It Gets Better

It was a late July night when I told Alex my secret. My heart was beating audibly in my chest; my hands shook from the sheer speed of my pulse. My breathing was shallow and shaky. I broke down as a whisper escaped my lips. I told Alex my life’s deepest and most private details. I was gay. The moment I uttered these words I began to weep.

Even when baring my soul, I was assured by my friend that everything would be OK. That it gets better. This experience was the first of many that lead me to believe that life gets better. Our existence on earth can be hard as we go through different experiences and trials. No single person is immune to difficulties and complications during their time here, but I believe hardships lead to happiness.

I live during a time where labels are everything. I learned in high school you could be called fat. You could be called: ugly, small, skinny, tall, rich, trashy, funny, loud, cool, etc. No matter your position in the school caste system, you were labeled. The typical definition of a Mormon kid was not assigned to me, though. Instead I was thrust into a lower class of confused, acceptance seeking untouchables. These untouchables were labeled fags. I would ask myself often, how can anyone accept me for what I am? A gay Mormon? Its unnatural, sinful even. My family has always been loving and supportive of me and my same gender attractions. When I was defined by my peers at school, they would remind me that I was more than what my peers labeled me. I have always had struggles about my beliefs. Prayers and fasts for relief from this trial always seemed useless. I felt unclean; unfit to be loved or accepted by others.

It was a few months ago that I stumbled across the “It Gets Better at BYU” video on YouTube. A few minutes of video, of testimony by other people like me, changed my life. The video was about gay Mormon students at BYU, the struggles that they have endured, and how they attempt to consolidate an existence that seems contradictory. This small inspiration has shown me that there is a way to unify my beliefs and sexuality.

Strong and courageous Latter-Day Saint students have helped me determine to be me. By their example, I can resolve to stand proud as a Mormon, and be gay at the same time. It has taken me more than half a lifetime to accept myself; to shed all those labels. I remain resolute in my beliefs about God and my sexuality. Life gets better. While I’m still enduring every day, life, challenges, and shortcomings are beginning to get better. Resolve may not come today, or this week, or even in the next 10 years, but I believe it will get better.

This Essay is part of the “This I Believe” essay project.  To learn more, visit http://thisibelieve.org/
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