Real Stories

Journey to Pride

Even though Pride month has come to an end, I reflect back on my life every day, and I still can’t believe how far I’ve come. My life story is full of twist and turns. I’ve been molested as a child, raised in a house of domestic violence, suffered domestic violence, myself, caught up in promiscuity, became a teen mom and had so many self-esteem issues. I never in a million years thought I’d be at this happy place that I am today. The road has been rough, but with my faith and the help of those close to me, I survived. I became strong and I live in my truth.

I grew up knowing that I had an attraction to women. As a child, I had crushes on both the boys and girls in my class and neighborhood. I was in awe of beautiful women. With that being said, I was also a child of the eighties and nineties, and back then, it wasn’t so acceptable. Words like dyke and f*g were thrown around so easily towards those that even showed a slight bit of interest in the same sex. Extreme religious family members would preach daily about how homosexuality was a sin and would gossip about others’ lifestyles. So, I stayed silent. I never told anyone my deepest darkest “secret.” The backlash scared me into living a life that I knew wasn’t fulfilling to me and I forced myself into being, what the world considers, “normal.”

At sixteen, I entered a toxic relationship and at seventeen I became pregnant. Eleven years I suffered physical emotional and mental abuse. I was degraded as a woman and a mother. I was brainwashed into thinking that I couldn’t do any better than him, and that no one else would want me after having my four children. Any small amount of light that I had was dimmed by this man. I was a torn and afraid, so I stayed for the sake of my family. I still knew that this was not the love that I’d craved my whole life. There was an empty spot inside myself that knew I wasn’t being true to who I really was.

After that relationship finally ended, I decided to work on me. Still not ready to admit who I really was, I dated multiple men and found myself trying to fill that void with sex and a search for a new relationship. I was so depressed and drained by this point, and being with these men never made me happy. I couldn’t take it anymore, and by the time I turned thirty years old, I put my fear to the side and started living in my truth. I fell to my knees and asked the powers that be to help me find the strength to become the person I knew I’d been my whole life. I surrendered my all. Then it happened. The love of my life came to me. She was the one that gave me the courage to live again. She lifted my spirit and helped me pick up the broken pieces of what the world had shattered. I knew if I didn’t admit who I really was, that I’d be missing out on the most genuine and purest person I’d ever met. So, I came out. I didn’t care about anyone else’s opinions. I didn’t care about the stares and the gossip. I was finally happy. I was at peace. This was my “happily ever after” moment.

So, to all of you reading this, remember to live in your truth. And, let no one prevent you from being you!

Like this post? View similar content here: On Being Oppressed And Problematic At The Same Time

by Lakeesha Byrd

I am an African American mother of four boys. I also am a proud member of the LGBTQ community with a supportive partner that I have shared my life with for three years. Because of my love for my community I am creator and CEO of FINDING MY PRIDE. FINDING MY PRIDE is not only my story, but the story of hundreds of others that have found or in the process of finding their true selves. Follow my Instagram page @FindingMyPride for all the info and updates for members and supporters.

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