“How many times would I look at myself in the mirror as if examining a stranger and feel the constant reintroductions spike my pulse, creating beads of sweat on my brow? Growth can be exhilarating, but change… change is often exhausting. Especially if you believe you are changing into someone more yourself, and that the person you are becoming will not be allowed to do the things you love or be whom you always wanted.
It was 2011, and I was a freshman at Purdue University. When I began the year, like many other students, I was told that college was a time for exploration. As I explored, my personality flourished, and my interests diversified unimaginably. It is logical to expect that the more things you encounter or experience in life, the more you will find you enjoy. This is simple probability. And yet, as I explored, the discoveries I made—like what I looked like as a blonde, finding out that I loved sushi, learning I was great at sand volleyball, and that I had an affinity for the arts—were all worlds apart from finding out I was sexually attracted to men. For others, college might be the perfect time to experiment, to find answers. But for me, it felt like seeking those answers could shatter my dreams and undo the lifetime of dedication it had taken to bring them within reach.”