My name is rula. I’m a 26 year old lesbian from a small town outside of Los Angeles called San Dimas. It’s a Podunk little town. Small faces small dreams ya know? I’m also from a big middle eastern family. I’m first generation here in the states. I was born here but my parents moved here when my oldest sister was a couple months old.
I always knew I was gay. I had a feeling since when I was growing up my sisters would be looking at boys and I’d be looking at the girl on their arm. I never wanted to say anything. I was scared because I didn’t want to be different. Then when I was 13 I met someone that I fell pretty hard for. She was beautiful, talented, funny, and bisexual. It was the first time I had met anyone who was anything but straight. I tried to deny how I felt to myself. I even forced myself to go out with guys to try and hide how I felt. I ended up dating a guy who was 6 years older than me. Every time something went wrong, she was the one there to comfort me. It was the hardest thing changing schools because I knew it would mean I wouldn’t get to see her anymore.
I got a lot of heat during high school. I wasn’t out but it was suspected that I was gay so a lot of people would talk anyway. I got into 7 fights my sophomore year over the rumors. Finally I transferred to San Dimas high and met some people who actually seemed accepting. I fit right in with the theater kids. Unfortunately, the same year I transferred was the same year as the 9-11 attacks in new york. Because I was already getting heat for being middle eastern, I kept my sexuality to myself until one of my friends noticed how unhappy I was. She asked me and I came out to her. She was the first person I had ever come out to. Her reaction was perfect. She looked me straight in the eyes and said “so what? Does that have anything to do with who you are as a person? No. Now let’s go eat.” I felt like a whole new person. I soon came out to all my friends at San Dimas and was met by the same reaction. It was the most incredible feeling ever.
I came out to my two older sisters when I was 18. My sister Rana just said that she loves me and who I love doesn’t matter to her and my sister ruby looked at me and said “no shit stupid. I knew when you were 5.” my confidence couldn’t have been any better. I soon came out to a lot of my cousins. A couple of whom soon after took my lead and were honest to themselves as well. That’s how my mother found out. My cousins were talking about it at home and their mom overheard them. So my aunt called my other aunt in Tennessee who called my other aunt in Italy who called my other aunt in California who called my mom. News of my sexuality travelled around the world. One day when I was coming home from work I found my mom sitting on my bed. She looked really upset and said we needed to talk. The only thing I could say was “I need to pee.” so I ducked into the bathroom and texted my sisters. They both told me to calm down and breathe. I went into my room and my mother looked me right in the eyes and asked “are you in a lesbian relationship?” At that point I was. I thought about denying it and realized how much effort it was to lie compared to telling the truth so I looked back and said “are you really surprised?” what she said next surprised the hell out of me. “fine. Just don’t cut your hair. You have really beautiful hair.” I was caught off guard by how understanding she was. Since then she has been so supportive. She even fought to convince her conservative friends to vote no on prop 8.
I have yet to tell my dad but I feel that he knows. He said something to me once that convinced me that he does. He stopped me as I was going to work, put his hands on my shoulders and said “listen, baba, I’m your father and your best friend. And no matter what happens, no matter what you choose in life, no matter who you are I will always be your best friend and I will always love you.”
I’ve been blessed with some pretty amazing people in my life. I know others have had it rough and I was one of the lucky ones to find people who support me. I always look back and think of how differently it could have all gone and I thank god that it didn’t.
I’d like people out there to know that it gets better. It gets easier and eventually regardless of how shitty your life seems right now it always ends up better so hang in there. And if you need to talk, email me. Rules1285@yahoo.com. I’ll be here as a living testament that you can survive the crap people throw at you. Just hang in. Love, peace and equality.