A personal story
I am a 31-year-old Indian female living in London. I am lucky enough to have had the courage to accept myself over the last few years and finally, really celebrate who I am. But it hasn’t been a walk in a park, in a lot of ways it’s still not easy but I want to take the time to share part of my journey with you all.
Having grown up in a small Indian town, life was mostly simple but the difficult part was that I didn’t have exposure to a lot of stuff. I also struggled to express myself in a lot of ways as I wasn’t taught that by my family or people around me(I will elaborate on what it meant to be growing up in a small Indian town in a future article).
In my teenage years, I faced a dilemma, I didn’t want to hang out or talk to boys as much as my other girl-friends! I wanted to be around girls. I was fascinated by girls, really mesmerised by the idea of being with and romancing another girl but… society did not give me that as an option so I suppressed my desires and dreams and tried to follow the norm.
I turned 20 and came to London to study. By this time, I was hard-wired to play by the rules of Indian society so although I was living in a modern and open-minded London, my shackles were still here with me. In my early 20s, I sat through so many dates with boys wanting to like them or imagine a future with them in the hope that one day I would find my prince charming and have my Indian dream wedding.
This dream was given to me by society, I was told that I needed that to be happy and to have a truly meaningful life. But unsurprisingly, I couldn’t find my prince charming and that day never came. My parents kept sending me wedding proposals one after the other and I kept declining without speaking to the candidates (some of them declined me)
Finally, I took the plunge to reignite my fascination for girls. Having had no prior experience of dating another girl, I was clueless and didn’t know where to start but the modern world of online dating made it easy enough. The first time I was speaking to a girl I met and clicked with on a dating app, I felt like a teenager in love.
It was amazing! I felt fireworks, nothing like I felt before. It was effortless, unlike the time I had with boys. From there, I went back and forth, not because I wasn’t sure if I liked women but because I was trying to do what my family wanted me to do, find myself a husband, as letting them down wasn’t an option for me.
I wish it was as simple as accepting my sexuality and then having a normal life afterwards. It took me a long time to come terms to with the fact that I am gay and dating guys for me was like barking up the wrong tree! It wasn’t easy to accept it because it came with a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear of disappointing my family, not playing by the rules of the society, not being an elegant and gracious Indian woman as I was supposed to. I was letting them all down…. but I had to, I had to stay true to myself.
And I am glad I did. Coming out to my family wasn’t the easiest and a big celebration afterwards but it wasn’t as difficult I thought it would be. I was relieved!! I felt like a million pounds were lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t have to suffocate anymore!
Fast forward a few years, I have been in a relationship with my girlfriend for the last 2 years. I am really happy as she is a beautiful soul who I adore and has been amazingly supportive through this difficult journey with me. My parents love me regardless, but do not actively encourage my gay “lifestyle”. My relationship with my sister is difficult because of my sexuality. I haven’t come out to my extended family and friends in India, but I know that one day I will. All in all, the situation could be a lot better but could be a lot worse.
But I am happy and feel alive because I stayed true to myself, and I learnt that is what matters. And I am f**king proud of myself. Hopefully, one day my family will celebrate me for who I am rather than ‘compromising’ with the situation but until then I won’t put my life on hold.
My aim of telling you this story is to mainly reach out to people like me who are either struggling to come out and/or are in the closet because of fear of the family or society. I know it’s not easy, but I know that you can do it. You owe it to yourself! There is a chance that people will respond negatively when you come out but there is also a chance that they will celebrate you for who you are and those are your people!!
But the most important thing is that you will finally be able to breathe, you will feel alive and be able to give yourself the life you deserve. And from experience, there will always be people who will be in your corner no matter what.
At the end of the day, it’s you who has to spend the rest of your life with you, so you have to do what’s right for you and what truly makes you happy. It won’t be easy but I hope you can find the strength within you to do that.
Lots of Love
Someone like you
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