Thursday, October 13, 2011

So I Came Out

I have mentioned previously that I might and then on National Coming Out Day...I did! I came over via Facebook and the response was overwhelmingly positive. My conservative friends were dead silent of course, well except for one. All she did was like my coming out note, but as she is a staunch Republican I will take that as a personal victory.

I thought I would show you all what I said. Eventually I even allow for more transparency on this site. Like an actual picture of me! Maybe. We'll see. ;-)

Here is what I wrote:

"What is bravery? I have been told I was brave before, that I was one of the bravest individuals people have ever met. But I’m not, not really. All I’ve done is put one foot in front of the other in a desperate attempt to move forward and not get stuck. I have stumbled through life like everyone else. It is no big secret that I have not followed my five year plan or even my back up five year plan. Perhaps it is a secret though that I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life. All because I stopped listening to what others wanted for me, expected of me.

Now that I’ve written that nice intro paragraph (and professors said I didn’t write transitions!) let’s get into it. If you, like me, are a Facebook stalker then you have keep tabs on the people you went to school with. You want to know who’s married, who’s in grad school, who’s working where, and who’s having babies. So perhaps if you have stumbled on my profile in the past couple of years, you have noticed a visual change in your old schoolmate.

I have never been really girly, but you certainly can tell a difference between the pictures of me on Homecoming Court (I know! I’m still shocked about it!) and pictures of late. I cut my long hair short, really short, and I have started wearing slightly different apparel. I look well…perhaps a bit gay. Of course that is easily explained, in that I am a lot of gay. It’s probably not a huge shock for the people who knew me better than I knew myself, but maybe for some of you it is a shock.

I’m sure some of you are going, “Ha! I knew it!” Well I guess I would say congratulations. You win? Also I’d ask for how long have you’ve known? Because I didn’t know for the longest time and if someone might have told me I might have figured it out sooner. As it is I didn’t even entertain the thought that I was something other than straight until my senior year of college. Even still I was in such a state of denial that it was easy to rationalize various feelings. As many of you know I am a logic driven person, so it wasn’t too hard to explain away the confusing feelings.

Being gay wasn’t anything I wanted for myself. What I wanted was to go to medical school, marry my best friend, and have his silly little babies. I rather desperately wanted to feel more for my best friend than I did, but time and time again I infuriatingly didn’t. I loved him. I did, but I wasn’t in love with him. There came a point where I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. I didn’t want it, but I wasn’t going to be given a choice in the matter it seemed.

After breaking things off with my best friend, now ex-best friend due my seemingly callous treatment of his feelings, I was alone with my thoughts. And let me tell you there were a lot of them. I considered what it would mean, to be gay. To be hated by people who don’t even know me. To be a second class citizen. To live in the constant fear of offending or provoking others, just for attempting to live as the person God made me.

The one thing I never worried about was whether or not God would still love me. It’s one of the reasons why even though I considered going away to ex-gay camp, I never went through with it. God is love, not hate. People can condemn me to hell all they want, but ultimately the decision isn’t theirs. I have always tried to live my life in a Christian manner. I try to be kind and help others. Does it make me less of a Christian if I’m gay?

Besides I may have been gay before I was a Christian, but I was Christian before I had even an inkling that I could be gay. Since God is important to me and since I can’t figure out a way to stop being gay, I have had to learn a way to reconcile the two. It actually has been a lot easier than I thought it would be, but then again I have a progressive thinking church here in Louisville to thank for that.

I have accepted being gay, but I’m still not fully comfortable with it. I will say I am much more comfortable in my skin now that I have changed certain visual aspects, namely my hair and wardrobe. However I was content to stay silent and live in those questioning looks, “Is she or isn’t she?” I saw openly gay folks all around me, but I didn’t think I had a right to be open. I have made a life of hiding and living in the background. It was alright. It is all I know.

But the pretending to be something I’m not got more and more draining. I became an actress who really couldn’t stand the role she played. So I came out little by little to friends. I should have been comforted by their acceptance, but often I became worried. Would they tell others? What would they say? What would happen? I was worried, because I was ashamed of who I am.

It wasn’t until someone very dear to me came out to me in secret, that I was forced to think about others. I didn’t want him to be ashamed of who he is. It is not his problem; it is the world’s. I didn’t want him to hate himself for something he couldn’t even help. Of course then if I thought this way about him, then I had to apply it to myself.

Now don’t expect any big changes from me. I’m still the same quiet, self-effacing, modest and wonderfully witty girl I’ve always been. I’m not going to strut down the sidewalk in a rainbow pin-stripe suit, because that’s just not who I am. I imagine I’ll simply do the same things I always do: hang out with friends, go to church, and save lives whether it is as an EMT or a doctor I guess we’ll see.

Because while I am gay I am so much more than that. As the poet Walt Whitman once wrote, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” I don’t want friends to look at me and go, “oh that’s the gay one”. Or “Whatever happened to her?” followed by “Oh she’s gay now.” I mean really? I understand gossip will happen. It’s inevitable. So gossip, but don’t forget I’m still the intelligent woman who helped you out when you were struggling, the stubborn girl who doesn’t give up, the woman who is always there to listen, heck I’ll even take the girl who sometimes lets her temper gets the best of her.

I don’t want to hide anymore. I want to be who I am and not apologize for it. I know I may lose friends, but I’ve come to a place where I don’t need to spend time on fair-weather friends. I may cause potential opportunities to be stripped from my hands, but it’s better than living a lie. I’ve seen firsthand the pain that living the lie causes. I don’t want that for myself. I want to be honest and open. I want to be brave. I have often wished I was as brave as you think I am. Maybe today I finally am."

QBP: "Bravery is believing in yourself, and that thing nobody can teach you."  -El Cordobes 

1 comment:

  1. I wish that I had come across this blog years ago. Thank you!