’t just get better, it changed my life.
I grew up in a town that was the epitome of suburbia about 45 minutes north of Atlanta, Georgia.
It was the typical small town scenario where you went to kindergarten, elementary school, middle school , and high school with the same people. Everyone knew everyone. The parents all got together on the weekends to gossip and share stories while the kids had play dates. Needless to say, it was hell. It was the suburbs of Georgia. Being openly gay was not an option, at least not for me.
I was about 10 when I realized I was different.
I was 13 when I knew I was gay. I wanted to come out. I wanted to be my true self. I didn’t want to feel as though I had to be careful to not be too feminine in the way I acted or the way I talked. High School was coming to a close and college was right around the corner. I could either keep my secret or start college with a new start. It is a decision that every closest gay kid has to make. We all want to be ourselves. I decided that it was time. I was 18 when I came out of the closest. It was exactly one week before I moved away to college and all the “it gets better” scenarios were supposed to kick in. It was the best decision I have ever made.
I immediately felt happier.
I knew I had made the right decision. I wasn’t being held back anymore. I moved to college and I was able to be my true self and pursue things I was afraid to before. I decided to study design, something I was afraid to do because its’ association with the gay community. My mom became my best friend. Without this big secret between us (even though she knew the entire time) we became closer than I ever imagined.
I became so much more confident to a point where I began dressing and presenting myself in ways that I never would have a few years ago. I became an entirely new person. These were all things that were always a part of me that I was either to afraid to show or didn’t even know I was capable of yet. Coming out of the closet was one decision that I made that has caused a series of chain reactions that has changed my life forever. I have been able to discover my best self and I am still not done discovering my true potential.
For anyone who finds themselves in the same shoes I was in when I was 18, know that it does get better. As cheesy as that is, it is beyond true.
Once you are able to be your true self with no limitations, you will discover so many things about yourself you didn’t know was inside of you. I can’t promise you that you that you will not encounter some lash backs. Unfortunately, the world we live is not entirely accepting yet. I can promise you that it will not only get better, your life will be changed for the better.