My story begins in a very cliché fashion. Since I was a young girl I always knew that there was something very different about me, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
I grew up in Thane, near Mumbai, and went to a school I now refer to as my nightmare. I was constantly picked on for being an introvert, overweight and a ‘bookworm’. I didn’t make many friends but the ones I did, I still keep in touch with.
I wasn’t exposed to the LGBTQA+ community until about ninth grade, before that it was just slurs, derogatory jokes and pornography (I didn’t question my sexuality back then because I had been told for a fact that everyone enjoys lesbian porn and liking it doesn’t imply your sexual orientation to be non-heterosexual) but now all of sudden I started watching these TV shows with same sex couples and it felt really natural and beautiful to me. At one point at age 14 I started watching a TV show called ‘Orphan Black’ based on the fact that they had a lesbian couple and this is the point where I started questioning my actions ‘why do I watch TV shows just because they have lesbian couples?’ ‘Why don’t I enjoy dating or kissing boys like my other female friends do’ ‘Why do I find girls so attractive, do I want to be like them or is it something else?’ ‘Why does the touch of a girl give me butterflies but that of a boy doesn’t’ and thus the pieces started falling into place. I was in my computer class in grade nine when I turn towards my best friend since kindergarten and say to her ‘Hey I think I might be gay’ she looks at me wide-eyed and says ‘Um yes. Wait didn’t you know?’ and thus I had come out. Things seemed good for a while. My friends were very supportive and heard me out when I wanted to talk. I had a long distance relationship for two years. I accepted myself easily thanks to healthy queer representation in amazing shows like ‘Carmilla’ and amazing idols in the media like Lauren Jauregui, Kehlani and many others, but I kept my pride low key for some time. As I grew older I started showing it off even more. When I was seventeen I had my first kiss with a girl and nothing felt better. I was out and about and things couldn’t get any better. Sadly good things don’t last.
Before coming to college in Pune, I came out to my mom and she denied it. I was broken. Moving into a city of strangers after growing up in my parent’s protection felt weird and scary as it is but now it felt worse. I was fine in the beginning of college, I felt like my mother would come around, I was pretty open in college but things went further downhill. People weren’t very open minded and I found myself amidst separatism and was made to feel different. I felt very alone. I felt like no one understood me or felt how I felt. I started going into depression and had my first suicide attempt in November 2017 when I tried to jump off my hostel balcony but was stopped at the right time by my roommate walking in on me. I didn’t attempt suicide again for a while but practiced physical and mental self harm, I was losing hope to live and feeling lonelier than ever. I hated every aspect of myself and I remember even searching for conversion therapy for I no longer felt pride in being who I was and hated myself on various grounds, not just my sexuality. I had a nice group of friends then but by the beginning of 2018 they isolated me and I was completely on my own and attempted suicide a second time in the beginning of 2018 but I didn’t have the guts to go through with it. People who knew the place where I was in insisted on me seeing a therapist or seeking help but I was too afraid anymore to talk to anyone about this. However things started looking up again when I approached my parents, showed them all my poems I wrote each time I felt suicidal so they could see how I felt and told them everything honestly and this time they embraced me and told me that they completely accept me and all that matters to them is my happiness. The year I spent contemplating suicide and hurting myself, they spent that year reading up and trying to understand what their daughter was going through and thus with the education their views changed completely and they were very ok with me. Towards the end of 2018 I even met other people from the LGBT community from Pune and even found myself an amazing girlfriend from a college near mine. I even started therapy to improve my mental health and learn to love myself again, I also came out to the rest of my family and a bunch of my close friends in Pune and not only do they accept and support me but view me as no different than they are thus helping me in not feeling different anymore. So yeah I guess the moral of my story is that there will be ups and downs but it does get better. Stay true to yourself and love yourself. Stay strong.
Name : Srishti Singh | Location: Pune