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My Bumpy Road To Discovery
By Martin

I guess I could say that I always knew something about me was different. Even as a child I would notice both females and males, but at the age of 5 that meant absolutely nothing. Despite knowing there was something different about me I didn't discover my sexuality until later than most people here on EC. This is mostly due to my life being pretty eventful and not actually getting the opportunity to even discover myself.

Firstly you need to know a few things about myself if you are to understand why I didn't accept my sexuality until later on.

My mother has spent the majority of my childhood being in and out of hospitals due to her Crohns Disease. In 2001 she nearly died of perotinitis during one of her countless visits to the hospital. As you can imagine it was a very scary thought that she could die and yet it was a high possibility at that moment. It's pretty easy to see why I wouldn't be thinking about people I am attracted to.
In 2002 my sister was diagnosed with cancer. After 8 months she eventually died because it was too far advanced and my family just crumbled in on itself. My mum became depressed and eventually got admitted to hospital again, my dad just wouldn't show any emotion and seemed like he could burst at any second, and I became ill myself because of the stress. I first mistaked the illness for being crohns disease and I stupidly decided that I would try and cure it myself by not eating. As eating was the thing that caused my mum to be in pain, I figured that if I never ate then there could be no pain.

That idea proved to be very stupid as my illness only got so much worse and I started feeling weak. By the time i tried to start eating again I was finding it hard to and just felt the urge to vomit. That eventually became my comfort zone, and it didn't help that I had to do it every time I was going out somewhere (including school) because I had a horrible phobia of vomiting around people. It took right up until my final year of High School (that is 5 years of sickness) before I eventually got my illness to a level that I could control, but even then I would have days that I felt could make me relapse and have to start all over again.

You can probably see by now why it took me longer than a few others to discover my sexuality. With all that going on the last thing you are thinking about is who you find attractive and who you don't. It is around now though that my mind started to wander into this area, and it wasn't the best feeling in the world. I guess subconsciously I knew that I wasn't straight, so when it came to me thinking about it then all the puzzle pieces just fell together. It was almost like being hit with a ton of bricks. The main concern I had was wondering how I would tell my parents. One thing you all need to understand is that I never went into denial mode myself or tried to suppress it. I did think that it was just a phase and I could ignore it, but after everything I had witnessed up until this point I saw being gay as a ridiculous reason for getting depressed. That is not a jab at anybody who has been affected by it, but for personal reasons it wasn't something I could let affect me. I totally understand why some people are affected by it though.

I did not tell my parents until recently (August 2008). I left my mum a letter on the 27th August when I had to go into college for the morning. This letter explained that I was gay and how that I had accepted it. The letter itself was created on EC and edited by Louise and Paul_UK, so thanks to them for the help! You can read it here. I returned home after college knowing that she had read the letter and before I could even get through the door she was hugging me. She did the usual questions like whether I am sure etc, but at the end she said she loves me no matter what. She said that I should tell my dad as he will find out eventually, and I agreed. That night he also found out and he never really said anything about it for a few days.

This is where the coming out part goes a bit downhill. On the 2nd September my dad decided he wanted to have a talk with me about it. This never stayed civil for long and after about 2 minutes we were storming around the house arguing. He decided that he didn't believe it because I never fitted the stereotype that all gay people have. You know the usual limp wrist, wearing pink, acting flamboyant and talking girly? It's worrying people actually think that is true for all gay people. You could tell he had been reading tabloids because he was adament that all gay people are seen as paedophiles, get beaten up daily and generally live an unhappy life. Luckily I never have cared what people think of me so anything like that won't scare me into hiding my sexuality.

After this argument I just stormed off to my room for the night, and since then my dad and I have not really spoken. We are not necessarily ignoring each other, but we haven't really said more than 10 words to each other in the last month. He will either grow to accept it or will get a big shock when he realises he was wrong in thinking it's a phase. I know for certain it's not a phase and I don't need a heterosexual acting like they know more about homosexuality than an actual gay person. What annoyed me most was that my parents have always said that I can tell them anything, yet the most important thing I ever have and probably ever will tell them and my dad just goes "I don't believe it". Clearly he only meant that I could tell him things that he actually wants to hear.

Right now that is pretty much all who knows. I am not hiding my sexuality from people, but I am waiting for the right moment to let them know. My family is currently pretty fragile and I think coming out at the wrong time would be enough to make it split. The last thing I want is to be the person who destroys the family, and it doesn't help that I still am disappointed that I have shattered all the expectations people have of me. In the end though they're expectations they have, and it's my life and not theirs.

I don't regret coming out at all. It has had it's bad moments but it has also lifted a giant weight from me. If there was one bit of advice I could give to somebody planning to come out it would be to not care what people think of you. I take this approach and it's why I have made it through school without being bullied, which a lot of members on here have. There will always be people who are narrow-minded and will try and hurt you, but if you don't let them do that then they just look pathetic and you walk away stronger. Just make sure that you are willing to show them that your sexuality is a part of you and that you are happy with it.

I will keep this updated with my progress. For now I just wish you all the best of luck if you are thinking of coming out.

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