My True Self: A Story of Acceptance and Change
By Joel Bockhorn
When I was younger, both in Middle and High School, coming to terms with my true identity was a serious challenge. I wanted to have a happy and successful future, but based on what I had come to understand about myself, I feared I wouldn’t have the opportunity to live the future that I wanted, or even have the same privileges that others had.
Near the end of my time in Middle School, I had figured out that I was gay. It was something that although I knew was true, I couldn’t accept the truth for what it was. I couldn’t even fathom how or when I would tell my family. So, for more than 5 years I hid my true identity from the world. I struggled with accepting my differences for much of this time because I was afraid what my future would hold. I didn’t want to be the way that I was; I wanted to be normal. I wanted not to have to worry about who might be offended by me or what other affects my sexuality would have on my future. I’ve always had an old soul, so dreaming of marriage and other “normal” aspects of my future was something that I had often done. At this point however, I thought I would never have the ability to do what I wanted to do with my life, which wasn’t easy to think about, so I mainly didn’t.
It wasn’t until my freshman year in college that I was finally able to say those words that had scared me for years…“I’m gay.” I had told my best friend, thus beginning my journey to finally accepting who I was and sticking up for my true self in the world. Coming out to my family was hard, thankfully I had my sister there to help me through it. Of course I was very lucky, in that my entire family was there to support me and make me feel special and great. My parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all made me feel accepted and happy and I couldn’t feel any luckier to have such an amazing family!
Since that day, the last day of 2013, I have grown so incredibly much. Something that even surprises me at times. I no longer wish to be normal because now I see that being unique is a better attribute. Coming out is never just a one-time thing, but in most cases, it’s gotten a lot easier to do. I am proud of who I have become and extremely happy and excited to see what my future holds. Being your true self is really important in this world. A lot of people in my same situation do not have the privileges that I have. It’s a difficult thing for any person to go through, even in this progressive time that we live, and being accepting and proud of who you are (or of someone you know) is needed to survive. I can attest that it does in fact get better.
As Wiss’ Marketing Associate, Joel Bockhorn is in charge of the firm’s social media accounts. If you are going through a similar situation and would like to speak with Joel, you can reach him at 973.994.9400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.