This post is second in a 3-part series by 2001 grad Jillian. Read her first post here.
September 1, 2011, a response to an experience with Emotional Freedom Technique
Even though I’m afraid to tell my family I’m gay, I fully accept myself. Repeat. Afraid to tell my family I’m gay. Repeat. I am choking on these words, finding it so hard to say them out loud while being witnessed by another person. I’m not sure whether it’s harder to say “gay” over and over again, or repeat the phrase, I fully accept myself. Accepting myself as I am is not allowed, because being gay is unacceptable. At least that’s what I seem to have been telling myself for all these years. I think I’m finally starting to believe the voices telling me that being gay is not a flaw, that I can love myself and allow myself to be loved by others just as I am. I think my own voice may be joining in that chorus! Am I finally moving away from self-hatred? Am I finally loosening the grip this fear of coming out to my family has had on me and moving toward doing this thing I’ve been waiting to do for years? It feels so impossible, and still, I’m sitting here imagining the freedom of refusing to be ashamed.
October 1, 2011
I’m reading a book called Outing Yourself by Michaelangelo Signorile. He talks about coming out to friends in a celebratory way, sharing the story of this wonderful thing that’s happening in your life—I’m gay. Isn’t it wonderful?! I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever felt that way about my sexuality, or if I’ve always thought of it, felt it, as an affliction. Is it really possible to celebrate this?!?
A memory came to me then, of our pastor Veronica telling us just the week before how she gets direction from God in prayer; she said that when she prays for direction, one spot of illumination always appears just beyond her feet, a circle of light into which she can step….”We in our faith work,” she said, “stumble along toward where we think we’re supposed to go, bumbling along, and here’s what’s so amazing—we end up getting exactly where we’re supposed to be.”
“Exactly where we’re supposed to be.” Which, somehow, is here—alone in my apartment with my girlfriend’s cat. Lonely and sad, but so completely sure in the deepest part of my being that I am loved beyond all measure. That I am beautiful. That I am worthy of love. I am beautiful, amazing, whole, perfect, and complete. My sexual identity is not a tragic sign of the sinful nature of the world. I am not tragic. I am not shameful. I am to be affirmed and celebrated. I do not need to hide.
December 30, 2011
I am terrified to come out to my family, but I’m going to do it anyway. I’ve cast the net far and wide for love and support to help push me past this fear. The response has been overwhelming and so helpful and encouraging. Some of my favorites:
“Hide it under a bushel? NO. =) Let your light shine, whether they know it to be light or not. You are worth it….”
“The worst case scenario that you can imagine in your family’s reaction is NOTHING compared to a life lived in fear, in a closet, and/or inauthentically. You are about to live life in FREEDOM and celebrate the beauty which is you! You are now, and will be surrounded for the rest of your life,
with people who will LOVE you for who you are, ALWAYS without condition.”
“I’m so, so proud of you and I have full faith that you are making the right decision. I say that not even fully being able to recognize how much courage it must take for you to take this risk. But even as it’s scary to take this step, the benefit of being able to be who you are without any pretense or cover will be so liberating! Down with shame—I hope the New Year will bring authenticity to all of us!”
“We were born to blossom. Much love and peace as you step into the New Year with your roots deep in the ground and your face to the sun!”