Happy National Coming Out Day! I had this little blog appear on BOUNDmag.com. It was too important not to share here too. Enjoy!
Haunted by rumors about my sexual orientation, I left my high school. I couldn’t understand what my friends were talking about. Why were they convinced I was a lesbian? So what if I was a little too clingy, isn’t that what friends do? Aren’t all besties jealous of their jerk boyfriends and stare a little too long in the locker room?
I laugh about it now, but, back then, I was clueless. I had no idea what a lesbian was and I certainly didn’t think I liked girls.
It wasn’t until I fell in love with my best friend at my new school that I realized, quite concretely, that I was a lesbian. I tried everything to suppress it. I vacillated between the extremes of having sex with men and becoming a nun. But nothing worked. Nothing made me straight.
It was a very difficult time. I had two contradicting thoughts going through my mind at all times. The first was “How could this happen to me?” Meaning, I’m a good person, I believe in God, I got good grades, so how could I be a – gasp – lesbian? The second thought was, “This is the most amazing feeling I’ve ever felt in my life.” Everything about that relationship felt so right, so genuine, and so deliciously good.
I knew exactly zero gay people, so I found solace in the (not so) hidden meanings in the music of the Indigo Girls, Melissa Etheridge, and Ani DiFranco. I tested my gay-dar on television stars, like Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres. And, I resolved to keep this quiet, by sharing my secret with only a hand full of straight friends who I knew would be supportive. For nearly two years I lived in the shadows, suppressing who I really was in a strange lesbian version of Jekyll and Hyde.
Luckily, an incident involving the most unfortunate timing in the world ripped me out of the closet when my parents walked in on my “best friend” and I. This moment, very literally, left me exposed and there was absolutely no turning back.
By no means am I suggesting that this is the best way to come out to your parents, but in many ways, it was the rude awakening I needed, to realize that this was my truth and it was time to start living it.
I would also like to share that it took nearly ten years for my parents to come around, and that my father died without totally making peace with my sexuality. But, the point in coming out is not about the reaction or judgment of the people you come out to. Sure, it’s great when friends and family are supportive, but that’s just a bonus. The most important part in coming out is you. It’s giving yourself permission to be who you are. And to acknowledge the fact that you’re pretty awesome, regardless of who you love.
It is no coincidence that we timed our eighth issue on National Coming Out Day. It is also no coincidence that this issue features Melissa Etheridge – who came out around the time I was beginning to struggle with my own identity. It’s the whole reason we started this little ezine. It’s so that no woman out there will ever have to feel isolated. It’s so that we will always have one small place to turn to. So that together, we will always be BOUND.
For resources on how to come out to loved ones and co-workers, visit HRC
(Reblogged from: http://boundmag.com/index.php/news/bound-blog/item/170-im-coming-out)
4 thoughts on “I’m coming out”
Everyone should just be who they are. Good post Mari and for sharing your story. I know there are plenty of people who need encouragement and good examples like you of living as their true selves.
Thank you so much Alyson!
Good for you. Be your own unique self without fear of persecution or consequence.
Thank you so much!