Hello. My name is Katie and I like using hello as a form of greeting because I think it is the most sincere and energetic form there is. I want everyone to feel that their greeting is significant and that when I see their face, my life lights up just a little bit more. I hope through this, I can light up your life, for it may seem dark, but it will not stay that way. Trust me when I say, it will NOT stay that way.
For the past 10 months and one day, I have not been myself. To put it bluntly, I suffered from depression. I felt sad, and I felt, well hopeless. It was truly the darkest times of my whole life. I held in my feelings, I consumed the sadness and I wallowed in it. I am a happy person, I am a positive person, and everyone knew me as someone who never had anything go wrong in her life. I have a loving family, I went to a great school, had great friends, was very financially well off. But, just because I had all of these amenities, these wonderful situations I was supposedly put in, that does not mean that I was okay. Those didn’t force me to be happy because happiness is a state of mind. Those 10 months and one day, well, they were slow and felt like they would never ever end. I tried to think forward, think about a year from now, how I would be, if I would still feel this way, if I would ever be happy. No one could tell me, no one could help me because I wouldn’t let them. And I wanted to say something, I wanted help, I wanted support and validation, but I couldn’t. I figured I would have to pretend to be happy the rest of my life. I would have to pretend to be someone I’m not forever. Pretend, pretend, pretend kept going through my mind every day.
And then I was just spinning, and I kept spinning. I was lost.
I was turning the curve on McCarran Boulevard one day where the speed limit is 50 mph, and I saw the trees and the houses and the sun and the clouds and the blue sky, and then I saw white. I saw nothing but this mountain right next to me. And I thought that I wanted to just take my car and drive straight into that mountain and disappear forever. I wouldn’t have to deal with this sadness anymore. I wouldn’t have to deal with those thoughts that wouldn’t go away. And then probably thirty seven seconds later, a car running a red light hits me. I was in shock because thirty seven seconds earlier I just wanted to drive off the road, I just wanted to disappear. And there I was being hit by a car, in a crash that could’ve been deadly. And all I could think about were those thoughts. That I wanted to take my life, and then as life would have it, it screams in my face, that I am not going to leave this Earth right now. “Is that what you want Katie? Is this what you wanted?” I could hear the voice inside my head “Is this what you wanted Katie???” It got louder and it wouldn’t stop. I won’t ever forget it.
I thank anything, anything in this world, I thank everything everyday that I got in that car accident because I do not believe that I would be here today if I hadn’t. I do not think that I would have been able to go on a beautiful hike last night with wonderful people and watch from the top of a mountain as the sun disappeared behind the ocean and made rainbows in the sky. I wouldn’t have been able to sit on top of the rock and feel the wind and the sky and the city and nature and feel it all around me singing and whispering to me “ Aren’t you so glad you have your life?”
I have surrounded myself with loving and accepting people. People who made me feel good about myself, people who understood what I was going through. I found support. Those thoughts weren’t really sad thoughts anymore. They became new rejuvenating thoughts. I felt like Katie again. I felt like eccentric and happy and peaceful Katie that I am. I felt like open Katie who doesn’t hide things and always tells people her feelings. And I started to tell people my feelings. I have told three people those feelings since I have been here. I started accepting myself, and I stopped being ashamed of who I am. I never in a million years thought I would accept who I am. I have become one with myself, and I know that who I am is bisexual. I am proud to be who I am. I told myself this one thing everyday, that there are so many other wonderful parts about me, so many great things in my life, so many accomplishments in my life, and that this one tiny part about me does not define me. It does not take away from my genuine generosity, my inclusiveness, and niceness I have for people.
It does not take away from me how much I love the environment, and fighting for rights and social justice. It does not take away from me how much I love all people. It does not take away anything from me, it adds to me. It adds to me as a person and it makes me know who I am. And people do not get to judge me based off of the people I find attractive, they do not get to judge me because of who I love, and they do not get to decide for me who I love. I cannot hide this from people. I do not have to hide, I never have to hide, and neither do you.
I want you to know that this all will end. I want you to know that this does not define you. I want you to know that even though it feels like you will never get out of this, even though it feels like you will never be able to accept yourself, even though it feels like you will never be free, you will never be true, you will never be open- THAT IS NOT THE REALITY. I am telling you THAT IS NOT TRUE. You can accept yourself, you can be happy, you do not have to keep pretending because it will only hurt you. And even though it’s scary, even though it’s hard to feel different, you will be the happiest you have ever been in your life. You will be you again. This is temporary. It is a process, a long process, but you will get through it. YOU will! Be honest with your feelings and you will be free. You can be honest with yourself because who you are is wonderful, and there are people who will accept you for you. And if people don’t, then there is something wrong with THEM, not you.
For the past 10 months and 1 day I have been living two separate lives, one inside my head that nobody saw, and one that everyone saw. And now, I am free. I am proud to be who I am. I am alive, I am open, I am see through, I am transparent, I am bisexual. These are real feelings and we cannot escape them, we must accept them. We are not weird, we are human beings. We are your neighbors, your children, your students, and we want to be heard. We do not want to be inferior. We want to be accepted for who we are. We want to be in an environment where we know we will be loved no matter what. I do not want anyone else in this world to feel the way I did. And if you ever need help know that I am here with a judgment free mid. I am a safe zone and you can trust in me with anything. If you ever need help do not be afraid to reach out like I was. Do not stay in that dark place because it will continue to hurt, and you will continue to pretend, and you will continue to not be who you truly are. We cannot be “cured”, we cannot get rid of this because this is who we are, we were made this way, we were born this way and we cannot change no matter how much we want to, and frankly to me that is beautiful. You are valuable to this world, you are worth living this life, and this life is worth living. You can be who you are and be happy, and trust me you will be happier being who you are then not.
No matter what it takes, be who you are. Please, please, be who you are. Who you are is unique, special, and courageous. Who you are is the best thing you could ever be. We are strong, we are loved, we are cared for, and we are beautiful so do not try to change us. We are wonderful little sunflowers glowing in this beautiful universe.