So, that is kind of misleading, but it’s absolutely true.

Before Hillary Clinton announced her run for the presidency, I was in a pretty dark place; it wasn’t so much because of my unidentified sexuality on it’s own, but more-so because I was severely depressed due to an American sized portion of things, one bit being pharmacy school at my college.

I decided, once I was on the beginning of the self-motivated “upward climb out of the hole of depression,” that I would start doing some unburdening. It was tough, I had to face a lot of things about myself that I really was not comfortable with:

  • not giving people the ability to decide whether I am a successful person
  • acknowledging why my sexuality was such a hard thing for me to hold onto
  • being able to move forward in a college that seemed to not understand how my mind worked and continually pushed against any and all efforts I put forth
  • facing myself every day and NOT saying “I hate myself,” even once. (That was truly the toughest… it had become my motto and my secret. I’d said it so fluidly every day that it was more common to me than my own name.)

But bravery and drive comes from the things that seem to inspire the heart and mind simultaneously. That moment came to me after watching the Legend of Korra. I saw two insanely powerful women, of both brawn and intelligence, Asami and Korra, come together AS A COUPLE at the end of the series. A COUPLE! Nickelodeon allowed this to happen, like they had to have known, right? They couldn’t be shocked, the writers MUST have gotten the green light to do this?! I covered my mouth so fast once I saw it happening. I swear, my body would not allow me to blink because I was afraid I was going to rush the image away… This had to mean something. I was going to make it mean something in my life.

So, I did, I allowed myself to make one more step. If two women could hold hands on television, on a network generally geared towards children, I could push myself forward towards visibility. I thought about the risk the writers must have taken to run this by the network and how historical this had already become to so many. I then became so afraid..imagine if this had gone south and the show had become hated for this final image? I thought about what the scariest thing in the world could then be and what kind of risk that would entail. What sort of feat would open someone up to the worst critique, hate, and loss? This is where HRC came into my mind.

I made a pledge: if the most powerful, capable, and worldly person I knew decided to run for President, I would “unburden myself” *gulp* and tell my family that I was gay, or for their own specificity to understand, “bisexual.” I honestly hate the more defined label for my own self because I feel less defined and I tend to go with gay. The splitting in half is what hurts my mind the most and subjecting myself to more critique with the bisexual stereotyping only seems more burdening to me in the long run… but the world loves categorizing its creatures.

So, to no one’s surprise, Hillary announced that she was going to run for president. I was so exhilarated and then insanely overcome with what that meant for the honorable part of me… I knew I could not go back on my word to myself and in the next few weeks, I decided to make a poorly designed decision and have a “table talk” with my family.

This most devastating part of this experience was how much of me was not present there for the conversation. I was not my confident, in-control self. I didn’t even validate myself! I acted defeated and pinned down without the opportunity to “tap out.” I began as all great conversation begin, with ugly sobbing about being gay and wrongly apologizing for being gay. My mom and sister were very confused, they didn’t really understand what being bisexual meant and it took a lot of energy out of me. The crying made things harder to explain through my scratchy voice, but my family told me how much that they were with me no matter who I decided I liked and I know how fortunate that makes me. Of course, this happened after my sister told me that being bisexual meant I was confused, then passed on the “how could I really know until I had sex with a girl and guy.” She then moved on to say that I should experiment to figure out myself, not in a harsh way, but it was her way of being in control in the situation that she was definitely not comfortable with. I knew this, because my sister immediately said, “WELL, I knew you were at LEAST gay or something,” which didn’t fit the tone of the conversation at all. I don’t know what my mother’s initial reaction really was, probably more of a shock. My dad was on the couch, pretty sure pretending that this wasn’t happening.  My family is Italian, not so old-fashioned that they didn’t accept me but I consider myself exceedingly blessed in the open-mindedness of my family in comparison to so many that I know/grew up with. My mom said that if anyone has a problem with me, they can basically go **** themselves. That made me feel secure considering that I was worried about complete rejection. It wasn’t good right away, but from that day, I could start being a bit more open and stop feeling like I had this huge secret that was burning me up from the inside. Things still aren’t totally squared away with them in the way I would like, but I am almost completely accepting of who I am, and that validating makes all the difference in my life. I still have ways to go and now, that is a journey I WANT to be presently involved in taking.

Hillary Clinton is one of the bravest people I know and has faced more adversaries and seen more awful things happening to so many people less privileged than myself that I trusted if she could brave the world in running for President again, I could brave myself and my family. Now that it’s been almost a year since Hillary had lost the vote, I can say that I cannot even begin to comprehend how much she has endured. My battles seem small compared to the country seemingly being against you, and the world making it clear how little they value women in several regards. But it was a moment of awareness too, I’m sure as much for her (since she did write a book about it) as it was for me: sexism and racism were not so far gone when Obama was President as I had thought. There is a lot of hate towards the gay communities and immigrants of this country. I feel much more Amazonian when it comes to speaking out for myself and for all those who have been scared to be who they are due to global and national biases and prejudices. My battles belong to everyone, and I want to take others’ fights too. Being gay is more than me, it is not all of me either. As Cosima of the INCREDIBLE show “Orphan Black” once said, “my sexuality is not the most interesting thing about me,” I make sure to live this truth while supporting all of my fellow LGBTQ+ family members. Hillary’s journey to the White House and her failure was all of ours, all of us who supported more than what she was and is, the values that stood to soar with her taking office.

While each new Coming Out day is treated much more liek a day of support and an expression of how much more the gay community is than the labels that are thrust on them by society, I remember how afraid I was to acknowledge my true self. I didn’t even want to acknowledge the journey that I’d taken, hoping it would fade to black. In the same way, Hillary’s rise and fall won’t be the same in my heart, it is where my heart had gone and where my inspiration and conviction now push to live.

I’m STILL with her, and someday, I may just marry some “her” out there.

-Amanda Sally

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