Naked Ambition: Under Pressure
BY Advocate.com Editors
October 14 2010 5:30 PM ET
Summer 2005. I sat in front of my laptop in my rented apartment in Thessaloniki, Greece, and was Googling “easiest way to commit suicide.”
I considered jumping off the balcony or taking a bottle of pills. Suicide was my singular thought that summer.
From the earliest age I lived with the pressure and the weight of feeling different. I was taught to value the opinions of others over my own. Over and over the message was relayed to me not to be different. Different was bad. Being bad made people talk about me. People talking about me ruined my reputation. Ruining my reputation hurt my family.
I learned that being myself caused too much trouble.
The impetus of my struggle to end my life was my coming-out. I chose to share the unwelcome news over Mother's Day weekend, when my whole family was together. I wanted to get it over with — and fast. I felt I needed to tell everyone then, because in a few weeks I was headed away for law school’s summer study abroad program.
When I came out to my mom, at first she said it didn’t matter and that she loved me anyway. But later that night she locked herself in her room, and she didn’t come out for the rest of the weekend. My brother and sister said my timing was bad, and maybe it was.
After two weeks of not speaking to me, my mom showed up at my house with two Slurpees and said, “I want to talk to you about this gay thing.”
Confused that I had dated guys for most of my life, she said, “From all of the research I’ve done I have concluded that you are bisexual.” But she didn’t stop there. “If you’re bisexual, then you have a choice to be with men and not women. If you can be with men, I just don’t see why you want to be with women and hurt me. Don’t you care what people will think about our family?”
At that moment I came face-to-face with a central conflict in my life.
Being honest and making my own choices would make me happy. But my choices would make the people I love unhappy. So what’s better? Being selfish and happy or sacrificing to make other people comfortable?
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