Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are those of the author’s and don’t necessarily represent or reflect the views of MangoBaaz.
This time last year, I did something I thought I would have never have the courage to do. After way too many years in, I came out of the closet. I accepted my homosexuality and shared it with people who mean the world to me.
It was probably around Grade 7 when I started feeling different from all the boys with me.
The height of this was around when everyone was head over heels for this one girl in the grade. She was all they could talk about, and I on the other hand felt nothing. I made the mistake of letting others know this, and I was called names, one of those was ‘gay lord’.
As I grew older, I started to realize that I wasn’t straight but in fact that I was gay. However in my mind, the word gay became synonymous with an insult and that’s how I saw myself, I saw myself as an insult, a lowlife.
There was no one in school to talk to, and society proved a larger obstacle.
There’s an instance I remember ever so clearly, and every time I think of it, I want to breakdown and cry. A friend of a friend’s daughter got divorced 2 months into her marriage. I was eavesdropping and I heard why it happened.
“Larka gay nikla, bechari larki kaise zindagi jeeti? Jab usse pata chala, uss ne saas ko bataya aur pata chala ke unn ko hamesha se pata tha! They thought marriage would fix him! Mein tou kehti hoo, unko hakeem ke paas jana chahiye, beta tou unn ka theek ho jaye.”
Hearing words like ‘fix’ made me feel as though I was defected some how. As though I was somehow created inferior to the rest.
It was at this point I decided to never talk to anyone about how I felt, and to suppress this homo shit in my mind.
It was incredibly naive of me to think I could do that forever.
I felt as though I could never love myself for who I am. I was in a constant mental war with the image I was portraying and my true self. Never had I felt more confused, agitated and annoyed with not only myself but with everyone around me. The physical manifestation of my internal struggle was me just constantly screaming and arguing with my family. It got to a point where I started refusing everyone else’s love, at that point I became incredibly lonely.
Going to university really challenged the straight facade I had created for myself. The internal struggle was only getting worse with each passing day. Clearly I had become tired of being someone I wasn’t and my mind and body were giving up. That’s when I decided to take a good look at myself and choose what I wanted with my life, to be happy and live life as I want it or live as everyone else wants me to.
I couldn’t muster up the courage to come out completely at that point but decided to let go of the straight face I held up.
It was only by letting that go that I could understand who I truly am.
It was after this that the greatest thing happened. I met a really old friend after forever and he came out to me. He narrated how he went through a war within himself much like mine but found happiness at the end. Hearing and seeing him so visibly happy, I decided that I needed that in my life. I had to demand the joy and happiness that I so longed for rather than wait for people to hand it over to me.
When I finally had enough time in the closet, the first person I came out to was myself. I needed to give myself the ability to love myself for what I am. I have to be able to be comfortable with who I am because I had had enough of hating myself. After eating ice cream straight from the tub and crying for an entire night, I reached nirvana.
After coming to terms with who I was, myself, I sat down with my sister to tell her.
I didn’t expect it to be such an emotional conversation. After all this time I was telling a member of my family by biggest secret and I was hoping for approval. Initially I couldn’t really say it. I kept pausing right after I’d say ‘I’m’. Then with tears rolling down my face, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath and just said it. “I’m gay!”. I gingerly opened my eyes and looked at her, she got up from her seat and hugged me. All she said was “I love you no matter what!”.
I couldn’t have been happier that day. From that day on, I told my closest friends and the few cousins that I are very near my heart. It slowly got easier to tell people but a part of me still fears disapproval. Thankfully so far all I’ve gotten is love and acceptance. I’m slowly working up to telling my parents. I have days where I feel I can totally tell them, but there are moments I doubt I’ll ever be able to share this with them.
No matter what, I don’t ever regret coming out. Life before that was conflicted and confused. I was incapable of loving myself and of loving others and that was a terrible way to live. Now I have the ability to be comfortable with who I am and that is a feeling I will never give up.
Cover Image via: BBC
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