Technically it’s coming out day.
It’s a confusing topic for me since, yes obviously, I’m dating/in love with a girl, but…in terms of my sexuality I can’t honestly place myself on a scale. I don’t say that to sound ~different~ or ~special~ (like why the fuck would I even want to be that?) but just honestly it’s the fact that I have been with very very few individuals in my life and without the data, I can’t construct an accurate pattern. I’m probably somewhere floating in between and often times its frustrating (probably not to others, but to myself) that I can’t pin it down.
Today is the sort of day that reminds me: it’s easier to tell people you’re dating a girl when you can tell them that you’re gay.
At this point, in my life everyone who is anyone knows. This happened in phases over a few years. First a few (queer) college friends, more college friends, my sister, my parents (who knew long before I confirmed anything) and lastly, our high school friends.
I will have no idea what it is like to come out about her all at once, in a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram blast. Rather, for me, the process has happened over and over again with some stellar and some terrible results.
My favorite has to be my younger sister. I called her during the spring of my freshman year after some more of my college friends had figured it out. It was important to me that if these people, who I had known for <9 months knew that, she should to. So I called her, she asked how K was and I said “well, speaking of…” She was hysterical in the best possible way, crying from happiness and from just being so overwhelmed with the news. She kept repeating how happy she was for us through her sobbing which in turn got me pretty emotional as you might guess. It’s a moment between us that just reaffirmed her status in my life as one of my biggest cheerleaders and confidants despite now living apart.
But other times have been far less than ideal.
Just this May, my mother cornered me (as I sat in the passenger seat of the car, what a typical suburban mom move) and asked me flat out if her suspicions had merit. I fumbled as I repeated a few times that “yes, yeah, well like yes” she was indeed correct.
In June, I told two of my best high school friends over lunch before they both went out of the country for the summer. (A bit of a chicken move, I know) They asked a lot of questions and I tried to explain as much as I could: the nature of it, the timeline, the confusion, the reason they didn’t hear earlier.
What breaks me about these two instances is this:
I waited so long. Obviously there were reasons for waiting. Some were more subtle and had to do with a desire for privacy or how to explain and contextualize something that confused me so much. Others were explicit, as in she told me that really, truly under no circumstances did she want people to know. I had maybe a dozen reasons to wait, some legitimate while others were less so.
Here’s the thing that’s harder to explain to others than it may seem: Not a single reason had to do with being scared that my parents or my high school friends wouldn’t support me.
Yet, it’s easy to take it personally. For example, one of my closest high school friends who I told over that lunch took a train ride to follow up with me on the subject. To explain, among other things, that she was incredibly disappointed and upset with me. She felt as though she hasn’t known the real me for the past three years, that she had been lied to, cheated. I stayed so stoic the whole time, just apologizing with a straight face, but on the inside all I could think about was how she never cries, not ever. But there she was, crying on the floor of the train station and all I could think was that the last time I had seen here like that had been four summers ago when she cried in front of me just twice: once, to tell me her grandmother’s cancer had returned and second, at the funeral.
I had caused her pain because she felt as though the fact that I hadn’t told her meant that there was something inherently flawed about her as a friend or about our relationship. Since the sentiment was completely honest, I tried to reiterate that worn out, cliche line “it wasn’t you! it was me!” and that’s how I broke up with my childhood best friend on dirty linoleum as Amtrak called her train.
My mom is a big girl. She has kept secrets from her parents and from her children and she understands what I did. But what really gets under my skin is that there might be a small part of her that blames herself. She might, somewhere deep down, have the same feelings as my high school friend and think that I did not tell her because I did not love or trust her. I can’t take that, not because it’s bullshit, but because she has been nothing but totally supportive and loving all of my life and I really would not be able to bear it if she blamed herself, even a little bit. She is a mom that everyone wants and no one gets and if I made her think otherwise, even for the briefest of moments, I don’t know how I could live with myself.
What gets to me about the pressure of coming out day or a culture that demands total transparency is that as a result I’ve completely screwed over people I love deeply and, maybe worst of all, I don’t have the courage to apologize.