I grew up in a very orthodox family, every commandment from the apostles were followed to a T. I was supposed to fit into a mold, and I did so, not for myself but for my parents and what they wanted. Without getting into the crazy details I will say that my childhood was hard I was trying to live up to standards that are impossible for regular people, let alone anyone on the LGTB spectrum. When my mom passed away, though it was the hardest time in my teenage life, I suddenly had a lot of thinking to do. I was slow at first, but when I was on the fence on deciding to stay or not, a chain of events pushed me over. I want to say that the journey to self-discovery was a very hard one. Each step of the way I was hesitant, and I would ask family and siblings for help only to be reprimand for questioning. I went from knowing where I was in the church as a child of god, to realizing I didn’t know who I was at all. This is the part where we are tested the most, members see this struggle and think that we can’t be happy, just because we are in a transition stage. Leaving the church is not a small step. For a long time it made me who I was. I felt I was no one without it.
The events that made me leave rushed my decision, and I am actually very happy for it. I am generally not a wishy washy kind of person, so when I make up my mind I stick to it. The decision to leave was a final thing, I knew that I would never go back if I did leave, so I gave it all the thought in the world. The next year after I made the decision was one of the most liberating years for me. I have chronic anxiety, and I could almost feel a sense of peace wash over me as I knew I would never have to go back. I started to learn that being myself wasn’t a bad thing, but the best thing I could actually do.
Five years later and I know my life is immensely better. I have never been happier or healthier. I drink coffee for health reasons, I enjoy life as it comes. I don’t have to question things I do, I don’t have to stop and wonder if I will damage my afterlife, or the afterlives of my family. All of the fears I once had are gone, and I am content. Life has never been better, and I know it will only get better from here.

Kai in Fort White

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