The light at the end of the closet

My closet is collapsing. Quickly.

Apparently my closet was never really stealthy to begin with. When I come out to people, most say, "I know." A lot make it about themselves.

"I just don't understand why you didn't feel you could trust me?" "Did I do something to make you feel like you couldn't tell me?"

Others don't understand why I just don't come out already. I mean, everyone already knows anyway, right?

Obviously, I can't speak for every gay person who has been in the closet, so I'll just speak for myself. I thought the closet was my lifeline. I thought I needed it. There was a time, not so long ago, that I thought that I needed to hide this part of me for the rest of my life. I felt like I could be gay as long as no one close to me knew. I thought that I could never date someone in my same city because *gasp* people would find out. I was afraid that if some people in my life found out, that I would be physically harmed because I grew up believing that it is not okay to be gay. So, I tucked myself firmly in the closet and decided that I could be happy there. The world is scary. My closet was safe. I mean, security blankets are a good thing, right? The closet was my security blanket.

Except that it wasn't.

Oh, at first it was. I felt happier than I had been in a long time because I had admitted to myself that I liked women and that was okay. But the more and more that I discovered my true self and strived to become the truest version of myself that I could be, the smaller my closet became. I didn't like hiding who I really was. So, I made a decision...

I would tell a few people. That is what I would do.

With a few people knowing, my closet didn't seem so small anymore. I could breathe again. There were times now in which I could be myself and the other times, I could just hide out in my closet and I could be happy with that. For a while, it was all I needed. I was once again happier than I had ever been. Until that wasn't enough anymore. Once again, my closet was suffocating me.

It had become my prison.

I knew at that time that I couldn't stay in the closet. I had to come out to everyone, including my family. And exactly how does an analytical coward do something like that?

She makes a game plan. Slowly but surely, I began to come out.

I'm still coming out.

Right now, my parents do not "know." I say "know" because I know my mom knows. And I think that she knows I know she knows. I just haven't said those three big words. Despite all of the reassuring words that she's given me and the fact that she loves my girlfriend and the fact that I know she loves me and just wants me to be happy, I just haven't been able to come out with it. I'm a wuss.

Here's the thing about coming out (for me anyway)... You have to feel safe. You have to know that all is going to be okay before you put yourself in a possible life changing situation. I didn't always feel safe. In fact, for a long time I was so afraid that I thought I could never come out. I thought I had to deny myself love. All it took for one person that I thought would reject me to tell me that "it's part of who you are" and "of course, I still love you" for me to know that everything was going to be okay. When I look back on this past year or so when I began to make my game plan, I feel.... proud. Yes. I'm proud. I've come a long way to that scared woman who didn't think she would ever be able to be her true self all of the time. I know that I need to completely come out and I know that the longer I wait, the harder it may be in certain situations, I also know there is no "perfect moment" in this situation. But, I will come all the way out of my closet. I can see the light, and for right now? That feels good.

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Fun Pusher said...

I know how much you've struggled with this process along the way, but know that others are proud of you, too. And impressed & awed by your strength. This post - just like its author - is beautiful! You rock, girl. XOXO

Erin said...

I still remember when you came out to me... and overwhelmingly, the only feeling I felt was pride. I was so proud of you for finding the courage to tell me and hell, I was a little proud of myself for being the type of person who you could trust to shed the security of that closet.

Crooked Eyebrow said...

its been quite a year and I too am so very proud of you!

many times i have written to you, in due time.right? right.


Kirsten said...

It has been an awesome journey to watch, April. I'm proud of you and I love seeing your happiness and self-worth shining through.

WERC said...

Most closets are meant to fall apart over time, only to allow the view of hidden pieces, usually the most beautiful ones. I am too, very proud of you ;)

Trish said...

You should be proud! I love you!

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