Today is National Coming Out Day. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this till I was at home and all of my family already know. There are neighbors, but there is NO way I am ready to come out to them yet. But since it is National Coming Out Day I wanted to give it some thought.
I have only accepted who I am for a few months now, so I haven’t come out that many times, but they have all been very special.
Coming out has been a wonderful and terrifying experience. It starts with an acknowledgment that I need to tell someone, and it is the focus of my life until it is over.
At this point, I have had to go through this ritual several times. My LGBT friends tell me it never ends. You may come out to everyone you want to tell, but then you meet new people that you need to tell. But so far, for me, the process for each is about the same.
It all starts with the realization that I need to tell someone. So far that has always been someone who is important to me. Because of that, there is always the anxiety of what if they don’t respond well. I try not to think about that too much, or I would be a total emotional mess before I ever opened my mouth.
What I do think about is when and how I am going to tell them. I often rehearse in my mind what I want to say over and over. I don’t think I ever follow my script but it seems to help.
Then there is the when. I usually spend lots of time considering when. I don’t want it to be a time when I am too busy or distracted by other things. I want it to be a time when they are not too busy, so I know they can focus on what I am telling them. But once I pick a time the anxiety starts.
It seems, as much as I try otherwise, from that moment on there is this pressure that needs to be relieved. My whole world is on hold until this happens. It isn’t just a task on my list it is a consuming force that leaves little else to consider. Then it happens.
I know of no other life experience that at the same moment can be both very terrifying and incredibly wonderful. In these moments all of the rest of reality is lost for this is all that I see. As I work through some history to paint a picture of my journey the tears start to come.
Slowly as I work through my story and I see acceptance, relief comes. All the pressure is replaced by tears. Tears of joy, tears of love, tear of gratitude, and so much more. And when it is all over I know I have an ally and someone for whom I can be me.
In many ways, it is a wonderful experience. Yet I pray for the day when no one has to come out. I pray for the day when being part of the rainbow is as normal and accepted as being left-handed.