Column: Journey toward discovery

‘Once I listened to myself, I was able to feel confident in my sexuality.’


Rae Godwin

“I wished I knew back then that everything would turn out OK.”

Rapid thumps rattle through my heart when she smiles at me. She flips her long blonde hair, giggling at the funny TikTok I sent her. My eyes follow her every move, and I can’t help but feel confused as to why I get a different feeling with her than my other friends. 

Every second that goes by I fall deeper in love with her. 

No one has ever made me feel that warm and fuzzy feeling like my ex best friend. I felt like I was on top of the world when she smiled at me. The past me didn’t understand my feelings until the heartbreak I went through. 

I was taught at a young age that a girl was made for a boy, and I never would have thought differently. My mom would tell me, “Your time for your prince charming will come.” I always believed her because why would my mom lie? As time passed, I realized how different I was than all my friends. They would constantly talk about boys and relationship stuff. I never had anything to say to those conversations.

I remember when my ex best friend would talk about her crushes and the jealousy I felt was like a hot knife was stabbing my heart. At first I thought I was just upset that she would spend more time with him than me. However, I quickly realized the way I talked so fondly to her wasn’t how friends usually talk about one another. 

Only being 15, I wanted to figure out why I began to feel this way toward my best friend. I knew what being gay was, but there was absolutely no chance I could ever be gay. My family is religious; I know they have different mindsets about modern day society. I’m not religious myself, but I prayed to God every day, begging to change the girl who I truly was deep down. At night I would cry myself to sleep with my fears replaying as a nightmare. I was so young, and I never wanted to disappoint my family. 

My life hasn’t been the same since.

Realizing I like girls was a hard time in my life. I wanted to make my family proud, and I didn’t know if they would still love me for being gay. It was a secret I would keep, losing motivation in school and in life. I was so afraid of how people would react if I ever came out, that I lost myself in the process. As the journey of finding myself went on, it would only get worse. I constantly fought with my family, with them not knowing what was causing me to act differently. 

I couldn’t think about anything else but the fears I had.

When my mom found out I like girls, she still had hope I would marry a boy. How do I tell my mom I lied and said I like boys to make her happy? She accepted me but one comment she said left me crying in my room to God wishing I was normal. 

But Alexa, that can be a phase. It’s OK to be confused. 

Those words haunted me for years. I lied to everyone and only did more harm to myself. It was like someone else was in my body while I screamed to be let out. Realizing I like girls was easier than realizing I didn’t like boys at all. At a young age, the media I consumed was about a boy and girl falling in love. Now everything I knew had changed and I was this snowball rolling down with all my anxiety. 

It wasn’t until summer of 2021, where I couldn’t take the pain anymore. I already lost everyone including myself, I didn’t know what else to do. I was tired of hurting myself to make others happy, so I quickly made the decision to forget what others say. Once I listened to myself, I was able to feel confident in my sexuality. Coming out to my family was nerve-wracking, especially my dad. 

I told myself if they don’t accept me it’s OK because I accept myself. I don’t need permission to love someone. I never wanted to share this part of myself to my family but they surprised me with being extremely supportive. 

Being queer isn’t something to be afraid of. I wished I knew back then that everything would turn out OK. While some days are harder than others, I can confidently say I am gay and proud.