Ariel’s journey is the fifth of our reader-submitted coming out stories during Vancouver Pride Week 2013.
I guess it began when I was 11 years old, when I first laid eyes on the local delivery driver; it was love at first sight. My friends and I used to ride our bikes or walk to get slurpees, and somehow she always drove past us. When she did, it felt as if time was moving in slow motion, I stopped everything I was doing to just watch her as she drove past. I was mesmerized; I felt butterflies in my stomach, my cheeks turned red, but I never knew why. I always thought in my head she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and how badly I just wanted to know her. And for some unexplainable reason, I just felt so drawn to her. This carried on for years and became an ongoing joke with my friends. I referred to her as ‘my girl’ and sometimes they would tease me saying I had a crush on her, but I did not think of it that way.
I had battled depression since I was 14 after losing my father to suicide at the age of 10. I had never known what it was to truly be happy. I had boyfriends growing up, none of which I ever let into my heart or really felt anything for. I guess many of my friends joke about it as daddy issues, but it is true. As a result of his death, I had major trust issues, especially when it came to men and always felt a void in my heart.
My life changed in the summer of 2011 when I was 19, I was working and the UPS girl walked into my store for a delivery. When I looked up and saw her face, I felt a rush of emotions. I felt as if I had been waiting for this moment my whole life. I did not want to miss the opportunity to introduce myself and even though it sounds silly, I had to explain to her that I had been seeing her driving since I was a kid. She laughed and thought it was cute.
She delivered every few months to the store, and every time, my butterflies only became more intense and like in the movies, I found myself fumbling for the right words to say as we got to know each other more and more.
It was April 6, 2012, the best day of my life; she came in for a delivery and gave me her phone number. I was completely surprised but could not have been more excited. I texted her that night and went over to her house the following day. It was that night we were together that I realized that all of those feelings I had felt for years, were true. I was extremely attracted to her and just wanted to be so close to her. We began our relationship immediately and although I had never thought about being with a girl before, I knew being with her was exactly what I wanted.
I moved in not long after. I never felt better, my depression went away and I found myself waking up with a smile. Falling in love with her was the best thing to ever happen to me and that void in my heart was filled. She quickly became my best friend, my world. However, I was nowhere near ready to ‘come out’ to anyone about our relationship. I kept her from my friends, had to lie about how we met and called her ‘my roommate’. Although it made me so sad to do that, I just could not imagine how my friends and family would react.
In April 2013, we went to Mexico to celebrate our one-year anniversary together. At our hotel, we met another couple. Later in the trip, they called us out on being together. I remember feeling so scared, but they assured me that there was nothing wrong with it and to be proud of our relationship. After that night, I decided that I could not keep it in any longer. For the first time in my life, I felt true happiness and realized that my happiness mattered most; I was no longer worried what people thought and was not going to let them stand in my way.
I started telling my co-workers, friends and family members. I remember feeling so scared, trying to find the right time, truth is, it is never the ‘right’ time, and so you have to make it right. I also found that there is no point in rehearsing a ‘coming out’ speech, because when I was in the moment, I was too nervous to remember and just spat it out and went with it from there. I felt that took the pressure off. It became easier and easier each time I told someone. It felt so liberating to finally be able to share with people how happy I am and tell them how much I love my girl. I was finally able to introduce her as my girlfriend, and nothing could take away how good that felt. It turns out; those close to me genuinely care about my happiness. In fact, it has only brought me closer to all of them and now my girlfriend is also a part of their life. We even shared a laugh once they discovered that she is the girl we used watched drive past us in the big brown truck everyday.
Unfortunately, it did not go as well as I had hoped when I decided to tell my mom. However, it has made me only stronger. I know that what matters most to me, is what I already have; my girlfriend/best friend, love and joy – no one can take that away from me.
I have never felt better since I decided to ‘come out’, I feel more confident with who I am as a person and no longer live in fear of who I may run into while holding my girlfriend’s hand walking down the street – that is my freedom. This story also serves as a ‘coming out’ to the people who do not already know about me. We live in a time where being who you are, has never been more accepted. I encourage others to embrace who they are and be proud!
For those who identify as LGBTQ, the process of ‘coming out’ is often difficult and painful but it can best be described as liberating. Last week, Vancity Buzz invited its LGBTQ readers to submit their own ‘coming out’ stories as a means of empowering and inspiring others who may be struggling with their own sexuality.
As these individuals in our stories experienced and eventually realized, retaining such deep secrets can cause much internal damage – only honesty can allow them to live life to its fullest potential, to be able to truly enjoy life. Ariel’s journey is the fifth of our reader-submitted coming out stories during Vancouver Pride Week 2013.