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Coming out from School

Essay by   •  November 29, 2018  •  Creative Writing  •  2,846 Words (12 Pages)  •  50 Views

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Mandi Lucas

Mrs. Lucas

English IV 4AC

12 April 2018

Coming Out

During my last year of high school, I struggled heavily with my identity. The most difficult aspect of this was my sexuality. Heteronormativity is still very prevalent in today’s world and, even though individuals who are not heterosexual are accepted into society more than they were a couple of years ago, some teenagers still face challenges when coming out. Prior to April of 2018, this challenge was mine. In April, I confronted my fears and conquered this challenge.

By the age of five, I was already the definition of a tomboy. I grew up with five older brothers and an older sister, but I spent the majority of my time with four of my brothers because my oldest brother and sister are much older than I and live elsewhere. Without an older sister close in age to play dolls with, to give me her old clothes or to help with boy problems, I had to rely on my brothers. They never wanted to play with Barbies or have tea parties, so I played with matchbox cars and learned how to play football. I could always count on loads of hand-me-downs with four brothers, but the only problem was that they wore clothes that were traditionally made for boys. A little girl wearing a T-shirt with a football on it was not considered normal in society at the turn of the twenty-first century. I was the only girl in the neighborhood I grew up in, so I played football in my backyard for years. I liked it so much that I joined a flag football team when I was eight years old, and I continued this passion by playing tackle football for another three years. Like any other player on a team, my teammates became my friends, and I spent a lot of time with them. It became normal for me at a young age to play football, dress in athletic shorts and T-shirts, and spend most of my time with boys instead of girls. In elementary school, this was fine. My classmates were not judgmental about what I wore or with whom I spent my time. The boys in school looked at me as “one of the guys,” and the girls didn’t have much in common with me. Thus, my friend group consisted of the boys on the football team and maybe one or two females. This didn’t seem like an issue to me, but I did miss out on some of the normal “girl” activities, like sleepovers and makeovers. I didn’t realize this was a problem until a few years later.

Middle school consisted of some of the most challenging years for me socially because I felt that it was necessary to change my friend group. I stopped playing football by this time because I didn’t enjoy it anymore, so the football players didn’t hang out with me as much. Boys did not see me as “one of the guys” anymore; they saw me the way the girls did: a girl who dressed like a boy. At that time, I wasn’t just excluded from activities with one sex, but both. Despite this unfamiliar phenomenon, I tried to wedge my way into female friend groups, but this was very difficult to accomplish because most of the groups of girls had already been friends for years. Not only that, but the rest of the girls in middle school did not dress like me, act like me, or even talk like me. As a result of this conundrum, I sat alone at lunch for most of middle school. Being an outsider was immensely difficult because I had been fairly popular in the years prior. My classmates took advantage of my inability to fit in by pushing me further outside of social circles, which made feel terrible about who I was as a person. I became self-conscious of the way I dressed, how I looked, my lack of friends, and even where I lived. Some people were audacious enough to make fun of the fact that I was far behind most of the girls in my grade on the puberty scale because I was flat-chested. There were plenty of other more “creative” invectives that were thrown my way as well. They sometimes jokingly asked what my bra size was or if I had a penis. My coping mechanism of attempting to laugh it off was not as successful in middle school as it had been when my older brothers poked fun at me. It did nothing but encourage the negative behavior, which furthered my feelings of worthlessness and self-consciousness. It took three years, but by the end of eighth grade, I had finally solidified a group of five girls with whom I could eat lunch and pass time on weekends.

When high school began, my small friend group, like most, broke apart. Not only was I entering a new school with all new people, but I was alone to start my journey. Throughout the first couple of years of high school, I was forced to deal with even more bullying than I encountered in middle school. During my freshman year, a rumor spread through the school that I was a lesbian, and I was dating my one and only friend. It made sense to everyone that this would be true because I fit all of the stereotypes of a lesbian: I played football; I played softball; I dressed in conservative, male clothing; and I hadn’t dated very many guys. It was hurtful for me to hear a rumor like this because, like most freshmen, I didn’t know which gender I yet preferred. The possibility of this being true frightened me. I feared that I would not be accepted by everyone because it was such a big deal that people talked about the rumor. Furthermore, they talked about it as if homosexuality were taboo. The very same kids that I grew up with and that I would have considered to be some of my closest friends as a kid, referenced me as a boy, a dyke, and butch. I spent so much time during freshman year and sophomore year denying the rumor, for my sake and my friend’s sake, that I never considered the validity of it.

Perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to examining this part of my life was another. My father is very conservative and follows the Bible strictly. He had never been very open to the idea of homosexuality. Throughout my childhood and early adolescence, he made numerous derogatory remarks towards homosexuality, which aided in the prevention of my sexual exploration. Because he moved to Arizona during my junior year of high school, I was able to escape the constant shaming of homosexual relationships. After my father moved and the rumors subsided, I started to seriously question the sexuality I was assigned at birth. By the end of my junior year, I had developed serious romantic feelings for someone, a female who was openly gay. I trusted her enough to express these feelings to her, and I ended up getting my heart broken because she had developed similar feelings for someone else. After getting my feelings hurt, I tried to convince myself that she was the only female to whom I could ever be attracted. I was determined to believe that this was the phase you hear about in movies that

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