Last month I had made a promise that I would at the new gay ministry group that started up, to come out and to tell my brother’s story (which can be read here). Since then I have come out to one of my church friends, by way of Facebook message since I couldn’t get the words out any other way. This church friend, D, promised me she would support me at the ministry group meeting.
When I arrived, immediately I started to feel my heart beat faster. Last month there were only six people who showed up. This month there were about twenty. I’m not so good at doing the emotional thing in general, particularly when there is more than one other person listening. I sat next to D, and tried to calm my heart down. I was fine telling strangers, even the church friends of mine who came, but when a few ministers of my church came in, I thought my heart was going to break from my chest.
I was volunteered to go first, but I could barely think, so I pledged to share later. I had hoped that after listening to a few shares, my heart would ease up, but it didn’t. I could see my shirt moving from my heart beating so hard. I was worried I was going to pass out. Nothing was helping. Finally my friend, D, gave her own share and made sure everyone in the room knew she was there “to support them”. A secret message saying D was there for me. It was only then after taking a few deep breaths that I volunteered to share.
I won’t lie. It was rough. I couldn’t do anything but stare at my shoes and talk, and even then my words fell on top each other. I quickly came out in the beginning, and then transitioned equally quickly to the story about my brother. I started to get choked up when talking about him and the attempted suicide. I didn’t cry, but it was a near thing. I stopped before I completely lost it, and then stared at the floor some more.
If there was a sense of relief, I don’t think I felt it. Instead I felt really shaky and uncomfortable, so much so that I still couldn’t look anyone in the eye. So after the next share was done, I went to the bathroom and just stood and breathed until I was in control and not my emotions. Though I still felt shaky I was better enough that I could look everyone in the eye and listen to the rest of the shares.
After the meeting was over, my church friend, B, came over and hugged me tightly. He was very supportive, as well as my friend D and my minister. I even received support from strangers. The leader of the ministry group was especially moved by my share, later telling me I “inspired him”. But what struck me most was people calling me brave and telling me they were proud of me. It felt weird. I’m not brave and what have I’ve done to be proud of: saying words? Finally coming out? Probably.
Though I was blessed by supportive, wonderful friends, I don’t think I’ll be coming out again anytime soon. I was shaky for a whole hour after and I hate feeling that way. I just wish my church friends would tell the rest of my church friends, so I don’t have to.
But yay for me getting through this and for saying words. Woo words!
QBP: "Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth." -Benjamin Disraeli