On coming out…
I love reading about/watching/listening to all the coming out stories. I love knowing that people were met with positive responses. I love feeling uplifted by the bravery and the rawness of an individual coming out to the people closest to them — or complete strangers. I love that people feel a sense of relief, and hopefully acceptance, wash over them as they reveal themselves. But in true Noel form, I want to touch on the other side of things. I know not all coming out stories are positive, uplifting, relieving. Mine wasn’t.
I think I was 20 — midway through college, midway through my own brain, and barely scratching the surface of my self discovery. It’s so easy for me to look back now and identify all the signs as I was growing up. But at the time, having curiosity/feelings for another woman was completely alien to me. But it was so exciting, ya know? That’s how I knew it wasn’t bad, despite society pushing those thoughts into my head. Anyway — I reached my tipping point and decided my mom (and stepdad, by association) should know that I was “leaning bisexual” (let’s be clear now that I’m 25 — I AM WOMAN LEANING BI ON THE SPECTRUM OF SEXUALITY). So I told my mom — 100% convinced that she would take it well, say all the right things, blah blah.
Well, she didn’t. She sobbed. Real, teary, air grasping sobs. And she was angry. She “didn’t want this for me,” and couldn’t understand how I could want to have sex with a woman. My stepdad told me I was “going through a phase,” and that eventually I would pick men or women. I hope you’re rolling your eyes, because I am. But I wasn’t at the time. At the time I felt completely defeated. I cried, I didn’t understand, I didn’t want to deal. I left.
I spent the night at a friend’s house — a friend that would later become my boyfriend, and then my fiancé. No, we’re not together, we’re not married. Because 80% of that relationship was based on my parents’ reactions that night. It was my attempt to shove those feelings to the bottom and “normalize” my life. It’s bullshit. I’m writing tonight to break through my writer’s block and because I am inspired. But mostly I am writing because I want you to know it’s bullshit. That we have to COME OUT at all. That we are met with ANY type of resistance and/or hate when we do come out. And it’s bullshit that anyone would ever make us feel less or broken or fucked up for what we feel or who we love. I am writing to remind myself, and anyone else, that we have every right to feel, to love, to experience life however and with whoever we want.
I am also writing to say it usually gets better. My life isn’t perfect 5 years later, but it’s most definitely on the rise. I’m here for myself, I’m here for anyone else struggling through it. Happy national coming out day.