I'm Not Coming Out—I'm Letting You In

by Levi Sanders 6 months ago in humanity

A Journey to Self-Acceptance

I'm Not Coming Out—I'm Letting You In

I never thought I’d be here, writing this letter for the world to read. But, times have changed, and I want to share this with people. First, though, you have to have some backstory—so here we go.

In 2016, I was being pushed beyond belief. I was working a ton, going to school full time, and doing community theatre. I had developed friendships that I still consider some of my closest relationships. I was stepping in to this role of becoming a full-fledged adult, and it was scary. I was developing a sense of who I was, and the type of social worker that was becoming more aware of society and people—and most importantly, I was becoming aware of me.

I was putting up all these different personas that I wasn’t fitting. I went out on dates with girls with no success. I was trying to have an interest in sports when the interest just wasn’t there. I tried to keep connections from high school, but we were all growing apart, and in to different directions. I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t know where to find joy. In junior high and high school I read A LOT, so, I decided to do that again.

On December 24, 2016, I had decided to read a book I had picked up at the local library. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda sat there, begging me to read it. I dove in, and I couldn’t stop. The more I read of this book, the more I could relate to Simon. He’s a Hufflepuff; I’m a Hufflepuff. His birthday is November 17th; mine is the 15th. His favorite snack is a healthy stack of Oreos, and I just finished a package I got Friday (I’m writing this on a Sunday). With all these similarities, there was one that stuck out the most—Simon was hiding who he was, and so was I. Simon is gay, and so am I.

After I read this book, I stopped lying to myself.

I stopped putting up a mask.

I started being me.

Slowly, slowly, over time, I started coming out to people through various means of communication. Text messaging was the biggest, because I could hide behind a keyboard, and take the responses as they came. The idea of “coming out” scared the hell out of me. It scared me enough to feel ashamed of who I was—scared me enough to think, “If I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t have to feel this pain, and bring potential shame to everybody I love.” I was not in a good spot mentally, and I needed to do something about it.

I needed to shift my mind in a way for me to get out of this slump I was in, and get back to feeling okay. Therapy was my go-to answer. In therapy, I broke down, was vulnerable, and was honest with myself. I sorted through a lot of different questions I had about myself, but most importantly, I had a moment of in which I could start moving forward:

I have ALWAYS been gay, and I am now letting people in to see the real me.

After I started to believe this, I understood that how people react when I let them in is out of my control, and to have an open heart for whatever may come my way. Now, that is easier said than done, but I was challenging myself to be open to whatever people were going to say. One friend told me that she’s known that I’m gay since the moment she met me, and was letting me discover who I was for myself. Another told me I was a disgrace, and to not talk to them again. And one started crying in the middle of a coffee shop, because I was letting him see me authentically, and he was genuinely happy for me. I’ve lost people, but I’ve gained so many. Since then, I have been open and honest with everyone, and I can’t express how freeing it is to let people see me for who I really am.

I’m not living a lie anymore.

I’m not hiding anymore.

I’m not holding on to any other identities but my own.

Letting people in, to see me was the most vulnerable act I’ve ever completed. To show up, be seen, and be authentically me started with letting myself in to see and explore the beautiful human being I am. Then, letting others in to do the same, and the result is one that is better than I could’ve ever expected. So invite people in to see you—the REAL you.

Levi Sanders
Levi Sanders
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Levi Sanders

A social worker. An advocate. A lover of humans. 

See all posts by Levi Sanders