I think this post is important for any high schooler to see because even though this may be my story, every high schooler has struggles just like this that every high schooler faces, but nobody sees. High school is all about masks and personas, what we want people to see. And that is in no way a healthy behavior. Here's my list of advice to any high schooler:
1) Just be yourself (or discover yourself). People will love you regardless of who you are. And if they don't, they're not the ones that are deserving of your love.
2) Life ALWAYS goes on! You may think that you made a mistake, or you may get embarassed, but life wont stop. And I think you'll find that life is directing you in paths you need to go, anyways.
3) "You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it."- We Bought a Zoo
4) Going off of number 3, you know that girl or guy you like? Yeah, it doesn't hurt to tell them you like them. Don't wait two years.
5) Last of all, to tie it all together, you never know if you don't try.
Now on to my high school stuff.
I remember my first day of high school was actually pretty lonely. I was in an unfamiliar school with unfamiliar people. I knew two people, but they were a couple and I was sort of the third wheel left to fend for myself. Half of the first term I ate lunch by myself because I was so shy back then, but that didn't matter, because I could start anew. I was on my school's dance company and the band and eventually joined a few other clubs and got a bit more involved in my high school and I knew that I was set to gain friends and become comfortable, but I was plagued with the fear that people would bully me incessantly like they did in elementary school and middle school. Fortunately that wasn't the case.
I remember the name of my first friend at this new high school. We met in our math class and I started eating lunch with her friends who remain some of my best friends to this day. I remember this math class vividly because I had a huge crush on my teacher. It's no wonder I got straight A's and the highest test scores in the class. There was NO WAY I wasn't going to pay attention.
Now that I had established a friend group, I felt more established. Things were definitely looking up. I got a 4.0 for the first times in my life and then at the end of the first semester, I started to develop a crush on a guy in some of my classes and that kinda threw things for a loop. There was no way I was going to like this guy, so I was actually kind of rude because if I wasn't nice to him, obviously he wouldn't like me and I wouldn't like him anymore. That didn't work, because I still really wanted him attention and company, even though I hated that I wanted that. This kind of started to make these feelings a rising problem for me.
Then sometime in there, the October 2010 General Conference happened where Boyd K. Packer gave a talk that mentioned homosexuality and the LGBT community exploded over it. This caused a lot of confusion for me, so my anxiety grew and I decided to look for answers. I created a fake facebook account and joined discussions on a page called "I Support Boyd K. Packer" and met some very great people that were trying to lead me to gospel answers. I really respected their efforts, but their pointed efforts to lead me to reparative therapy led me thinking that there was something wrong with me and that I needed correction and I felt like I was even more of a mistake. So I decided to tell my first friend about my feelings towards men.
Let's call her Jessie (not her real name). I remember it was sometime that December while I was on my paper route that I texted her and told her I was gay. It was such a relief to me to finally get that off my chest and have someone know me for who I truly was.
I was apalled with the conversation that followed.
She told me she was very concerned for me and that these feelings I was experiencing weren't actually real and that I must be letting Satan control me for those thoughts to ever enter my mind. I tried so hard to explain that I didn't want to feel this way and that I was trying really hard to make them go away. My stomach dropped as I realized I had told the wrong first person. I didn't tell anyone else for almost two years.
The next two years were pretty uneventful, but I kept myself busy. I knew that if I was busy, I wouldn't have time to think too deeply about my feelings and the frustration and depression I was facing in life. It worked for a while, but summers were always hard because I didn't ever have that much to do but work. But finally, the summer after my junior year I decided I was going to start facing my attractions toward men. I turned to youtube and google to find blogs and people who were experiencing these feelings as gay mormons, and I found that there were a lot. A lot more than I realized and a lot more than should go unnoticed.
I heard their stories of confirmation, about how God loved them, and how they began to love themselves, so I thought that maybe I could ask God myself. After watching "Prayers for Bobby" on youtube I decided to get on my knees and ask him if it was okay that I was gay. The overwhelming sensation of the Spirit told me that God loved me and I had a lot of personal revelation for myself that I will never forget.
God loved me no matter what.