I was about 11 years old when the thoughts became regular. I had been in denial for years due to others voiced opinions on this topic. It wasn't until I was 16 I came to terms with who I was. It was the fourth of july and I was with my dads side of the family in NJ, while my mom was back in Oregon. I rememeber playing games as about 10 of us sat around the kitchen table. Continuous jokes and giggles interrupted the air. I recall looking around the table and seeing everyones smiling faces, knowing I could reach that peak of happiness unless I had welcomed my true sexuality. I left the room and gave my mom the call(although i'd have loved to do it in person, I had no patience). I was bawling my eyes out, with tears of relief as she asked me what's wrong. I told her it felt like the biggest weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The words left my mouth. "Mom, I'm lesbian". She was quiet for a minute. I was frightened. She broke the silence explaining how proud of me she was. How she was ecstatic I could express myself the way i'd been wanting. I flew home that summer and met up with my friends before junior year began. I texted my friend "Hey, can you hangout later? I have some things i'd like to talk to you about." Knowing that saying that, there was no way I could beat around the bush. I cried again. She hugged me and told me that no matter what she accepts me, and asked the same questions all of us in the lgbtq community get. This past summer of 2017 I came out to my dad, and he embraced me in his arms. Giving me all the support I could recieve. Life was getting better. I told other friends, and soon everyone knew. A few friends replied saying things like "well do you think i'm cute?" Or "So would you kiss me?" All I could think is HONESTLY? After everything it's taken me to muster up this courage to expose one of the most vulnerable aspects of myself, you think of that? It was okay though, because as I went into my senior year my confidence grew to great amounts. I could breathe, deep clean breaths, I could wear what I wanted and finally do as I pleased. There was nothing holding me back from being the greatest version of myself. Not everyone has a story like mine, and not everyone had the oppurtunity to live out their potential. I'm here to say it will get better. Not everyone in the world will agree with you, but they don't have to. One thing you do have power over, is whether to allow their opinions of you define you. I leave you with this; You are doing no wrong accepting yourself just as you are. For fighting against what can't be fought, will result in self hatred. You are beautiful, you are you, and it's okay to not always feel okay. Your comfort matters the most. When you feel comfortable and can reach the point of unapologetic self expression, you will have successfully accomplished part of your journey.

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