*trigger warning for Domestic Violence*
So, I've known that I was "different" since I was ten. And by different, I mean that I knew I was queer, but I didn't have a word for it. I knew I had a crush on Belle in Beauty and The Beast, I was always into the smart girls. Still am. I also knew, when I was ten, that I was supposed to have a crush on The Beast, after true love changed him back into a handsome man, of course. At some point, I figured that there was something wrong.
This idea comes from the very christian home I grew up in. For the longest time, my parents would preach that either you're straight or you're going to hell. Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. All that stuff, so when I figured out that the closest word I had for my crush on Belle was GAY, I freaked out. There was really something wrong with me, and that something would send me to hell.
So, I did everything in my power to change it. In middle school, I would flirt with the boys my friends found attractive. I even dated a few of them, just to prove that I wasn't that horrible thing my parents told me about. To prove that I wasn't gay. I was one of the popular girls of our middle school, I worked hard for that. Nobody asked the popular girls too many questions.
Then came High School. Naive, 14 year old, me got herself a boyfriend who was a senior. He was drum major and a drug dealer, and it was perfect. He was the guy that all the girls wanted, so of course I was happy. Nobody would even think to question my sexuality as long as I played along.
At some point, playing along stopped being worth it. He was jealous, he thought I spent too much time with my friends, he told me I was fat and ugly, he told me I was stupid, he told me I was worthless, he told me he was the only person who would ever love me. He broke me down to less than human. And by then, I was stuck. I was addicted to the drugs he was selling me. And I believed him.
Who would love me? I'm worthless, and I'm a lesbian. Even God can't love me.
It seems unbelievable now, but so many victims go through such similar thought processes when they're in situations like this. The abuse was so normal by the time he started hitting me, it was almost as if I expected it. I believed that I deserved it. And I couldn't do anything to stop it. I couldn't do anything at all.
That was the worst part for me. I needed to find something to control. I had been obsessively dieting and trying to lose weight since the third grade. I became even more obsessive about it, as a way to gain some semblance of control. It consumed my life, at least when I wasn't trying to make him happy.
He left after he graduated, went into the army. But that didn't stop me from feeling out of control. My drug use got worse, I tuned out, and I lost it. I went into a state of being incredibly promiscuous, still trying to prove to everyone and myself that I was straight but also trying to find some self worth in the arms of a one night stand. Nothing mattered, and nothing changed anything. Still no control.
As I continued to starve myself, I became emaciated to the point where I could not hide it. People who cared about me started to really start to question if something was wrong. My parents finally intervened and took me to the hospital. I was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa and sent to an inpatient facility specific to eating disorders. I was in treatment for 3 months.
In treatment, I learned so much about loving myself and putting myself first. It wasn't all about my eating disorder, a lot of it had to do with the things that he had convinced me of, and the things I had convinced myself. I started to come to terms with being queer, and decided to stop putting up with my own bullshit.
When I got out of treatment, I transferred schools. Everyone thought that would be a good idea, and it was. I found myself in a group of supportive friends who didn't give a shit about my sexual orientation. So I came out to my friends at school. And everybody already knew.
It wasn't until my senior year that I fell out of the closet to my parents... but that is a whole other story.