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Shannon Purser, who broke through as the ill-fated Barb on Stranger Things (Justice for Barb!) got candid about struggles she’s faced pertaining to her own sexuality, admitting on Twitter it’s been a struggle.
The 19-year-old actress—currently on the CW drama Riverdale—publicly shared what she wishes she’d known, and offered advice to followers who might be experiencing the same issues, reminding them that there’s no rush to figure it out.
“Getting comfortable with your sexuality is a process. It’s going to be OK. I wish I’d known that sooner,” she wrote, adding, “Another thing I wish I’d known about sexuality is to take it slow. It can define you as much as you want it to.”
Purser also revealed that her own journey was colored by her strong faith, which made her changing feelings all the trickier to balance. “I know what it’s like to have anxiety about it. Especially trying to come to terms with it and my faith. It can be really scary,” she explained.
While it’s unclear if she’s referring to anything specific, Purser’s long used her platform to be open about struggles that too many people deal with alone. Previously, she has spoken out about her history of anxiety and depression, conditions that led her to practice self-harm until she was 15. Now committed to therapy and treatment, she’s eager to share the wisdom of her experiences.
As far as figuring out one’s sexuality in particular, Purser is confident that those who are finding the process difficult will ultimately get through it, just like she did. She left off her posts with some words of encouragement, telling followers who are having a hard time that “You’re going to be ok. No, you’re going to be great.”
Adolescent sexuality was a huge theme in Stranger Things‘ first season, and one of the factors that ultimately harmed Barb on the Netflix show is the rift that formed between her and best friend Nancy (Natalia Dyer) over Nancy’s readiness for a sexual relationship with Steve (Joe Keery) before Barb was herself ready to hear about it. And while Purser is older and wiser than the character she played, it’s kind of nice to know the teen actress had her fair share of Barb days in real life.