By Lindsy Carr
On July 19th, I admitted, “I think I’m gay,” out loud. For the first time, I found a label that fit me and made sense. About five hours later, I admitted it to over twenty people at the camp I was attending, and I publicly came out across all social media and to my family in less than twenty four hours. By Friday night, everyone knew, and I have never felt better. This is a long story, so I’ll backtrack.
When my mother asked, “When did you know?” I realized something. I never asked myself the question before, but I naturally replied I knew in the third grade. I guess that was when I thought something was “wrong” with me. I continued on fine up until seventh grade. That year, I was no longer close to many of my friends. I distanced myself and joined a different friend group made of people that I shared more interests with and really enjoyed being with. However, this was also the year where I began to lose myself creatively. I no longer drew as much, and I spent my days checking out new library books once or twice a week instead.
By the time high school came around, I remained in the same friend group, but again, felt out of place like I did with my other friends. This was the year where things went downhill. In the spring of freshman year, I was very distant and hoped that my friends would stop liking me so I could be bitter by myself. I began to self harm on and off off. Throughout high school, I relied on music to get past any bad days and started doing concert photography along with writing album reviews, interviewing bands,etc.
Now I'm starting my junior year and I had a weird feeling that everything would change. I had no clue what it was, but I was going to do everything I could to make it my best year. In April, two weeks prior to my birthday, I sent an email to a music publication that had no one covering All Time Low’s Future Hearts tour. I didn’t hear back but ended up getting approval the day of, just hours before the show. I met new people and felt genuine happiness.
Fast forward to July 9th. I left to go to a camp for the first time, where I would be with 300 girls. I was scared. Nervous. I didn’t want to pack and leave. Going was the best decision I could have ever made. Out of the 300 girls, the girl on my side of the dorm, two rooms down from me, was the only openly gay girl there. Let’s call her “R.” On the very first day, she was the third girl that I met. She was looking for someone and I pointed her down the hall. Later that day, when I came back from a meeting, she was in the middle of explaining her situation and life with nothing but pride. I admired her for being so open.
Days later, with no television or influence from parents and friends, I began to question myself. I wondered why I could be completely open with strangers, but have anxiety attacks and constant nervousness at home. One day, while bothered by something another girl said, I admitted to “R” that I was bisexual. She said it was okay and I still felt weird. The word didn’t fit me. When gay marriage was passed in the US, I texted a friend two days later and admitted I was bisexual for the first time. Typing the word made me nervous, scared, and I had instant regret after sending the message even though she has been my best friend for almost four years and she was fully supportive.
After three days of going to “R” for advice, comfort, and help, I began to develop feelings for her. I had never felt any type of attraction for anyone. She reminded me of “X”, the only boy I have ever looked at romantically. But I could not connect with him in any other way. Though I thought I was okay at the time, I knew I shouldn’t get attached to “R,” but I allowed myself to do so anyway. “R” made me realize that love was and is real. She was the only person I ever saw myself dating or having some kind of future with. When I thought of guys in the past, I could never imagine myself marrying one, but I realized that I could, maybe, end up marrying a girl.
After coming to terms with these feelings, I told her, “I think I’m gay.” As she previously did, she told me to take my time and that if I remained strong, no one could hurt me. I needed to accept myself and take time, if needed.
I got motion sickness a few hours later and she advised that I take a nap, so I tried, I really did. Instead, I sobbed on a couch seat in the middle of a lobby while other girls walked past. I blinded myself in tears and emotion. I later got up, told myself that I was okay and sat on the floor. “R” was busy talking to someone else so I remained seated, read, and tried to breathe normally. I began to tell myself that being who I am is okay.
Later that night, on the final night of the program, we had our final assembly. I texted a friend who was online at the time and came out to her. In a single text. No hiding anything. And she accepted me. After 17 years, it was no longer a secret that I wanted to hide. I then passed my phone to the other girls who were from my dorm. They cried with me, hugged me, and held my hand. At that moment, I knew that I was and would be okay.
The next day, my parents picked me up early in the morning. On the way home, we stopped somewhere for my dad to meet with a former coworker. I sat with my mom and explained the camp while we waited for him to finish his conversation. I talked about “R” and how happy I was that someone could be so proud of herself. As we were getting ready to leave, I said, “The reason I connected with ‘R’ so much is because I’m gay.” The second time I had said the word out loud was to my mom. She hugged me and almost cried. She was only slightly upset, because I put her on the spot and she wanted to have the ability to react, but I had not told my Dad. On the way home, since my sister had to work late, I texted her and came out to her. She, of course, accepted me. From then on I came out on every social media platform I have.
While texting “R” I realized that my constant over-sensitivity, anxiety attacks, nervousness, need to self harm, and sadness all stemmed from the same thing - over four years of self denial. The same day, I admitted that I had a crush on her. My first “real” crush. She did not feel the same way. I learned about love and heartbreak in just a few hours.
The next day, I went out with my mom and sister. They asked all the questions they wanted, I answered. While out, I got a haircut and upon arriving home, I dyed it. While in the middle of dying it, I, for whatever reason, decided to shave part of my head. I have never felt more like myself in my life.
Later that month, I again, began taking to “R”, now as friends. Completely platonic. We talked on the phone about our futures and plans on how to help the community.Since coming out, I have decided to wholeheartedly focus on what I enjoy in life. I am joining more organizations, talking with others going through similar situations, and living my most authentic life. Now, going out, talking to people, and taking photos is so easy. I had never realized that my denial led to me living with severe anxiety, which forced me to be a quiet person.
If you don't believe that it can and will get better, let me be an example. Your sexuality does not define you, and you can only exist as the best version of yourself if you accept who you are.
Now, my entire school knows - friends, people I don’t even talk to... I, for the first time, am comfortable in my own skin. I have once again found myself creatively and look forward to the future.
I do not know how my life will continue from this moment but I will dedicate my entire life to helping and mentoring LGBTQ+ youth and trying my best to make a difference.
Lindsy Carr is an openly gay Hispanic woman. She came out recently and she feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. She is a music journalist and concert photographer.
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