Friday, October 13, 2017

Coming Out

Last night, when I was vegging out, scrolling through FaceBook I came across a few posts about National Coming Out Day. I'm always conflicted when I see these things. Coming out was a process for me. It was not easy. Short story, which I do believe I've shared here before, is that when my mother suspected that I was in a relationship with a woman I was kicked out of the house. I always feel a need to say, "Protect yourself!" when I see what could be construed as across the board encouragement for people to come out and that things "get better."

After some consideration, I decided to make a post. I tried to be very thoughtful in my wording. To acknowledge the support I have received and for which I am beyond thankful (including my mother's --while there will always be some element of hurt and lost trust, we have come a long way and that isn't something I take for granted), while also acknowledging that coming out can be hard and asking for compassion from those who find themselves being "come out" to.

Here is what I wrote:
Coming out can be a very difficult process for so many of us. Speaking to my own experience, it is terrifying to worry how the people who matter most to you will react. Please be kind. Please try to put your fears and prejudices aside and show love to anyone who trusts you enough to come out to you. It may not be easy for you, but I am almost certain that it is harder for them.
My heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has supported me since I came out and who supports me now.

I knew if my mom saw my post she might feel defensive. I hoped that she would take it for what it was --a call for empathy. Support for those who need it. Unfortunately she did not. She wrote a response in which she tried to justify her actions. The two of us have had these conversations. As much as I am ever going to, I understand that her fear came from a place of love. I really have tried to move on. It's been 17 years. She does her best to show support now for myself, Jen and the kids. I wasn't trying to rehash anything. Not trying to make anyone feel guilty.

Anyway, the result is that because of her response I felt the need to further defend/explain myself. To seek reassurances and perspective from friends whose opinions I value. In many ways I think the post was successful in opening some interesting topics up for discussion. But still, it's been an emotional day which was very much NOT the intention.

Trying to navigate feelings that will always be hurt while trying to reassuring the person who hurt them in the first place... it's hard.

So that's what's been up here in the past 24 hours. I realize I need to update on the past three months, and I will try to get there. My brain has been pretty full lately.