Hi, my name is Sam Hood and I was born and raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. I grew up in an active LDS family with parents who worked hard to teach me and my sister about the gospel. I dutifully did all the things that I was supposed to do growing up. I progressed through the priesthood, got my Eagle scout, and served a mission. To anyone who knew me it must’ve appeared that I was the “perfect Mormon boy.” However, deep inside me I harbored a secret through all of that time. The secret was that I am gay. It was a secret that I lived with a daily fear about. A fear that if anybody found out it would ruin my life. It really does take a toll on a person, carrying around a secret like that. Constantly feeling that you are alone and that there’s nobody that you can talk to about your fears and worries.
In college I had a few friends that I became very close with. I feel like they knew my heart and I knew theirs and that they could be trusted with my secret and still love me. They did not let me down. They were incredibly loving to me and showed me that my secret did not make me unworthy of love, and didn’t make me second rate. Those moments would pave the way to a life lived openly. As time went on I shared with more people that I’m gay and was constantly surprised by the outpouring of love that was shown to me.
Despite these good experiences I still lived in fear. I still felt like my secret couldn’t be publicly known. As time went on that took a toll on me. It led me into depression and into a dark place in my life where I wasn’t taking care of myself. Then one day I woke up and decided things needed to change. I decided that day to start taking care of myself and start figuring out what really would make me happy. Despite my love for the gospel that I had been taught growing up, I decided that I needed to discover for myself what truly would make me happy.
After some time I decided to come out as gay to everyone. It was a truly scary experience for me. I had no idea what to expect, but I feared the worst. Yet again I was astonished at the love that was shown to me. I felt happy, whole, and for the first time in my life I felt like I could really be me. It was not long after this that I met Taylor. Taylor came into my life and continued to teach me what it was like to live an authentic life and a life full of love.
I married my best friend, Taylor, on May 19, 2018. It was an incredible day of love. Our whole families were there for us, our friends were there for us, and even people who we didn’t expect were there for us. My life has truly been blessed by people who have loved me unconditionally and have paved the road of healing that I’ve been traveling down. Be that person for somebody else. Show them that you will love them no matter what. I promise that you will change lives through that one simple thing.
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This In My Own Words story is a contribution from Let’s Love Better, a Facebook group dedicated to helping people learn to better share love, while fostering an atmosphere of understanding. When we know better, we do better.