Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Not out, but not in

It's National Coming Out Day, and I look longingly at the closet door -- from the inside. But there is a crack. There is a ray of light sneaking in. It is beginning.

I've just returned from my week of reflection, education, and discernment, sponsored by my "employer." What a week! It had some very relaxing elements to it, but it was quite intensive. A lot of work was done in eight days. Some plenary time was spent in looking at the kind of work we do and the emotional labor involved, labor that can be very draining. We talked about physical health and its connection with work and life, taking a very holistic view. There was time for spiritual work, as well. I spent as much time as I could getting in some hiking (well, walks in the woods).

The week moved toward our writing some goals and objectives for our lives and careers. It was a great exercise, but I am not a linear thinker. It was like I was pulling my own teeth, trying to get me to sit down and focus like that. Even taking my meds (I am ADD, big time), it was hard to sit still. Nonetheless, I made a beginning to it. Goals for me and the years ahead.

But being one who lives so much by the seat of his britches, returning home has been tough. It is easier to be goal-minded and resolute when you are in a secluded environment, where someone takes care of the meals and the details of life. Now that I am back home. The realities of the "outside world" catch up to me. Back to the routine, the everyday, the miserable.

How can I even bring myself to speak of my life as miserable!? I have so much for which to be grateful (and I am), that I should cut out the whining. But living in the tension of that closet in which I find myself is becoming more and more depressing.

I know that a decision point will have to come soon. I have been putting it off. And yet, so many have urged me to exercise caution and "take it slowly." Even on my week away, a trusted leader of the week urged me to take the time to "live in to this." Take the time to make the internal shifts necessary, he urged.

If I come out and everybody hates me (which I don't think likely, not everyone, anyway) I wonder how much that will affect me, since I have spent so many years hating myself for being gay. Now I am just hating myself for hurting so many people (potentially and already).

Oh, G-d, I'm whining again. Gratitude, patience, faith, trust. These are things to hang on to, to ive with, to act on, to practice.

I am grateful to all those who have gone before, paving the way for me to make a choice, to know that there will be life on the "out side". I pray blessings upon all those who will this day take the courage to come out, to be free, to live as G-d created them. Bless you, and pray for me.

Some day soon, I will open that door all the way, and dance into the party!


Ur-spo said...

indeed i shall (pray for you)
your story is a common one and with the usual elements to it, so nothing out of the ordinary there.
most of the ones to whom we come out are not at all surprised/they know anyway, if that is a help.
I'll be curious to see how wide you open this crack.
Hell is locked from within, said Milton.

Anonymous said...

And Milton was right.

Hang in there, Bear.
Your friends are with you every step of the way, no matter how different your way may be.

Keep breathing, and don't do anything that doesn't have the pressure of the "one necessary thing" that Mary had over Martha.

Marthas make the world go round, but Mary's decision was called the better...

Hang in there.

The Troll

bear said...

Don't feel bad, it's not easy. The initial steps are the toughest...I recommend you start off with someone who you know loves you no matter what, will keep it confidential for a while until you're comfortable sharing it with more people, and has a pretty open mind about the gay issue...
You can make it happen, it just takes planning and setting the mood properly (like being in a place with no other people around and the phrase, "there's something important I want to tell you...")
In person is the best as I'm less sure about doing over the phone and in mail, you feel left wondering until you see them next...
Good luck, it's never to late to start planning this in your mind at least. :)

Anonymous said...

Coming out is a case by case basis. At my age and my experience, sometimes coming out is more traumatic than "liberating" Just live your life the way you want and be who you are and most important "to thine own self be true."

Why force someone out of a closet into a world of hatred and derision. It's not the same as it used to be, with the pom poms and whoop-la...

Yes, I agree with the "Live into it" path. If you are uncomfortable then sit where you are and get used to the feelings of where you are and live your life, what comes is what comes. Don't rush it, because you might miss something along the path.

I learned that lesson twice in the last 5 years of "living into it." The more you learn about you and the world the better decisions you can make when yo uconsider the act of coming out. You might even find that it is not necessary to be OPEN to everyone, just those who are in your life on a daily basis. And for what's its worth, what you do behind your doors is your business and nobody elses.

Remember what people think of us is none of our business. Live and Let live and Stay in your day.


Anonymous said...

Bear, I think it was Patton who said,"A good idea at the wrong time is a bad idea." You will know when it is right. There will come a time that the pain of the closet will be stronger than the possible pain of rejection. When that time comes, then the door will open. Be kind to yourself.