Even if I Tried (part I)

Will and R.J.

R.J. Aguiar and Will Shepherd kiss after their recent engagement.

“The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.”
― Rachel Maddow

I stared at my own reflection in the mirror. “I’m gay.” I almost vomited. My stomach churned, because suddenly it was real. Now I couldn’t deny it, I was stuck. I suppose the only way one can be honest with others, is to first be honest with yourself. I had just taken the first step. This wasn’t particularly new to me. I guess I had known for a long time, but I just assumed it would go away. It doesn’t. I thought that I could pray, fast, and beg the Lord to take it away. I doesn’t work that way, I can tell you that right now. You spend many sleepless nights, staring at the ceiling, asking yourself what you did to deserve this. I can also tell you that that doesn’t go away (or it hasn’t for me, not yet.)

I lived in fear, that this might advance from thoughts, to something more. One thing changed that fear. A video make by a group of students at BYU. They called themselves USGA, Understanding Same-Gender Attraction. They are a club at BYU, and they made an ‘It Gets Better‘ video, and it pretty much changed my life… the first time. (You can find that video here. They also have a new video about suicide called “Just Be There.”)

In the video, what Adam said, “I remember going up to a mirror in my bathroom, and looking myself right in the eye and saying, ‘Adam, um, I think you’re gay.'” So I decided to do the same thing. From that point on, I watched as many coming out videos as I could.

About a week before my 17th birthday I made the decision to ask a good friend of mine if she would still love me if I was gay. She responded, “Yes, of course. Is there something you want to tell me?” There wasn’t anything I wanted to tell her at the time. She went on to tell me about a few of her family members who were gay, and how she still loved them.

The next week was Hell. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I just kept on thinking about having to come out some day. Finally, on the night before my 17th birthday, I texted my friend again, and asked told her that I had lied to her. I don’t fully recall the conversation that followed, but she now knew my biggest secret. The one thing that, at the time, I thought could ruin my whole life. And guess what? She still loved me, and she still loves me (I think.) She proceeded to count down to my birthday by sending me a text every minute until midnight. To date, that’s one of my most memorable conversations.

At one point, I had a running list of people whom I had told, but I have since lost track of who came next. I do know that for a long time, it wasn’t very many. For the next six months, the total of people who knew my “Big Secret,” would amount to no more than five people… That changed on night at work, when I became too friendly with many of my coworkers… But you’ll have to wait for that story…

-Landon

Next Post: How I told the majority of my friends, and eventually my parents.

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6 thoughts on “Even if I Tried (part I)

  1. Hey I really like your post, and I understand where you are coming from. Realizing your gay and coming out are some of the hardest things to do. But I cant wait to read your next post because of your last sentence. 🙂

    -Candace

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    • Thanks for your comment Candace. Coming out is definitely hard, and, unfortunately it’s not a single event. I will probably spend the next 50 years of my life having to come out to the people around me.

      I hope you stay around to read some more!

      Like

  2. I won’t pretend to know exactly how this felt for you, but I had a similar experience when I realized that I had a big (and growing) problem with anxiety. I grew up in a very Victorian family, meaning that we didn’t talk about our feelings and hid our weaknesses. I was feeling terrible and wanted help, but I couldn’t imagine actually telling anyone how afraid I was to even open my eyes in the morning.
    I walked around school for literally years unable to concentrate or even breath because of the panic attacks I was having. It killed me to put up the “I’m totally fine” front every day, but that’s what I’d been raised to do, so I did it.
    I remember who I told first, how much better I felt, and who knew after that.
    When I finally told my parents it was hard and ultimately unhelpful, but I felt better for having some options, even if I wasn’t planning on using them.
    I hope you always feel like you have avenues for help. I know what it feels like to be trapped and it sucks.

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    • Emily, I’m so glad you commented. I feel that often we (referring to members of the LGBT community) forget that other people have insights to how it can feel. I feel bad that we never really talked in school, but I suppose that sometimes we just put on the mask of who we want people to see us as. My goal in writing a lot of the things on this blog, is to help others to not feel trapped. I hope that this blog can be an avenue of help for anyone who may need it, gay or no.

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