When I was 14, everything seemed chaotic and out of place. It was my Grade 9 year, and being in the closet and confused about my sexuality made me feel like I didn’t truly belong. At home was no different—at my house where it was only my mom and me, tensions based in financial strain and simple teenage hormones caused a lot of fights. Feeling out of place and drifting away from my mom, I thought that maybe coming out to her would help bring us closer together and help me find footing in my identity. That maybe it’d be like those YouTube videos, where it gets better. For me, it didn’t.
One February afternoon, I took a chance. I tried to tell her that I was gay, that I wanted a boyfriend and wanted to be with guys. After some silence, she simply said to me (and the words are burned into my memory), “that’s the worst thing a mother could hear.” Then she left to do some errands. The shock of our interaction left me broken, and we drifted apart for quite a while after that. I fell into a deep depression, not knowing how to deal with myself or these feelings I had. I was so terrified that if my mom, the person I loved the most, could hurt me like that, how could I tell anyone else?
I ended up slowly getting over my fear and eventually telling some of my closest friends. Through their support and help from their families has finally made me feel comfortable in who I am; make me proud to be gay. Additionally, when I face some hardship, such as having to deal with an overwhelming amount of bills or trying to work through a course that I am almost failing, I think to myself, “if I could make it through THAT experience, I can make it through anything. Including this.” Things didn’t go how I wanted them to, and I may have failed at reconciling my relationship with my mom. But through these experiences, I have grown stronger, more resilient, and more driven. Failure has given me the drive to take a risk, take a chance on myself. Through failure, I’ve found that I can do it—I can make it through.