I believe in the freedom to love and be in love with without regard to gender. I believe I was created to be exactly who I am. I believe that God loves me unconditionally as one of his own children.
I first figured out that I was gay the summer after I graduated high school. I had never known any gay people before then because of my conservative Christian background. But the moment I opened up to my manager Sandy, I knew that everything started making sense stemming all the way back to childhood. I quickly found myself in my first lesbian love a few months after the conversation with a friend of hers. To me life finally made sense, and I was in complete bliss over my newfound freedom.
It wasn’t until my parents found out that I was in a relationship with my friend that things became painfully difficult and complicated. Although I was in a relationship I was immediately sent to Christian Counseling to find out what was wrong with me, followed up with condemnation of any contact with her. I fought back and chose her, but always there was always the repeat in my head from the fight my parents and I had expressing their disapproval of my newfound life. This wore my heart and soul down to nothing within a year. I couldn’t take the constant disapproval of my life, and opted to leave my relationship and my life behind in hopes to find answers from God once and for all.
I was told that I was doing the right thing, and that by being away from that influence in my life I would return to having desires for a straight life again. After years of prayer I found myself not healed, but still pursued relationships with men in hopes I would find one that I would fall in love with. Even though I wasn’t happy inside, my family was happy that once again God cured me from my sins. I couldn’t bear to break their hearts that not everything was ok, so I kept my desires hidden.
Ten years passed by and while stationed overseas in the military I found myself coming to a crossroads in life. I could no longer live life to make anyone happy but myself. I was still praying to God, but this time for unconditional love in his terms. Within a few months I met the most extraordinary woman who taught me what true love was about, and helped me come to terms of who I was created to be.
Though that relationship only lasted for a season of my life, I believe it brought me back to me. I believe that for the first time in ten years I have come alive. I believe that I will never make everyone happy and that’s ok! I believe in the power of unconditional love.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.