Welcome to August. It's been ten months since I came out to myself. That doesn't seem like very long, and at the same time it feels like forever.
Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and as I look back over my life, there are things that make so much sense to me now. Sometimes I honestly don't know why it took me so long to come to the obvious conclusion that I'm gay. But that also makes sense if you really think about it.
I think it took me so long to say those three magic words because I was absolutely sure that I would never find acceptance anywhere if I was gay. I had never heard of someone being gay in any sort of positive light. It was always framed in an ugly, terrible, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it way. I thought for certain that if I was gay, I would be shunned for the remainder of my life, seen as some sort of disease, treated as a terrible and damned soul.
Consequently, once I acknowledged to myself that I am a lesbian, it took me four months to tell another living soul.
But I'm glad I did. I've told people that I trust and they have been very supportive, very caring, and very accepting. I've made new friends, gotten to know other gay people, other gay Mormons, and their families. I've been welcomed and I've felt an overwhelming sense of love and support. Since I never thought it was possible, that has been an amazing blessing to me. It's really helped me believe that I'm not so terrible after all.
I've met someone and we've been spending a lot of time together. She makes me happier than I ever remember feeling. When I'm with her, I feel normal. I feel like life makes sense. I feel like I'm complete and I belong somewhere.
Now I'm currently with my family, 300 miles away from where I live. My sister asks me if I've been to church lately. Of course I say no. She wants to know why and as much as I try to avoid this conversation, she's not happy until I give her a reason that will make sense to her. Unfortunately, this conversation doesn't go well and I'm trapped in the car with her, so it's not like I can escape. As soon as I mention the Church being involved with matters they shouldn't be involved in, she jumps all over Prop 8, tells me that she can't believe I don't have a problem with gay people getting married, or with gay people in general for that matter, because don't I know how disgusting they are? Don't I know how wrong that is? How can I possibly believe it's okay for a same-sex couple to raise children and get married and live among us when they're corrupting the very fabric of our society? And on...and on...and on...
REALLY? Get outside your box!
And that's where the comparison is. I have friends, I have friends who are gay, I have friends who support me in who and what I am. I have someone who lights up when she sees me and who brings so much joy to my life. And I have a family who loves me for who they think I am.
I honestly believe there will be a cost to coming out. I think I might lose my family. Perhaps it won't be permanent, and I certainly hope they wouldn't disown me forever. But there's a price for not coming out as well. There's a pain there that people just don't think about. I wish people as a whole could understand how much damage is involved with the negative messages they spread about gay people.
I've wondered today if I could walk away. I don't have an answer yet. But I've always been who I thought other people wanted me to be. I've never tried to just be myself, rain or shine, take me or leave me...until about four months ago. I'm tired of being someone I'm not.
I just want to be me. I wish there was a way to make it work for free.