That Didn't Go Well...
So you’ve mustered up the courage. You’re ready. You’ve thought about things and maybe planned some things and it’s time. It’s time to come out.
The conversation presents itself. You say what you want to say, but nevertheless, it doesn’t go well. Maybe someone is angry or disappointed. Maybe someone is yelling or screaming at you. Maybe someone is crying. Maybe someone kicks you out of the house or leaves you stranded somewhere. The list of negative responses could go on and on forever. Regardless, your coming out doesn’t go super well.
Each of our coming out stories is different. When, where, how: all different. But no matter how different our stories are, we all have to deal with our own emotions after we’ve come out and heard the responses. Maybe you’ve just recently realized your sexuality and you come out to someone that is really important to you. They respond with disappointment, frustration, and hate, and you are left wondering if it’s all worth it. Or maybe you’ve been out for a while, confident and proud in your sexuality, but you finally decide to tell that one family member. They call you selfish and disrespectful and oblivious, and you now have to sit with these attacks on your character. Or maybe you recently moved and you come out to a new friend or coworker. They don’t explicitly express disgust or disapproval, but there are microaggressions in the office and they don’t ask to hang out anymore. The list of possible scenarios could go on forever, but in all these scenarios, we are left with our own emotions, our responses to the disappointment/hate/disapproval/frustration/anger/aggression/etc., and it’s not always easy.
“I’m disappointed in who you are.”
“You aren’t the same person.”
“You’re selfish. All you do is think about yourself. How could you not think about how this would hurt me to hear this?”
“I don’t know if things will ever be the same.”
“I can’t be here right now. I’m leaving. Get me a flight out of this state as soon as possible.”
“I can’t accept you right now.”
“Maybe one day you’ll change your mind and realize this isn’t who you are.”
I’m sure many of you have heard one of (or a variation of) the above statements. Maybe you’ve heard all of them. Maybe you’ve heard worse. These phrases float around in my head as I recall a coming out story that didn’t go so well for me. And on good days, maybe these phrases are innocuous, just filed away in our memories. But on bad days, maybe these phrases consume you, depress you, frustrate you, and wreck you. I know this was the case for me.
I’m here to tell you that you are not selfish. You are not wrong. You have done nothing wrong. You are valued. You are loved. You are appreciated. You are wanted. You are you and you have a right to be who you are. Your sexuality is yours and no one can take that from you. Coming out is about you and it’s allowed to be about you.
I know telling you this doesn’t necessarily fix anything or change the situation you are in. Things can be pretty darn bad and rough and scary. But those are the words I wanted to hear; those are the words I needed to hear; those are the words that helped me.
So thank you for coming out. Thank you for being brave and bold and true to yourself. Thank you for sharing your story with the world. Thank you for being you.
That Christian Lesbian