National Coming Out Day!

As today comes to a close, I am still at a loss for what to write about.

I wish I had some inspirational journey to share, some struggles I overcame when telling my family and friends about who I really was.

I don’t really have that.

Yes, I struggled with my sexuality. I was in denial until I was 23 years old and it literally tore me up inside.

But once I made that realization, once I accepted it internally, it was all downhill from there.

Honestly, coming out to myself was harder than coming out to anyone else.

Yes, I was afraid my family and friends might react badly. I was afraid my parents would get angry or my grandparents would disown me. I was afraid my friends would desert me.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. My parents were supportive, my friends even more so. I had kept it from my grandparents, because I didn’t want to worry or upset them, but they inevitably found out. I have yet to be home in Boston long enough to have any kind of one-on-one discussion with them about it yet, nor am I sure they’d want to, but from what I’ve gleaned from my conversations with my mother, they were more upset that I didn’t feel like I could tell them than anything else.   I plan on writing more about that someday, because I have never felt so loved in my entire life than when I [briefly] came home for the first time after they found out and my grandfather pulled me into a giant hug.

Most of my friends weren’t even surprised. The most shocked reaction I got was from coworkers. Even then it was just, “Oh my God, I had NO idea!”. Maybe a few harmless questions. Then everything was exactly the same.

I don’t mind the questions. Now that I’ve been out for almost two years, I don’t get them as often, but they come. I don’t mind answering them for a few reasons. One being that talking about it is still relatively new to me [compared to everything else I’ve talked about my entire life] and I like doing it. I also like being a unique source and opinion in conversations. Another is that I love talking about myself. Obviously. People who don’t like talking about themselves don’t have blogs.

It’s still weird for me sometimes. I’m still not sure how the best way to bring it up is. Honestly, that’s part of the reason that my coworkers and grandparents didn’t find out at the same time I was actively coming out to close friends and family. My Nana and Papa don’t generally ask, “So, go on any dates with boys lately?”. Also, I wasn’t actively dating anyone, so it’s not like I was harboring a secret relationship. In cases like that, how – if at all – DO you bring it up? When I meet new people now, and they’re making small talk, if they ask, “Do you have a boyfriend?” [first of all, even when I was pretending to be straight, I hated this question] do I just answer, “No” and leave it at that? Do I say, “No and I don’t anticipate ever having one ever?” Do I say, “No, I date women, but I actually don’t have a girlfriend either?”

I usually just go with “No”. The rest seem incredibly awkward.

So far, I’ve just been playing it by ear. Bringing it up when I feel like it’s appropriate. Sure, sometime’s it’s awkward for a hot second – but 75% of the things I say or do are awkward anyway. Also, I’m a 24 year old girl in New York. I’m not exactly unique in that sense.

That being said, I don’t find myself having to “come out” very often. My major coming out days are over. I’m just out.

Sometimes I still have a hard time saying it. Or hearing it. It was so taboo for so long. But it doesn’t make it any less true. And it doesn’t make me any less okay with it.

Because I am. The day I became okay with it was a very freeing day. Even though it still took me a few months to be ready to actually do it, the day I decided to come out – two wonderful years ago – was the day I became fully me. 

That’s all I am. I’m just me.

And I am a lesbian.

Happy National Coming Out Day.

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~ by Valerie Anne on 10/11/2011.

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