Through Benton Quest, I found out about the yearly efforts of Kelly Stern to spread a bit of pride on the blogosphere during Gay Pride Month. In addition to supplying his yearly picture, Kelly has also asked everyone to post a story — their coming out story being the most obvious choice — with the image. As I have an entire subdomain dedicated to my journey to sexual acceptance (And I hope to update it in the next couple months), I won’t reproduce my coming out story here.
Instead, I’d like to take this moment to talk about why my coming out story matters to me and the implications that my coming out has had for the rest of my life. You see, to my mind, my coming out represented the beginning of a much larger process, my journey to freedom and self-discovery.
Before coming out, I was trapped in a certain self-image, one built on ideas of who I was supposed to be, how I was supposed to behave, and how I was supposed to interact with the world around me. I had accepted others’ (and many people were part of that group) expectations and limitations, and tried to fit the mold set out for me.
Coming out as gay was the first step I took in breaking and rejecting that mold. It was the first time where I said, “No, this is not who I am.” And in that moment, I was able to ask the frightening, yet liberating question that followed, “Then who am I?”
At that moment, the journey to answer that question began, because I gave myself permission to seek that answer, no matter what. It started out slow and certainly was rocky at times. Indeed, there were more than a few times when I looked back at that broken mold that I hadn’t entirely discarded and worried that I was drifting too far from who I should be. But as time went by, I realized that I needed to let myself discover who I was and not worry so much about who I should be.
Years later, I’m still working on answering that question. But as time goes by, I’m finding that I like the answer I have so far more and more. And in that, I have found increasing freedom.