I used to believe that change was impossible.
Two years ago, I sat in my room, sobbing like I never had before, holding a knife in my hand; I was bleeding.
It's hard to come out to your parents and expect them to treat you the same as they did before, especially when the state of your relationship with them prior to this was bleak, desolate, and unpromising. I fell into a deep depression. Even though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, I felt like I was a burden to my parents.
"Now we have to hide this from the family"
"Why can't you just be normal?"
"Why can't you marry a girl?"
"We won't be able to have natural kids." These were all phrases I heard that night. After talking to my therapist a week later, I decided that I had to separate myself from them emotionally. I couldn't move away from my parents, but I sure as hell could remove myself from them psychologically.
I transferred into a more liberal school, started therapy, got myself an internship, and made a ton of friends who were there for me when my parents and family weren't. I even had my first boyfriend. I went from feeling like I could never be loved, to feeling like I deserved the love that engulfed me. I was in a good place and I felt like I could thrive. This state of bliss allowed me to be more adventurous, I started becoming more active in social activism and after my first breakup, allowed myself to go on more dates.
A few days ago I was waiting at the local BART station (for those of you who aren't in the SF Bay Area, it's like our version of the subway) for a bus to take me home. This woman came and sat next to me, and she casually started telling her life story. Basically, through everything that she has faced, whether it be discrimination for the color of her skin, or to the brutality she faced at home, she said that as long as she loved herself, she would be liberated from the chains that the world placed on her.
A year ago, that message wouldn't have resonated with me; I didn't see the importance of loving myself and thought that concept was invalid. But today, I can very much validate her message, and it's something I wish I had accepted sooner in life.
Calvin Ho is an aspiring social activist who wants to bring a voice to the LGBTQ API community. He spends his spare time watching Scandal and wondering why Olivia is doing those activities with the president. He is a verse bottom who cannot drive.