As far as defining moments in life go, coming out definitely makes the list, but what’s interesting for me is that although I’m definitely out, owning it and living it, I’m not exactly sure when it happened.
When I wrote the words I’m gay on this blog, it became real to me. Putting the words to the universe and publishing them (even anonymously) on the internet was absolutely when I knew I was ready to begin living my truth. But hitting publish on a blog post hardly equates the struggles of coming out; in truth, I think I’d been slowly peeking out of the metaphorical closet all year, tackling difficult conversations and situations on an as needed basis.
A little over a week after I published that post, I told my girlfriend I thought it was time for us to share a photo on social media; we got almost 50 likes. A few days later, she posted a ‘date night’ photo that I later realized was my first public acknowledgement that I was a dating a girl; we got over 60 likes. I recognize likes should never be a measure of success or acceptance, they are an artificial measure that has minimal value in the real world, however we were both excited to share in the rising number and recount stories of our apparent supporters.
Does my girlfriend posting a picture on Facebook count as coming out? I feel like the answer is instinctively no and yet simultaneously yes. Facebook connects me with hundreds of people, many of whom are acquaintances at best, and with one giddy eyed, happy, heart captioned photo (not to mention the one I posted a few weeks later) anyone paying attention should be able to see she’s mine, but then again, that’s not an explicit admission that I’m a lesbian either.
But really, it’s all irrelevant because being out is about me and how I choose to interact with the world. I don’t have to announce my sexuality to anyone in order to own it, its mine and mine alone.
I’m gay and that’s a pretty huge piece of the puzzle, but it will never define me. I am not my sexuality, but it was a mistake (that I was living each and every day) to ignore my truth. Being out, has been so much easier than standing with one foot in the closet, never sure what to say, what to feel and what to share. Now, I say what I feel and I mean what I say; I mention ‘my girlfriend’ in conversation frequently, because she’s part of my life, my heart and my stories.
I’ve been lucky, and I know it. People in my life have been generally supportive and so far most people barely bat an eye when I mention my girlfriend. I know, that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and some days being gay is going to be a challenge, but you know what’s tougher than having to fight for who you are and who you love?
Living a lie and trying to fit into a life that’s not meant for you. I don’t know exactly when it happened and I don’t have some fantastic coming out story to share, but I am out now; this is me, this is my life and I wouldn’t change a thing.