I never wanted to be a black sheep, so I always tried my hardest to be the funniest, most popular kid everybody knows. But at church I was a sinner, and at school I was the weird kid who was no more than effeminate.
Two years ago, I thought I would never be accepted or loved, and now I feel love everywhere I go and I wish the same for others.
“Don’t give up. It's just the weight of the world. You are loved.” - Josh Groban
Growing up Mormon is one of the hardest things I’ve dealt with. I grew up in a town called Payson City. I still live there, and I swear it is like 80 percent Mormon. If you are not Mormon, you are in the minority.
I am a minority in more than one way as a half-Samoan, half-Caucasian gay. This has always been inconvenient because I have always wanted to fit in. I never wanted to be a black sheep, so I always tried my hardest to be the funniest, most popular kid everybody knows.
This worked out for my years in elementary school, but it was unsuccessful in junior high. Surprisingly, twelve-year-olds can be some of the cruelest human beings on planet Earth. No matter how hard I tried to dress nice, be funny, or make friends it would never cover the fact that I was a girly fag.
It was so hard to fit in everywhere. At church I was a sinner, and at school I was the weird kid who was no more than effeminate. My biggest fear had come true: I was a black sheep. I was no longer part of the herd. The herd continued to move, and I was pushed along with a crowd of sheep I did not fit in with. Junior high pushed me to never come out, and church pushed me to be as miserable as possible. I felt so alone.
By my freshman year I was more than okay with being gay. I wanted to come out, but I was so young and vulnerable that I felt like I wouldn’t ever be able to be happy again. I was growing older and so I was stepping up in religious roles. I was the deacons’ quorum president and then the first counselor of the teachers’ quorum. I felt as though I had crossed the point of no return. I was too far into Mormonism that I couldn’t step out of those roles and come out.
I felt so stuck. Where was I going to go? I wanted to be happy in this life but that would mean I would have to be miserable in the “afterlife.”
During that year as a freshman, my mom became pregnant with my youngest brother. Within those nine months, I started to gain a lot of weight. I weighed 230 pounds by the time my brother was born. I was very happy to have a new sibling, but I also felt very depressed because of my body. I started to ask myself, Why? Why did I allow myself to get to this state of obesity? It was thoughts like these that inspired me to lose weight.
My weight loss started by eating less food and going outside more. It started out very harmless, but soon it wasn’t so miniscule. My restricted eating habits got me into a lot of trouble emotionally and mentally. I became very depressed due to my obsession with food.
I became so absorbed with food that soon every day of my life became a battle with body dysmorphia. It would bother me the moment I woke up and saw my feet at the edge of my bed.
I hated seeing any part of my body. It haunted me everywhere I went and stopped me from doing things I loved. I was miserable.
Misery moved with me to my sophomore year. By the time I started school that year I was already down to 170 pounds. It was kind of embarrassing because those who hadn’t seen me over the summer noticed that I had lost a lot of weight. People would ask me what I was doing to lose weight, if I was eating, and if I was okay. It was so humiliating. All I wanted was to be thin and I took it too far. My eating habits had made it almost impossible for me to live normally.
Church was still not a supportive environment for a closeted gay. People at church felt the need to ask me about my weight every five seconds. It irked me because I hated dressing up in church clothes. I thought they made me look so fat. I know that all they wanted to do was help, but I was too embarrassed to let anyone get that close to me.
Church was getting even more uncomfortable to attend. The members were making it impossible to enjoy every week. Once gay marriage was legalized, all my ward would talk about was how to protect ourselves. I had teachers tell me that gay marriage was bad because it made it easier for people to sin and because it threatened God’s way of marriage.
They taught us that gay marriage had no worth, and in turn that planted in me that I had no worth.
I couldn’t stand it any longer. Every week just before church started, I would just sit and cry with my mom. She told me that I didn’t have to go and that she would stay home with me. I never felt more at peace than when I was away from that toxic environment.
I was taught to stand in holy places, and at church I did not feel whole, so I was going to find my own holy places outside of the church.
One of those holy places was a youth activity called Rainbow Mutual. There I found so many kids like me: kids that didn’t fit in at school, church, or sometimes with their families. It was so nice to have a community that shared the same experiences as me. Everything seemed to be going right for once.
Last August I decided that it was my time to come out. I posted on Facebook and waited. I was so afraid that my extended families would reject me and that I would lose so many friends, but boy was I wrong.
Every one of my friends and family rallied around me and brought me so much love. Everyone at school was perfectly fine with me being who I was. That still is one of the most beautiful moments in my life.
I felt so loved and welcomed by everyone, but something was still missing. I was still so depressed. My restrictive eating habits were still with me, I still hated the way I looked, and I still believed that I was a bad person. Everyone else loved me, but I did not love myself. I felt myself falling fast into a spiral of negativity.
I thought that once I had come out and left the church, all of my self-hate and problems would dissipate. I was scared. I had no other plan in place to cure me of my depression.
Life had become so miserable, and I had become so sick. Suicidal ideation started occurring more and more often. I wanted to die so badly, but I was so afraid of being gone. This last January, I was hospitalized. I was not keeping myself safe, so I was in inpatient for a week. How did my life end up at this point, so close to death and so close to insanity? Was this what I wanted? No.
I decided that I didn’t want to nip my life in the bud. I had worked too hard to get myself into a healthy environment to just give it all up.
With this passion in my heart, I worked throughout that week and the weeks to come to tell myself that I am worth it. Straight out of the hospital, I went right back to school full time. It was very difficult, but it helped to have the people at school as a support system throughout my treatment.
Nowadays, I am working on being confident with my body. I want to love it as much as others love theirs, so this summer I will be attending intensive outpatient therapy. My hope is that by my seventeenth birthday, I will be able leave this chapter behind and grow past my old, dark behaviors. Until then, Micah will be working as hard as he can to accept and love his mind, heart, and body.
I know I will make it.
I feel myself coming closer to my goal every day I wake. I am so proud of how far I have come. Two years ago, I thought I would never be accepted or loved, and now I feel love everywhere I go and I wish the same for others. My advice to those struggling is to never wait. If there is fear in your heart and mind, then release it.
Never let anything come in the way of your own happiness because you are important, you are beautiful, and you are loved. Life has so much more to offer you than it is offering you right now.
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna be able to love someone else?” - RuPaul