No one tells you when love is going to find you. So, you look around for it. A night with this guy, a fling with this guy. Sometimes, you think it's with the person you're meant to be with, when really, that person was just a reminder of someone else. You're going to see lots of love in your life. You're going to have your heart broken. You're going to obsess over texts, have crying fits with your bestie. You're going to have that feeling when a date has just ended and you feel like no other feeling in the world could ever match this. But here's the thing, my friends. The only way you will get this, the only way this will ever come to you, is when you feel safe and ready to come out.
It's 2016, and most likely, most folks are out more than they ever have been. With acceptance growing in numbers, with victories across the country, with social media to connect us to like-minded individuals - this is a much more welcoming environment than it ever has been. Kids coming out earlier and earlier in their lives.
But there are still those folks who stay where they are. They didn't get the luxury of progressive parents or inclusive schools. They didn't grow up with gay characters on the TV screen. And however it played out, something is blocking them from coming out. Maybe it was religious school. Maybe it was a parent who never cared for them the way a parent should. Maybe it was a teacher, or a bully, or a bad experience. Whatever happened, they can't say those words. And no matter how tortured that closet makes them feel, they refuse to turn the key.
I don't have the answers for the best way to handle this. I couldn't. I'm no therapist. All I know is that I didn't start living until I said those words. Not to the world, not to my parents, but just to me. When I finally let go of the fear and realized the life that was waiting for me all along. It was when that I began to live. That's the thing about our best selves, they are waiting for us to meet them. They're on that hilltop, surrounded by beauty, waiting with arms stretched out wide. They know the person we are supposed to become. Yet, we spend all our days avoiding it. They are waiting for us. And sometimes, we never really reach them.
To everyone out there who is scared, who isn't sure what to, all I can say is, it's time to be free. It's time to be free of the shackles and the worries. It's time to take away the pain of the before and face forward into the now. We must be the truest parts of ourselves. Time's flying. And it's not something we can ever get back. Free to love, free to be ourselves, free to be the best version of who were meant to be.
We all want love, in some way. But we are never going to get that love if we're not honest. I'm not just talking about relationship love, I'm talking about finding true friends, experiencing real connection. Because even your friendships and families aren't as strong as they could be until you take the leap and come out. No, it's not easy. Yes, it's as scary as all hell. But it's who you were meant to be. It's what's living inside you. Stop forcing yourself away from what matters most to you. It's simply no way to live.