Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College
My life, up until this point, has been a lie. I tried to fight it, I tried to hide, but this was something that was inherent in me, something that I was born with. Everyone says, "Oh, it's a choice" or "She'll grow out of it; you just have to give her some time," but I am living proof that both of these statements aren't true.
I had finally begun to understand what I am. After years of just trying to avoid it altogether, I decided it was time to start being honest with not only myself, but with my friends and family as well. I knew that before I opened up to others, I needed to cope with this for myself, but it was just so difficult. And now, standing in front of my bedroom mirror with a stranger looking back at me posing a confused stare, I was at a loss. Since I was a little girl, it has been engrained in both my siblings and me that appearances were important. What other people thought of you really did matter, and your status was something that should not be taken for granted. Growing up with a childhood of being so concerned with how I appeared to others, I really began to resent having to put up such facades. Wearing the "proper" masks just to please others was exhausting, and it got me to thinking, why should I care what anyone thinks, as long as I'm happy with myself?
Originally, I just pretended it wasn't there. "No, that's not me, that's not who I am" was a thought that crossed my mind quite frequently. Next came the anger; I could literally be ANYTHING in the world, love anything I wanted. Why did it have to be this? Eventually, I just started telling myself that if I could make the right sacrifices, such as happiness and truth to myself, I could end up back on the "proper" path. It was easy enough for the Aztecs, and it seemed my sacrifice was just a small price to pay. After realizing the only way to change my fate was to sacrifice my happiness, I became very depressed. A life without passion was definitely not something that I had envisioned for myself. The thought consumed me, both physically and emotionally; it became a darkness that I couldn't seem to bring to light. After all of the denial, the anger, the bargaining, and the depression passed, I decided the only way to be truly happy was to follow my bliss, accept who I am, embrace my passions, and thrive in my lifestyle. I knew no one would accept me until I had truly accepted myself, and with my newfound acceptance, I gained the courage to come out to my parents.
The amount of time I spent in front of my mirror trying to recognize my newly-discovered self was a lot more than I would be comfortable admitting. The anticipation of revealing myself drove me crazy. One of my worst traits has always been overthinking, and in this particular circumstance it was eating me alive. In my head, as well as aloud, I practiced different situations of how the conversation with my parents could go. It took me a while, but eventually I gained the courage to face them.
I heard the front door close, and with that I left my room to head downstairs. With every downward step my anticipation built up, so much so that when I reached the final step I thought I might explode. My parents had just decided to pick up a pizza for dinner, since they were both so exhausted from having such a long day at work. As my mom took off her blazer and my dad loosened his tie, I knew I had no choice but to be honest. Growing up in a family of business people, I had spent countless days witnessing the aftermath of a hard and unhappy day at work. My mom was a supervisor, and my dad a banker, so both of them had stressful days where all they wanted was to come home and go to sleep. Early on in my childhood, I decided that I didn't want my life to be a tedious chore as my parents' appeared to be. I wanted to live a life of happiness and passion, which solidified why I needed to do this.
As effortless as our Monday pizza night seemed, I knew the news I was about to break would be difficult for my parents to swallow. After 30 minutes of random dinner conversation and with my anticipation building more and more, I finally spoke up and said, "Guys, I have something that I really need to talk to you about."
The curiosity and concern that flashed across their faces did nothing but further my anxiety.
"I know this is untraditional, and probably not what you envisioned for me, but I'm tired of hiding and it's time to be honest. I'm…going to major in English."
As soon as the words left my mouth, the dining room was dead silent. Although the silence was miserable while it lasted, it was what I wished for once the interrogation began.
"Oh, and just how exactly are you planning on supporting yourself? You know we can't pay for everything for your entire life."
"What do you even do with a degree in English?"
As I was bombarded with questions, I had an epiphany. All of these things that my parents were asking me were completely irrelevant. Their main focus was money and how my decision would reflect on them as parents, and how it would look to others, but my main focus was happiness. Money and status were important to my parents. The proper sacrifice in their eyes was to cut off happiness, only to have money pour out from the wounds. This is where my parents and I clashed. In my opinion, happiness is the most important part of anyone's life, and if you're not doing what makes you happy, then everything else is for nothing. Something that I realized through this experience was as hard as you try to fight something, the more you succumb to it. I tried to deny my passion, but as hard as I fought, the more I truly wanted this for myself. I may not have all of the answers right now, I may end up in a tiny apartment, living off of Top Ramen and "mac and cheese," but I'm going to be happy as hell doing it.
Being true to yourself is the most important thing you can do. Acting based solely for the purpose of pleasing others does not lead to true happiness. Many don't realize this, but happiness is important. Act for the purpose of creating your own happiness, and everything else will fall into place. As hard as it was, I am now officially out of the closet, a declared English major, pen in hand, ready to conquer the world.