It’s been 3 years. 3 entire years since I faced the most challenging day of my life. My name is Madeline Richards and I never imagined myself writing this to the world. For years I fought a battle with myself. Constantly on the fence wondering where I went wrong. Questioning every day of my life, for 12 years, “why can’t I be normal?” I've struggled with my sexuality and accepting the flaws that followed. I grew up with a close minded mentality. Every waking moment I caught myself thinking about my future and love life, and nearly each time it was with a girl.
The forbidden type of love - after 12 years of an excruciating battle, I succumbed to the agony I consistently felt. One evening I gained the courage to come out to a friend. Beforehand, I made a vow to myself ‘if you don’t tell her tonight, you’ll never do it’.
So the entire day I stalled and waited until the very last moment because once I said those words it was going to get real so real that I could never take it back. And I panicked. But I did it. It took every ounce of energy, every bone in my body, and every last tear out of me to say it. She comforted me and stayed until I was okay but I wasn’t. Part of me thought an entire boulder would be lifted off my shoulders, but the other part of me thought things would only get worse.
For the next month I continued to keep quiet, as if nothing changed. She respected me and didn’t tell another soul. However, she pushed me to get the help that I needed. I’ll never forget when she said “you NEED to tell your dad”and I broke.
He’s the man I turned to for everything. Why would I dare risk losing that? I was scared of losing him. After the month went by I fell into the worst depression I’ve ever had. So terrible that I finally decided ‘today is the day, or else I don’t know how much longer I’ll last’.
That day is when my life changed. I cried in his arms. I cried and I cried and I cried. For hours. And then I said it, after much stalling. He looked at me, smiled and said, "Madeline I love you.” We talked and I got things off my chest and answered any questions he had. And I’ll never forget when he said ‘I love women too’ and we were able to sit there and joke about it. I sat there in disbelief. ‘Did that really just happen? Did I actually tell him?’
And from then on I slowly came out to the rest of my family. It took about 2 and half years (after coming out the first time) to finally accept myself.
It’s part of me and my lifestyle and it’s something that not everybody will be okay with, but I don’t let that discourage me anymore. I’m happy now. Somewhere in my life that I NEVER thought I’d be. I have the most beautiful girlfriend who makes me feel special. She makes me want to be a better person and she’s helped me grow every day in many ways. She doesn’t even know it. But if i never came out, if I didn’t continue to fight, I wouldn’t be here. I’ve made immense progress in a very short year (now that I’ve finally accepted myself) and I’m a completely different person for the better.
This has helped me love myself and grow my confidence which has attracted all of my friends. They see that within me and that’s what keeps them coming back. I’m never ever going to take that for granted. Once you start believing in yourself and loving yourself, your life is going to blossom.