“The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant.”
– “Vincent and the Doctor” (Doctor Who series five, episode ten)
It’s National Coming Out Day!
One year ago today, a friend asked me if I was planning to tell my parents. First I went, “There’s a day for that?” Then I considered it for about two seconds and said, “HAHAHAHA, yeah right. I’ll probably end up marrying a guy some day.”
Funny how things change.
(Also, isn’t it funny how I seem to do everything in fits and starts? I’ll have no LGBTQ+ posts at all for a while, and then a bunch of them but no book posts, and then a bunch of book posts with little else mixed in. What I’m trying to say is that I hope to spread my topics more evenly. A book post is in the works.)
I don’t know how I feel about National Coming Out Day. I mean, if it works for you, great. If it serves as a kick in the pants for you, that’s awesome. But if it’s making you feel like you should come out even though you might get in trouble, than today might not be a good idea. Common sense, really, but probably worth repeating. But while I’m not sure what I think about that idea, I know what I think about coming out in general.
This is what it’s been like for me.
Coming out is liberating. (Alright, that sounded melodramatic. It’s not supposed to – I couldn’t think of the right word to use and Microsoft Thesaurus is not being helpful right now.) It’s very, very, very, very, very, very, very nice to be myself. I like not having to avoid the subject when my friends are all talking about who’s hotter: Peeta or Gale. I like not having to avoid the subject when their parents, or really any grown-ups, ask me why I don’t have a boyfriend yet. (And what is with this “yet”? I don’t think seventeen is too young to be dating but I don’t understand this idea that unless I start soon, I’ll never find anyone.) I don’t worry as much anymore and now I know that even if someone gives me trouble, there are people who will back me up.
However, coming out is also frustrating because not everyone wants me to be myself. It’s strange how so many people say, “Be true to yourself!” when they really mean, “Be true to yourself – terms and conditions may apply. See below for details: LGBTQ+ not valid…” When they really mean, “Be yourself, but why do you have to tell everyone? I don’t have to tell everyone.” No, you don’t. Please consider why that is so.
Additionally, stupid questions frustrate me. I don’t mean stuff like, “So when did you first realize you were gay?” That is a valid question. I’m talking about the questions that answer themselves if one only bothers to think. Questions like, “So would you be the guy or the girl in the relationship?
Um. The thing that makes a lesbian relationhip a lesbian relationship is that we’re both girls. If you mean who takes care of the jobs traditionally done by guys, that’s an entirely different topic and isn’t easy to answer even with straight couples. Look at my mom and dad. My dad does most of the cooking because he loves it. My mom is the one who teaches my brother and I math and science because that’s what she loves.
Although I haven’t told all or even most people yet, any friends who already know have been really great about it. But coming out can still be lonely sometimes because I have only a few LGBTQ+ friends and all the rest are straight. My straight friends are AWESOME but all the same, they don’t totally understand what I’m going through. This isn’t meant to sound angsty – it’s just an observation. I think it’s hard to completely understand someone’s experiences if you haven’t lived them as well. I mean, racism. Yeah, I know that it sucks but I haven’t experienced it so it’s not personal to me. It’s a bad thing that’s just kind of out there.
Coming out is happy because sometimes your friends surprise you. People react differently from what you might expect. I have nervously come out to friends and then they came out to me, which was supremely weird. (Not least because my suspicions were correct.)
And yes, sometimes people get mad at you. But “surprising” can also mean that you thought they’d stop being friends with you, and it turns out that you shouldn’t have worried. It’s a wonderful feeling.
My point is twofold: coming out is a mixed bag of emotions, and Doctor Who can (and should) be quoted at every opportunity. Whenever I feel sad or down, I always try to remember that life isn’t about being either good or bad. It’s about both. And that’s OK.
I suppose there was some better, more serious way I wanted to wrap up this post, but it’s fallen out of my head. Oh wait, I thought of another apt Doctor Who quote.
I hate endings.