My coming out was long and constantly changing, as I went from "I maybe like girls sometimes" to "hello I am very gay nice to meet you". Once I settled into my sexuality in the later years of college, I noticed how much I had fundamentally changed.
I stopped lying to myself and others. I had been somewhat-consciously lying to people who asked if I had a boyfriend, or if they could set me up with a nice guy they knew. I stopped lying to myself, having spent over a decade pretending to like guys but never getting too close. But that translated to a much larger scale - I stopped hiding what I wanted from life. I got more and more comfortable saying no, and asking for what I needed from people. I'm still q major people pleaser, of course, but my boundaries became firm and I started putting myself first sometimes.
I slowly began to care less about making mistakes in front of people. As friends supported me through my coming out, I discovered how forgiving people can be. People aren't going to remember me tripping or flubbing a line during a rehearsal the way I would, they would laugh and move on. I can be like that, too.
I actively sought out LGBTQ+ friendships. I felt a sense of community I was lacking in other arenas of my life, and even if we rarely talked about our queerness there was still a low humming of similar shared experiences. In fact, a huge reason why we have this blog and our Instagram account is because of the queer community it provides that both of us so deeply crave.
I felt more "myself" than I ever had. There was no longer a Jenni that was trying to live up to other people's expectations, only one that had a lot to offer, take it or leave it. I'm not in the habit of changing myself to suit others' preferences anymore. If you like me, great! If you don't like me, that's okay! Before I fully came out, I would never have been able to say that and mean it.
Coming out gave me so much more than people simply knowing who I was interested in romantically; it unwrapped a much bolder, stronger, happier me that I didn't know I could be.