So let’s face it: You’re probably secretly gay.
Or maybe not exactly gay, as in the homosexual sense, but you’re probably in the closet about something.
Aren’t we all?
What’s crushing you?
About a year and a half ago, I was driving out to meet my darling werewolf pal Brad for a drink (I’m only half kidding about the werewolf thing) when my phone rang. It was another friend of mine — a smart, accomplished, savvy chick who seemed to have the world by the balls. I had a 40-minute drive in front of me, so I settled in for a catchup session.
But that wasn’t what she had in mind that night.
She was crumbling.
She was nearly in a state of panic. She told me she felt like she was living a lie. On the surface, she knew that people thought she was successful. But underneath, she was having Big Life Problems. These problems are not mine to disclose (and despite the title of this post, they had nothing to do with her sexuality).
The gist was, she was being crushed by unhappiness.
By things she didn’t want to do.
By other people’s expectations of how she should live — what she should do for her career, how she should spend her money, who she should love.
By feeling forced to play a role rather than live a life.
By keeping her true, authentic self a secret from everyone for fear that they wouldn’t understand.
At that particular time in my life, I was blogging a LOT. I was revealing much of my crazy, potty-mouthed, Hippie Trish internal dialogue — and in the process, unleashing my true, authentic self to the world for better or for worse.
This friend said that she’d seen me put myself out there and let my freak flag fly. She wanted to know this: Did people scorn me for it? Did people think I was weird? Did I lose friends?
I told her: No, no and fucking no. In fact, the opposite was true.
When I started getting real — consequences be damned — I got hit with the most massive tidal wave of love from the people around me. Yes, sometimes I felt sheepish being around people knowing that they might have read my blog and discovered all kinds of maybe not-so-attractive things about me. I never knew how people would react.
But people told me they appreciated my honesty. They told me that they often felt many things that I had written, but they just didn’t know how to say them. They told me that I inspired them to be brave in their own lives and to be honest about some things they’d been hiding.
It was so … fucking … cool.
And you know what else? It felt so good to just go, “Oh hey world. This is me. Can you believe that shit?” It was like, until then, I’d been walking around feeling tense all the time without even knowing it. Just making the decision to be as authentic as possible in all things was so, oddly enough, relaxing.
And you know what else? I respected myself for speaking my truth.
And you know what else? I was having a great old time, doing what I’d always wanted to do — writing and writing and writing and spilling my thoughts and observations and letting people read it all.
And you know what else? It was a relief to finally admit that that was what I really wanted to do — even if other people might think that I was nuts or egotistical or wasting my time or whatever else.
And you know what else? If anyone thought I was a douche, they certainly didn’t tell me to my face. And even if they had, I was so busy feeling so good that it probably wouldn’t have bothered me a whole lot.
I have tons o’ gay friends. Some of them sashayed outta of the proverbial closet years ago and haven’t looked back since.
Others have taken a quiet step or two out, but haven’t quite let go of the doorknob yet. They want to think they have the option to run back in if they need to. A few others are cautiously peeping out the door, waiting to see who’s going to greet them on the other side — and do those people have smiles to share or rocks to throw? And then others … they’re curled in the dark corner of the closet trying to pretend they’re not in there.
I’ve heard lots of “coming out” stories. I’ve heard lots of “I’m out to everyone but my family/coworkers/childhood friend” stories.
Now, not everyone who is ALL THE WAY OUT out received glowing love from everyone around them. But you know what? Despite scorn from some people in their lives, I have the sense that the people who are totally out are much happier.
Why? Because the truth really will set you free.
And if you have the truth, it’s so much easier to weather the bad stuff.
What are you hiding?
So the question is this: What are you stuffing away in your deep, dark corners? What’s keeping you from pulling it out into the light?
Do you really want to be an artist? Want to travel? Change careers? Take up a new sport?
You can just hear everyone now, can’t you? That’s so irresponsible. No one can make a living doing that. What? Do you think you have talent or something? You’re never going to be famous. You’re too old. You’re too fat. You’re too ugly.
Or maybe you want to do a life makeover.
Maybe you’re drowning in responsibilities to everyone else and you have no room for yourself in your own life. Maybe you’re tired of taking care of the McMansion and you want to downsize to a townhouse. Maybe you want to quit something — the PTA, driving your kids to sports EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK, going to social things you don’t feel like going to. Maybe you really need some time totally alone every now and then.
What would they say then? It’s crazy to sell the big house — what would you do without a yard? How would the PTA get along without you? You’re not a good parent if you’re not giving your kid absolutely every opportunity. You must not love your kids as much as I love mine. What will people think if you dropped off the radar? That’s just selfish.
Claim yo space
You’re the only one living inside your fucked-up little head. Just you. Why not turn it into a space that you enjoy?
People will think what they think. And chances are, they’re probably not thinking about you a whole lot because they’re too busy thinking about their own lives.
Sure, there are people close to you who may be affected by your decisions. I’m not suggesting you dump your life and take off to the desert, the beach or the commune.
But you can start making some changes. Remember my post about kicking the ghost out of my house and claiming my space?
Sometimes you have to do the same thing with people who are still alive.
Because here’s the thing, peeps. If you don’t speak up about what you really want out of life, people will fill in those blanks for you. Before you know it, you’ll have a full schedule of STUFF TO DO that will keep you running around all day and night, all the while feeling quietly desperate and unfulfilled.
You deserve to live a life on the outside that reflects how you feel inside.
The people who love you may or may not understand — at first. You may need to explain some decisions. Do so lovingly. Tell them you need to do (fill in the blank) to feed your soul. Tell them that by doing whatever-it-is that you’ll be a happier person.
That will make you a better mother/father, a better wife/husband, a better friend, a better child.
And tell yourself that you want to someday be on your deathbed knowing you really lived. That you took a chance. That you didn’t spend your life in the closet.
Show us your balls
I can’t imagine the balls it must take to suddenly tell an unsuspecting world that you’re homosexual. My friends tell me it’s terrifying. They say that it’s often surprising who is supportive and who isn’t.
Yet they still do it.
I admire their courage so much.
I think this: If my pals can make that sort of major proclamation to the world and then stand there and accept whatever slings and arrows may follow, what am I so scared of? That people will think I’m a hippie? That people will think I’m a doof for taking my writing seriously? That people will think I’m a dreamer?
So here’s my challenge to all of you: Start inspecting your closets. What’s in there that needs to come out? Name it. Dust it off.
Then get ready to open the door.