National Coming Out Day is October 11th. This year, I’ve decided to write a series of blog entries on the subject. My focus: Motivation, memories and momentum.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a big fan of reflection: Mine, in any mirror I walk past, and reflecting on my actual past. I appreciate my past in a way that hopefully allows me to prepare for the future. But what’s funny is how some of my memories have changed as my perspective has changed.
Gay people get asked a lot of the same questions. And many of them are questions no one would ever think to ask a straight person. One of my favorites is, “When did you know you were gay?” I still sometimes have problems answering this question. When I first came out, I would’ve told you that it was right then. I would have said that I had wondered before, but just figured all guys were curious. I would have said I didn’t really recall having feelings for guys before then. But what I find now when I look back is interesting.
See, now I look as far back as middle school and there were clearly guys I was totally crushing on! Don’t even get me started on the guy at church I used to try to convince to…oh, nevermind. Or the time I got caught with another guy practicing our kissing techniques with a hand between our mouths so the lips wouldn’t touch. Though I think we called it “play wrestling” when his mom walked in… 😉
Then there was high school. Yep. Totally gay. I look back now and laugh. Sure I had legitimate feelings for girls. I never pretended to be interested in someone…that’s not really my style. But it was all about what I didn’t understand. Being gay wasn’t an option in my world. No one really knew what it even meant. What it really meant. A guy is raised to like chicks, not dudes…at least in Southern Baptist land. In the Bible Belt, men don’t think about men below the belt. It’s simple. If only. But now, I can name multiple guys I had a crush in high school. I just didn’t realize it back then.
In the more recent past, it’s sometimes tough to want to recall the relatively few negative details of my coming out. The “I wish you had told me you were going to jail” or the “You broke my heart…love the sinner, hate the sin” or the “Where did we go wrong?” sort of stuff. But I have to remember it all. If anything, the negative stuff is at least as important as all the good, sappy stuff. Why? Because the struggle makes you stronger. Put another way: The more you endure, the more endurance you have. Not only does it get better, but you get better at handling the bad stuff.
Examining the past throughout life is an important part of any life. Perspectives change. The world changes. Examining old experiences with a new outlook could yield refreshing results.
So I’m not one of those guys that knew he was gay when he got caught sneaking around wearing mom’s high heels. But I am that guy who recalls loving to perform even at a young age…the kid who loved to sing Celine Dion and Alanis Morissette in the car with mom and the kid who got along better with girls than he did with guys.
Ah, memories. How funny they can be and how important they are. As Celine once said, “There were things I’d never do again, but then they’d always seemed right.”
Don’t even get me started on the “nights of endless pleasure”… 😉
Tomorrow’s topic: Momentum. Moving forward. Making it count.