11th October is National Coming Out Day.
KWNEL Wellbeing Advisor, Lavinia shares with us her story below.
“I grew up in Romania in a very religious household, with very traditional religious values and beliefs. Every Sunday we went to church, where I had to sit in silence and learn the Scriptures.
All around me I had only seen heterosexual couples, and was told that one day I will need to find myself a man, who takes care of me financially. The expectations were that as the woman I would cook for my future husband every day, clean the house, obey him, get married, have children, maybe go on holiday once a year and get a job.
The beginning of high school had so many surprises for me: for the first time in my life, I felt attraction towards a girl, and I was very confused about it. I was even more confused when we kissed. Needless to say, it was a huge mental battle – on one hand I was fighting to ‘’be a good girl, obey and find myself a man’’ in line with my religion and upbringing and on the other hand, I wanted to express myself freely and just be with that girl. The confusion and battle in my head carried on for many years and I felt I couldn’t talk with anybody about it.
University for me was a turning point. I studied Psychology and learnt about various sexual identities, and learned that there were multiple religious beliefs and you are entitled to form your own opinions. From there, I started my self-journey; I received private therapy, educated myself in areas that I found interesting, made friends with people who belong to LGBTQ+ community and started to accept myself for who I was.
In this time I found my own family, which may be a strange thing to say, as when growing up we told we have one family, the one we are born in. But I felt different, and I allowed myself to feel that way and be fine with it most of the times. As much as I could, I released myself from the pressure of pleasing everybody, follow society norms and instead give permission to be myself. one who accepted he one we are born in.
I’ve always struggled with labels and found hard to fit in some boxes, so when I found the term queer, I felt so much relief. I felt free to embrace my masculine and feminine parts, or just be non-binary, play and be creative with my sexuality. I searched for alternative ways of being and living, learnt to appreciate and celebrate differences and strove for a constructive, fair and happy ways to coexist with each other and looked for ways to be inclusive in order to create a world where everyone feels safe and accepted. I embraced a free and open-ended identity and defined myself as simply, human being.
I came out to my chosen family first, and they showed me lots of love, support and acceptance. The story with my original family is a bit different: I choose to come out to one member at the time and they’ve accepted me in their own way. Something that I learned in therapy back then it was ‘’to meet people where they are and accept the fact that we all do the best we can with what we have’’. It was hard to accept that but, in the end, it’s the best option, I stopped searching for external validation, it doesn’t define me, I am uniquely beautiful exactly as I am, and I can choose the life I want to live.
I know things in life are imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, and I am happy with that, because at the end of the day, we all have a choice – how we want to live, who we want to believe in, what is best for us and what is not, and who we love”.
If you need wellbeing support, we are here for you. Click here to find more information about our LGBTQ+ support offer.