Today is the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day. Though some may think that coming out isn’t as monumental or difficult these days, the weight of openly sharing a hidden part of yourself is can still be a nearly impossible task. In honor of the 30th anniversary of this special day, I have dedicated the following letter to those who still carry the secret of their own identity.
There’s a secret eating away at you; weighing heavily on your heart and screaming inside your mind. Your world is seemingly so comfortable; yet somehow, you feel incomplete. You crave the freedom to finally express your truth, but there is a deep, horrific fear that if you release your secret, you’ll lose all connection to that satisfying shelter that you call your present life. There’s that desire to emerge, to proclaim you are coming out… but you can’t do it.
I know these feelings all too well, because they once were my home, too. Years of concealing true feelings, questioning those unexplainable desires. There’s that constant wondering what would happen if you simply said, “Hey, guys, I’m gay,” or “Just so you know, I really feel that I identify as a man,” or even, “Geeze, can’t I like it both ways?”
Who would still love you after coming out if you expressed all that you need to say? Who would shun you or walk away?
Perhaps, you feel disconnected from the world at large; you feel isolated and alone. Maybe, those feelings would still linger once you spoke the truth: who you love and why you feel this way. But what does hiding who we are really do for our heart and soul? How does it help us feel whole, beautiful, and complete?
Maybe you are confused; unsure if what you are feeling is reality or some wicked game your mind chooses to play. You hear people say, “Oh, it’s just a phase.” If you search your heart, though, you know that you’ve always felt this way.
The world tells us to be ourselves and to show what makes us special and unique. Yet somehow, that doesn’t apply to anything that people would label “different,” “abnormal,” or “freaky.” Others’ perceptions make it incredibly difficult to share our truths when judgement already lingers in the air.
I hope you’ll listen to me when I say this, though: There’s nothing wrong with being this way. You are who you are, and who you are is beautiful, no matter what.
The lovely part sharing your truth is that you get to say when, you get to say who, you get to say how. Your expression is completely in your hands; you are the one who controls the gate and decides who you let inside. Maybe, there will be people who will never know and others who will be given VIP passes to be “in the know.” Sharing with everyone, sharing with no one,or anything in between is quite alright.
Whatever you decide to do, whenever you decide it’s time to share, know that people like me will always be here for you. There will be some people who can’t understand, and some will even choose to leave. But, those people aren’t who you need in your life. You deserve unconditional love forever and always, regardless of the flavor of pride flag to which you subscribe. I’m here; I see you, I support you, and I love you very much.