Identity. Who we are. What we are. I have spent my life identifying as a white girl. A girl who goes to church. A girl who tries to be good. A girl who likes boys. That is what good girls do, right? They like boys. They grow up and marry a boy and have a family. That’s what I did. I married a boy. Then I married another. Then I married another. Now I identify as a single mom. Still a good girl, but I am a girl who likes girls.
I knew that there was something different about me from the time I was 11-12. I knew the made-up games I would play with other girls at sleepovers were somehow “not normal” and shouldn’t ever be talked about. I knew this is something that not everyone would understand. I knew that if my parents ever found out I would somehow be in trouble.
As I grew, I always had a woman in my life that was a super special person to me. Someone that I would almost idolize. Someone who made me feel special and have butterflies. But again, I knew that this wasn’t “normal”, so I always made sure that I had a crush on a boy or a boyfriend. I didn’t want to stand out; didn’t want to be different.
So, I did what I was supposed to do. I got married, but there was always something wrong. Something just didn’t fit. There was no fulfillment in the intimate relationship with a man. I just told myself I just needed to give it time, that it would get better. But it didn’t. I became a wonderful actress. If you were to see me, you would think everything was amazing. But it wasn’t.
As many of you know, I have been in and out of hospital many times for my depression and suicide attempts. I knew that something was wrong deep inside. I knew that there was a truth that I needed to face, but I was scared. I finally had people in my life. People that loved me for me despite all my many imperfections. So, stuff it down. Don’t think about it. Keep lying. Keep trying to find that perfect man.
Then there was a day. A day that it wouldn’t stay stuffed down inside anymore. A day that I felt like things were breaking loose inside of me and that they were going to spill out. I was anxious. No, I was terrified. Was it finally time to be honest? With myself? With someone I trust? With God? Was I ready to take the risk of finally telling the truth? Yes.
I made the hardest FaceTime call I have ever made. I couldn’t even look my friend in the eye. What if she doesn’t want to be my friend anymore? I took a deep breath and I said it. “I am attracted to women”. And the tears came like a flood. There was such a release in saying those words out loud. Then I waited. How would she respond? What would she say? I don’t remember all of the words, but I remember hearing. “You’re the same person you were before you told me. I’ll stand with you.”
And I am. I am still me. I still love Jesus. I still overthink everything. I am still ridiculously type “A”. The only thing that changed was my honesty. After years of lying, supressing, acting, I lay it down and told the truth. “I am gay”.
I have not told everyone in my world, but those I have told have showed nothing but love and grace. I know that not everyone will take me as I am and that’s okay. I have my people and I am okay. I am finally me! I would only ask one thing. Remember that we all have an opinion, and we may not all agree, but choose love and grace, not hate and judgement. Thank you.