View Full Version : Thoughts of a Closeted Mind
12-21-2008, 05:32 PM
Hi all. I'm not really writing this out of want for responses...I just need to get what's rattling around in my mind out somehow...so here goes...
There is always a dim light in the closet in which I live my life. I am not sure if the light is hope, my sanity, or just a dim bulb hanging from the ceiling with a weak cord. If it is hope, it is the hope that I will be able to come out to my family (and friends) in 2009. If it is sanity, then it is getting dimmer by day as the mascarade continues. If it is a bulb hanging from the ceiling, the question becomes will it burn out leaving me in complete darkness? I venture out of my closet when I am with my friends who understand me. I retreat when I am around my employer who is also my housemate, my family and other friends. Yet, no matter the situation, my hand is always on the doorknob of my closet...my sanctuary. There I find solice - as extreme as it is. I also find lonliness and fear. Maybe that sounds counterintuitive; fear IN the closet? Isn't fear supposed to be OUTSIDE the closet because that is what keeps me in the closet? The fear that is in the closet with me is the fear that follows me. It is the sometimes paralyzing fear of rejection or abandonment by my family and close friends; fear that although I am on the road to being alright with who I am, no one else will be. I attended a MCC today. I felt very comfortable. I was out of the closet 100% for an hour and a half. As soon as we left the building, my hand was on the doorknob once more, ready to retreat if necessary. I told my housemates where I went to church. The questions that I avoid started. They, unfortunately, have been taken advantage of by people...who happened to be gay. Let the generalizations begin! I was asked why I went to a "gay church." My response was my normal closet response, "my friends invited me so I went." People know I have a very eclectic group of friends including several gay and lesbian people. The next question was "why are we hanging around gay people? Why aren't we learning the lessons of others?" When I am put in an uncomfortable situation, I use humor to either relax others or to completely change the subject. My response was "_____ and _____ don't have consciences. My friends have consciences and are good people." The person laughed and the matter was dropped. I was huddling in the back most possible corner of my closet, clutching a blanket hoping the person would not see the nervousness in my eyes, the catch in my voice, the light under the closet door. As terrified as I am of coming out, I might be more terrified of someone barging in my closet and dragging me out, kicking and screaming.
God...help me :pray:
12-23-2008, 03:53 AM
Wow. I am so sorry that you are suffering through so much pain. As a straight male, I can only imagine your struggle, and I'm humbled by your strength (as well as by many people's strengths on this board). I don't pretend to fully understand you or any homosexual person's pain and hardship, but one thing I do know is that to repress, oppress, and destroy a vital part of your identity will do catastrophic damage to you, your family, and your friends. I've gathered that these "friends" of yours are homophobic to varying degrees. If you were to come out of the closet, to embrace your full identity. To be proud of the strength and power it takes to be true to yourself. If I were your friend, I'd admire you all the more, and follow your example. If these people cannot accept you because you choose to love yourself, to love your identity, your own personal truth, then they were never your friends, and if you still think they are, they aren't worth loving or having.
12-23-2008, 09:13 AM
Do you know anyone who you would be able to talk to? I don't mean a professional or anything, just a friend who would be confidential and supportive sounding board. In my personal experience that was the beginning. Once I got some things out there in the open and got someone else's perspective it became a bit (I don't think this is the right word) easier to think of myself coming out.
12-23-2008, 10:03 AM
I have been exactly where you are in my life. It took me 38 years to completely come out of the closet. Before that I was living in a box in my closet. I couldn't even admit to myself that I was gay, that took 36 years to do.
I do completely agree with Matt. If you have someone that you can use as a sounding board that will be a great asset to you. That is one of the things that helped me a great deal. Although my sounding board happened to be "friends" from the internet. I use to write bolgs about my thoughts and how it felt to be me living in my closet. That helped me a great deal to realize things within myself as well as get these feelings out of me. It was by this that I was "outted". Not by my choice though. One of my co-workers found my blog and one day asked me point blank, "are you gay?". Without hesitation I said, "yes". That was the most liberating thing I have ever felt. There was no judgment, she just said that it was no big deal. It eventually got around and everyone still accepted me. The close friends I had there and I would joke about it in a fun way and that made me feel more comfortable with myself.
It took another year for me to come out to my family. That was a more difficult situation. If I lost friends, no great loss, there weren't real friends anyway. But to lose my family was a whole other story. With the help of my wonderful husband I got up the courage to finally come out to my family. It was to my aunt at first. Got the usual bible speech there, no great deal to me. But she still accepted me. My father was a different story. There is where my biggest fear came. If I lost my mom or that side of the family it wouldn't be that big of a deal to me. But to lose my father and step mom would crush me. My step mom has been more of a mother to me than my own mother ever has. Anyway, I finally go up enough courage to write them an email. Yea that may seem like the easy way out, but that is the way I had to do it. To make a long story short, they had already known. They had their suspicions ever since I came to live with them when I was a young teen.
This point in your life is the true test of who you are and what you are made of. It is not going to be easy and you may lose some people over it. I won't mince words and tell you it is going to be all tea and roses, because it may not. But it could be. You have to do this in your own time. No one can tell you when that time is, you are the only one that can decide that. You have to be comfortable with yourself and with others in order to make this leap. That is exactly what it is, a leap. It is like jumping off a stage in hopes that there will be someone there to catch you. If there is then great, but if there isn't you need to be strong enough or have some kind of support system in place so you can pick yourself back up and go on with your life.
You say you have some gay friends, I would go to them and discuss this with them. Get their stories and feelings. If they know the people that you are involved with they may be able to give you some good insight on things too. Use all that you have at your disposal. The people here at Soulforce are also a great resource. I don't think I would be at this point in my life without some of these people here. They have helped me in so many ways, mainly being able to have a place to come and be who I truly am. No judgment, no animosity, nothing but acceptance and compassion. I may not agree with everything everyone says here, but all in all it is a wonderful safe haven.
I hope that my ramblings helped you in some way. I wish you the best and send you love. I hope that in time you can come to the place in your life that you can live a life without lies. I will tell you it is the most wonderful place to be. To finally be free, to be who you truly are is the best thing you can do for yourself. Take care and much love and luck to you.
12-24-2008, 12:54 PM
Thank you for responding. I do have a few sounding boards I've been talking to about this lately. My cousin is gay and I'm out to him so that helps...of course he's in San Francisco. And most of my friends, at least of late, are gay or lesbian and they've been patiently listening and/or reading my musings...I'm out with them obviously. I know it needs to be done before a) I get much older or b) I'm "caught." I have very supportive friends who I know would be there. One couple wants to throw me a coming out party if/when it happens...makes me chuckle a bit. There are times I wonder if my dad knows or if my mom questions things. They know I have gay/lesbian friends. I know I'll get the typical scriptural answers especially from my mom, grandmother and aunt. I don't want to debate the scriptures with them (mostly because it turns into circular arguments)...Ray Boltz said it best I think...if God made me this way then this is the way I'll live my life. if not...I don't think I'm going to hell for it.
Your response wasn't rambling...it was very thoughtful. Loved it. :)
12-24-2008, 04:56 PM
Hi there. :love:
The closet is a lonely and frightening place. I came out late in life, and had it not been for the support of many friends, and later some family, it would have been probably a bit too much for me to handle. Yes, I've lost at least one friend over it. And a couple family members, with a few others close to losing me. It hurts. Some of my family are immediate family members.
But, I wouldn't trade coming out for staying in the closet for any reason. It hurts sometimes, but it feels so good to finally like me for me and to live my life. As difficult as coming out to my family (in person) was, the joy of being out was much greater. It's a process though, but when you are ready tehilla05, I don't think you'll regret it for one single second.
Much peace and love to you. Remember we're here if you need to talk or a cyber shoulder to lean or cry on.
12-30-2008, 07:43 PM
Thanks for sharing your situation. I remember that fear. What is amazing is that once you come out, that fear falls away quickly. Yeah, I lost some friends, etc. But I made many more on a real basis. You will be surprised at how many people already know and are just waiting for you to say it. Good Luck! Be kind to yourself, build your support system, and step on out! Blessings
01-12-2009, 11:56 AM
It is difficult, no impossible, for me to understand what tehillah05's life must be like. I grew up in the Children's Aid, without family and surrounded by some pretty open-minded (considering I was born in 1948) social-work types. As a consequence, I had no fear whatever about being out, and from the time I was very young, I've never actually been "in."
But I will say this -- I have met some people over the course of my life who could not accept me as I am. One of my first lover's best friends, for example, who claimed to know that Jeff was gay also never spoke to him again once he found out about me. I guess being gay was one thing, but actually doing something about it...well! :eek:
And I know, I would give up all of those people, every one, for the simple yet joyful pleasure of living my life as myself.
That's not advice to tehillah05, of course, just my own observations concerning me.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.