Picture a closet full of old coats that haven’t kept anyone warm in who knows how long, board games with most of the pieces missing, and the random pairs of shoes no one really knows the origins of.
Right next to the umbrella that closes on its own if the wind blows too hard is a person sitting with their knees to their chest. This person hates the dark and really wants to go somewhere with lots of light. Where they’re most comfortable, you know? All they have to do is stand up and open the door… but it’s not that simple.
See, the door creaks when it’s opened, which makes everyone turn their heads and stare. Plus, people will start to wonder how long this person has been sitting in this closet. Even worse, some people will say that this person should’ve just stayed in there amongst the other useless and flawed things. On top of that, those closest to this person might be so embarrassed that they just strolled out of a closet in front of everyone they know and will beg this person to just go back in for a little while until a cover story can be made up. Really, the things that could happen if the door is opened are endless…
This is what coming out feels like.
At least it did for me.
I think I always knew I wasn’t straight. I have always been really passionate about fighting for everyone’s right to love who they do how they do without being ridiculed.
I can’t really pinpoint a moment when I said to myself, “Yepp, I am not straight.”
It’s just something I have always kind of had with me.
When I was in high school, I sort of sent out feelers and dropped hints to my parents to see if they could handle me telling them at the time. They couldn’t.
So, I waited.
I didn’t feel like they really needed to know until they NEEDED to know.
Well, that time is now. Actually it was a little over a month ago, but that phrase sounded really dramatic so I wanted to use it. I’m not sorry.
Right, I came out to my family on the 30th of September.
I chose to come out to them on this day because this is the day I felt my heart open up again. This is the day my jaded and often cynical view on love started to go back to the hopeful state it was in before my heart took a few hits for the team. This is the day all of those cracks and bruises on my soul started to patch themselves up and fade away. This is the day I met the person I have now fallen in love with.
I’m not going to get into my whole story because that’s not the reason I am writing this article. If you’d like to know more, my email inbox is always open. Always. I mean that.
But, I’m writing this article because after having my own experience, there is something I think needs to be said….
Coming out takes courage and bravery. It’s not a blind decision, something someone does without thinking about it. No, it’s a step and a big one at that. It’s something every single person is capable of doing.
So, if you’ve come out as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, congratulations and I admire you and your strength.
If you want to come out but haven’t yet, you should be proud of yourself. Don’t feel like you aren’t courageous or brave, because you are. You can do this. It will happen when you are ready. There’s no rush. And please, for the love of everything, do not compare yourself to other people. Just because someone came out before you does not mean they have done something right and you have done something wrong.
Uh-uh. Nope. Get that thought right out of your mind.
This is a personal journey, and there is no possible way to do it the “right way” because there isn’t one.
Everyone has a different “coming out” story, and none of them are better than any others. Different, sure. Not better.
There’s a vulnerability that goes with coming out, and it’s not easy for anyone.
But, everyone can overcome it.
It takes time, but everyone can get there.
And no one has to overcome it alone.
We are never alone.