Inspired by All About Coming Out: The 5 Stages by XCELLUNA thank you for sharing your journey!! Also strongly inspired by my friend aunaqui who shows me what it’s like to be brave despite everything life throws at him in his blog Still Here.
I struggle frequently to find the words to talk about myself. Whether it be a personal statement, or a “Who am I”, it’s a complicated answer, a rabbit warren of twists and turns, and blind alleys. I feel alien and weird all the time. I am a strange person and I’ve embraced that. I’ve embraced my fun brain, with its love of numbers, words, jokes, and random correlations. I’ve embraced my reconciliation with being a lone wolf, being the cliché in the windowpane looking in at friends and acquaintances having fun without me, that loneliness I’ve assuaged with my own company. I’ve embraced my own darkness, that there are corners of my heart where I shine light and see nothing but ink and shadows. I’ve embraced my fear that I could easily become someone less compassionate, less human, and I’ve used that fear to tap down the voices of cruelty and remain on the straight and narrow. I’ve embraced the ice of words thrown with anger and malice, the deception, the lies. and have walked away a stronger person.
With all that has happened in my life, it was a bit of a disorientation to discover my orientation -no pun intended.
I identify as gender male, and it’s something I’ve always known about myself without thinking it was such a big deal. When I was a kid, I always knew what I wanted to be and before puberty, it was easier to look like a boy, simply by dressing and acting like one. Then puberty hit, and it was…weird. It changed everything. Instead of being the lieutenant in the adventure, I was the hussy who’s boobs were to be leered at. I was rather clueless about these things, I just noticed how boys started treating me strangely and that they wouldn’t talk to me anymore. Or they acted like it was a huge achievement when they did.
I was raised home-schooled in a religious focused home, and it didn’t come with anything remotely connected to sexual education, much less gender education. I spent hours going through prehistoric encyclopedias, looking up the 1970’s diagrams and pictures of pubescent changes and the horror of what my body was doing slammed home.
What do you mean I turn into a ketchup bottle once a month? And I have an innie and not an outie (pardon my crudity)?!
NOT what I expected to happen when I grew up.
But I didn’t think too much about it, I had bigger things happening in my life and this…stuff got shelved. I was too busy going through losing all my friends, sinking into depression, and navigating the emotional fugue of teen life.
Cleaning and kicking out my closet
Lately, I’ve been taking time to think a whole lot more about myself and who I am. After running in the pack-rat-race for the last 7 years, I finally had time to slow down, and in slowing down, I stopped outrunning all the things I hadn’t faced in my life.
And they were legion.
The proverbial punch in the face hit me when I was reading aunaqui’s Coming Out post. I remembered curling up on the floor and crying my eyes out in a very unmanly fashion. It was like this bird in my chest had finally flown free and I knew what it was -who I was.
Have you ever carried around a burden you didn’t even know you had? Crushing you down, but you’ve become so used to the pain and pressure that it’s just another day?
And I never even knew what it was called! It was like living in darkness forever, and seeing the light for the very first time. I didn’t have time for denial or excuses, that one solid truth struck my in my soul. That’s when I knew. Then so many other things liked into place like pieces of a puzzle after you’ve finally connected all the edges.
It became a “Oh, so that explains:”
- Why I DESPISE dresses, skirts, and all the pomp and circumstance of such attire.
- Why I proudly paraded about without shaving arms, legs or anything else
- Why I was disappointed that my sideburns didn’t grow into a beard
- Why I liked hanging out with boys more than girls and wanted to play football and not dress-up
- Why I would buy my clothes in the men’s section
- Why I daydreamed of cross dressing when heading to private christian school in the skirt and tie uniform. (the only part of that outfit I liked was the tie).
To name a few.
That first day, I was utterly shaken.
And then I woke up the next morning and thought “You’re just making this up. Stop trying to be such an attention seeker.” Heading to work I had all these thoughts chased around my head. Thoughts telling me I was mistaken, thoughts saying that it was wrong, thoughts of -what will everyone think?
So I did what I always do, I shoved the thoughts away and focused on the day-to-day stuff.
But it wouldn’t go away.
I’ll say another thing, for myriad reasons, I tend not to look in the mirror. I became unconsciously good at checking if my outfits matched without really looking at myself. I went home that day and really took a long hard look in the mirror. And the truth was there, so blinding I couldn’t ignore it anymore.
No excuses, no second guessing. I am male.
I felt…lighter for the first time. All those pesky voices receded and I just let myself be.
What are you going to tell (insert family member here)
That is what that thought inspires within me.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not really a secret I’m trying to keep (yeeesssss, great job posting on the internet, no one will ever see it here, *whispers snickering voice).
The first person I told was my friend aunaqui. Then I called my sibling and.. hyperventilated.
May I tell you, my sibling is the kindest, most loving person I have ever known. My sibling would find redeeming qualities in anyone. We are super close and we always have long conversations about anything and everything.
So it wasn’t that I was scared of what the response would be, I was scared because I felt poised on that lip of, “if you say it now, you’ll never go back. Do you really want to do this?”
I did… and I did. The response? “Oh okay, that’s not a big deal”, which is my sibling’s way of saying, this doesn’t change anything to me, we are still besties. Still love ya!
On the heals of gratitude came the thought -Anticlimactic much?
But that’s fear for ya, blowing everything out of proportion.
Except in the case of Le Parents
If you could see me right now, I’d be shaking my head.
If you’ve read some of my older posts (The Strait Jacket of your Embrace to name one) there may be some indicators for how this will go. I’ve left hints to my Mom especially, and even that has been revealing.
I once told my Mom that my friend “invited his husband” to an event. She blinked, asked me if I meant “she invited her husband” to which I replied no, they are both male.
Which launched into this argument about God’s opinion on gay marriage.
Sometimes I say things like “one day, I’ll marry the guy or girl who respects me and loves me for who I am” and Mom will give me this look and say “why does it have to be a girl, don’t you mean you want to find a nice christian man?”.
Judas Priest!! I’ve severed the whole christian thing for 3 years now, how does this keep coming back?!
My favorite is the time when I was arguing on the phone with mom about the US decision a while back to allow gay marriage. Her stolid christian stance on the topic (far afield of our original conversation) nagged something in me that just wouldn’t stay silent about opposing her biblical position. In the course of our “dialogue” Mom at one point asked, “why does this even matter to you, are you even gay?”
“Maybe.” (As in why should that even matter?)
I guess she expected me to say no, so she could retort that if I wasn’t gay, it shouldn’t matter to me (which is a stupid mentality, btw. Don’t have to be a child to love children, and so on and so forth).
The next thing I knew, she was driving up to see me for the weekend, with a library of christian books in tow. This is the typical response to things she doesn’t like about me, inundate me with doctrine about how wrong I am. I managed to dodge further dialogue with her on the topic, and managed to trick her into taking all those pamphlets and books back with her when she left.
So telling the parents is on hold for the moment. I’m certainly not going to drop it on them on Thanksgiving, I’d be trapped at their house for days while they called for an exorcist or something!!
of this unexpectedly lengthy post, I’m getting at the point that only I define who I am. Not religion, not politics, not my parents, and certainly not my fears. Every bit I learn about myself is discovered with much soul-searching, agony and reconciliation with myself. So when I say who I am, don’t tell me that I don’t know what I’m saying or that I’m confused. Don’t belittle my struggle and my journey. If I had even a shred of doubt, I wouldn’t say a word. I am a grown man.
If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am.
*drops the mic