Today is my one year anniversary of being on Empty Closets. When I realized that, I started thinking about how things were back then compared to how they are now. I joined EC a few months after fully realizing for the first time in my life that I am not straight, and had fallen in love with a guy (and we just had our one year anniversary of dating not long ago too). I was really scared when I joined this site. It felt like my world had exploded, I thought I was going to lose my family, my friends, was a failure of nature and would end up in hell for feeling those things. Not very long afterwards, someone credible threatened to kill me because of it after they accidentally found out and I hid in my apartment with a gun totally terrified that people like that would always try to hurt me because of it. I was so afraid, that I ran away from/ditched my boyfriend completely for over a week and told my mom I was wrong and confused and was actually still straight because I was afraid of losing her. I ended up crashing my car and ending up in the hospital due to extreme stress, guilt over abandoning my boyfriend, and the intense fear that never went away distracting me while driving. It was bad, and EC was there for me the entire time. Making threads, PM'ng staff members, and meeting people on here who became friends and made me feel more accepted. Now, I'm not scared anymore really. My world did explode, but most of the pieces have been glued back together at this point. I didn't die clearly (the threat turned out to be an intimidation tactic only). I went back to my boyfriend asking for forgiveness, and have gone through a lot with him since then. I didn't end up losing my family, not permanently at least, and although my mom still isn't very supportive of it...she's still part of my life and I'm thankful for that because I felt really lost without my family. I didn't die from the car crash clearly and there were no bad injuries (what's up with me and almost dying so much?) and have had many real world interactions with the LGBT community, which made me feel better seeing I wasn't as alone as I thought I was. I appreciate this site and all of the people on it. Even the ones I've argued with and had drama with at various points. There's no way I can fairly repay you all for helping me through all that fear and those feelings of worthlessness. I forget sometimes that this isn't just a discussion forum, how afraid I was when I got here, and that other new people who feel exactly like i did are around watching. My posting style in some threads has unintentionally gotten more argumentative than it was before as a few people have pointed out to me, but it's never been my intention to hurt anyone's feelings or make anyone feel unwelcome. I'm really sorry to anyone I've made that feel that way. I've vented frustrations here sometimes not realizing how it might sound to others or make people feel, and occasionally said some things while drunk that were very wrong. I've tried to be more conscious of preventing those things lately, and will keep trying to improve. I guess the point of this post is to say thank you for helping me find myself and being there for me when I was experiencing the worst time of my life, and as encouragement for anyone else struggling like I was - that things do improve and there's hope for a better future. I don't know what would have happened to me if this site didn't exist, but it probably wouldn't have been good. This site is also what gave my boyfriend the courage to share his feelings with me originally, which led to our entire relationship. There's nothing I value more than him and our time together, so thank you for helping us feel secure enough for that love to grow into what it has.