When I was fifteen, I was blindsided by sexual assault, and for the rest of high school I struggled with depression, cutting, weight gain, self-hate, pornography and masturbation, fear of men, and PTSD. I was terrified of revisiting the incident so I suppressed it and went on medication to cope with my health and psychological issues.
In college I met a girl who, to this day, is my best friend. Our friendship developed quickly and we became extremely close. Although we’d suffered different forms of abuse, we became the answer to each other’s pain and the emotional intimacy we shared turned physical. I never identified—nor did I want to identify—as lesbian or bisexual, but I couldn’t deny that I was in a same-sex relationship with my best friend. I was sick with guilt from the things we were doing in secret, and my desires never felt completely satisfied. The temporary escape I got from my sexual trauma when we were together was short-lived, and I always felt worse afterward. I convinced myself it was just a phase that would go away on its own, but three years later we were still stuck in a secret that was increasingly hard to hide while feeling more empty and isolated than before we became friends.
The turning point for me happened when I woke up next to her one morning and saw two versions of my life flash before my eyes. In one future I saw myself living an openly gay lifestyle and married to her; behind me was a completely severed relationship with my family. In the next future I saw us standing beside each other and married, but not to each other. Our husbands, kids, and families surrounded us. We were in love with our husbands and more satisfied with them than we ever were with each other, and my relationship with my parents was restored. Then I heard a voice say to me, “You can be with your best friend for forever. Whichever way you choose, I promise you—you’ll change the world.”
So I chose. She chose. We both wanted the latter future, so we asked people in our church for help. The thought of opening up about our struggle was terrifying, but they embraced us. I got pastoral counseling and read books about finding freedom in my sexuality. Counseling helped me revisit the initial incident, and I discovered that it was linked to all my health issues, PTSD, and same-sex attraction. Within months, my PTSD symptoms went away and I went off medication. My friend went through her own healing process too, and we’ve been healthy and free for four years now. We are happy. We can be roommates without the sexual ties. We don’t want each other physically, yet we love each other more than we ever have. We love our friendship this way.
Today, I feel whole. I no longer feel anxious around men, and it is not difficult for me to look them in the eyes. I am even looking forward to dating guys, something I had not felt in years. I love my body now and feel comfortable with who I am.