I wouldn’t expect many of you to know this, but if you do that’s great. If you don’t, that’s all right too.
Sunday, October 11th is National Coming Out Day.
I knew of this day last year, but didn’t think much of it. This year is different, though. This year is totally different.
I came out.
I haven’t written anything like this online before for multiple reasons.
I wasn’t comfortable.
I was afraid and scared.
I didn’t want people to know…
Because I wasn’t out.
But, now I am.
I am gay.
So, with National Coming Out Day, I decided to give my story of my experience.
First of all, I’m not into the parades or rainbow festivals, nor do I even think coming out should be a big deal. But, it is. It’s the society we live in, though. Hopefully that will change in time, it has changed drastically over the past two decades, but it’s still prevalent.
As for my story…
Let me first start of by saying I was extremely confused for years. I have found out that’s normal. I didn’t know what I liked. I didn’t know who I was supposed to be. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to be like the others. Those two sentences are the ones that hurt more, though. Why should I be normal? Why should anyone be normal? What is normal anyway? And, to be just like anyone else… Why? We should all be different. We are all unique. There’s no one else in the world like you. I don’t want to be anyone else but myself.
After years of contradicting myself, pretending to like something I don’t, pretending to be something I am not, I came to terms of who I actually am just this year. I accepted it. Even though I did, I didn’t know if anyone else would. That’s the scary part. That’s the nerve-racking part. You can accept yourself, but what about your family? What about your closest friends?
You don’t know until you tell them. Sure you can ask them what they think of the situation without saying you are, but it’s not fully effective until they know. Sadly, once they know they may change their viewpoint for the worst. Or, it could be for the better. You just don’t know.
Anyway, I told someone, a close and great friend, back in July. It was my first time telling someone and let me tell you… I had butterflies throughout my entire body.
I couldn’t say the words. I couldn’t say who I really am. My friend guessed and I couldn’t hide it anymore. What was the result? Overwhelmingly positive! It was fantastic. I couldn’t believe it. I felt so much confidence. It was a great feeling.
After a couple of weeks, I told someone else. This time it was a family member. Even though I was more confident in myself at this point, I wasn’t confident enough.
When you come out, don’t use the words, “I think” or “maybe”. You need to be fully aware what you are and be able to explain it. You need to have that confidence. Not just a little, but full on. This experience didn’t go so well because I wasn’t confident enough and the person I told simply didn’t understand it. Maybe in denial? Maybe not, but it was a strange experience that actually hurt my confidence. I didn’t know where to go from there and it even made me question myself again of who I actually am.
What is so great about confidence is that you can regain it in a day, or less. For me, I regained it in a matter of weeks. With that being said, I told a friend and the reaction was, again, positive. Very accepting. So, just as the trend goes, my confidence grew.
Keeping a secret from someone is extremely difficult, especially when it comes to your family. Being someone you aren’t is actually tragic. You are acting fake around them. For years I became a great actor simply because I was hiding something for so long! It’s a skill, I guess, but I am not in a movie. I am not on a television show. This is life. This is your one shot. Life is short.
Tired, stressed, and finally wanting to be open to the people closest to me… I told the people, well, closest to me. The moment was memorable and the reaction was fantastic. Telling the people you are closest makes you wonder how they will treat you, how they will react, and what the future may hold. For me, the future is great. They reacted great. They treat me great. They know who I am now and, honestly, it’s like they don’t even care.
Saying that they don’t even care may be bad, but actually that’s the best. It’s just another adjective that describes you. It’s like saying you’re funny or outgoing or talkative or shy or determined or persistent. Being gay shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s not a big deal. It’s shouldn’t be anything to panic about.
I understand that everyone is different. That’s exactly what I said at the beginning of the post. Everyone has different families and different views. You have to consider that when coming out.
Ever since I came out to the people closest to me, I really wanted to help others come out, or at least give them advice. So, I did. Since I gave advice, one person came out to his family and they were very accepting, which even shocked him. Hearing the news made my day.
I know there are people in similar situations that I was in. While they have different circumstances surrounding them, I know how they feel. I know the pain they are going through. I know the stress and fear. I know their nerves are off the charts.
My best advice, and you will hear this everywhere, come out when you are ready. Don’t rush it. I thought I was late when I came out, but, honestly, people are ready at different times. You have to find your time and you know when that will be.
At the very end of the day, you will come to terms with who you are and you won’t care what anyone else thinks. You are who you are and you can’t change it. No matter what people may say or believe, you can’t change. You can’t decide your sexual orientation. It’s like picking what color eyes you have. No matter what people may say or write, you know yourself and what you think of yourself is the only thing that matters.
Whether you come out on National Coming Out Day or not, I wanted to share my story simply because I hope it helps at least one person out there. I am always available to talk, through social media or email. Feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org!