Coming out is rarely easy…but I think it’s always healthy. Coming out often means ” I’m not who you think I am…I’m not what my family expects me to be…I haven’t been completely honest with you.” I believe that owning up to one’s sexual identity is the culmination of a very difficult personal journey for most people. Saying ” I’m gay” when you aren’t even sure that you are, might be the most difficult part of the whole process.
I always had girlfriends growing up…romantic relationships with many of them, and a real determination and desire to have a family and a lifelong companion who’d kiss me goodnight just the way my mom and dad did. The only thing I ever knew about homosexuality was that it was the word that couldn’t even be spoken…or it was the cover story on a magazine with a guy in a trench coat leaning against a lamp post in the fog who looked like he was up to more than breaking into a rendition of ‘singin in the rain’. There was also a lot of news coverage of Christine Jorgensen…the sex change pioneer from Denmark…I knew that I wasn’t what either one of those people represented.
I co-facilitated a discussion with a group of high school kids a few years ago and I asked the kids to list some things that they associated with being gay, and one girl said that they all had small dogs….I told her that Woof would beg to differ. For me “gay” meant effeminate, woman hating, lisping, and into orgies and constant sex. I couldn’t hang my hat on the word gay for a long time.
One of my best friends uses the expression..” then there was this one time…at Band Camp…” Any encounter like that really freaked me out…drove me straight into the confessional (hoping for the Italian priest who barely spoke English)…and often confused me even more. Things began to change when I fessed up to a counselor who talked about how I was so much more than just the dimension of my sexuality. and that I should embrace the totality of who and what I was. That started my journey towards the truth.
I think the idea of honesty, and constant alignment with what was true opened the door for me. I could have easily gotten married…performed all of my duties as a husband, but that wouldn’t quite have been the truth….close…but no cigar. I’ve fallen in love pretty frequently in my life….to tell the truth, but when it’s been a total experience of body and soul, head and heart, I’ve experienced the real truth of who I am.
Settling for a life that’s almost true, or is someone else’s idea of who you are, or should be, isn’t a fully integrated life. Coming out to yourself isn’t as hard as it sounds, and I believe that when we’re quiet enough to listen, we can find who we are…and also who we aren’t. Coming out is a risk…a challenge, and usually very hard to do, but the choice to live a life that isn’t true…and isn’t honest…well that’s an unfortunate choice, because as the years go by, the closet eventually becomes a coffin. Align yourself with the truth..the truth…and the truth…it will ALWAYS prevail !