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What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Being Gay In A Small Town

I know it feels like you need to hide. I know you’re dead set on being “normal.” I know you’re overwhelmed with fear at the thought of being an outcast. I promise you that when you look back at this point in your life, you won’t be paralyzed by what these people think of you. This time will feel small and insignificant in comparison to the places you’ll reach. 

I know it seems so far away—a life beyond this one. It’s out there and it’s waiting for you. You don’t need to live in this moment, afraid of every move. You don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not. I know that seems like an impossible feat, but the only regret you’re going to have when you look back at this point in your life is waiting to get to know your authentic self.

Right now, it seems like everyone around you has it figured out. It feels like they all know something you don’t and you don’t want to look stupid. I can assure you that even the most self-assured of your friends do not know any more about how to move through life than you do. The only thing they’ve figured out is how to fake it, and that serves them in strides. 

Right now, you’re struggling to figure out who the girl you’re meant to be looks, acts, talks, and lives like. She’s a stranger, and your perception of her shifts almost constantly. I’m sorry to say this isn’t something that’s going to go away. It brings me so much joy to tell you that eventually, you’ll learn that it’s not a space to fear, but a space to embrace and respect. It won’t be an easy space to navigate and it will always be a challenging process, but one day you’ll learn to appreciate it.

I want you to know that you don’t need to fit into the box that this town and these friends have built for you. You can already recognize the joy that comes with being unique and driven to succeed. I want you to take those feelings and use them to be unapologetically brave. 

Just remember to know the difference between being bold and being brutal. You’re young, and being brash is almost unavoidable as you grow into yourself, but please remember to be kind and value respect. Living the values that you want the world to show you is essential, even when it isn’t always reciprocated. Don’t be an asshole. The world already has far too many of them. 

I’m sorry you feel like you need to try so hard to hide these feelings you have. I’m sorry you don’t feel like this town and these people will love you or accept you for who you are. I know it’s terrifying and I know that, right now, all you want is to fit in. This is so normal. It’s such a human feeling, and it is something that’s ingrained in all of us. That doesn’t mean it needs to dictate how you live or who you love. 

Mostly, I want you to know that crushing on girls—kissing girls—isn’t something you need to feel ashamed of. This is not something that’s wrong with you. One day you’ll learn that this is part of who you are and an integral part of love for you. That makes it a beautiful thing, regardless of what your small town makes you believe. 

One day soon you’re going to realize that the best parts of life are going to terrify you. The best things in this world are right outside your comfort zone. It’s okay to be afraid, and it’s so normal to question everything that once felt like home. You’ll realize that home isn’t a place. It’s a community of people who love you—all of you. You’re going to find so many homes in this life. Just hold on and be brave. The sooner you embrace yourself and the way you love, the sooner you’re going to feel like the most full version of yourself. 

The trials and tribulations will come, but I promise that you are strong enough to handle them. Even on the days it may not feel that way. Be brave enough to be yourself. I promise that there are so many people in this life that will love you for who you are.