Coming Out is a Daily Practice: How to Live Your Truth
I heard Jack Halberstam speak on a panel some time ago. He said that coming out (paraphrasing here) meant that he had to kill off his parents. I got this. Coming out means telling the truth and being real. Others may be attached to their fantasy of you and be uncomfortable with truth. For most people that have gone through the coming out process, it can be painful. No one says this is easy, internally or externally.
But truth is gold.
A professor at NYU said that she does one thing every day to let someone know that she is a lesbian. She feels that it’s her duty to the queer community to inform. See? Lesbians are successful and smart.
We love it when celebrities out themselves because this gives us all more space to be fully authentic, gives us all the model of being true. Someone else putting their façade down to reveal their truth brings us closer to them, not farther.
We don our masks early. We often learn to be what others want us to be in order to stay close to them, and so that they will stay close to us. Quickly we learn to mix our true ways of being with the ways we think we ought to be so that those we love will not go away.
This got me thinking about all of the ways in which we choose not to come out, to ourselves, and therefore to the world. Standing in all of your truth is liberating because you are affirming your wholeness, your full humanness.
We spend so much time curating what we want others to see, building fantasy, and less time being truthful about all of our experience. Much of it is messy and unfinished. If we are hiding something we most likely do not feel good about it. Hiding something is to remind yourself daily that you have something to hide. This is heavy, and it can feel like shame.
This isn’t to say that your Facebook status should be an over share, or your Instagram photos have to be taken from bad angles. But maybe it means giving some thought to how you are selling something that may no longer be true. Maybe it means telling your mother that, while you love that she sends you vitamins, you don’t actually take them. Or maybe it means actually breaking up with your girlfriend because you want to be with someone who is more available.
Coming out is less for others, and everything for us. In creating more space for your own truth, we make more space for other’s truth as well. Double win. What if we could make coming out a daily practice?
Megan Murphy, M.A., Ed.M., MHC-LP