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What's Your Story of Coming Out to Yourself?

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by BiBoyToy, Feb 21, 2021.

  1. BiBoyToy

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    I've seen quite a few threads on Empty Closets about people sharing their coming out story to their family and friends. However, I don't think I've seen any threads about people telling their story about coming out to themselves.

    So, what is your story about coming out to yourself?

    When, where, and how (etc.) did you figure out your sexual orientation?
     
    #1 BiBoyToy, Feb 21, 2021
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
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  2. LostInDaydreams

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    For me, it was something that happened over quite a few months. There wasn’t one big realisation, but lots of smaller ones over time. People are right when they describe the process as being like a rollercoaster - I went backwards and forwards between “I’m gay” and “I can’t be gay” many times. At the beginning, the “I’m gay” moments would last just hours before doubts crept in, but then it was days, then weeks, etc. and eventually it stuck.

    What’s your story? :slight_smile:
     
    #2 LostInDaydreams, Feb 22, 2021
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  3. NeoSeoul21

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    This is extremely similar to what I've been going through, except this rollercoaster has been going on since Spring of last year. The good (although scary) news is it seems like it's starting to really stick as of lately. Almost like the switch fully flipped the past couple days. Thanks for sharing!
     
  4. out2019

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    Same here... and there was that tipping point when I was happy it stuck and started worrying about having 'straight' thoughts! :slight_smile:
     
  5. LostInDaydreams

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    It lasted for months for me too. I’m glad that you’re feeling fewer periods of doubt.
     
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  6. QuietPeace

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    It took me decades of wondering and exploring. Back in the mid 80s after I first started living as my true self I started to explore my sexuality. I was pressured by many people into having casual sex, especially by one friend who used to derisively call me "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" (for those not familiar with a series of books from more than a century ago it is a way of calling me "goody two-shoes"). I did try but I did not like the results, I do not like casual sex. I then went through a series of abusive relationships which were no more helpful. About 2007 after a number of years on my own I started exploring again, still under pressure from others. About that time I finally heard the term Demisexual, I had trouble thinking of that as an orientation because it just made sense to me "of course you only want to have sex with someone that you are close to, everyone does". It took me many more years to realize that if everyone really was like me there would be no hook-up apps, casual dating sites, singles bars, prostitution or porn. I went through a period of thinking I was asexual or greysexual because everyone on the internet define Demisexual as not being able to find someone attractive until you cared about them. I no longer ascribe to that and so I have finally accepted that I am Demisexual.
     
  7. BiBoyToy

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    Mine is kind of a long story.

    When I was pretty young, I had a consensual same-sex experience (relationship) with my bestfriend. We didn't have sex, but him and I did experiment a lot with holding hands, cuddling, kissing/making out and oral. I really liked it and had a lot of fun. I also had very strong feelings for him. Being as young as I was, I was completely naive and didn't have any understanding of sexuality. I grew up in a fairly religious household and it was never talked about. This was also before anything regarding sexuality was taught in school. Although, I did have the idea that we were doing things that our parents and heteronormative society wouldn't want us to do. I was a pretty rebellious kid though and liked him a lot so I kept doing things with him.

    As I got older and started understanding sexuality, I was very confused. I often wondered if the things my bestfriend and I did was a normal "experimental phase" that everyone went through. However, I couldn't deny the fact that I really enjoyed our experiences and had very strong feelings for him (even to this day I still have a soft spot for him), so I began to wonder if I was gay.

    In high school, I had a few girlfriends and a couple one night stands with girls. I really enjoyed my sexual experiences with them and had strong feelings for the girls I dated. (I was open to experimenting with a guy again, but the opportunity never presented itself).

    At this point, I was even more confused and started to wonder if I was bisexual and deep down I knew I was. But, for whatever reason (probably due to heteronormativity) I tried to suppress my attraction to men, which didn't work. Over the next few years, I went through the same rollercoaster ride that you and many others described. I went back and forth between trying to tell myself that I'm actually straight, and being honest with myself that I'm bisexual.

    Then, when I was in my early twenties (I'm still in my early twenties), one of my siblings came out to everyone as a transgender woman. Seeing her bravery to be her authentic self and the positive reaction (for the most part) from family and friends, it gave me the courage to finally come out to myself that I was indeed bisexual. Shortly after, I told my sister and another one of my siblings that I was bisexual and the were very accepting! Since then, I have had doubt about my sexuality (mainly to which degree I'm bisexual. take the Kinsey scale for example) but ever since coming out to myself, I haven't tried to convince myself that I'm straight.
     
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  8. BiBoyToy

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    Quite a long journey, I know. Haha. :slight_smile:
     
    #8 BiBoyToy, Mar 9, 2021
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  9. BiGemini87

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    Oh, gods. That's a hard one, because it wasn't a clean, straight (ha!) line to realizing I'm bi. There was a lot of hopping from "Am I? Am I just bicurious?" to "I can't like girls--I'm into boys!" and "It's just admiration. I just wish I could look like/be like her".

    So basically some very standard stuff in terms of the "Bisexual Girl Coming Out" experience--only mine took too long, as far as I'm concerned. Considering how early some of these thoughts started cropping up, at any rate.

    But when I finally acknowledged it? It was after several months of really, really pondering it, educating myself regarding bisexuality, which stemmed from some wet dreams I kept having beforehand. Initially, I felt shame after these dreams (hell, during some of them. There was literally one where after sexual stuff had happened, I was looking for my shoes in a huge pile of them, trying to make a hasty exit for the door in the dark of night). But the more I had them, the more I was forced to examine my past thoughts and feelings.

    I don't remember all of the details, but I remember going to bed, barely able to sleep with the thought circling through my head. By the next day, I thought, "Holy shit, I'm bisexual". I said it out loud and it clicked into place (I very nearly burst into tears, and even now I can't tell you which emotion contributed the most--because I'm fairly certain there was a lot of contradicting feelings there).

    That was nearly 2 years ago (March 30th 2019 was the day it fell into place. I journal, which is probably the only reason I remember the date. Otherwise I'd just remember the month).
     
    #9 BiGemini87, Mar 10, 2021
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  10. K80outloud

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    Love this question! It took many moments and decades.

    The first time I was certain about liking girls, I was 16. I had a boyfriend, and we were both in active addiction at the time. Him and I were in his house alone when he went outside to smoke. I picked up one of his magazines and fixated on one pic of two women. (I can still see that pic!) Even though him and I had been sexually active, I had never felt that way before -- attracted instead of looking to be validated. I had two nearly simultaneous thoughts... 1. I wanted him to stay outside longer -- didn't want him there, and 2. I knew that I had to keep my thoughts/feelings to myself. (He was cool with it, but my community was definitely unsafe if you were gay!)

    Most of the girl crushes in high school and college that I've always remembered (there's others as far back as third grade, but I buried them) were when I was using.... I stopped using and married a man, had a family. Fast forward 17-ish years, and I relapse. Got into treatment (finally!) and in the course of that developed a crush on one of the other women in a recovery group. I wasn't healthy nor was she, but it was a full-blown crush nonetheless. The first one I'd had sober. I didn't know how to reconcile my feelings for women and being married to a man, so came out to my husband as bisexual.

    Six years later (last summer), I finally dug deep and came out to myself all the way. Despite the heartache it's causing, I feel like myself for the first time ever! The turning point? Last fall, I looked at myself in the mirror and said "I'm gay." just to try it on. Like a shockwave, I was able to hold my own gaze in the mirror to the point of noticing details of my eye color I never knew about. I've always had such a hard time looking at myself in a mirror... until last fall, of course. Now, I can look at my reflection, in the eye, and smile. :slight_smile:
     
  11. I'm gay

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    Like others have said, it can be difficult to pinpoint a specific moment because it's a process that has many moments, not a singular event. However, I do have one specific moment that I consider to be my "coming out to myself" moment.

    It was in the summer of 2014, and I was 45 years old, with a wife and two kids, ages 14 and 10. I had lost my dad to cancer just a few months prior, in February. It was, I now understand, the death of my father that prompted my life change. It's rather textbook psychology really, though I didn't know it at the time, that the death of a father for sons often results in a "taking stock of your life" kind of process, as it did for me. Through that reckoning of my life's path, I began realizing just what I had done to myself in denying who I was. It took many weeks of soul searching to lead to the "one moment" I referred to before.

    I have long been a garage putterer. It was kind of a place of my own where I could have "me time." It was there that on this one summer evening, as I was hanging out in the garage alone, that I had finally come to the moment I had been working up to. For days, I had already mentally said the words "I'm gay." I was already thinking it, and saying it to myself inside my head. But I had not yet given voice to it. I had not yet dared to utter it out loud. I still remember so clearly working my way up to it, trying to force myself to actually say it out loud. It took over an hour for me to do it. But I did. Very timidly, at first, but I made myself say it again, and again, and again. Each time I got bolder, stronger and a little louder (not too loud, the walls aren't soundproof!). I felt elated after being able to finally say "I'm gay."

    Unfortunately, this fantastic feeling soon faded as reality set in. My thought process turned around on me. These thoughts: What am I saying? Ok, so I'm gay. So what. You've got a wife and two kids, a house with a mortgage, a job, and an entire life happening here. It doesn't matter if you're gay, this is what you signed up for, and you can't blow it all up just because you figured it out. So, out of fear, shame and guilt, I re-buried my feelings and tried to push it all back down again.

    Spoiler Alert: I did, in fact, come out to everyone just two years later. But that's another story. If you're interested, that story is in my first thread.

    @K80outloud Thanks for sharing your story. I completely relate to now being able to actually look at myself in the mirror. I never realized that I couldn't before.
     
  12. Lesbee

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    You thought yours was long @BiBoyToy LOL.

    I feel like I’m still in the process of this. This is my story of my coming out to myself as bisexual, and maybe part of my story of coming out as a lesbian.

    I first noticed I was turned on by women in high school (I was a late bloomer biologically, though for other reasons: social conditioning, peer pressure, and trauma, I started being physical with boys sooner).

    The lessons I learned at a young age were:
    a) A woman’s body is for being sexy and pleasing men
    b) A person’s value is in their relationship status
    c) A woman’s value is ALSO in her purity and virginity and her body belongs first to God
    d) Men cannot control their physical urges, so if he is turned on, the woman is at fault and not only has sinned, but IS sinful.

    I’ve always loved drawing, so when I found something interesting, I drew it. I was drawing the cover of a Melissa Etheridge album where she’s topless, facing away from the camera, and that was the first time I noticed being sexually turned on. (Funny side note - a) I didn’t know she was a lesbian at the time, and b) it belonged to my stepdad, who came out within a year or two of this happening.)

    I was VERY active (and sincere) in my conservative Christian church as my mom & bio dad raised me to be, so obviously I wouldn’t give those feelings another thought. However, I realized one day on an early morning jog with my close friend from youth group that I had totally fallen for her hard - she was strong in her values, always improving herself, and was stunning in a refreshingly natural way. I couldn’t say anything though of course - so swallowed that right up.

    Men often wanted to date me (probably because I had no boundaries or self worth and knew what was expected of me) and since I needed the validation, I just kept doing it. I was always in a relationship. Never once sexually attracted to them (which I assumed was my virtuous purity LOL).

    In my 20s I reached a tippie toe out to that side of myself and was horrified and humiliated when my coworkers found a dating profile I had made and relentlessly bullied me for it. I wasn’t strong enough in myself to stand up for who I was. I denied it and buried that side of me even further.

    In my late 20s I told my old high school friend about my old crush - though I still had feelings for her but I didn’t tell her that - and she freaked out and never spoke to me again.

    After having two children by different fathers (birth control is for people who plan to have sex, and since I was so naive and religious, I didn’t do that, plus I had been drinking a lot anytime it happened… also I now have three) I met a woman who had it all. Beauty, brilliance, humor, ambitious goals (that she has since achieved...) she’s a great mother, and she appreciated me for who I am.

    We dated for awhile, but I think I always loved her more than she loved me. Eventually she broke things off with me to be with a man (who’s a really great guy and they’re still together today).

    I’m not sure I ever had a moment acknowledging that I was bi - I just knew I was attracted to women and often slept with men, so in my 30s that’s what I called myself.

    Now, I’ve just turned 40 and find myself in the midst of coming out (to myself) again… this time as a lesbian. I’ve said it in my head, and in writing… I think I know it. I’ve done so much writing and digging into my reasons for sleeping with men and realized I’ve never had a sexual desire for a man - only the pressure to please them. Now that I have boundaries, self worth that’s not at all based on my relationship status, and my kids are all upper teens now so they don’t “need me to provide a father figure” as I had believed was necessary, AND I’m sober, I’ve been more connected to my body and have healed so much from all the trauma. My dreams are frequently about coming out… saying out loud in a dream that I’m a lesbian, or having a co-worker hint that “a lot of people have come out over quarantine”, etc.

    The only thing stopping me from fully embracing it I think, is the self-doubt I’ve always had, and knowing there’s a lot of complex brainwashing/trauma that could be impacting things. And since I’m in an amazing relationship with a man I love dearly, I hesitate to break up unless absolutely necessary, so I’m starting therapy next Wednesday to see if it’s possible I’m no longer in any way able to act romantically with him due to trauma rather than my sexuality.

    So far I haven’t been able to say definitively “I’m a lesbian” out loud… it always comes out “IF I’m a lesbian” or “it seems to be leaning THAT WAY”… but every day I feel more distant from my partner, and more peace about this truth. (See? I even said “this truth”.) I love @I'm gay's story of saying it out loud over and over again. When I next get the house to myself or can escape it, I am going to do that. Even just imagining that right now feels powerful.
     
    #12 Lesbee, Mar 10, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  13. Lesbee

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    I guess I kinda broke the rules since I told more than just the "coming out to myself" part, but I felt like it was all part of my current "coming out to myself" story.
     
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  14. RD Spencer

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    Is it coming out to yourself, if you are in a perpetual state of questioning?
     
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  15. BiBoyToy

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    I have really enjoyed reading everyone's story about coming out to yourself.

    I look forward to reading more.

    Thank you for sharing! <3
     
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  16. BiBoyToy

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    I guess it just depends. However, the way I see it is that questioning your sexuality is possibly the beginning stages of you coming out to yourself. If that makes sense. The reason I used the word, "possibly" is because some people (not many) question their sexual orientation but eventually come to the conclusion that they're straight, which in that case coming out to themselves wouldn't really be applicable. Not saying that you're going to come to the conclusion that you're straight. Just explaining why someone questioning their sexual orientation doesn't always lead to them coming out to themselves. Again, I hope this makes sense. :slight_smile:
     
  17. BiBoyToy

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    Exactly! All of it is what has led up to your current story of coming out to yourself.

    I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing! :slight_smile:
     
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  18. K80outloud

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    I really relate to this. My relationship with my mom was emotionally and physically abusive and messed with my ability to trust women. I dealt with most of the issues surrounding that, but when she passed, I dove head first into healing deeper, core parts of me. It’s been a revelation to see, in part, how my relationship with her prevented me from living fully — I was terrified of being hurt by women again!

    When people would ask about my grief (and assume we had a BFF sort of relationship), I’d say a complicated relationship makes for complicated grief. Turns out, it also made for a more complicated coming out. It took a handful of years, but I’m finally out and proud.

    @I’m gay I’m glad your process was much shorter and that you’ve been able to land in a more authentic place. The biggest shock in coming out (to myself or others) hasn’t been that I’m gay but more the amount of emotional turmoil in the process. Guess I always envisioned it more like rainbows all the time. :slight_smile:
     
  19. Lesbee

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    Update: two days ago I said "I'm a lesbian out loud to myself in a mirror. I felt like if I had been single, I'd be 100% out to myself, but still felt like it didn't count until I told my partner.

    Last night I did it. I came out to my partner definitively and he's (so far) super supportive and says he could tell that's where I was. I'm still going to get to therapy, but this I know to be true. It feels amazing!! I'm trying to take it slowly, but I just want to tell everyone immediately!!
     
  20. Omnopus

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    I knew I wasn't straight before I knew I wasn't straight, if that makes any sense. In elementary school, I fell in love with someone named Ozzy. At the time, I knew them as female, though they would later come out to me as being trans. I grew up in an ally household, though I never really realized I might not be straight. I'd had many instances where I thought I was in love until I fell in love with Ozzy. I didn't know I was in love. I was so young; in fact, I didn't know what love really felt like. I told them that I felt "weird" around them, and it was only when they asked if we could date a few months later that I realized what that feeling was. After that, I began thinking more about sexuality, and it took me until recently that I could proudly say that I was a homosexual, lesbian omniromantic.

    I apologize if this is a rambling mess, but I tend to ramble when I bring up this story.