Growing up in small town in the South, there wasn't a lot of room self-discovery and expression. It you didn't fit into what most people considered normal then you were quickly ostracized and bullied relentlessly by your peers. Hiding my feelings and my blossoming sexuality even from myself lead to many years of depression, anger, and self-loathing. I was afraid to explore certain aspects of who i was in fear that my peers would treat me even worse than they already did. However, my life changed for the better when i discovered LARPing.
I had already been aware of Vampire the Masquerade when I found a copy of Laws of the Night in a used bookstore back when I was in middle school, but I had no idea people actually got togerher and played it. However, when I was in high school I discovered there was a LARP group that played in the next town over and I managed to convince my dad to let me check it out.
For the first time in my life I was around people that were like me, people who had the same interests, and who treated me as an equal. The more I played, the more of myself I had the chance to discover. I didn't have to hide who I was from myself anymore, and it was like a massive weight was finally lifted off my shoulders. LARPing gave me a freedom to be who I truly was while I pretended to be soemone else, a freedom I didn't even know I was missing out on until I started playing.
I am proud of who I am now, and how comfortable I am in my own skin. I will always be grateful to Vampire the Masquerade and LARPing for helping me come out of my shell and find me.