My Story: The Volunteer V

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All of My Most Sacred Moments Were Spent Secretly, in a Strong Survival Mode

Through the years, I never felt support regarding the things that move me or the things I’ve wanted to devote myself to – even when I was really young, the dominating emotions I felt, were mostly related to mistrust and insecurity about my environment, because of all the tension and lack of communication between my family members. I did not suffer because of that, or maybe at that time I never accepted the concept of sadness as something valid and applicable, because I was full of unrelenting ambition to follow everything I was interested in and of mind-blowing curiosity towards the world, regardless of the approval or judgment of those around me.

The first nuances of attraction to the female sex appeared even before I started school, and took the shape of strong sympathies towards my best friends and desire to spend more time with them. Once, after playing “family” with a girl from my neighbourhood and going back home, my mother – who had witnessed the whole process – asked me if I didn’t actually like girls. Then with all my confidence and self-assuredness, I stated that yes, she was right and that I was happy she had raised the topic. She started laughing and told me that it will pass.

I had my first kiss with a woman when I was 13. I wouldn’t say it was something long-awaited or striking, because it happened absolutely randomly and at that time I hadn’t yet formed my desire to build something with someone, or any image for what I am looking for or what I can give to the person I am with. As far as my sexual orientation is concerned, I’ve never had any questions or doubts, because everything has somehow been happening as an integral part of my mind and my body and I’ve never fought it. I have never even questioned why one thing feels in this way or why something else contradicts it. I accepted everything that my soul indicated to be a necessity.

I had my first relationship with another woman when I was 17 years old. It was an experience that absolutely turned my world over and was full of devastating emotions – as I guess happens with every first love, regardless of what kind of love it is or how it was formed. It was then when I decided to share my happiness with my mother, being encouraged by the fact that so far, we had always handled everything – both good and bad - together, just the two of us (my parents are divorced and I have no communication with my father). I wasn’t expecting a specific reaction, I was scared for sure but I couldn’t take anymore all the questions and strange secrets, which I found absolutely unnatural. It happened on Christmas. When I told her, she started crying and went out in the middle of the night. For a period of several days, she was visiting a psychologist and taking anti-depressants. This is the moment to mention that I understand her behavior and each of her actions that followed - all the misinformation, speculations and prejudice in the media and in society as a whole are the reason for the huge and almost irreversible confusion regarding homosexuality.

Consequently, after the topic was put up for discussion for all my family members, it was decided that this was the worst thing in the world and the most perverted type of behaviour. They were all completely disappointed, unable to understand and ashamed, they sent me abroad to relatives of mine who lived there (my mother had full custody and I was still under 18) in order to keep me away from this vicious environment and so that this “phase” could pass as painlessly as possible. I spent several weeks there with promises of a lighter and more peaceful future if I would only give up this crazy behaviour and accept their view of what is right, and with all types of mental and physical threats directed at me and my girlfriend. I don’t think it’s necessary to describe in detail the attitude and the conditions there, the total lack of empathy and attempts of opening their horizons to the different. The problem wasn’t even in the words they used or the short nights spent in repetitive dreams about one particular girl; the problem is not in the fact that the family is supposed to be a place of love, which teaches you how you should treat others. The offense, as seen through my eyes, was (and still is) unforgiving because it was directed towards my dignity and values; it showed me what one human being is capable of doing to another human being, without any respect for their personal choice, boundaries, and judgment; everything was a matter a principle after every attempt for connection and tenderness was blocked. I still don’t know how someone can overcome any type of traumatic experience and what can be defined as an aggressive and intensive situation, which could destroy anybody with a weaker psyche. But I believe that not everybody finds the right tools, not everybody gets a chance, that there are even more painful stories and that many teenagers kill themselves due to this same lack of sensitivity.

To some extent I am grateful that something like this happened when I was so young and I got the chance to realize early in life that I am alone and that I can handle everything that awaits me by myself. Several weeks later I came back and finished my education in Bulgaria amidst many secrets, being absorbed in myself in order to protect myself and all of those most sacred moments spent secretly and while being in a strong survival mode. After I turned 18, I started following my own path, worked at several different places and moved to another city.

This is the reason why I believe that there is a huge unwritten, unreached and unsearched need for Single Step – thanks to it I can try to help and protect other people, I can call for more safety and more reflection before undertaking whatever steps towards coming out. Family matters are never easy, and in general, the relationships between people are extremely complex on all levels and they are never absolutely complete. But it is really important to help each other and to try to realize that there is injustice in the world, to fight it when we can and to forgive – and most of all, to never keep negative emotions inside ourselves, but instead to turn this pain into fuel for creating and to cultivate energy for something beautiful and shared.


Single Step's volunteers are working on the online support chat everyday between 8 pm and 11 pm.

Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash