It's been a little over six months since I came out of the closet in a very public Facebook post. June 18, 2015, was perhaps the most important day of my life, but I would like to believe a very important day in the life of others as well.
For me, it was the day I finally was able to stop lying to myself, to my friends, my family and anyone who knows me. I could FINALLY be myself and live my life, my way. I didn't have to worry about hiding anymore. It was the end of much depression, worry and stress and the beginning of peace, happiness and self respect, things I was missing for many years.
For others, I hope that it was a day that showed them that there's absolutely nothing wrong with being yourself. There's no need to worry about backlash, hate or any other negative thought that may come along with the baggage of coming out to people you care about. Or even people who have no clue who you were before that day.
Since coming out, I've achieved a higher quality of life. I smile and laugh more. I walk around with more confidence. This story is to everyone who may be in the closet right now and wondering if coming out is the right choice for them. Trust me when I say: it is.
I unintentionally stumbled into a more public eye once I came out, but I don't mind. I would be honored if I can be even a small voice for the depressed athlete who is afraid to tell his teammates that he's gay, or the stressed out high school student who is worried about the backlash he may receive from his friends and family.
The LGBT community was incredibly accepting of me and in 2016, I want to do more for them. As it stands right now, in my world of professional wrestling — a world of macho men — I've only continued on in a positive way due to the ridiculous amount of support I received. Everyone should not worry about what comes after coming out.
It gets better. Trust me!
I did not receive one negative reaction after I came out. But even if I had, who cares?! Life is far too short to worry or stress about the thoughts others have about what you do behind closed doors. We, as a people, should never have to be depressed because we are told "that it is wrong" to be attracted to the gender we are attracted to, or love who we love. We shouldn't have to and we don't have to.
All of my straight colleagues, friends and co-workers were very welcoming, accepting and generous. They offered support in any way they could. Lending an ear, texting, calling — everything I could've hoped for and more. One of my buddies told me that he envied me for being man enough to admit something so private, so publicly. Another told me that his respect for me grew because anyone else would "fake it til death." Those comments and many others gave me the confidence I needed to move forward. To my knowledge, not one of my wrestling buddies felt uncomfortable stepping in the ring with me since that day.
That's what I wanted. Professional lives and personal lives shouldn't have to cross or be at all related. Thankfully, the wrestling world has changed from the homophobic fraternity, to an understanding and accepting brotherhood where nobody has to be afraid or worry about what others will say, do or think.
We go through life worrying about what others say, think or expect out of us but at the end of the day, YOUR life belong to YOU. What they say, think or expect doesn't matter if it doesn't fit YOUR life playbook.
Let's work together to end depression, stress and worry that comes along with homosexuality. Make every move count. Value your value. Choose to your life, not just exist. Life is beautiful if you allow it to be. We can do this together. You were all here for me — just know I'm here for you too.