Coming Out: Self Acceptance

Everyone shares their experiences of coming out to family and friends and we all know how difficult it can be but what you don’t see a lot of is the stories of how people came out to themselves. Everyone’s journey is different, some people have always known their sexuality and accepted it, others have known but been in denial, some have known but have been too afraid to acknowledge it and then there are the people like me who spent years just not knowing until one day the ball finally dropped. The trouble with the latter is you’ve spent all these years thinking you’re straight and now suddenly you’re questioning everything.

When I realised I might be bisexual I felt nothing but relief, it was the answer I had been looking for, it explained this longing I had for women without invalidating the relationship I had with my then boyfriend. The first few days were spent on cloud nine until I realised that actually my problems weren’t solved, that feeling in the pit of my stomach that something wasn’t quite right was still gnawing at me. What followed were intense feelings of guilt and wanting to change; I wanted so badly to not feel this way, to live out the life my boyfriend and I had imagined together. When you’re with someone it’s hard not to feel guilty about your feelings changing, I felt like I had robbed him of four years, I felt like I was taking away his chance of happiness, ruining his hopes and dreams for the future. The thing I learned from this is that you have to be selfish when you’re coming out; I couldn’t help that it had taken me until twenty-five to discover who I was and I shouldn’t be punished for it. I’ll never know exactly why I didn’t realise sooner, compulsory heterosexuality definitely played a part but I can’t help but wonder if maybe I’d have realised sooner if I had acknowledged my trauma and got help when I needed it. The fact is I’ll never really know. I thought breaking up would feel freeing but it didn’t; I was miserable. I had walked away from something safe and stable and thrust myself into a world I knew nothing about. I faced a lot of self doubt in the beginning, I questioned if breaking up with my boyfriend was really the right thing to do, I questioned if I was really attracted to girls, I questioned if I could ever be fully happy with anyone. Maybe I was the problem, maybe I was just damaged, maybe I’d never enjoy certain aspects of a relationship. The thoughts tormented me, I’d have dreams where I was lying next to my ex, we’d be chatting and laughing but then he’d try to touch me or kiss me and I’d go completely still, I’d zone out and let things happen and feel nothing but misery and emptiness. I hated those dreams. I hated them because they weren’t just dreams, they were how I’d felt for years, they felt more like memories replaying every night. I started to worry that the issue wasn’t my sexuality but rather that a part of me was just broken. I got past this stage of self doubt, it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t until I started going on dates with girls that I started to feel like I was right, that the problem had been sexuality. I don’t think I fully accepted that I was a lesbian until after I had slept with a woman. Everything felt better, I wasn’t wishing it was over, I wasn’t making myself numb to avoid the negative feelings I associated with sex, I wasn’t performing to live up to someone else’s warped expectations, I was just enjoying myself. Revelling in every little moment. It felt how I had always imagined it should feel. After this I felt certain I was a lesbian, to the point that the idea of sleeping with a man again is just completely unfathomable to me now.

So great, I’ve done the whole questioning phase, I’ve accepted my sexuality, fab, job done! Sadly, I’m now experiencing something I never expected to happen. I feel distant from my old self; I can’t relate to who I was as a teenager, I question everything. That boy I thought I fancied, did I ever really like him that way or did I just think he was a nice person? That girl I really wanted to be friends with, did I like her as more than a friend? Were any of my celebrity crushes real or did I just like their personalities? Were my female idols my actual celebrity crushes? Did I waste my teenage years pretending to be someone I wasn’t? The frustrating thing is the realisation that I’ll never really know the answers to these questions, so while people sit and reminisce over their childhood crushes I sit and wonder who did I actually like? It’s obvious from reading my diary that I wasn’t happy with the relationship I was in during high school, there are pages upon pages about how guilty I felt for not loving him the way I should have. At the time I just thought that I was mean, a wee bit heartless but now I wonder if maybe a part of me knew I could never love a man. I wonder if I would have saved myself a lot of misery had I worked it all out back then.

However, I didn’t work it out and the misery that was my early twenties very much exists. I feel disgust thinking about that time in my life. What were once funny sex stories now feel shameful. The thing with coming out in adulthood is that you have to examine why you didn’t realise sooner. A lot of people say they just never got in relationships with men or actively avoided sex with men but in my early twenties I done the opposite, I actively pursued it to the point that I was quite reckless with it. I never looked too deeply at this before coming out, I told myself I was a young woman, enjoying her freedoms. But I didn’t enjoy my freedoms, I hated every sexual encounter I had with a man, so why did I keep doing it? The answer to this was quite hard to swallow. I found myself desperate to prove my worth after being in a controlling and abusive relationship. I developed such a complicated relationship with men, I despised them all the while being desperate for their approval. It was a bad time and I made a lot of stupid decisions, some that I now deeply regret. It’s tough to look back at your life and realise how many decisions were driven by trauma, how much of your life you’re now ashamed of. I joke a lot about my terrible sex life pre-coming out but the truth is now when I look back all I can see is how much pain I was in, all I can see is how many times I relived the same trauma just hoping the next time would be different. It’s been a pretty upsetting realisation but I guess that’s why people tell you not to dwell on the past.

Most of my posts are reflective, they’re accounts of how I dealt with coming out and what the outcome was. But this one is written very much in the moment, I don’t have answers for how you get past this stage, for how you accept who you once were and the upset you now feel over it. So I guess maybe further down the line I’ll sit down to write out the answers to these questions but for now, I’ll just keep working through it.

33 thoughts on “Coming Out: Self Acceptance

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  1. Thanks for sharing this, i think you’re posting some amazing content in the sense that you’re being so honest and raw with your feelings that hopefully it can help someone else who may be wondering about their sexuality themselves!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Life is a journey, and realising the truth about yourself at 25 isn’t too bad. Hopefully you have many years of happiness ahead of you now.
    Once our eyes are opened to our true selves we all go through periods of introspection, and it’s healthy to have a way of releasing those.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I always find your writing so honest and truthful that I think whoever reads this roots for you on the side! I am sure that this will help many people going through the same x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post- and very helpful for anyone with similar feelings about their sexuality, or if they are in a relationship that perhaps isn’t right for them. I love how you’ve been open and honest about your journey, without sugar-coating but also with a little humour and lightness 🙂 thank you for sharing x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to come to that realisation, but it’s nothing to feel guilty about. I’m glad you’ve been able to come to terms with your sexuality and I hope you can now be happier moving forward

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is an incredible post. You were in such a difficult position, but I’m proud you found the courage to be true to who you are and come out. Sexuality can be really complicated. It is okay that it took you time to figure out yours. I applaud you because I still do not have mine completely determined, which is why I just don’t label myself anymore. Your honesty is admirable and I think what you share can help a lot of people. This was a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, this comment is so wonderful! I know for a lot of people picking a label is one of the hardest parts and honestly sometimes I think there’s too much pressure to have one!

      Like

  7. I’m glad I saved this for after work so I can have a proper read-through. This post was amazing to read and also really eye-opening, understanding what the process is like adjusting to your sexuality. One of my siblings came out as gay a few years ago and it’s interesting to now read what it must have been like from their perspective and what went on in their head throughout the process (they didn’t come out until late 20’s).
    I might not ever know what the questionable sexuality or coming out is like personally, but I’m so happy there are people like you out there to share the stories so we can understand.
    I can however relate to the unhappy relationship aspect and not understanding why (for different reasons) and the break up still not quite fixing things.
    Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a lot more to work through than I ever thought tbh and while I’m definitely a lot happier than I was before there is a part of me that feels a bit lost still but I’ll get there in time! It’s nice to know that there are loads of others who didn’t realise till they were a bit older too! Thank you so much for such a nice comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m in awe over how beautifully written and honest this post is. So many people feel lost, and this post will help them feel that it is okay if they are experiencing similar feelings and events that you went through. It is a comforting read for anyone wondering about their sexuality or facing the same questions you faced. Thank you for sharing a part of your journey. 💜

    This was truly an incredible post to read, and it will help others. Thank you so much for sharing. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a well-written and honest post, love! I’ve followed you on IG so yes, this is a helpful post for many of those who need help. Personally, I don’t think this is a big issue, I’ve been always open-minded about gender or identity. I always respect others for whatever choice they make of their sexuality or life. As long as they’re happy, then everything would be fine. Somehow, the culture, the norm, and people around us who make it really difficult to accept :’)

    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s nice to hear when people are accepting, things are definitely changing for the better and it’s nice to see hopefully one day everyone can just live and love as they please!

      Like

  10. This was a very powerful post. I love how raw and open you are about how you are feeling. It is interesting to wonder about your teenage self and how you would have done things differently had you know what you know now. Many of us have these questions, but it’s interesting to look at it in terms of sexuality. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions so openly.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow what a powerful blog post to read. Thank you for being so candid and open about your feelings and life. I know that this post will help so many who have had similar feelings or are going through something similar. Well done you

    Rosie

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is such an important topic. I personally am straight but I don’t judge people and their sexuality. I feel like in this situation, self acceptance is just as important as coming out to others. I really love how honest and raw all your posts are and I feel like your blog would so many people confused about their sexuality. I feel like those questions you have about your childhood right now are normal because like you said you didn’t discover you were a lesbian until you were 25 and for all your childhood, you were used to liking guys or at least thinking that you like guys but right now, you know your sexuality and it is completely different from what you used to think it was (if that makes sense) and so yea.. the questions flood in. Just do you. Everything will fall in place and those questions you have might never be answered but that’s fine. x!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. For me, if any of my family members came out, I would be thrilled to bits. The only thing that matters to me is their happiness and if they are with someone/someones who make them happy then that is a win in my books.

    Helen
    Tea in the Tub

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I always love your honesty in your posts, your posts are definitely gonna help so many persons who feel lost when it comes to accepting themselves. Continue making great content, it will provide comfort for those going through the same struggles. Amazing post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I love how honest and raw this post was, im sure it can feel very vulnerable to write and post so thank you. A friend has a blog that supports victims of sexual violence of all types and genders that I find to be a wonderful and open place, you should check it out! I have found lots of solace there
    https://www.belikelilith.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow this is so powerful and honest. I can relate to coming out in later life and questioning everything you had before. It can be much more difficult than expected to deal with and can unfortunately leave you with more questions than answers for sure.
    I’m pleased you’ve now come to find who you really are, despite all the uncomfortable truths that come along with it. ❤️
    Sarah xoxo

    Like

  17. I came across your blog by surprise and this post really hit home for me. Thank you for sharing your story, it also felt good to know I am not alone! Reading your reflections was like looking in a mirror (except I had taken it one step further and got married to a man) I tell people that when I came out (I was 25) they were never the first to know as you come out to yourself first. It is hard not to question your life before coming out, but I think that it is healthy to reflect and recognise why we made some choices, and then show ourselves self love and acceptance. A lot of choices we make come from a place of fear, but it sounds like you are now coming from a place of love!
    I hope you continue to reflect and grow, even if it’s just baby steps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw I’m glad to hear it resonated with you! Honestly this was such a lovely comment to read! It’s made me feel good knowing that someone else also feels similar.

      Like

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