Coming out is hard, guys. I am not going to lie. Although I am sure there are people out there who found it so very easy, and I envy you. But, at the same time, I am so happy that it was easy for you. It should be easy for everyone. But it ain’t.
Today, in addition to my post on delicious non-alcoholic summery drinks, I am going to write up a short post on my coming out story/experience for National Coming Out Day, because, in my opinion, it’s important to hear and read about these stories. To hear how it affected not only the person coming out, but those closest to them.
In addition to knowing how it affected the person coming out and those closest to them, through these stories we will learn how hard it was for some of us, how easy it was for others, and, hopefully, through these stories, be able to make someone else’s experience better. So here goes…
Where it all began
I was 16. Yup, 16, when I met Jeanne. From the moment I saw her at my friend’s 18th birthday celebration boy-oh-boy did I feel something magical.
On that very night, while drunk out of my mind (which gave me the extra courage I needed, I think), I strolled on up to her and asked her if she would plant one on my lips. Yoh, the embarrassment of typing this is making my face flush red.
To my dismay, I think, I mean, I was drunk after all, she had a girlfriend which, obviously, made the planting of the kiss I had thought about two minutes before, impossible. Shocker, I mean she was drop dead gorgeous.
Anyway, I went on with my night not thinking anything of it. Again, I was plastered, so I probably abandoned all rational thinking long ago anyway, until I realised that I was thrown over my dad’s shoulder like some sort of cave-woman and being driven home. Too. Many. Jägerbombs. Guys. Too many.
The next day I was very hungover and very quite embarrassed, as you can imagine. The first thing I did was stalk the shit out of Jeanne so I could apologise for being a stupid teenager. Which I did. And try to convince my dad to talk to me – which he didn’t for a week – and that I could be trusted to leave the house again without being strapped into one of those leashes that parents use for unruly children. Which wouldn’t have been an overreaction in my opinion. Sorry, pops.
Coming Out: Dad
Okay, so after that night at the birthday party, Jeanne and I started talked back and forth for quite some time – and after she and the girl she was dating broke up – I decided it was time to talk to my dad about how I was feeling and that I wanted to see Jeanne.
I am shite at hiding secrets and at lying, so it would be written all over my face if I had to do it behind his back, so there was no point in even trying. I mean, he is my dad, and I think he knows me better than anyone else on the face of this planet.
Admission: There were times that I said I was going shopping with a friend and ended up having coffee with Jeanne at a coffee shop. But he would find out almost immediately. Just call him Detective Ross.
Okay, back to the coming out story. One day, while sitting on the bunker in our kitchen, my dad was feeding our dogs and I just came out with it. It was a long time ago, but I know we talked about it and he freaked out a little. But not as much as I thought he would.
After a couple of months and after meeting Jeanne, however, I think he saw a lot of what I saw in her. Her big heart, her kindness and, most importantly, the love and acceptance she had for me.
Today you will be happy to know that they get on like a house on fire, and that she is like a third daughter to my dad, fitting into his small side of the family like she had always been there.
Coming Out: Mum
When it came to talking to my mum, there is a lot I regret deeply. I did not talk to her about it the way I did with my dad. Mainly because I was terrified of her reaction. Which was wrong, in a way, and I wish I could have a do-over. But it happened the way that it did and, looking back, I would have done it differently.
My mum and I went through a long battle about my relationship with Jeanne, and it was really hard. Sometimes to the point where we did not talk for long periods of time after fighting. But things have changed drastically, and I could not have imagined things being so completely and utterly different.
When I spoke to her about proposing to Jeanne, she was pleasantly accepting, and has given me the amazing chance to look forward to planning parts of our wedding with her – which I thought would never happen – and I look forward to her being there for me and for Jeanne on our special day.
Friends and Family
I had a difficult time telling my friends and other family members, mainly because I did not want people to judge me and to make my life difficult – which happened anyway.
At school, I was bullied terribly by people who I had considered friends and by people I never thought could be so cruel. And I was bullied by people I had had very little contact with in the past, who I only knew of. Which was shocking to me. It was a traumatic experience I would not wish on anyone, and it affected me in a number of ways, some of which are still with me today.
Because of the bullying I decided to avoid talking about my relationship even with my closest friends, which hurt them, too, although I only found out this a number of years later. But because of how cruel people were being at school I did not want to express anything to do with my relationship, especially with those who went to school with me and who talked to other students.
When it came to my other family members, they found out through my mum and dad, and did not have very much to say. Although, the one person who stuck by me no matter what was my grandpa who lived with my dad, sister and I at the time.
I am getting emotional just thinking about his love and support. He never once questioned me, how I felt or made Jeanne feel uncomfortable. He took us as we were, took Jeanne in as another grand-daughter and loved her so much. More than either of us could have ever imagined. For him, I am forever grateful. He got me through some of the hardest times in both my relationship and in my sexuality.
I prefer not to define my sexuality. As much as it annoys and offends people, after nine years of being with Jeanne, and nine years of searching for some kind of answers as to why I feel the way I do for another woman, I have come to the conclusion that it has absolutely nothing to do with what gender she is.
I refuse to classify myself as straight. I refuse to classify myself as a lesbian. I refuse to classify myself as anything.
I love Jeanne because of the person she is. I love who she is, both on the outside and on the inside and I believe that I have found my soulmate, regardless of what gender she is.
A lot of people cock their head in confusion when I say this. But after a very long journey of being judged, bullied and questioned, I do not feel the need to explain my feelings any further. It is the way that it is. I am the way that I am.
Advice from the Heart
I would jump at the chance to come out all over again. I do not really like the way I did it, especially regarding my mum. I hate that I did not talk to her about it like I tried to do with my dad.
However, I felt at the time, especially because of the reactions that I encountered, that I just did not want to go through it again.
At the same time, I only want to do it all over again because of what I know now. And, even if I had the chance to go back in time, I would not be the same person as I am today and would not know what I know now.
My advice for all of those who are wanting to come out to your friends and family would be:
- Do it when you are ready. Coming out is an important step in your life and you need to feel 100% ready to do so in order to be able to feel as comfortable as possible.
- Talk about your feelings, let it all out. Everyone’s parents and situation is different, and your parents will not react the same way as your friends’ parents did. Give them a chance.
- If the reaction you get is negative and not what you expected, like mine, give it time and be patient. Everyone receives and digests information differently. With some members of my family it has taken years in order to them to accept my relationship with Jeanne and, although that is not ideal, it happens and the best way to deal with it is to communicate as best as possible.
I hope that my coming out story has affected you in one way or another. If it has, I would love to know how! You can leave me a comment in the comment box below and if you have written or recorded your very own coming out story, I would love to read, listen or view it, so please leave a link to it below!
Image credit: Pixabay