It seems impossible that this much time should have passed so quickly, but the calendar doesn’t lie: Today marks four years since I came out.
On the other hand, I’ve grown and changed so much that it also feels as though it should be more than four years. It feels like a lifetime ago: I almost don’t recognize the me of four years ago.
With each new year that passes by, I inch closer and closer to self-acceptance and self-love. It’s not easy, but it is getting better.
I’ve surrounded myself with LGBTQ+ books, movies, music. Friends, too. And role models. I wear a necklace that reminds me who I am every single day. I no longer engage in any “debates,” online or in real life, about whether being gay is unnatural or disgusting or a mistake, and my mental well-being has increased while my internalized homophobia has decreased.
The biggest signs of progress are all the times I’ve genuinely forgotten that there are people who aren’t attracted to their own gender. Last semester I was sitting in the dining hall when I overheard some guy talk about his girlfriend and I was baffled for a second because I’m so used to hearing girls talk about their girlfriends. HETEROSEXUALITY DOES NOT COMPUTE.
I still have anxiety surrounding my sexuality, and tbh I think I probably always will: It’s just the end result of a heteronormative and heterosexist society. But I’m doing my best to swim against the current. I don’t have nearly as many doubts as I used to. I’m so much more comfortable with myself. I certainly don’t feel as abnormal as I used to.
Instead, I’ve begun to view F/F and M/M couples, rather than straight ones, as the default – which may be overcompensating, but I honestly don’t care because it’s what’s getting me through this fucked up heteronormative world. And it’s now difficult for me to separate the experience of womanhood from that of being a lesbian. Like, there are girls who aren’t attracted to other girls?! Not even a little bit? How does that work?
Today, I’m celebrating this anniversary. (Birthgay?) By the time you read this prescheduled post, I will be on a train in the middle of nowhere, Ireland, on the way to a writers’ retreat along with my classmates. And you can bet that I’ll be sitting in a window seat, listening to Hayley Kiyoko’s EP Citrine – an album about girls loving girls, which made a huge difference in my life these past few months – as the countryside whooshes by, daydreaming about gIRLS.
Happy birthgay, me.