Kandice Day 9/9/1980 She had a crush on her first-grade teacher. Her name was Mrs. Woods. Maybe it was the fact that Mrs. Woods told her to keep writing, or maybe it was that Mrs. Woods was her inspiration. She was only six-years-old. A few years later, she had a crush on a sixth grader who made her want to play better on the court. After that, in 7th grade, it was a crush on a close friend who made her want to act tough and smarter than the boys. It was always a girl who made her heart race for no apparent reason. It wasn‟t until high school, however, that things begin to change. Her freshman year she was introduced to Sarah, and from the first moment she met her, she just had to be around her. They become best friends, and through every wrench that high school can throw at you, and it threw more than most, they remained close. Through softball and basketball seasons, summer camps and tournaments, typical high school drama and one huge, heart-breaking, coach-resigning, life- altering moment they stood together. She never thought that it was strange that she could never stop thinking about Sarah, or that she started writing poetry again, or that she had become extremely moody. But her family noticed it all. Mom and dad knew something wasn‟t quite right, but never spoke a word about their concerns. Not once did the thought enter her mind that they were more than just close friends, and that thought wouldn‟t enter her mind for many years after their friendship had ended. Many years later she understood what it all meant. She understood why the boys never looked handsome enough, nor made her heart race. She understood why they never seemed to know how to kiss her, or take her breath away. She was gay, but didn't even know it until the moment she kissed another woman. She was 20-years-old. It was a kiss that told her the truth. It wasn‟t the women she kissed, or the way she kissed. It truly had nothing to do with the other person, other than she was kissing a girl, and suddenly clarity like nothing she had ever experienced laid over her. She was free. She was kissing a girl, and she was completely free. All of those feelings that you were supposed to feel when kissing a boy happened in that one moment. I couldn‟t tell you when or where that first kiss with a girl happened, because it never mattered who it was with or how it happened. What mattered was that it was like breathing a breath of fresh air. The weeks, months, and years following that awakening were filled with torment, depression, and extreme confusion about who I was and where I stood in this big gay world, but it was one kiss that knocked some sense into me. Upon telling my parents, they already knew. Upon telling my friends, they said, “it‟s about time.” Everyone knew that I was gay except for me. They were all waiting for me to figure out the truth and break out of my shell. Today, I'm married to the most amazing, beautiful, patient, understanding, funny, inspirational, and flawless woman I've ever met. Our wedding was the single greatest day of my life, because I was able to stand in front of my friends and family and make a promise to this amazing woman that I will do whatever it takes to stand by her side and love her. I found the courage in her eyes to stand in front of my family, for the first time in my life, and say out loud my true feelings about this woman. It was the first time in my life that I was able to stand in front of my family and kiss her with such love and passion. Coming out is not just one story, it‟s hundreds of tiny tales that stream together to make a lifetime. Coming out never ends, it continues from job to job, friendship to friendship, moment to moment. Every day you decide how you want to live your life, and every day you decide how “out” you want to be. There is no „coming out story,‟ but there are millions of coming out moments that we all share.
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