Learning to Love Myself

Over the last five years, I’ve struggled a lot with my identity. I disliked labels when I was younger because I couldn’t define mine. I spent a lot of time, especially in junior high, confused about myself. Luckily for me, I had a lot of people in a similar boat to me that helped me figure out who I was and helped my accept myself. This is my story of figuring out that I was Pansexual and coming to terms with myself.

I’m a very lucky person. So far everyone I’ve come out to has been accepting and nothing in my social and family life has really changed. There are so many horror stories about coming out that it can make it a very scary thing. I was very nervous to come out, especially to my family. But when I did I was met with love and acceptance and the hardest person to come out to turned out to be myself.

I started to realise something was “different” about me in grade 7. I had no idea what it was but it made me feel really awkward in changing rooms with girls. In my super country junior high there was one stall with a curtain in the changing room, meaning all the girls changed in front of everyone else. I, however, changed in the stall. For a couple years this was meet with people thinking I was weird. This manifested in them throwing or kicking off their shoes at me. The shoes didn’t really hurt me physically, I just kind of accepted it and threw the shoes back. After a couple years they got used to me and my wired changing habits, from that point on they ignored it.

By the time grade 9 rolled around I started to argue with myself. I felt conflicted and tried to rationalise and ignore feelings I had for other girls. I told myself I just appreciated that they were attractive and tried to move on. To be honest I thought there was something wrong with me. I hate to admit it but I knew (and supported) about homosexual people. I thought it was as simple as being gay or straight. I was missing a lot of the rainbow and that made having feelings for males and females confusing for me.

High school was a blessing. I meet other LGBTQ+ people and started to have my eyes opened. It wasn’t until grade 11 that I finally realised what was going on. My school has a cafe where a lot of music and art students hang out and all my friends did. One wall was covered that year with hand draw LGBTQ+ flags that students had done. I asked my best friend about a few of them I didn’t recognise. She always been my advisor on all things queer and still is to this day on a lot of things. One of these flags was the Pan flag. When I went home, I did some googling.

At that point, I realised I was Pan but didn’t want to say it. I was dating a guy at the time so I didn’t think it would be important to ever come out and that I should just keep it a secret. I was afraid. Afraid that I would be rejected by my boyfriend, friends, and family. I hadn’t accepted myself as well. Although I knew I was Pan I couldn’t admit it to myself so I just pushed it aside.

That summer I was getting coffee with my friend. We were talking about relationships and then she came out to me. I found myself coming out to her without thinking about it. It felt so good. I hadn’t realised until that minute that I had been carrying around a weight. I accepted myself without really realising it.

Over the next year, I came out to the rest of the people in my life. All of whom have accepted me and made me feel loved. Coming out for me ended up being really important. I was able to embrace all parts of myself and really start to love myself. It’s really cheesy for me to say this. But I think it’s important. It’s important to remember that people can be fully accepting. I have seen a lot of my friend come out, many of whom have lost friends, family members, and other important people because of who they are. I haven’t gone without losses myself. But I think it’s better to be honest and cut people out of your life than live a lie so people like you. It all comes down to what’s healthiest for you. And people can surprise you.

I’m much more happy being honest. It’s scary to come out sometimes, especially if you think you’ll be rejected. But if you don’t come out you’ll never know how people will react. In saying this I’d also like to tell people who do not identify as LGBTQ+ that telling someone you will accept them no matter what means a lot and will go a long way to helping people who feel conflicted and frightened about coming out. The most important thing to do is to listen to the people in your life who are LGBTQ+ and to be understanding that this can be scary at first. Having support is really important. I hope that anyone who wants to come out will be safe and be met with the same love I was.

I decided to do this post to share my story. I also wanted to do it because it’s a big step for me to come out on this blog. I’m still working on not being afraid and fully accepting myself. I also choose to post this in July because it’s when I’m attending and participating in my first ever pride parade. Since coming out I’ve started to focus more on having healthy relationships and I’m happier than ever before.

I also would like to say that I am still confused. I know I’m attracted to girls, the juries are still kind of out on my label. But I’m starting to care less about that. I don’t need a label to love myself and any partner I may have. Loving yourself and not being afraid, to be honest with yourself or others is what’s important, no matter what your label is.

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