Disclaimer: None of the work in Reading With Star belongs to me. The author owns all right to the book. They have given me permission to share a bit of their work with you.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to circumstances, today’s author needed to be rescheduled. Not wanting anybody to miss out on something special, I decided to share something I wrote a few years ago. I was originally going to share something I wrote for NANO in 2015, but I chickened out. I still need to get back into that and polish it and see what happens. This is something I wrote shortly after I came out. I wrote it in hopes that somebody would read it and not go through the same struggles as I did through my life. People in this piece may or may not be real. Names aren’t the same for the people who are real.
On the outside, Shanna seemed like a very happy and well-balanced individual. Nobody could see the pain she faced. Nobody knew that she struggled with fears and depression every single day. Not even those close to her. Throughout the years, many people walked out of her life because they didn’t understand her. They didn’t know the real her.
When Shanna was nine, she experienced her very first crush. The realization humiliated and shamed her. Her first crush was on a girl. Her family was very religious. They practiced a very Southern Baptist faith. Knowing her family would never understand how she felt, she forced herself to pretend she didn’t feel the crush.
As time went on, she found herself crushing on many girls. She pushed the feelings back every time. She discovers that she also has crushes on boys too. So, she focuses her attention on that instead. She didn’t care if she pushed too far. It helped. At least for awhile.
When Shanna turned 14, she started high school. It had been a year since she felt a crush for any girl. She thought that maybe it was a phase in her life that she was over. She was relieved. She focused on her schoolwork and making friends. She was happy and comfortable. She discovered that she enjoyed writing poetry after learning about it in English.
Midway through the semester, there was a new girl in her science class. Her name was Grace. Shanna knew the moment that they locked eyes that this girl was special. She knew that what she had felt since she was nine years old wasn’t just a phase. Locking eyes with Grace, she knew that this would be harder to just shrug off.
Grace and Shanna spent a lot time passing notes for the remainder of the school year. They became very good friends. Shanna was sure that Grace felt the same for her that she did, but she was too afraid to ask. She wasn’t ready to cross that line still. She was still worried about what her family would think of her. Every time she and Grace touched, she felt a rush through her body that. She couldn’t describe the feeling and she did her best to fight off the urge to shiver.
At the end of the year, Grace moved away. Shanna was heartbroken. She never got the nerve to say how she really felt, but she knew that she loved Grace. She cherished every single letter she got from Grace and read them over and over. Now, she’d never see Grace again. Never get the courage to tell her how she really felt.
Years went by, Shanna constantly fought off any crushes she had on girls. She dated guys that she really cared about. She was happy, but she never really felt whole. She spent quite a few years wondering about Grace and what had happened to her. She felt restless. The happier she felt with who she was, the sadder she felt about what she wasn’t.
When she was seventeen, she finally let her guard down. She met a lovely girl named Tammy who she really liked. They got close. Tammy was her first girl kiss. Sadly, her stepmother caught the kiss and forbid Shanna ever speak to Tammy again. She was crushed. She realized she’d never be able to fully be who she felt inside she was.
Shanna decided to move forward with her life. She decided to stop pursuing any relationships and focus on her senior year. Her senior year she meets a girl named Lacey who she realizes she has strong feelings for. She also admires Lacey greatly.
Lacey was everything Shanna felt like she could never be. She was confident. She was happy. She let herself follow her urges and desires and didn’t care what anybody thought about her. Many people would consider Lacey a bad influence as well as other things. Shanna never thought that. She thought Lacey was amazing.
Shanna and Lacey became the best of friends. They spent a lot of time in between classes that year. They walked each other to classes holding hands. They became surrounded by a group of friends who they adored. It was great. Shanna felt legitimately happy for the first time in a long time. She wasn’t constantly wondering about the what ifs.
Shanna graduated and never heard from Lacey again. She lost contact with many of the friends she made through school. Feeling depressed, she wound up going to hang out places that were out of her comfort zone. She met a guy there that she thought was wonderful. She would later find out that he was far from wonderful.
After the relationship ended, she spent several years going in and out of brief relationships. She didn’t want to stay with anybody long. She was scared. She didn’t want to be hurt in the way she had. She also didn’t want to come to terms with the fact that she was really into girls. She’d let a few people know about it, but still wasn’t ready to fully come out.
When Shanna turned twenty-seven, she met a wonderful man named Zane. Somebody she didn’t think existed. Somebody who had more in common with her than she ever thought would be possible. For almost five years, they were very happy, but as time went on, she started feeling like a huge part of her was missing. Not wanting to ruin things like she always did, she suppressed these feelings.
She kept suppressing these feelings for a quite awhile until something major happened to her. Shanna decided to attend an event that she knew would be amazing and good for her. This event was way out of her comfort zone, but she was excited.
It was at this event that she realized she’d never be comfortable in her own skin unless she embraced all of her. She met a girl named Lynn. She and Lynn connected immediately. She wasn’t able to keep her mind off Lynn. Shortly after the event ended, Shanna came out as bisexual. She never felt freer.
Several months after the event, she can’t get her mind of Lynn. She had several discussions with Zane about this. She felt blessed to have him in her life. She could tell him anything and everything and he’d support her. She was free to explore women now thanks to him. They had even talked about having an open relationship to an extent.
Lynn and Shanna kept in touch. Eventually the subject of sexuality came up. It was very deep and heartfelt. Shanna realized she’d never be able to tell Lynn how she really felt. Lynn was very happy in her marriage and family life. She’d never do anything to change that for Lynn.
Lynn and Shanna remained good friends. The conversation that they had never got brought up again. Shanna struggles with herself and where to go from here. She has spent most of her life hiding who she was and now she doesn’t have to. It is a struggle she faces every day.
Shanna spends every day wondering how different her life would have been had she not been afraid to be who she was. She wonders how many people’s life she could impact and change if she tells her story, so they don’t life their life in fear like she did.
Shanna is happy. She has no regrets about how she’s living her life. She looks forward to what her future holds. While she thinks that things would have been drastically different had she been comfortable in her skin much earlier in life, she realizes that it’s not too late to change things.
Shanna’s life isn’t perfect. There are still many things that she could do to improve. She’s happy though. She’s excited about things that will happen in her future. She is confident and hopeful that things will happen her way. She’s confident that she will meet somebody that is the perfect fit for what she’s looking for.
She’s not fully comfortable with herself. She grows more comfortable in her skin every day. She also realizes that not everybody is going to fully accept her for who she is. She’s okay with that. She realized after she came out that those who are meant to be in her life will stay in her life.
One of Shanna’s biggest dreams is that she can tell her story to anybody who will listen. That she can make it known that she is there if anybody needs to reach out. Growing up, Shanna felt alone and scared. She felt she had nobody she could open up to about how she felt. She would never want that for anybody. She will try to help as many people as she can to keep her from feeling the way she did.
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