During my senior year of high school, I had recently come out as being homosexual to my close friends and few acquaintances. I was very comfortable to tell anyone if they asked, but it was all still very new to me and overwhelming at time.
One afternoon my mother confronted me about a text message she saw on my phone screen from a guy I was talking to. She bombarded me about the text message until I finally told her that I was gay. After hearing those words, my mother verbalized her discomfort and disgust with me until she could talk no more and left. I rushed down to my father's store to tell him myself about my sexual orientation, and his response followed suit with my mother's.
The final blow happened when my parents suggested that I leave the house, and to take my belongings with me. In the days that followed I slept in my car or hopped from house to house, staying where I could.
How I Was Affected
I was emotionally numb, and felt like the very foundation that I had built myself on had been pulled out from underneath me. My world felt shattered.
I had never felt so discriminated against for just trying to be myself. It left me feeling like a disappointment, disgusted with myself for something I couldn’t control. I witnessed myself in a spiral of anxiety and depression like I had been locked in a bubble, the world a blur around me.
At first, I was partially scared of other’s reactions if they were to find out that I was gay, and partially embarrassed to tell people of my current situation that I was dealing with, so I kept it all to myself and did not open up to anyone. I thought that since I caused this to happen, that it was up to me to fix it somehow. It worked briefly, but I found myself overwhelmed not knowing how to deal with the waves of emotion that came over me.
How I Coped
One thing that did help me was my artwork. In high school, I spent many of my classroom hours in the studio working on artwork that spoke to how I was feeling. Soon, my artwork became my everything. By putting all of my emotions into my artwork, I was able to not carry the weight of my experience inside of me. It was my outlet that helped me find the words to an experience that had left me mute. It was such a strong outlet for me that the next year I went to a college of art and design, where I furthered my close connection to my artwork. My art is my passion, and though it has changed dramatically from where it used to be years ago, it is fueled by the core idea of understanding and helping others.
I also surrounded myself with people that were supportive of my decisions. By having people that I could reach out to when I needed to talk about anything, I felt accepted and willing to open up to them and discuss what I was feeling. It allowed me the opportunity to not only become comfortable with myself and how I acted around others, but it also allowed me to create deep and meaningful connections with the people I surrounded myself with.
Along with my artwork, setting goals for myself has allowed me to grow the most. By setting goals using my work and my personal life as catalysts, I saw that I could track my progress from where I had started, to where I was every time I reached my goal. It was such a rewarding feeling to accomplish something, and it empowered me to keep going, to keep challenging myself and the others around. The perspective that I developed was one of determination and focus, something that I rely on still today to be productive in my life.
Where I Am Now
Though I am still reconnecting with my parents, I can look back on the journey I have taken since my traumatic experience and be proud of the level of growth that I have been able to develop. I have come far in my career and been able to form close relationships with friends that I can talk to in the process. It has made me a much more open minded, considerate and loving individual with a strong sense of self worth and pride. I am who I am today because of what i’ve been through in the past, and I am not ashamed of that.