I've always found it really hard to be open with myself and who I am. From a young age, I’ve been consumed with how people view me and I’ve based my ideas upon that. I think a lot of this originated with being deaf and having hearing aids. I’ve always been worried about being deaf, having different opinions than others, or even just being different and weird. I forced myself into this mold that society had created for me. I muted myself and who I am so others would like me.
However, as I am nearing the end of my senior year, I have found that this is not necessary. There is no way for me to be normal and fit into a mold because I was made to be different. It’s taken me all these years — killing who I really was and putting on a persona so that others would like me — to realize this. And this realization has changed my life. It used to always be like, “Oh, I will open up when this person is comfortable with me. I’ll tell them all of this when they know the real me.” Now I know that I have to be comfortable with myself and that it really doesn't matter if a person doesn't like me or my life. And to be honest, if they don’t want to accept my lifestyle and personality, then I don’t want them in my life.
The whole reason that I went into my self-acceptance journey is because it plays a big part in my sexuality. Growing up, anything involving sex, orientation, or viewpoints on those issues were really taboo in my family. I grew up in a Catholic household and nothing about gayness was ever mentioned. It wasn’t until the 7th grade, when a friend told me, that I knew what it was. It was never a big topic and both of my parents really discouraged any sort of relationships for me or my sister. Growing up, my parents did not have a good relationship. My dad was, and still is, an abusive alcoholic; but my mom still stays with him on and off. Not only have I been confused about gay relationships, but also about how heterosexual relationships work. I have always felt as though there is this big secret about love that I haven’t gotten.
This past month, I turned 18 and the one thing that I was bummed about was that I’ve never been in love. But I also came to the realization about how insightful all these years alone have made me. I am very aware of what I want in a relationship. One of the things that I don’t really care about is how my partner will identify; whether it’s as a boy, girl, trans, etc. What matters to me is that I am with someone nice who respects me, is willing to hear my ideas, and will look past my flaws. Why should I put a limit on someone who has those traits?
Although my sexual identity journey may be a little late — not having yet told my parents or many of my friends — I am still proud to be whoever the hell I am. I don’t really feel the need to put a label on it because, to be honest, I don’t even know what to call it. My main priority right now is to be whoever I want to be and to do what makes me happy!