It Might Take You A While To Come Out (Even To Yourself)
You’re valid, no matter what part of the journey you’re on. It doesn’t matter whether you’re ready to share your truth with the world, whether you’re posting subtle hints on social media, or whether you’re just starting to accept yourself. You are deserving of kindness and respect and all the love in the world — especially from yourself.
Remember, it’s okay if it takes you a while to get to a comfortable place. It’s okay if you’re not ready to take another step. Personally, it took me a long time to come out as bisexual. Even to myself. And this is why:
1. I didn’t think my truth mattered. Even though I thought about my sexuality almost every single day, I told myself it wasn’t a big deal, that there was no reason to come out, that it didn’t make a difference in my life. For a decade, I convinced myself to keep quiet, even when doing so was actively hurting my mental health. (There’s even a term for this: minimization, a type of denial where you downplay the significance of your emotions.)
2. I was in relationships with men. Everyone assumed I was straight because of the boys I dated — and I never corrected them. I fought hard for LGBT+ issues. I gushed about female celebrities. I rooted for every WLW couple on television, movies, and video games. But because of my history with men, even I assumed I was straight for years — and when I realized that wasn’t the case, I still wasn’t sure how to handle it. I knew how to show attraction to men. Magazines and rom-coms and taught me how since I was young. I didn’t learn the same with women.
3. I didn’t have any role models growing up. When I was younger, there weren’t princesses dating other princesses in Disney movies. There weren’t LGBT+ couples who felt safe walking around town, showing me there was more than one way for a family to look. There weren’t TikTokers talking about all the little signs they were queer, creating an easy-to-access community right there on my phone. There wasn’t nearly enough representation, which made it hard for me to picture a future of my own.
4. I was terrified of how others would perceive me. I don’t hang around homophobes or anyone else who spreads hatred, but I was still worried about what people would think about me when they learned my true sexuality. Would they start treating me differently, look at me differently, think of me differently? I was worried they wouldn’t be able to understand me, that they would make all the wrong assumptions after learning something so important about me.
5. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with myself yet. It took me a long time to understand that it’s possible to care deeply about others in the LGBT+ community without extending the same compassion to yourself. I’ve always thought others deserved to be loved, valued, and respected — but I didn’t feel the same about myself. I wasn’t ready to come out. And the longer I waited to tell anyone, the harder it felt to finally say the words.
6. I wasn’t in therapy yet. Therapy gave me a place to sort through my feelings. It helped me learn more about the way my own body and brain worked. Most importantly, it provided a safe space to figure out what made me happy, and what made me me. Without therapy, I wouldn’t have felt as excited to start sharing my authentic self. I wouldn’t have even known what that person looked like.
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