[WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ ARE TRANSCRIPTS THAT WERE DIRECTLY TAKEN FROM THE VIDEO ON SPOKEN OUT STORY'S YOUTUBE CHANNEL. IT HASN'T BEEN EDITED TO KEEP THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE STORY]
My name is Bidisha and this is my "being happy" story.
I think I have always been a happy child when I was a kid... yeah, I was a happy child.
When I started growing up, I felt a lot of anxiousness, a lot of… I don’t want to call it negativity but at the same time, the surroundings tell you to be something that you’re not. So, after a point of time when you are in a conflict with yourself with who you are exactly, that understanding of happiness goes way.
A happy child to an anxious child, then angry child, then someone who is worrying about most of the things in their life, what to do, what not to do in career. Finally, beginning sorting out a process, and letting life be the judge, and being a happy person I think.
At last, I found what I wanted to do with myself.
Coming out. I think, officially, I did to my mom. And I don’t think I officially have done it to Baba yet. Actually, my mom and dad are like one person, so if my mom knows, my dad knows kind of thing.
My friends always knew about me. Few accepted, few didn’t, and who didn’t, they left, and some few came back, few didn’t. With friends and colleagues, after a point of time, I became so open about myself and became so comfortable with myself around people that it didn’t matter if they accepted me or didn’t, because I accepted myself so well. I never had a difficulty to talk about it or… even I, I don’t go to people to let them know who I’m sleeping with or who I prefer to sleep with. So, I became so comfortable with myself that I didn’t have to come out exactly.
I think that’s the point I would like to tell all of my friends.
I know there are few people in my life who might know a little bit or no.. I mean, don’t know well. They’re actually having a conflict with themselves. They can’t see the box of being straight in the society. At the same time, they know who they are. They couldn’t come out or they couldn’t take the step they wanted to because they didn’t become comfortable with themselves first.
You have to accept. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you are straight, you are straight, if you are gay, you are gay. If you’re nothing even, pansexual, whatever it is, if you don’t feel anything even, you just need to know who you are. If you become comfortable, trust me, everyone will be accepting you. And there are lots of kids I know now, over Facebook or Instagram, they come and ask things like… they don’t ask straight away like "how you become so comfortable with yourself", like, even they don’t know sometimes how to phrase those questions. But, they wonder, like, "how come you’re so open, and out, and so flexible about everything like you talked about it, and if you don’t talk about it, you’re being funny all the time about this thing also."
So, the thing is that in our head I have to accept this is who I am. You accept, your mom will accept, your dad will accept. It’s a process, I’m not saying, one fine morning everyone will accept, but one fine morning, you will accept yourself first. And things will be smooth and smooth, and smoother, and smoothest, after that.
The most important part they understood about myself that will always think "oh, if I do that, my mom will be angry, my dad will be having a heart attack if I come out as a gay." Trust me, my sleeping preferences with someone will not bring anyone’s heart attack.
Thing is that I do not care what people think about me anymore. I do care what I feel about me. If I feel I’m wrong, I’m doing wrong to something or someone, I step back, because I have to sleep with myself at night, I have to look at myself in the mirror. And if I feel I’m a good person, I’m a good person. I know I’ll do good.
And there are lots of people to tell you the truth on your face, and to make you feel good about yourself. Because the world is full of nice people, and when I’m nice to myself, I meet all the people who are nice.
The hardest part of becoming happy: people do not let you accept yourself first, they will not let you. Because we have this thing. if we don’t understand something, then it’s wrong, or it cannot happen, or something like that.
When I started becoming myself, if I have to talk about my coming out experience or becoming a happy person experience, this would be the hardest part. I had fun in all the parts I guess, but the hardest part would be this, that when your parents face the question they don’t know the answer about. They’re not gay, they don’t know about me, even I wasn’t ready to answer for myself, so what they’re gonna answer for me? The hardest part to see your parents to struggle with something that they don’t know the answer about.
Bad experience? There is a lot. The painful ones? From the friends. Morning they loved you, evening they left you. And you just don’t know why. It’s nothing like from that friends group where you liked someone, even loved someone or proposed someone. They just failed at… it’s not done or this is not okay but they don’t have any reasons. So the morning they love you, and the evening they left you.
I’m gay, right? I’m open and proud… there’s nothing to be proud, I didn’t do anything to be gay, so there’s nothing to be proud about. But it’s fine, I’m open and comfortable with myself. I’m gay myself but there’s at one point... I still remember this day, because it’s a very significant incident for me.
I think I was 14-15 and I had this conflict in my mind like "What to do? Should I turn straight or should I not turn straight?"
I bullied a gay girl, trust me, and she was tom boy, I think she was butch, yeah. I still remember, me and my friends were coming from somewhere and I saw her in front of us, so my friends starting bullying her saying some comments, and I joined them. And I knew that time I had a conflict in my mind that "I really really want to be like you, and you’re so smart and you’re so bold, and everything." But I joined in with my friends to bully that girl, so nobody will get to know, "I can look exactly like you."
You know, it’s like someone showed me the mirror that "this is who you are", and I was so fearful that everybody will get to know my truth at the same time if they get to see her, so if they’re bullying her, I started bullying the same way, so that I can kind of become part of this group, normal group. And "I’m not like you" but she actually showed me the mirror "this is who you are."
And I never spoke about this incident anywhere, but I don’t know if she’ll recognize me or not, but if she sees any of it anytime, I’m really really sorry that I have done it, but if I wouldn’t have seen you on the road, I wouldn’t have known who I am.
Lot of times, we take jokes and things from the people who are very close to us and dear to us like friends, family, relatives, which is not decent. Sometimes, it happens with your sexuality like as I’m talking about it, sometimes they talk about you in a way… I’m not saying that every family member is a bad.. and that they are pulling and all, but that we understand the difference of it. But lot of times, when you have friends like that who are not comfortable with you, they crack jokes, or they make… even they don’t know sometimes, they are doing wrong to you, they crack some jokes which are very derogatory. And, if I take it as a "oh they’re my friends, they’re just cracking jokes", one day you will not know when that line is crossed. One day those things are actually hurting you internally. Real friends do not hurt you, real friends make you laugh, but your sexuality is not the content of laughters.
Yes, you can crack jokes, of course, I can crack jokes but that’s not… I had to learn where to draw the line for the people, even the closest ones, with my parents even. You cannot say something about it. They don’t know, if someone don’t know and they are really dear to you and that’s what they’re commenting on, let them know this is not cool.
So, maybe not the first day, but the second day they will know this is not cool. They will try to at least stop themselves somewhere. But if I laugh on the jokes they’re making on me at the cost of me, it’s not going to work.
First, I’m becoming comfortable with myself, at the same time or the second part would be respecting myself at the most. I see myself as a good person, I’ve never harmed anybody, I’m a happy person, I pray for all, I want to see good in everything. So, you cannot bring me down, say something that I’m not, not even in a joke. I do have an understanding of sense of humour, and derogatory remarks said in a funny manner, so there’s a fine line, and I can make that out, we have to do that.
And things are so bad in some scenarios, we see in the TV shows and all, they make… you know there are very popular few TV shows that happen in India, they crack up and they show gestures to the gay people that way… people don’t even understand, it’s actually educating you in the wrong manner towards gay people, so all the people have an idea like I had a guy friend who is gay. His office colleagues used to treat him as if every second or fourth person he’s meeting in the office he’s falling for them. So it’s a difficult thing, like someone is passing, and my friend face comments like: "Have you seen that guy? It’s tall and you like tall guys."
No, he like guys, that doesn’t mean that he likes every tall guys.
So it’s like he’s just kind of waiting at the door with an umbrella and all to welcome some tall guy… every tall guy in his life. And you know, first he laughed on it, second even he laughed on it, third, he was depressed, because he knew that every tall guy in his office knows he’s gay. And this is something they can’t joke about, and every tall guy used to avoid him thinking that he’s hitting on them. And after a week, it’s so heartbreaking sometimes, after a week, every tall guy is avoiding him thinking he has a crush on them.
I won’t talk about coming out only, I think I like to speak about being happy, and trust me, I’m still depressed sometimes, I cry a lot at night. I miss my ma, my father, I mean Baba. I cry a lot, I’m depressed with a lot of betrayal that I have faced in my life and everything. But none of them stop me from being happy in the morning.
It’s life, this will happen like this only, but I try to be happy most of the time, and at least 90% I try, so 10% wouldn’t matter. But if I wouldn’t have cried at night and the things happened to me, I wouldn’t have been here to talk about I think, I would have nothing to share with you.
I don’t think I can say better things on how to come out because there are pages on Instagram, they’re coming out with a lot of innovative ideas, and motivational talks, speeches, quotes, with even I share on a daily basis with my friends. The thing I feel particularly with myself, I lost believing in love, and got it back recently, which is a fantastic thing.
Be kind, be lovable, be honest, be transparent, there’s no better remedy than if you’re transparent. I know in this world, it’s kind of: people can say "ok, she is very predictable" and all. "But that’s your problem, you’re predicting, I’m not doing anything, I’m living my life."
I’m transparent, I’m having a better sleep at night, I don’t have to remember everything that I say, you have to remember everything that I say, because you’re thinking about me."
I can be honest, I can be happy, when I talk, I can be truthful every time, because there’s nothing hidden in me. I don’t have to cover anything. And if you’re gay particularly, one fine morning you’ll say "I’m gay." And that’s it. One day your mom will accept, I think the same day your mom will accept, because you will have accepted yourself. Things can be difficult, absolutely difficult to understand, in a different scenario, different background, different family structure, it will be difficult, absolutely it will be difficult, I know. But you have accepted, you have passed the hardest part. People will accept gradually.
Give them time, they have their own learning, which they have to unlearn. So give them time to unlearn those things.
The hardest part would be: I accepted myself, and I know this is who I am, now my dealing-with-myself is done.
You love me, accept me, don’t love me, don’t accept me, it’s your issues right now. I can go on and live my life the way I want. You accept me or don’t accept me, it’s your headache, not mine anymore.
You can connect with Bidisha through these social media pages:
Twitter — @bidisha1104
Instagram — @a_goodhaircut
LinkedIn — @bidishabhattacharya1104
TikTok — @agoodhaircut
About Spoken Out Stories
Spoken Out Stories is a video series about helping people who went and/or are going through what a lot of people consider as a hard experience, and don’t see a way out to move on with their life. It is about sharing inspiring and moving stories of different people who come from different parts of the World, and tell us how they move forward with determination and optimism despite what they went through. It is about giving another perspective, another point of view on issues that can't be solvable with a bandage. It is telling people through these inspiring stories that you are enough, that you are worthy, that you are NOT alone and that it is okay to feel the way you feel. It is about putting a spotlight on people who speak out about their vulnerabilities in order to empower and support others in their pain.
You can connect with Spoken Out Stories through these social media pages:
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Twitter — @spoknoutstories
Facebook — @spokenoutstories
YouTube — bit.ly/SpokenOutStories
Spotify — https://open.spotify.com/show/2UXJWMd3vj84pm14mdQpPk