Hi! My name is Ella. I'm 15 and I live in Denver, Colorado. I'm a big ol’ lesbian, and my gender is kind of whatever. I'm not very particular with pronouns or anything.
Wow, so I'm supposed to write my story. I don't really know what to say, but I'm just going to write and hope that I like what I end up with.
So my childhood was pretty ordinary. There's not much to really say about it, until I was about 7. My dad got sick with alcoholism and dementia. He essentially poisoned and destroyed his body. He remained on the brink of death for 5 years, and my mom and I had to watch him die. Therefore, watching everything fall apart around us, leaving us to pick up the pieces.
Around the end of his life, I started reading a series in which one of the main characters was a lesbian. Now I had shown interest in girls since I could talk, so this wasn't a totally foreign feeling as much as it was a confusing feeling. In kindergarten, I had a girl best friend, and I remember asking my mom if I could marry her, to which she replied: In some states.
When I started reading about this gay character, and I started thinking about it, I was more and more put off by the idea of ever being with a guy. I battled with this for months, totally confused and unsure of what it meant.
When I finally figured out that I was a lesbian and there was no doubting that, I then began to battle with myself about coming out.
My mom is just about as liberal as they come, but I was still terrified. Maybe I was scared because things would change, just to say the words, or because I didn't want her to have more to stress about my dad inching closer to death every day. Nonetheless, while she and I were on a road trip in December 2014, I popped up from the backseat, and with my heart exploding in my ears, I said: Mom, I think I'm a lesbian. She said “Great, be a lesbian!”. That might've been the biggest deep breath I've ever taken.
My dad was a different story. I knew he would be accepting of the homosexual aspect, but the thing about his sickness was I never knew which Dad I would be getting that day. I could get accepting, loving, arms-always-open dad that I had grown up with, or I could get abusive, drunken, and couldn't-give-a-shit dad, that his illness would constantly transform him into. When I look back now, I don't care which one he was. I just wish he would've been able to know. Death got to him before I did, and I'm finally learning to get over that regret.
After his death, my life both ended and began. This was way too overwhelming for my 12-year-old brain to understand properly, so I had to grow up even faster than I already had.
When I was 13, I began going to an LGBTQ+ youth group here in Denver called Rainbow Alley. Rainbow Alley both changed and saved my life. I felt like I had a purpose. I had a group of people that would always accept me and never turn me away. I was doing just about the best I had ever done, or at least that's why I thought. In retrospect, I wasn't even close.
Through Rainbow Alley, I met my first girlfriend, and for the next year of my life, everything revolved around her. I cut everyone else off, I stopped going anywhere, and I barely interacted with my mom except to ask her to give me rides. After months of nothing but mutual psychological abuse that we disguised as love, we finally broke up at the end of summer 2017. That sent me into the deepest, darkest hole I've ever had to be in. I relapsed in more ways than one. I attempted suicide, and I was in the mental hospital. I had absolutely no hope for anything. I was convinced I would live in agony until eventually, my heart would just stop from how broken she had left it. (Edgy right?). Hearing “It gets better” would make my blood boil. How could anyone possibly understand what was going on in my head?
Slowly, I felt my heart actually start beating again, or at least, happily beating. Since then, it's only been beating harder.
I found a group of friends that convinced me that life is actually worth living. I have Rainbow Alley, which has become the biggest pillar of my strength. I've actually learned what it's like to be happy. Don't get me wrong, I still have problems. I'm not always happy, not even close. I have my breakdowns and I overthink every little molecule of my existence. However, we all have our shit to deal with, and in the end, life is the most beautiful thing we can be given, and no matter what, it will get better.
If you're reading this and you're struggling, I know that it sometimes feels like nothing you can hear will make anything better, but if for nothing else, I want you to hang on for me. For all the cute animals in the world. For the sunshine and the stars that twinkle at night and the way someone smiles when they see you. Now go drink some water, take a deep breath, and maybe do a face mask or something. Thank you for reading this discombobulated story that I procrastinated too long on. I promise you, everything will be okay.