Whatever You Are, Be a Good One: A Coming Out Story
When I was younger, I was more interested in having fun so I usually let the fun speak for me. My mother once dressed me in a weird shirt, with an awkward dolphin thing on it, to go to iglesias and I remember I cried in the bathroom the entire time, because I hated the teal color. Thing is, I’ve always been a tomboy with a twist of sass. I knew who I was, the Cuban, comical heartbeat to a working-class divorced family and I didn’t feel it was necessary to label myself. I was stuck between a weird dichotomy of being who the hell I wanted to be and being forced to be who the world wanted me to be.
It was a common occurrence in my house for my mother to beg to “play” with my hair, but I refused profusely. Let’s not even discuss my hair situation because it had two speeds: ponytail or “what the hell is on Joey’s head?” I often found myself relating more with girls than boys. Looking back, I could have put the pieces together that I naturally liked girls better, but I’ve never been a RIGHT ON TOP OF THAT, ROSE type of gal. The difference was I loved being outside with friends, but hated playing with mud and getting dirty. As I got older, I realized I desperately tried to blend in and not be different, because I didn’t want to be punished for being different. My style started to evolve but even so, I felt a bit out of sorts.
One thing that’s always stuck and remained the same is my humor. I’m a Cuban diva when I want to be and thankfully, that’s always stayed with me. Eventually, I just started living and feeling like I was worth it, which translated into me dressing like an incomplete sentence, being completely obsessed with pop culture, curling my hair like I was in a 80’s Janet Jackson music video and awkwardly dating guys. During middle school and high school, it was all about being special and unique (polar opposite of my childhood) and I was thinking to myself, ‘SCUSE ME BUT I’M THE SPECIAL ONE but the joke was on me, BonQuiQui. I had to accept that I was weirder to some and didn’t always relate. I was in my teens, employed part-time at a local bagel shop and desperately in search of something that defined me other than on any given day, I resembled a good Indigo Girls halloween costume. Little did I know that life was actually lol’ing at me and writing hashtags like #getyourlifetogether, #lesbihonest and #wakeupandsmelltheplaid.
Then something happened. I realized if you’re not being honest with yourself, honey, there’s going to be problemos. I’d go out with guy after guy, and I’ll be blunt — I really enjoy flirting. My mother would always joke with the family that I would bring guys over for dinner and would dump them before they even finished their meal. Call me crazy, but I didn’t want to waste my time with papis who I knew didn’t meet the cut — which was 100.5 percent of them. Every night I would sit in my room, binge eating bad food while watching the trashiest Bravo reality TV, whining “WHY doesn’t anyone like me, HELLO? – I’M A STEAL!” And then I realized – oh, NBD, maybe it’s because I’m lying to myself about who I fundamentally am and need to face the gay music.
Cut to December 2012, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I truly didn’t give a f! anymore. There were no secrets in my mind and no reason for me to hide. I did the unthinkable, pulled an Adele, and switched my OKCupid account to search for the other side. I hadn’t told a soul about the fact that I was attracted to girls, but once I told a few real close friends, most of their reactions were like “OK, and…” because they knew before I knew and were not surprised. Bottom line — I was not receptive to love because I didn’t love myself. Once I was there, it was easy to make that choice.
I met my girlfriend on OKCupid and we had our first date in January 2013. I won’t bore you with the sappy details, but we’ve been together almost three years now and truth be told, it’s because I let healthy, good love come into my life. It feels good and feels right. I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily a Nicholas Sparks’ type of journey, more like 50 First Dates where Drew Barrymore can’t remember a thing and does the same crap over and over until it all makes sense and happiness is paramount type of journey.
My coming out helped transform something that was broken and change it into something strong. It’s really cool to take a person that is not necessarily accepted by society and not seen as “valuable” and turn it into the coolest and strongest individual. So think about yourself and think of your value to the world and don’t let anything else come in between it. I love love — and you should too.
Amanda is a Strategic Program Manager at WeddingWire and a contributor to GayWeddings. As a professional of feelings, Amanda loves to laugh at her own jokes and you can often find her with her dogs, speaking in abbreviations, and being a professional feeler of emotion. Amanda lives in Arlington, VA with her partner Adria.