Friday, October 11, 2013

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Happy National Coming Out Day, lovelies!

To those of you who have come out to someone today, congratulations! Tell me how it went in the comments! (And for those of you didn't, make sure to scroll all the way down to read the last paragraph of this post!)

Today I'm going to share the final piece of my "coming out to my family" story, which I've never actually written about before.  As you'll see, it was a mixed bag...

After I came out to my parents in an email, the responses I got from them were both surprising, and not surprising at all.  My mother almost immediately emailed me back and said: "I'm your mom. I know my children . I already knew. We love you." Okay. I felt relieved by her response, but also had a lot of questions that I know I'll probably never get the answers to, like "Well, how did you know? Why did you never ask me about my dating life? Why have you never attempted to talk to me about anything? Why did I not feel like I could tell you a year ago??"  Also, knowing my mother and her passive-aggressive, subtly narcissistic ways, I thought to myself, "Wait for it...." 

True to form, a few hours later, she was texting me about how she didn't understand why I didn't think I could tell her earlier, and did my ex-husband abuse me, was he terribly mean, is that why? (I know. I KNOW...that response deserves it's own tirade later), and a bunch of other fairly narcissistic stuff about how me coming out to her now as opposed to later was really about her and how she felt about the fact that I waited so long (and not at all about how it felt for me, of course) and about whether or not somehow this was a reflection of how she had raised me (or not?), and do I know that she's tried so hard to make sure my brother and I know that we can be ourselves? To which I responded, "Well, mom, that's what I'm trying to do, is be myself so...isn't that good?" And she says "Oh, well...yes."

...Ok.

My dad, on the other hand, responded in a way that that still makes me tear up, with gratitude. I just re-read the email he sent me, and it's...pretty perfect. He said that it took courage for me to tell them, that he was glad I did, that he had been wondering, and that he loved me as much now as he did yesterday. When I talked to him on the phone, he too wondered if I had felt worried about telling them, but not in the accusatory tones of my mother. I feel so lucky that he responded that way, but...


...there hasn't been much discussion about it sense. When I went home a month after coming out, it was, in a word, terrible? I wrote a lot about that experience here but basically, I still felt just as stifled as ever, and it was really difficult how much my parents didn't seem to want to put words to my new reality.  I understand that everyone needs time to adjust and get used to change, but it was really difficult to ask my parents if they had any questions for me, if they wanted to talk about it, and have them, basically, say "NO." :(

I came out to my brother the same day, via text (our standard mode of communication), and got the best response EVER from him. He told me that he was glad I told him, and that I seemed happier now than I had in a really long time, and that he and his girlfriend (whom I adore) would support me 100%. And they have. In the past year, my brother, his girlfriend, Elle and I have hung out a few times, and it's been great. They seem to love Elle, and we have fun together, and bond over dealing with my ridiculous parents. I feel SO SO lucky to have my brother's support. I know that he's truly on my side, and that I can really be my true self with him, and it's an amazing feeling.

So that's my big ol' coming out story, at least with the most important people in my life, my family.  I'm still not out at work, which I will be writing more about soon.  And, as I've written about a bit already, as a lesbian who doesn't fit the (really annoying and sucky and ignorant) stereotype, I will be coming out in various ways for the rest of my life.


And one more thing: If you are not "out" to your family, or your friends, or anyone, it's okay. It is SO SO important to come out to people when you feel safe to do so.  If you haven't come out yet, then there's a reason, and it's okay. I remember on coming out day last year, I sat and watched several people on my Facebook feed come out so publicly, and I felt ashamed that I couldn't do that yet. But I had my reasons, and I was working up to it, and I had no reason to feel ashamed for not being ready a year ago. National Coming Out day shouldn't be about feeling pressured to come out (though I think some people do treat it as that)--I think it should be about knowing that, when you do, there will be people welcoming you with open, proud, supportive arms, there to celebrate you and the very brave thing you have done.

<3


2 comments:

  1. I think I need to process this a bit more, and will write more when I do, but I just wanted to quickly say--thank you for writing this. It is giving me a bit of a jolt, but I really appreciate it because I think a lot of what you're saying is stuff I need to hear. It's kind of hard to hear, admittedly, but--thank you.

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  2. And THANK YOU for your kind words about my blog, putting it all out there, etc.! :)

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