pride spotlight: accepting myself

Nathaniel, 25, is an Argentina native who found that the road to acceptance is not easy, but it’s definitely worth it. 


 

Since I was a kid, everyone could note that I was different. I wasn’t the normal little boy that liked to play soccer, ride bikes, play in the park, or have lots of friends. My favorite thing to do was to draw, but I also liked to dance, sing, watch TV and those kinds of things that don’t need physical effort.

That wasn’t really a big deal; my family always supported me and let me be who I wanted to be. I remember at four years old, I’d pass the afternoon singing and dancing to my favourite band, the Spice Girls.

The problem for me was myself. I didn’t want to be different.

The first time that I felt attracted to a guy, I was about five (although I didn’t know it at the time). I fought it for 11 years. Argentinean society wasn’t as open as it is now, and in that environment, it was normal to hear the words ‘homo’, ‘gay’, and ‘faggot’ which had connotations of freak, shame, and dishonor. Those kinds of things made you feel ashamed of you were and made you hide your real feelings…until you start to forget your real essence. I hated being different, I just wanted to be like the other guys. I was always comparing myself with my brother- he was always all that I wanted to be.

The worst thing for me was school time when I was forced to interact with people that looked at me in a strange way, making me feel that I was less important than them. I think that I didn’t really have a close friendship until I was 14. It made me isolated and lonely, which then turned into a depression.

With time, I found shelter in fantasy books. I developed a deep love for reading, it made me find hope. In fantasy stories, the hero is always suffering until something happens and then he’s happy ever after and I wanted that for me too.

I accepted that I was gay when I was 15. I tried to hide who I was and at the end, I was pretty convinced that I liked girls. One afternoon, I received a text message from someone named “Bri” who was a friend of a friend. They were looking for someone to chat with and at the beginning, I thought that it was a girl but at the end of the day, he told me that his name was Brian. My first reaction was to tell him that I wasn’t gay, that I got it wrong… but something inside got awoken and I didn’t stop texting him.

With time and with his help, I realized that I wasn’t into girls like I thought and that I was in love with him. He was my first love, my first boyfriend, and the first person to know that I was gay. Time went by and our relationship didn’t work because we lived in different cities. We were young and it was difficult to be together, but at the moment I still consider him a good friend.

That was my first step into the LGBT world.

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When I was 16, I decided to talk to my mom. She told me something like, “Even if you wear a skirt, I will love you always”. It was the same with the rest of my family. They were holding me, supporting me, and loving me. That made me realize that the problem wasn’t the world accepting me- the problem was that I didn’t accept myself.

The road of acceptance is not a short, normal, happy one. It takes time and hurts, but never forget who you are. Everybody is, or was, inside a closet: people who are afraid of following their own dreams, whether it’s being a singer, an actor, a mother, an important executive. There are people supporting you and they won’t leave you to be alone, even if you think that you are.

It’s almost been ten years of that moment that I told the world how I was feeling and who I wanted to be. There are no regrets. I’m 25 years old and have met a lot of lovely people from around the world and I fulfilled my dream of traveling to Europe. I have lived in three different countries, I fell in love a few times, I have great friends, and I’m a manager for an important software enterprise. And the most satisfactory thing is that I made it alone- for myself.

I moved away from my parents’ house when I was 18 and had really difficult times. I started to work for myself, for my life and to be who I always dreamed of. There’s a lot of shit in this world but you need to clean up the mud when you fall on your face and keep fighting your own wars. There are a lot of beautiful things that are waiting for you.

So, don’t let it get you down. The worst thing to do is to disappoint yourself. Keep trying, keep fighting. You will arrive if you really want.

We all are with you.

We all support you.

Life is short and running fast.
Live it, don’t let it just pass.