To Tell a Story…

Imagine the day when interracial couples, same-sex couples, and transgender individuals can walk down the street without stares…

Imagine a life where everyone is treated equally…

Image a life of true tranquility, peace, and no suffering…

As a child and young adult, I lived confused and unaware of who or what I was. I knew I was different so to speak. I was different from all the other girls who had boyfriends, dreams of marrying someone, and starting a family. My dreams were different… I dreamt of going to college, getting a softball scholarship, meeting a girl, falling in love, graduating, and taking on the world with that special someone.

In high school I was “outed” without my consent, without truly knowing if I was gay. It was unfair and selfish, and I can honestly say it was one of, if not THE, worst time of my life. I had lied to my parents, I had lied to my friends, and I was lying to myself. I was not ready to live that life. I refused to be judged, bullied, or looked at differently. However, a few kind words in a Facebook message changed my own perspective. A girl I had rarely spoken to – but who was an acquaintance – told me it was okay. She gave me reassurance and expressed how she knew I was strong enough to be this person. I should probably get around to thanking her for saving my life…

This all happened when I was a senior in high school. Soon after, I decided it was time to tell my parents. My biggest fear was them finding out from somebody else. When I thought things could not get any worse, after telling my parents it was clear it would take some time for them to approve of who I really was. I will never forget that day…my father cried and began reading passages from the Bible. My mother screamed and told me I was not gay, it was a phase that would soon pass. But, what they did not understand was that I was the same person. I was still their daughter and my dreams of going to college, playing softball, and graduating were still of most importance.

Every day I was scared to go home. I would fall asleep to my mother crying and for a few weeks, I never saw my father. I went to counseling and talked with preachers because my mother wanted me to. Everyone tried to talk me out of being gay – as if it was a choice I had recently made. Everyone except for my brother and aunt – two of the most amazing people in my life. Things started to look up after receiving a phone call from a former head coach who offered me a full scholarship to play softball at Georgia State. It took time and patience for my family to realize my goals had not been affected. Finally, after a couple of months had passed, the next conversation I had with them both ended with more tears, hugs, and many whispers of “I love you”…

Last October marked the 6th year of my coming out to my parents. I am lucky to have such caring and supportive people in my life. We have all had our hardships – my mom and dad have come a long way. I never would have imagined my parents to be as accepting as they are today. I thank God every day for the life He has given me. I would not change a thing.

This is my story. Through family support and personal maturation, I learned it is okay to be who you are. Not everyone is going to agree with you or the decisions you make in life. And that’s okay. If you keep dreaming and keep believing, that day you once imagined will become reality…

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Emily, mom, & I

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“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” Dalai Lama

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Emily and I

Blogging to Tell a Story

Throughout the short time spent blogging and learning how to get people interested, I have realized your words must be real and personal. You must be able to relate to your audience in a personal way without worrying of how they might react or whose feelings you might hurt along the way. Bernadette Jiwa states it perfectly, once you start thinking you’ve got something to lose you’re killing the strategy that made you successful while no one was watching. Her blog is more for building a brand or business, but the concepts can be related to encouraging others to follow a cause. We must change the way people feel by connecting with them emotionally. 

Even as important as words, pictures can show followers what you’re really aiming to accomplish. Pictures are worth a thousand words so they say, but they also leave a longer lasting impression. Let’s face it…isn’t it much easier to remember a picture compared to a paragraph full of words? Organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank have begun to show people what they do and how they do it through photography – follow their Instagram here

Remember to be real, get personal, and show people what you’re all about!

Resources 

For all those other young individuals who might be going through a similar situation, don’t be afraid to tell your story. If in need, there are numerous resources that I never knew about – Check out Parents, Families, Friends, and Allies United with LGBT People here, the Family Acceptance Project here, or the It Gets Better Project here.

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~ by laurenjmsw on February 3, 2013.

7 Responses to “To Tell a Story…”

  1. This is really cool and super brave. You are an awesome storyteller!

  2. Yes, you are very brave for sharing your story. I enjoyed reading!
    “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”

  3. Lauren,

    We have a post coming up that is called “how brave are you.” I think you have already answered that question. This was not only a wonderful sharing of your personal story, it was done with style and class. Your writing was excellent – not self indulgent or whining – just telling a story in a way that simply let us feel what you felt.

    I was all the way there, but wondering how you were going to end it. You didn’t disappoint. You did an amazing job of bringing your personal story back around to the point of our work together. And the quote from Bernadette Jiwa (whom I had not heard about), got me thinking as well.

    And you finished it all up with the resources for others who may be experiencing a similar story. My response is Wow!

  4. I am so glad you didn’t let others tell you who you are! Thank you, Lauren. 🙂

  5. […] in the process.  A perfect example of expression would be my classmate’s, Lauren Jones, blog about her coming out experience.  Had I not read her post, I would have never guessed, thought, or […]

  6. […] the power to share a story takes both bravery and courage. I found out by sharing my story. I debated numerous times and asked those close to me if I should write about my coming out. Even […]

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