11 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Queer Teenage Self

If only I knew all that I know now back when I was a queer teen. Perhaps if I did, I’d feel less alone in my journey of discovering who I am and coming out. If I could talk to my younger self now, here’s what I’d tell her.

You’re not crazyThere will be times when you feel absolutely insane. You don’t understand your urge to kiss girls yet; it’s not like when your friends make out with each other when they’re drunk. It freaks you out and you just feel like a crazy person. I’m here to tell you that you aren’t crazy. The process of discovering your sexuality is a scary one. It will get better. It does get better.

You don’t have to come out to everyone. You don’t owe anyone coming out. You can work at a job for years and never tell anyone that you’re queer. It’s completely and totally up to you, especially when you feel unsafe around a person. You get to use your judgment and keep yourself safe in any way you can. Just know that not everyone is entitled to knowing your sexuality.

Sometimes you won’t find the right label. Once in a while, a label will fit quite well. More often than not, though, you’ll feel awkward about labels. None of them really fit right and this distresses you because you feel you need to have one. That’s just not true. Try and settle on the term “queer” because it’s a nice, fluid umbrella term.

It’s OK that liking girls can feel different than liking boys. It feels different to be with women than it does with men. Your feelings for them can feel totally contrasting, but it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. It’s just that your experiences don’t align, and this is completely fine (even if it doesn’t feel like it makes logical sense).

It’s OK to not know which gender you’re more attracted to. It’ll be confusing to you at times that you can’t figure out which gender you’re more attracted to. People will ask you about this, but it’s a dumb question. It doesn’t need to be answered to yourself or to them. Be comfortable in knowing that sexuality is fluid and always be changing at any given time.

Find communities and give yourself over to them. You need an army of queers, like, ASAP. They’ll love the crap out of you. When you can’t love yourself, they’ll love you until you do. They’ll hold and guide you. Don’t be afraid to seek these groups out and don’t fear when they’re quirky. They’re actually the cool kids.

You’re queer enoughPerhaps one of your biggest struggles is feeling like you’re not “queer enough.” Know that this is a silly fear, however valid. You don’t have to do anything to be queer. You’re queer enough just as you are and you always will be.

Your success isn’t measured by how many girls you’ve been with. You’re not going to get with that many girls and that’s OK. This is not an indicator of your worth as a human or as a queer person. You’re successful just because you’re you—nothing has to be done to earn it. Plus, who cares how many girls you’ve been with? It’s quality of relationships over quantity.

Being different is tough when you’re young but wonderful when you’re older. You’re going to feel like a total oddball. You’re going to think your queer friends are oddballs too. You’ll worry that this makes you unlovable, but this is crap. Those same people you’re afraid of being weird with will grow up to be amazing, as will you. It’ll turn out that queers are actually the super cool ones.

There will always be another person around the corner. You’ll feel heartbroken over and over again. There will be many people who will break your heart or you’ll break theirs. The good news is that there’s always another person around the corner for you. Maybe it’s a guy, girl, neither and both. No matter what, your pain isn’t the end of your dating story. Lovers are like trolleys—there will be another car around the corner to hop on.

Take advantage of online queer friends. An online community is totally a community. You can meet stellar people on the web. These people will be your lifeline during hard times and there for you to celebrate the good ones. The world is huge and there are always more friends to be had.

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