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The classic “I’m gay. Now what?” I have a few ideas, but I suspect some are terrible...

Discussion in 'Coming Out Advice' started by Lyman, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. Lyman

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    So basically the only thing stopping me now from coming out is fear. I don't know exactly why, but I've ended up bumping again into this excellent post by Musicteach, which is very useful at this moment:

    Deep inside, I know that this is silly, that there's nothing to be afraid of and that I'm not doing myself a favour by letting fear paralyse me. These past few days/weeks, I've been trying to defeat fear through a logical process, as Chip explains in this pertinent post that I've just discovered:

    The same way my “Shred” thread was the nail in the coffin of my absurd attempts to deny that I'm gay, let's try to go through what I'm afraid of... There are essentially four things:

    1. That I'm not gay and just confused. Objectively, I know this isn't true, but sometimes this comes to my mind. But let's be clear: even if I didn't use the perfect wording for 1, 2 or 3 of the items on the first post of the “Shred” thread (which is probably not the case), it's extremely unlikely that I have generated such a big misrepresentation of the whole picture. So I'm sorry, but all the “Maybe they misunderstood you because you didn't express yourself well enough” are bullsh*t. Plus, it's myself whom I had to convince, and deep inside I know the truth. I know it every time that I'm attracted to nice men or that I'm not attracted to nice women.

    2. That people are going to laugh at me for having taken so long to come out, given that I live in an extremely LGBT-friendly country. Okay, it might come as a surprise to some of my acquaintances, but anyone that doesn't respect me and my process doesn't understand at all LGBT causes. So such a person wouldn't have been good support even if I had come out years ago.

    3. That I'm not going to find understanding, like in “Oh, come on, being gay here is a non-issue. Why are you struggling?” This is basically the same as #2. Plus, the only reason for supporting me a real friend should need is seeing me suffer, no matter what they think about the causes of my unhappiness.

    4. That maybe I misunderstood my parents repeatedly and also the gayish things on Edward's social media, and that he's straight, making the fact that I come out to Aunt Emily come across as extremely weird. But seriously... What are the chances? My parents have repeatedly said that he's gay, that his mother says so, that his grandpa knows that “he'll never marry [a woman]”... And all the pictures that Edward has ever posted are with women or gay men, including one in which he's wearing a hat with a rainbow flag.​

    All in all, I believe there's nothing to be afraid of. As a result, waiting to take my first steps is unnecessary and counter-productive. If I don't change my mind once more, my short-term plan consists in:
    • Eventually texting Aunt Emily this Tuesday.
    • Coming out to Oona on Wednesday in our rescheduled call.
    As a last remark, I think it was Ian McKellen who said he'd never met one person that regretted having come out (with the likely exception of those who put their lives in danger). So I think it's unlikely that, if I've got this far, that I'll regret having come out as gay or having done so “too soon,”isn't it?
     
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  2. musicteach

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    F.E.A.R. Has two meanings:
    F**k Everything And Run
    Or
    Face Everything And Rise.

    Which meaning do you subscribe to?

    I’ll tell you a story from my Navy days. We were set to perform for the president, and several of us being new were scared out of our minds. Imagine how much dear we had, doing something we loved to do.

    Our Chief was a poet in a sailor’s uniform. He told us that he understood fear, he understood what we were feeling. But when we got out there into that field, it wouldn’t matter, it would all melt away. Our instruments were our shields, our music was our voice. All we had to do was start, and let the music take over, fill us, all we were doing was channeling it. All of our fears melted away, because we knew we’d be ok, we knew we’d come out on the other side.

    So tell me. What’s your voice? What’s your shield? Channel it.
     
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  3. Lyman

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    Hi, Musicteach. Thanks for dropping by! Your last post nudged me into eventually doing something...

    In order to grant Chip’s request of making sure that “Everybody is in the loop” (in the words of Gordon Sondland), I’m going to type out which meaning I’ve subscribed to...

    I’ve Faced Everything And... Now I sometimes feel like running, but I know it’s just irrational fear. So I hope that I’ll rise.

    On Tuesday I was super scared and I didn’t muster the courage to text Aunt Emily. Wednesday came and Oona completely forgot our call, to such an extent that I believe she hasn’t even realised as of now. I can’t blame her because she’s under lots of pressure, as she works in a hospital with many coronavirus cases at the moment. I think I might have come out to her had the phone call taken place, but we’ll never know.

    During the next 24 hours I couldn’t stop thinking that I was ready to do it, and that I shouldn’t let Oona’s unavailability stop me. I also happened to read Musicteach’s “F.E.A.R.” post while logged out, getting very good vibes and energy thanks to it. So I started to obsessively proofread the draft of my message to Aunt Emily and, after a while, I decided that it was fine and clicked on “Send.”

    To prevent unnecessary anxiety (i.e., being glued to a screen and/or being caught by my parents), I asked her not to reply with another message, but with a phone call. And then I headed for the gym. She was so quick that she phoned me when I was about to leave home... I then ran downstairs and then ran a bit more outside until I reached a safe-ish place and spoke to her. The only thing I did was agreeing to meet at a certain cafeteria on Saturday to talk about “something.”

    As I had to ask her for confidentiality, when I texted her, I indicated that it wasn’t anything bad, and that it hadn’t to do money, drugs, crimes, illness, death and so forth. Despite that, she was super concerned and thought that some disgrace had happened. I tried to reassure her that everything was alright and that it wasn’t a big deal. The thing is that I was super nervous and f*cked up a little bit at the beginning, so I was like “No, it’s not a big disgrace... Well, I mean it’s not a disgrace of any size”, but then I managed to explain myself better.

    Then I continued my 30-min walk to the gym and most of that time I was absent-minded and feeling like crying. If I wasn’t in public, I would have cried for sure. If I was wearing a face mask, I wouldn’t have been able to breathe well.

    But as soon as I started warming up, I started to feel well again, and the prospect of coming out became a source of excitement, rather than dread. And I kept feeling like that while I repeated mechanical movements in that beautiful outdoors gym until sunset.

    Since then, I’ve been okay. I don’t think about it too often (as I already know exactly what I want to say and how I want to do it) and, when I do, I know that it’s happening, no matter what. Among other reasons, there’s no turning back because I can’t think of any secret to tell her instead. So even the chickensh*t inside me knows I have no other option.

    Folks, it’s happening.


    I love this story. You are a poet in a sailor’s uniform. :wink:

    My voice is truth. What’s more powerful than that? I know that, once I start speaking to Emily, truth will take over and that I will channel it. I know that I’ll say for the first time “I’m gay” and that, although it’s going to be extremely weird at the moment, it’s something I’ll never forget.

    My shield is self-acceptance. My shield is knowing that there’s nothing to be afraid of. My shield is knowing that love is love. My shield is knowing that tomorrow is the beginning of the rest of my life. My shield is a better tomorrow.

    I’d better stop writing now — my eyes are literally getting wet. Wish me luck, EC members! I hope to see you all on the other side of the closet.
     
    #23 Lyman, Jul 31, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
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  4. musicteach

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    No no no no no no no no. I’ve long since hung up my Navy uniform in exchange for a conductors baton and band polos that say “the pride of the brigade”.
     
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  5. Lyman

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    Awwww... “The pride of the brigade”. What's cuter than that?
     
  6. Lyman

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    So something happened yesterday… And I’m going to describe it as succinctly as usual.


    The first thing I want to say is that I was given the final push to go ahead thanks to the following piece in another thread. Anyone considering coming out should read this paragraph:


    And now, what you all were expecting, the story itself.

    The notion that there was no turning back made me assume that I was meeting Aunt Emily no matter what and, that way, be very positive about it during the hours that preceded that moment. However, in the last minute something unexpected happened…

    My dad (who is Emily’s cousin) received a very mysterious phone call and he acted in a very strange manner, running away repeatedly so that I couldn’t overhear anything. As I could only perceive it was a woman’s voice that was similar to Aunt Emily’s, I started to do what a sensible and mature person would do… Completely freaking out and thinking that it was the end of the world. Fortunately, I managed to calm down and devise an experiment — I phoned Aunt Emily while I was watching my dad talk on the phone from a distance. Fortunately, it soon became clear that she wasn’t the one speaking with him. Biggest relief ever. So I just pretended I needed to confirm the time we had agreed to meet at and said “see you”.

    The time came and we met where we had agreed, but we had to make four attempts before we found a cafeteria that was open (you know, Sat first of August, in the middle of a pandemic…). As we walked the streets, I made sure we spoke about irrelevant things, other family members and so on. When we finally entered the cafeteria, we sat down at a very remote corner, which provided lots of privacy, maybe with the exception of the nosey waiter. He was nosey also literally because he didn’t know that face masks are supposed to cover more than your mouth, sheesh.

    As soon as we had our drinks, I went straight (pun unintended) to the point. My feeling at the moment was literally of “truth taking over” — I don’t remember the exact words, but I know that it went all very naturally, as I perfectly knew what to say (although, as I’m quite seasoned in public speaking, I never prepare the wording). I do remember that the beginning was on the lines of:

    — I’m sure you’re wondering what we’re doing here and I’m aware that the text message I sent you was a bit confusing. Apologies for that, but there’s something I’ve never told anyone and that I can’t keep hiding, and I need the first person to whom I reveal it to react positively. I’ve chosen you because of something my parents have repeatedly said about you over the years, or rather about Edward. I hope it’s true because otherwise this is going to be a bit awkward… Is Edward gay?

    (Very quickly) Yes.

    (Even more quickly) So am I. And I’ve been living a lie for 25 years.​

    I actually had planned saying that “I’m sure that I’m gay 90 % of the time”, but at that moment all my doubts were gone. I was ready to face the truth. Who would have told?

    We spoke for a bit less than 1.5 hours and it was simply perfect. I couldn’t have imagined a better first coming-out conversation. She made it an extremely easy and beautiful experience. Highlights:

    • Turns out that she’d studied a BSc and an MSc in psychology while she raised Edward as a single mum. So she’s even cooler and an even better choice for coming out than what I had anticipated. In fact, she confessed that she thought that was the reason why I had contacted her (however, I expected her to have figured out, as the mother of the only conspicuously LGBT+ member of the family).

    • Although Edward has always fit in every single stereotype about gay males, he literally had zero clues until he was 21. The funniest part is that he even tried to date a girl (at least, I never did that). Emily, in turn, suspected that Edward was gay from a very early age and always used neutral pronouns when referring to his future partners, while hinting she’d be accepting in other ways. She also did that when she made him blush to the roots of his hair on his 18th birthday, when she gave him a box of condoms “to play safe whenever you feel ready to enjoy physical intimacy with another person”. I wish so badly my parents were half this positive… But unfortunately they know nothing about sexuality and human relationships and emotions.

    • She agreed that I have to get the hell out of my parents’ home, regardless of their threats and hostility to the idea. She encouraged me to do it as soon as I start working. By the way, I’ve recently found a job, starting in September or October. It’s basically getting paid for what I was already doing for free (modern day slavery, #myfreedomday and so on). It’s minimum wage, but it’s still better than nothing. The only thing I can afford is a room in a shabby flat and I’ll have to do a lot of maths with my food expenses… But living with two super aggressive bullies & control freaks is far crazier, isn’t it? The fact that every day I have several moments of “I can’t cope with living here anymore” is a fairly good reason to leave, I think. Plus, by living elsewhere, I’ll be able to be completely out of the closet months or years earlier. But I’d appreciate any opinions on this.

    • It seemed reasonable to both of us that she tells Edward, so that he can also be there for me.

    • She’s going to be my safety net, in case I receive negative reactions in the future when coming out.

    • I only felt nervous during a few very short moments and, when I did, I said it out loud, to calm myself down. But she was so good at not making a big deal about anything that there was almost no room for fear while sitting opposite her.
    Before we parted ways, we elbow-bumped and the last thing I said was: “Thank you so much for this. It was really important for me”. We went in different directions and one second afterwards I was already on the verge of crying, so much that I had to stop nearby and sit down in a quiet place to process what had happened. I didn’t get to cry, probably because I was debating whether I was sad, happy or what. Then I went for a walk because I didn’t want to go to my horrible home to break the magic. After that, I lay on a hill in the middle of nothing, under a cherry tree, analysing what had been the most emotionally intense experience of my life… And how perfect it had been.

    I spent a really long time there until, out of the blue, a black and white creature came to remind me that reality still existed… It was a Dalmatian. Despite my lifelong admiration for those dogs, that was my first time touching one. I identified with him when I realised that, the same way a crazy woman with two-coloured hair wants to make a fur-coat with his skin, 15+ countries want me dead. So, if the Dalmatian isn’t afraid of being the beautiful creature he is, why should I be afraid of being who I am?

    The Dalmatian went away while I had that epiphany and I suddenly realised that it was quite cold and that the sun was setting. I went back home; but, when I got there, I wasn’t the same person that had left the building 3 hours earlier. I was gay, I was aware of it and I was happy with the idea.

    I’m on cloud nine since then. I have strong urges of telling the world that I'm gay! Of course, I know I have to do it step by step and that I have to prevent my parents from finding out while I live with them. But I’m not going to stand still for very long.
     
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  7. out2019

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    I am curious did she indicate why she suspected?
    very inspiring thanks!
     
    #27 out2019, Aug 2, 2020
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  8. Lyman

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    P. S.: Thank you so much to all the people that have helped me to be able have this wonderful experience, by replying to my various past threads (Welcome · Lockdown · Ew/Meh · Ace · Shred · Now what).
     
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  9. Lyman

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    You're very welcome!

    Think of every possible stereotype about gay men... And that's Edward.
    Very sensitive, soft and high-pitched voice, effeminate mannerisms, played with dolls as a kid (only with dolls and with nothing else), all his friends were girls with no exceptions, had nothing in common with the boys, bullied at school for being “gay”, never into any kind of (macho) sport...

    And, interestingly, items #1 and 2 from your thread also hold for Edward, especially #1. Edward's social media profiles are contain lots of albums of Naomi Campbell and other female models with different outfits. And he loved dressing his dolls with nice dresses.
    Emily said that she new that, of course, none of this was strong evidence, but that “statistically, it was positively correlated” and that, given that years went by and she started to “see things that were actual evidence” because “a mother knows if she wants to see it”, it became pretty clear. She's super elegant and she would never say or make me say anything too explicit, so maybe that's why she didn't elaborate any further with regard to what those things were. I didn't feel compelled to ask, so I'm afraid I can't tell you more.

    But I reiterate that none of those stereotypes are sufficient or necessary conditions for being gay. For example, I'm the opposite of all of them, except for being very sensitive (which I am).
     
    #29 Lyman, Aug 2, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
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  10. Lyman

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    P. P. S.: I love the new Out Status on my profile. Next station: “Some people”.
     
  11. out2019

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    my gut reaction to this was (besides being happy for you) was not 'jealousy' but wishing it was me.

    A lot of people say once you admit to yourself you're gay, it's pretty hard to put the genie back in the bottle.
     
  12. musicteach

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    lol we’re fierce okay


    Actually though what it comes from is that all of our athletics are named The Brigade. The band is the public face of that.
     
  13. Lyman

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    Sometimes, when I read posts you write, it seems that I can envision the fight between your unconscious and your conscious self... What do you wish exactly?

    Well, it's not a bed of roses. There are still some residuals of denial and internalised homophobia on the other side of the closet.

    Okay, okay. That also seems to make sense. :slight_smile:
     
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  14. musicteach

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    So the band really has two nicknames. The first being “The Band of Distinction” and the second “The Pride of the Brigade”.
     
  15. out2019

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    The feeling you had after you told your aunt.