Youth Story: Anaiia
Growing up, I always had an attraction to women but because of my Christian upbringing I questioned it. I never really felt accepted at home, school, or even with friends. At home, my parents would ask me questions or make assumptions about my sexuality, but they never wanted to acknowledge it. Up until High School I felt that it was necessary to conceal who I really was.
By my freshman year of high school, I had to consider who I was and worry about what I thought about myself. I met a girl and we started out as friends, so I was conflicted because I didn’t know if what I felt for her was platonic or romantic, but soon it would be made clear. We started dating but I kept it a secret from my friends and family. Honestly, I didn’t even accept this new aspect of my life. My religious upbringing would sneak into my head and cause me to be ashamed of who I was. I denied my relationship and sexuality whenever my mom or other family members brought it up because I knew that it would be frowned upon. In the beginning of sophomore year, I broke up with my girlfriend, but I met new friends who were open about their sexuality. Soon after meeting these new friends I was introduced to The Attic Youth Center.
The first time I visited The Attic, I felt like I hit the jackpot! I had found a whole new setting in which I could be myself. I was amazed by the staff and youth. From they way they spoke to each other to the energy that spread throughout every floor of the building. I met new people and made new friends. I somehow felt connected to these new people who I barely knew on such a personal level. Soon after, The Attic became an everyday treat. I went to groups that helped me express what I couldn’t at home, such as how I was truly feeling about my sexuality, relationships, and mental health. The Attic became my main source of support when I was fifteen and continues to be, even five years later.
Currently at The Attic I meet with Life Skills staff to work on my career and education goals, attend weekly therapy sessions, and then let some stress out during vogue group on Fridays, all while maintaining school and a full-time job. The Attic has impacted my life in many positive ways. The people there have taught me to be myself, and to be proud of who I am. Now I look to inspire others in as many ways as I can. I cannot thank The Attic enough.