Not that this is my first time coming out, but it is certainly my most public (well, most publicly accessible coming out haha).
The first time I ever came out to someone was almost exactly four years ago. It was about a month before my high school graduation and I had finally had enough. I was sick of lying, tired of hiding, and I had to tell somebody. So I decided to tell one of my best friends. I remember laying in bed the night before, not able to get any sleep. My mind was racing, my heart wouldn’t slow down, and my stomach had incessant butterflies; I felt like I was going to be sick. That morning I was going to divulge my deepest, darkest secret, a secret I had spent years trying to hide and deny. What if she hates me? What if she tells someone? I thought to myself.
I remember we met up before sunrise; it was a bit chilly being early April in Wisconsin. We drove to an empty parking lot, and then I confessed. After a few awkward minutes of me trying to work up the courage to say it, I finally did. For the first time ever, I told another person “I’m gay.”* And then it hit me, all of the feelings. With two words I released a torrent of emotions: relief at finally telling the truth, fear of rejection, shock at hearing the words come from my mouth, and most of all guilt for overstepping the bounds of what was considered “decent” and “morally acceptable” in my community. All of those pent up emotions from years of self-loathing and denial came rushing to the surface and I broke down crying. I must have sobbed for at least a minute before I could do anything else. She hugged me and told me it was going to be okay. She said she still loved me. I could hardly believe it, and for a second I almost felt silly I had made such a big deal out of it. But it was hard, like ripping a band-aid off, a band-aid on my soul; very painful at first, but it gave a chance for true healing to begin.
Trust me, your first time coming out is the hardest, but it does get easier. It does get better. The fact that I’m here four years later writing openly about my first coming out is something I would have never imagined possible at the time.
Against all odds, it gets better.
*I came out as gay at the time, but after reflection and understanding myself better, I now identify as bi