Anna S. was born in the 1980's and is in her early 20's at time of posting.
Anna S. grew up in a quiet city neighbourhood in a loving family. Dad was a doctor and mum was keen, as are all mums, to see her become a model teenager. As the youngest, with siblings quite a bit older, she found herself surrounded by more "sophisticated influences." She remembers feeling, "..easily embarrassed and naive. I had a happy childhood on the outside, but on the inside I felt burdened and scrutinized."
It was at the tender age of 5 that Anna S. began to spend long hours fantasizing about women. By age 8, female authority figures were objects of desire and she started experimenting sexually with other girls. Although she suspected that she was a lesbian, the term "mortified" her. To deal with this she chose to live a double life. "I began to compromise myself and became highly sarcastic, defensive and homophobic to appear straight. I based my worth on how straight I could appear. I went the whole nine yards until about age 16. I even had boyfriends. However, behind closed doors I was experimenting and had already become an Ani DiFranco fanatic."
Anna S. managed to fit in at school until around age 14, but there was a price to pay. Drugs stepped into her life when she finished her first twenty sixer at age 11 and by age 13 she had already developed major substances abuse issues. A year later it began to spiral out of control. "I used [drugs] to keep a buffer between me and the outside world. I couldn't let my secret out. I had been self-loathing since I could remember." Friends began to fall by the wayside and she filled the void with a group of homosexuals she could "numb out" with. At age 16 she chose to come out to her family with mixed results. Brothers, sister and aunts were very supportive, but her parents were stunned. Mum's response - she was only seeking attention.
http://www.qmunity.ca/) where they hold specialty meeting for Narcotics Anonymous and at Gab Youth (http://www.qmunity.ca/youth/gab-youth-services/). With support, she has also found the strength to embrace herself. "I am proud to be gay. It does not define me, it's a part of who I am which I accept. I have only recently found balance in my life for the first time. Being gay has proved to be amazing because we empower each other"
In closing Anna shares her answers to a couple of questions -
1. What are the positives and negatives since coming out? - " Self love was the biggest challenge of my life and it's a work in progress. I face ignorance and intolerance every day, but am surrounded by many straight people who are extremely supportive and see me for me. It's only a challenge if I question it or if I am insecure around other issues.
2. Any advice for those still struggling in secrecy? - "Secrets made me sick. It's not a choice, it's a circumstance."
3. How have other medical issues affected you? - "I am bipolar and in recovery. Being gay has complicated things for those analyzing or being critical in those areas. However their opinion is none of my business. I stay true to myself in my daily life."
To be a part of this series and share your coming out story - please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the questionnaire.