This time there is no voice holding me back

“While I was growing up, I had short haircuts, dressed like a tomboy, and wasn’t like most girls. But I was comfortable, and never held back.
But that changed when I turned 13. My friends started talking about boys — but I couldn’t relate to them, and I could only think of one girl — who’d been my bench partner for two years.
One day, I walked into class, and when I sat next to her, I realized that I didn’t like her just as a ‘friend’, it was much more than that. I had a huge crush on her, all along!
But my realization was followed by doubts and fears. My inner voice overpowered me, and I didn’t think my parents would understand me. I thought I’d lose friends and people would look down upon me. So I held it all in, because I thought it was better than being an outcast.
I lived like that for 8 years. I was constantly in turmoil because I was living in denial. I battled anxiety and depression. Even if I’d think about it, I never had the courage to come out. I scared myself into believing that I’d be shunned. At that time I’d joined a university where I was studying sound engineering, I was the only girl in class. My classmates treated me like a ‘girl’, and I couldn’t say how I felt more like them.
After university, when I started working, things only got worse. I wasn’t in a cocoon anymore, so not being truly myself was taking a toll on me.
My parents even started subtly talking about my marriage and boys. So even though it wasn’t easy, I didn’t want to spend another minute in pretense and went to tell my parents the truth.
I sat them down and told them that I liked girls. At first, they were quiet, but I even made them watch a video explaining how it’s not a ‘choice’. I was prepared for the worst, but soon they told me, ‘We just want you to be stable and happy’. I was shocked!
At that moment I realized that I compromised on living my life because I thought I wouldn’t be accepted — but here I was, being welcomed with open arms. I don’t think I’ve looked back after that — it feels like my life started from the day I came out. The friends I thought would stop talking to me, are my biggest supporters today. Even people at work and online have given me nothing but encouragement.
Today I’m at a stage where I’m not just open about my sexuality, but I’m also trying to make this world a better place for everyone who is a part of the community. I want people to be more accepting, workplaces to be more inclusive, and society to be more understanding. And I’m only doing all of this because this time there’s no voice holding me back, no voice telling me that I’m not ‘normal’, and stopping me from living, and loving… freely.”
Humans of Bombay in association with POND’S encourages women to overcome their inhibitions and#SeeWhatHappens when they let go of their inner voices.


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