Finding Myself – A Journey of Identity

Mar 25, 2011 No Comments

By Andy Albright

Many would say that not being true to oneself is the hardest way to live.  I lied to myself for years, because I feared how society would perceive me.  However I have come to realize that what society thinks of me is not the most important thing in the world.  The important things come down to friends and family, and whether or not they are able to accept and love me; once this realization had stuck I was able to admit it to myself: I am gay.

I realized around seventh grade that I had feelings towards the other boys in my grade; feelings I found unreciprocated, that I had been told my entire life should be felt towards girls; feelings of which I was ashamed.  At first, pushing away my true identity came easily, for I had always envisioned growing up and coming home to a wife and kids.  I told people I liked girls, I even dated girls; I embodied the person that society wanted me to be.  Though more awkward and with fewer male friends than most, I still perfected my mask over the years, and nobody suspected a thing.

My feelings only strengthened with time.  My junior year of high school had started, and I embodied the vision of a straight male:  Homecoming prince with a beautiful date to the dance.  My junior year was half complete, while I still wore the same façade.  My junior year came to a close, yet I was still living a lie.  Though nobody could see it, I had been tearing myself apart.  I had to decide whether to be the person that society demanded or to be myself.  In the end, it was no contest.  I could no longer run from the truth.

In June of 2008, I finally admitted it to myself.  I vividly remember the day that I came out to my best friend Katie.  It was Friday, June 13th.  She had been avoiding me, because ironically she thought the thing “I really needed to tell her” was that, as she phrased it, “I wanted to have her babies.”  She supported me unquestioningly, and being honest was the best feeling in the world. I was free.  All of my friends supported me.  If anything, they were proud of me.  Without them, I really do not know where I would have found myself by the end of senior year.  However, there were still obstacles needing to be faced.

Telling my parents, particularly my dad, was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life.  When I came out to my mom she thought I was joking.  Though I know it was hard for her at first, she said to me “Andy, I will always love you.  All I could ever want is for you to be happy.”  Things became easier knowing that my mom, whom I love much more than she knows, accepted me.  To know that when she sees me she doesn’t see her gay son, but instead she still sees her little boy—the little boy that used to fall asleep in her lap sucking his thumb—is far more than I could ever ask.

Things did not go so smoothly with my dad.  Everything worked out in the end, but the first few months were hard.  After telling him he cried on my shoulder for a good twenty minutes, asking how I knew and what made me choose this.  He didn’t understand when I told him countless times that this was not a choice to be made, that it was simply me.  He did not look at me or talk to me for days, and when he finally did, he said some very hurtful things. It was hard to live in my own house for a few months.  However as time passed he came to realize that I am still his son, the son he taught to play baseball and still takes on camping trips.  In the end, he became just as supportive as my mom.

This experience with my family and friends, apart from strengthening me as a person, also sparked my interest in the issue of gay rights.  I did not fully realize the horror that was Proposition 8 until it was too late.  I did not realize that my conservative hometown of Folsom was not the exception, but the rule.  I did not realize that the horrible things said to me and my friends by our peers at school were being repeated all over the state.  I did not understand that California, one of the most liberal, diverse, and accepting states in the country, would actually turn out to be one of the most close-minded and intolerant states come election day.  I was crushed.  It did not seem possible that California would take away a right that I had thought to be fundamental.  I was devastated.

The devastation, now only slightly numbed, has yet to fully pass.  However, I have not lost hope.  I believe that I will find myself, and all those who support equality, on the right side of history.  With the causes truly worth fighting for, the struggle will never end until the goal has been reached.  I imagine a California, an America, a world in which everybody is treated just as my friends and family treat me.  I imagine a world in which nobody is afraid to be themselves, where teenagers like myself do not fear expressing who they are to their parents and friends.  I imagine a world in which all can walk forth not with shame, but pride.

Spring 2010

About the author

The author didnt add any Information to his profile yet
No Responses to “Finding Myself – A Journey of Identity”

Leave a Reply