when was the first time you felt different

When was the first time you felt different?

I felt different in my early teenage years. I just couldn't align with others at school.  Everyone was having relationships with girlfriends or with boyfriends of the opposite sex, but I really didn't connect with others in that way.

I suppose I just stood on the sidelines, always watching what other people were doing.  I didn’t really engage much with anybody either.  I was probably seen as a very shy and lonely person, but not really engaged totally with the people around me.  

At one stage in my teenage years, I thought I must be asexual as I didn't have any feelings towards either boys or girls.  I wasn't being driven as per the norm boy meets girl.  I wasn't driven like that and so I was constantly thinking so I am different.

I was not driven to have a relationship with a girl, but equally, I couldn't comprehend the term gay or bisexual or anything really.  To be honest, I just knew I was different, I really didn't why?  I don’t know whether other people would feel the same at school if they were struggling with their sexuality?

I really found it hard to label myself during that stage of my life.  And that's why I said I've felt different and the actions I took were very much to stay in my own company and to stay away from those situations whereby I could end up involved with another person.

I think the only time I remember exploring my sexuality was at a party when I was in my sixth form.  I remember there was a girl there and we kissed but I felt nothing.  It felt more like a thing I was supposed to do as opposed to what I actually wanted to do.  Nothing ever happened to be totally honest.  It was just friends and nothing more than that.

As I grew up and left school I really devoted my time to my work and to my studies.  To someone from the outside, I'm guessing though I was someone who was hard-working, very shy and a late developer.  I don’t remember my parents or sisters asking if I was gay or anything like that.

I do remember once a friend did ask me directly ‘are you gay’ when I was in my late teens.  I completely freaked out and denied it completely.  It panicked me to think that somebody actually knew about me.  Now I look back I can completely see I was in complete denial about the whole thing, so for a long time, it was something that I just kept very, very hidden and buried.

When I reflect I can tell how it affected me.  I didn't really enjoy my time at school.  There were times I felt quite depressed but I always thought it was due to my exams.  I never really attributed it to my hidden sexuality and to this day it’s hard to pinpoint the cause of my unhappiness.  I certainly remember feeling a lot of pressure and felt the need to hide away and not be with other classmates and just kept quiet.

What was it like in your teenage years, if you recognised your sexuality was different to others?  What was it like for you prior to coming out, how did you feel, how did it work for you at school or were you completely open about who you were or did you have to hide?

I would love to hear your story as for me it is really powerful and the more we can share about our experiences with others, the more we can help others who are not yet able to talk about their sexuality.

I appreciate you taking the time to read.  

David Harborne

Website: Secretgaymen.com 

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