Pride 2014: One Year Ago Today

And so she woke up
Woke up from where she was lying still
Said I gotta do something
About where we’re going

– U2, “Running to Stand Still

One year ago today, I came out.

Much has occurred since that day. Let’s take a look at some of those happenings, shall we?

-~-

I broke up with some of my friends. That statement wasn’t the happiest way to begin my list, to be sure, but it is realistic. Some of my friends (“friends”?) ended up being horrible. I expected that from some people. Others surprised me because I thought they were better than that. Sometimes it got kind of ugly. Sometimes crying was involved.

I realized that if I was super-afraid of coming out to a friend, maybe our relationship wasn’t as great as I’d thought it was. Maybe I needed to find new friends. Shouldn’t we be able to trust our friends? Aren’t our friends supposed to accept us and love us just as we are? It seems so obvious now but it took me forever to realize that if I answered “yes” to the questions above (which I did) then… shouldn’t I find some new people who would treat me the way real friends do?

I think the reason I struggled with this for so long was that I still felt a sense of loyalty, however irrational, towards these people. One of my ex-friends said some things about me that I can’t even repeat here but it STILL took me a long time to move on. I’ve never had many friends so I tend to become really attached to the ones I do have, and I guess I just kept thinking about all the fun, happy things we’d done together in the past.

Eventually I realized that I needed to find new people. People who would do fun, happy things with me in the present and future and act like decent human beings. I’m not going to name any names, but you know who you are. Some of you have even told me that you read my blog, so I hope you see this.

I discovered what it physically feels like to come out. It’s like fire and ice and rage. It’s like the night and the storm and the heart of the sun. It’s ancient and forever. It burns at the center of time and can see the turn of the universe and… wait a minute, that’s not a description of coming out! That’s a description of the Tenth Doctor!

Sorry about that.

Anyway.

Coming out is different for everyone but for me personally, the physical feelings I experience are almost as bad as anything I may experience mentally. When I come out to someone, my heart pounds so hard that I think it’s going to burst out of my body and I feel like I might throw up. Sometimes I start crying. Sometimes I feel dizzy.

IT SUCKS, basically. But… what is the alternative? If I don’t tell anyone, they’ll assume I’m straight and that would be awkward. And a lie.

I spent a long time wondering if my feelings of both mental and physical anxiety about coming out would ever go away. Now I’m pretty sure that even if they never go away, they will almost certainly lessen! I have never not felt worried and slightly sick when coming out. However, I have noticed that as time goes on and I tell more and more people, it does get easier. It’s unrealistic to expect that someday, coming out won’t worry me at all – there are just too many nasty people in the world for that to be possible. Hopefully someday we’ll get rid of homophobia but I don’t think it will happen within my lifetime.

With that said, I do think it is getting better. Other people are getting better. And I’m getting better. I have more practice at coming out than I did a year ago, and I have far more people backing me up now. For example, coming out was TERRIFYING back when there weren’t any adults who knew and supported me.

It’s getting better now, slowly but surely. And that makes dealing with the icky physical feelings easier. Yeah, they suck. But they don’t suck as much as they used to.

I began to understand that coming out isn’t a one-time deal. It’s something that I must do over and over again, for my entire life. I vaguely knew this before coming out (that is, my first major coming out – telling my parents) but ever since last June, I’ve been much more aware of this.

A few months ago, I saw the following statement floating somewhere around the Internet: “‘I came out once and then never had to again,’ said no one ever.”

That’s very accurate. We talk about coming out as if it only happens once in a queer person’s lifetime but that’s just not true. I’ve told a number of people but there are still plenty who don’t know. I constantly try to decipher people, to figure out if it’s safe to come out to them, to learn whether I should go through that whole weird process once again. IT NEVER ENDS.

I felt much less stressed. That’s not to say that I never ever feel stressed now. Coming out can be scary, duh. But as I said above, it’s soooooo much easier when I have people who will support me.

And besides, now I don’t have to worry about pretending to be straight. That was EXHAUSTING and I HATED IT and eventually it got to the point where I just couldn’t handle it any longer.

Sure, I get stressed now. But I stress about college applications and the SAT instead of college applications and the SAT and pretending to be straight. I don’t think I would’ve dealt with all three together very well had I not come out. That’s a lot of pressure coming from a lot of different things.

I discovered how much I love being open about my identity, how much I love being able to read and write and talk about this stuff, and how much I love not hiding. HOW DID I MANAGE TO STAY IN THE CLOSET FOR SO LONG? I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA.

I love being able to finally be myself.

I love not having to censor myself. I used to lie and say that I thought certain boys were cute, so people would think I liked guys and not girls.

I love not having to pretend that I’m just an ally to the LGBTQ+ community. I hated doing that. That wasn’t me. I was concerned about LGBTQ+ issues because they affected me directly, not because I was just a supporter.

I love being able to blog about LGBTQ+ issues that matter to me, and to read books about adorable fictional queer girls (and plenty of other LGBTQ+ characters) without anyone going, “Why are you reading this? Are you gay or something?”

I love being able to stop conversations about my presumed heterosexuality in their tracks. I don’t come out to everyone (because some people worry me) but I am now able to tell more people if and when I need to – I feel really, really, really uncomfortable when people think I have a boyfriend, or that I wish I had one. Now I have more freedom to say, “Actually, I like girls.”

-~-

One year ago today, I came out. And one year later, I’m very happy that I did. I won’t pretend that there haven’t been icky moments but… overall, I feel much better. I spent the first sixteen-odd years of my life pretending to be someone else and then I just stopped. I’d had enough.

And that act created so many changes. I learned a lot and I thought a lot and in the end, I’m really glad that I made the decision to come out.

Advertisements

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth, University of Iowa class of 2019. Double majoring in English & Creative Writing and Journalism. Twenty-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, and aspiring writer. Passionate about feminism and lesbian positivity.
This entry was posted in LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Pride 2014: One Year Ago Today

  1. Cori says:

    This is an amazing post. I love it. The description of coming out is spot on. xD
    I haven’t came out to anyone in my family and it is kinda of hard considering I live with sisters and they sometimes want to talk about boys and I’m just like, ‘uhhhhh’. I mean, once I told my sister I might be gay when I was still questioning, but she didn’t react every encouragingly and put up the whole, ‘you shouldn’t label yourself, you’re so young, you can’t possibly know what love is, blah blah blah’. So I haven’t mentioned it since. I have told friends IRL, but all the ones I’ve told I’ve become distant with because they don’t exactly ‘support gay-ness’, whatever that means. 😛
    But . . . I have come close to telling my sister, but I bit my tongue and didn’t. I wish I would, but I don’t. I so hope I have the courage later.
    *hugs* I’m so happy you wrote this. It expresses a lot of my feelings spot on and I dunno it just made me happy.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thank you! *blush* I’m glad that you think so.
      Ahaha, and I’m glad that you liked that part too. *is a total dork*

      Ugh, yeah, I know the feeling. You can’t talk about who you really like but you don’t want to lie either. That’s not fun.

      *nodnod* Obviously I don’t talk to the friends I broke up with anymore, but there’s others who… well, I don’t see some of these people very often anyway so I’m trying to see if maybe we’ll get kind of distant and our “friendship” will just fade away.
      I mean, we were probably going to grow apart from each other due to college next year anyway so…

      I hope you do too! 🙂 *thumbs up*

      *hugs back* 😀

  2. wondrousadventurer says:

    Thank you… kind of a lot for posting this. I’m out-ish to most of my school friends about my romantic and sexual orientations (and people have been surprisingly wonderful about it), but in matters of gender I’m still deep enough in the closet to be having fish and chips with talking beavers. [loud sigh]

    In any case, I’m still planning on waiting. For now. But until that day comes, I’m gathering up an arsenal of thoughts and reassurances to give me courage. Your comments on friendship, anxiety and freedom of identity all struck something important. So thank you. uwu

    • nevillegirl says:

      You’re welcome! 🙂 Thank YOU for posting such a lovely comment!

      Also, is that a Narnia reference I see? As in “I’m so far back in the closet that I found Narnia”? Because I approve. *sips tea with Mr. Tumnus*

      Thanks! 🙂

      • wondrousadventurer says:

        It was very much a Narnia reference. One of the only enjoyable things about the closet, so I might as well take advantage of it. xD

    • nevillegirl says:

      Well, at least you get to rule Narnia! *probably fails in her attempt to cheer up a friend*

  3. Cait says:

    This bit: “I love being able to finally be myself.” <— THAT SAYS IT ALL. You are amazing. And GO YOU for just being who you are . I hate losing friends, I don’t think it’ll ever be less suckier, but yeah, I guess you know which friends are really there for you and are worth keeping.

    • nevillegirl says:

      *blush* Thanks! *hides because how do I handle compliments*

      Yeah… that was… a rather educating experience. O_o I guess now I know which friends really matter to me.

  4. themagicviolinist says:

    I still think it’s unfair that the LGBTQ+ community has to come out, but straight people don’t because, like you said, if you didn’t say anything, they’d assume you were straight. But I get what you mean about not wanting to live like that, where everyone thinks you’re someone that you’re not. I just think it isn’t cool to assume that someone is one way or the other. 😛 Anyway.

    Has it already been a year?! It seems like just a couple months ago we were talking about this and DOMA and everything else that was going on. I’m still so happy that you had the courage to come out, because that can’t have exactly been easy. That sucks about your “friends,” though. But you’re right, if they aren’t “okay” with it, they aren’t your real friends anyway. (But judging from the comments you got on your post, I’d say you have some pretty great online friends.) 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      It’s weird, there are some… social groups? I guess? in my life where I’m totally myself, and then others where no one has a clue who I really am. Like, I’m completely out online but most of the people I know in, say, 4-H have no idea. It’s just weird how I am X kind of person but certain people still don’t know that and think I’m different.
      It’s also really frustrating because people always talk about being yourself but judging from some of the reactions I’ve received after coming out, what that really means is, “Be who everyone thinks you are.” 😦

      I know, right? O_o The year went by super quickly! So much happened!

      Oh, well. I’ll make more friends. And there’s always college, not this fall but the one after, and hopefully I’ll meet some great people then. 😀
      Yes, yes I do. 😀

      Also, this isn’t related to coming out or LGBTQ+ stuff at all, but since you’ve finished New Who and Sherlock, do you want more recommendations? 🙂

      • themagicviolinist says:

        Be who everyone thinks you are. 😛 Sad, but accurate.

        Yay for college! 😉 I’m sure you’ll meet great people there. (Any idea where you want to go?)

        Sure! 🙂 I’m thinking about starting “Veronica Mars,” but after that I’m not sure what I’ll watch.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh, definitely! My top choices are NYU and the University of Iowa – UI, in particular, is supposed to have the best creative writing program in the /world/. (And actually… it looks like if I apply I’ll definitely get in! Because acceptance is based on a point system, as in “you get so-and-so many points for this core class and for that SAT score etc.” I have more than enough points, so… 😀 😀 )
      NYU is pretty cool too.
      Basically, I’ve been trying to find places that have great creative writing programs (plus journalism stuff because that will be my second major) AND are in pretty liberal areas. I mean, small-minded homophobic people are everywhere, but… if I can avoid great amounts of them, I will. -_- I don’t need that in my life. I need writing awesomeness, that’s what I need.

      Yay! So… I really love “Being Human” (the UK version). I started that just a little while ago, actually. It’s about a werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost who share an apartment and… stuff happens? I don’t want to be too spoilery. But it’s fantastic. Offbeat and kind of dark but still with a little humor.

      Aaaaand *poke poke poke* I know I’ve already mentioned Torchwood to you, but TORCHWOOD.
      Maybe listening to the theme music will convince you of its awesomeness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NgEx8a02ZY

      …also this next video isn’t Torchwood but jOHN BARROWMAN DANCING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEr0BPOfVw4

      • themagicviolinist says:

        Ooh, those sound like great schools!!! 🙂 And yes, I would definitely go to school in a liberal area. I’d go crazy at a college anywhere in the south. -_=

        Added that to my list! 🙂 Ha ha, “Torchwood” is already on my list. 😉 And yes, that theme song is awesome! But I’m not sure what to make of that other video . . . XD

    • nevillegirl says:

      There are probably liberal-ish areas in the South, but… mostly I’m just like hahahaha no way am I spending yet MORE time in some state where I don’t have rights. -_-

      John Barrowman is the best.

  5. Pingback: A Recap Of Pride 2014 | Musings From Neville's Navel

What do you think? Share the musings from your navel!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s