What I Learned When I Finally Embraced My Sexuality

Written by Lauren Stahl

For years, I stuffed down the fact that I was gay. I so badly wanted to fit in with everyone else that I lived my life to appease others. I became used to invalidating my true and authentic self.

This manifested in destructive ways. Pretty soon alcohol, drugs, and food gave me a distorted sense of relief, and I didn’t have to deal with the fact that I didn’t fit into the standard mold of being straight. Deep down I knew my truth, but I was so used to disconnecting myself from it and my emotions that I went years not being true to myself.

When I finally came out, things changed. My life opened up. My heart opened up. I became present and learned what self-acceptance was all about.

So here's what I learned from embracing my sexuality!

1. It gets better.

These three words go far. I felt so scared and alone. Since I didn’t fit into a standardized conception of sexuality, I fell into the idea that being gay was wrong. I never thought others would accept me or that I would be free. The truth is, it does get better. With time, I got more confident in who I am, which allowed the disconnect from my mind and my heart to get smaller. I started to listen to my heart.

2. The people who matter accept you just as you are.

When I came out to my family and friends, most just smiled and were genuinely happy for me. I was shocked. I thought these people would walk out on me or make me feel ashamed and judged. The opposite proved to be true. I know this is not the case for many, but keep in mind that the people who don’t accept you or make you feel inadequate for not being straight have their own misconceptions, and how they feel has to do with them, not you.

3. Authenticity feels good.

The more I denied my sexuality, the more fearful, sad, and disconnected I was. I focused on everything external. My job, my addictions, and having control. I never went within, and I had a hard time communicating how I felt. A sense of freedom took over me when I started to accept who I was.

You are the only person that can do this. It's hard work and requires you to peel away your outer layers, but it brings about a sense of relief. We only get one life here.

4. The fear was in my head.

The mind is powerful, and the stories I made up continue to baffle me. I made my sexuality much bigger in my head. I thought no one was going to like me, and I would be rejected. The reality is that the more I denied who I was, the more I rejected myself. This did not feel good. By going through the fear, I started to be compassionate and loving to myself, which made embracing my sexuality that much easier.

5. There is no normal.

We live in a society where new ideas and conceptions are taking place on a daily basis. What does “normal” even mean anymore? Sexuality is on such a fluid scale. Accept the fluidity. Realize that you are not alone and the thoughts and feelings you have in your head are felt elsewhere. Stuffing down your truth can be detrimental to your health and your life. Let go of “normal” and embrace “natural.” If you do this, you can be the best version of yourself. And you are worthy of just that!

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