It started at an early age – earlier than I can even remember. I was always the friend that "had your back." I was always known to be overprotective, needing a full background on someone if they were going to get close to anybody I knew, mainly girls. In high school, I knew everyone – none of the stereotypes fit my friend groups or me.
I was your typical teenage girl, with female sports players, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears and the Spice Girls plastered on my wall – wait, that's not typical? I was never teased, never questioned, never knew the difference between love, lust, flirtation and attraction. I guess it didn't come for me as a child – my parents were separated then divorced shortly after, and I surely didn't see much between them to think, "I want that when I get older." So I kept to myself, sports, friends, alcohol, you know – the high school things.
When I was 16 I went to one of my high school's plays, Romeo and Juliet, to see some friends in the play. You know the quote, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet"? Witnessing such a love on stage, but never in person, I thought to myself my name doesn't describe me, or where I came from or where I've been, but who I am and what I've become, and at that moment I didn't feel scared or like staying inside my shell any longer.
Directly after, talking to my friend, I explained that somehow the play had made me feel very vulnerable. I felt like things were changing in my life but wasn't sure how, and her first response was "It's your lifestyle! I want you to meet someone, you guys will totally hit it off." Sure enough, the girl I met and started a relationship with was someone I would never forget and surely did change my life, but more than that, that night I changed and fell in love with myself for who I was.
It's funny, as I'm writing this and rereading it over and over, my friends all knew before I knew, but it was a process – it was baby steps and they let me take them. And when I had a doubt or question, before even expressing that, they knew exactly where it was going. Now that's just my coming out story…every lesbian knows that's not where any of our stories end.
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