Sophia Bush: ‘I Finally Feel Like I Can Breathe’

After the news became public, my mom told me that one of her friends called her and said, “Well, this can’t be true. I mean, your daughter isn’t gay.” My mom felt that it was obvious, from the way her friend emphasized the word, that she meant it judgmentally. And you know what my mom said? “Oh honey, I think she’s pretty gay. And she’s happy.”

I finally feel like I can breathe. I don’t think I can explain how profound that is. I feel like I was wearing a weighted vest for who knows how long. I hadn’t realized how heavy it was until I finally just put it down. This might sound crazy—but I think other people in trauma recovery will get it—I am taking deep breaths again. I can feel my legs and feet. I can feel my feet in my shoes right now. It makes me want to cry and laugh at the same time.

It is so, so scary to do the brave thing, to say, “I’m just not happy.” Especially if you’re in a partnership and you have to say it first. But if you do it, you get the chance to be happy. To find your joy. I turned 41 last summer, amid all of this, and I heard the words I was saying to my best friend as they came out of my mouth. “I feel like this is my first birthday,” I told her. This year was my very first birthday.

Sophia Bush is an actor, activist, and host of the podcasts Work in Progress and Drama Queens. Follow her at @sophiabush.

Photographer: Lauren Dukoff
Stylist: Deborah Afshani
Hair: Matthew Collins
Makeup: Afton Williams
Manicure: Brittney Boyce

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