?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Jim's Space

Where thoughts are pinned like butterflies.


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
The Art of Coming Out
calamityjim

It's Pride  in my part of the world. I know that there are probably like, ten people reading this because one person has commented and that is how representation works. I figured that I'd pass on how Coming Out works.

So. I come out all the time.

 I came out for being a lesbian. I came out for being bipolar. I came out for being asexual. And having come out that often there is a few things I’ve learned about coming out that I’d like to share.

For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.

Yes, that’s right. Newtonian physics make a great understanding of social interaction. The first time I came out it was a Big Deal. There was crying and hugging. My friend, who is also my ex-boyfriend, actually skipped my first ‘I need to come out’ appointment because he thought I was angry with him and that was why we need to Talk.

Everyone took it quite well. This isn’t to say that everyone is going to be this lucky, but I know my worst reaction was the patronizing eye-rolls of ‘sure you are’ with the it’s just a phase but we are will to pander to your quirks right now. My aunt was really cool and asked me if I was trans in a totally non-judgemental way. And she’s from the deep country and was raised by her Irish Anglican mother. For those who don’t know, Irish Anglicans fought with Irish Catholics because the Irish Anglicans thought that Irish Catholics are liberal. And grandma was Very Irish Anglican.

But going into it I was prepared to lose friends. That being said I am of the firm opinion that the caliber of my friends reflects upon me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t hang with people who ‘lower my status’ in the arbitrary way of constructs. It means I don’t hang out with bigots. So if someone in my friend circle was a giant homophobe then coming out was the quickest way to root them out so that when I did need them I didn’t have to deal with the drama of my main issue and discovering that my friend has a lot of other phobias and biases that make the situation worse.

So the second time I came out, with the bipolar, I toned it down a little bit. I didn’t make specific meetings but I did go out of my way to gather my friends and do the ‘I have something important to tell you” in big groups. It went well enough again. I only have had one person who I was barely friends with (he was a friend of a friend) try and take advantage of my mental disturbances, and now he is just a friend of a friend and so not my problem. I did tell my employers because I like medical accommodation and I had been at my job long enough that I couldn’t just be fired.

The third time I came out as asexual I tagged the people who needed to know, took the “What about second breakfast?” Lord of the Rings meme and made it about second coming out. Yes, I used second because people don’t realize that disclosing a mental illness really is coming out. My tag line for it was something along the lines of “Yeah, I’m asexual. As you can tell I’m deeply concerned about how you are going to handle this. Deeply concerned.”

And by going through this, all of this, I learned a couple of really valuable things I’d like to share.

1)    Saying “I’m [insert here]”  doesn’t make it any more true. I was just as gay as I was the year before I came out as I was the year after. I was just as bipolar. I was just as asexual. Saying it doesn’t suddenly cement it in stone, like making a pact with the universe. It’s true, whether or not you say it. That doesn’t mean admitting it isn’t liberating, but it’s a lot like saying that you really do just enjoy the taste of tofu. Most people won’t care, some will look at you funny and edge the way out of your life, some will try to convert you to vegetarianism, and some will just gladly hand you all of their tofu. It doesn’t change how much you like tofu, but it does allow other people to act on that information and for you to go get all the tofu you enjoy. dAlso, if you suddenly hate tofu you are allowed to change your mind.

2)    How big of a deal you make is how big of a deal everyone else makes. When I came out as gay, as I said, there were a lot of affirming hugs and ‘we love you for who you are.’ When I came out as asexual, no one told me this. There was no affirmation because I wasn’t asking for it. It was here is a fact about me. Cope. So people coped.

3)    The relief is totally worth it. One of the things that has made me the most uncomfortable with orientation was trying to have friends include me in the game. I understand that this came from love, like lending a friend your favorite books. You keep doing this in the hopes that they will love one of them as much as you do. But for me this was a huge problem because it made me feel broken. I’d go somewhere with a group of female friends and they’d go, “That guy is so hot! Don’t you think so?” Unless they pointed or there was only one guy there I’d actually have no idea who they were talking about. If I could figure it out through guess and speculation, I’d still not know why he was hot. I’d smile and nod and go totally and hope no one asked me any skill testing questions.

After I came out it got a bit better, but then everyone, guys and gals, would ask me which celebrities I figured were hot. I made up a lot of stuff. When I finally came out as ace that all disappeared. Yes, I can recognize aesthetic appeal, but that is built on very different components than sexual. Breast size is not a big thing for me. Bigger boobs actually freak me out a bit, especially when they aren’t proportional to the person they are on. It’s not an aesthetic I find appealing and I’m letting those who do like it to know that I’m not competition. But now a lot of the pressure to engage in sexual game behaviors has adjusted to fit me, instead of me having to pretend to fit it. It’s an enormous relief.

Tags:


  • 1
I only ever actually came out to my parents. Everyone else, I just stopped pretending that I found guys attractive and just started acting like it was normal to go "Jessica Alba is amazing! Look at that arse!". It worked. The only ones who don't know are my grandparents and they are v v religious catholic and in their 80's so they don't need to know.

I never came out as having an anxiety disorder, or anything like that. I considered that medical and as such, its completely need to know. And no one needs to know.

I read your blog, and while I may not comment, just know that I do respect the effort and bravery that comes from laying it all out like this.

kisses

Yeah, I totally have a rule about not telling people will probably die before I can make them understand why I'm awesome.

I didn't really have any good choices with my bipolar. I'm super symptomatic. So either I don't tell people and have everyone think I'm a were-asshole, or I tell everyone and have to deal, with the stigma. I chose the latter due to how medical accommodation is set up in my country and also because my friends are willing to both forgive me if it wasn't me and watch out for me because they know something is wrong.

Before everyone just assumed I was a bit of a jerk and disliked that about me. Now they aren't quite sure XD

That is a lot to handle. I am over 55 years old and still have trouble just speaking up for myself.

I wanted to let you know I read this, this was the first time I read about a real person's experience with coming out.

I respect you. And I truly thank you for sharing this. It has given me much to think about.

I'm glad that this helps. And as you may have guessed I'm pretty cool with being honest with strangers over the internet, so if you ever want to talk about something or even want to ask if I can write about something, just fire away. I think a lot of the problems in the world come from not being able to talk about it.

Also, I love to chat, so it even isn't like its a minor inconvenience. ;)

I, on the other hand, get worried about what people passing in cars will think, like what if I shouldn't wear sunglasses now, and yes that is a true concern. I am a little better now, but being shy means you feel everyone is staring at you to poke fun at you. At least, that was what shy was for me.

I worried so much about typing a comment that I would just close the message without posting.

I guess that's why I try so hard to reply to posts where I am touched, understand what the poster (new word!) is saying. I want to be supportive. I want you (as in all those who post personal info) to know that there are those of us who need to hear what you have to say.

Thanks for replying. I will enjoy chatting if you wish to continue,

By the way I loved your puddle jumper series. Star Gate and Dean just go together. Had hoped you would write more, but I understand not wanting to continue. I do go and read it over again. Smart Dean, my favorite story line.

Edited at 2015-06-09 03:36 am (UTC)

I might try and do another Stargate/ Supernatural crossover, but no promises. I love Sam and Dean, though sensitive Sam is my favourite. I do love Dean, but I love him because of the people in my life he reminds me of, not because I relate to him.

I actually used to have that problem, but for me it was a product of abuse. I'm not shy at all. One of the things that really helped me was noticing how often I actually judge people harshly on what they are wearing/doing, which actually isn't often at all. And even then I recognize that they are knee jerk surface judgements, or shallow, that's not how I would have played that.

I also used the internet a lot. I joined a chat forum and noted how often I got flack. Then I watched how often that flack actually affected my life. The answer is rarely.

It was a learning process, but I realized that I was spending more time thinking about how people might judge me than people were judging me. And I had to remind myself a lot of that in the years where I was struggling with that, but eventually it worked. I still have days. I can't wear shorts yet, but I'm working on it.

So I feel you. But the internet is a pretty decent place to figure out how to handle this, because when it gets too much you just log off. That simple. Someone pushes you too far? Log off. Just can't take the risk today? Log off. Someone you can't handle? Block them.

And I really do appreciate your support. Emotional validation is an amazing thing and I really hope you find it in your own life, because there are people out there who will love you for all the things that make you unique, not despite them. So don't be afraid to be unique, because those are the people who you want in your life.

I find that as I deal with life I am less impressed with what others think. Part of my family is into the drama stuff, I prefer to much more low key. Example: years ago when I found out I was pregnant I went to my parent's home to tell mom face to face, I then went home and called my sisters. I don't do that jumping up and down thing. I feel it, but I show it differently.

Now, I have decided that I am going to enjoy my life as much as possible. I have grandsons that I adore. Grandkids are the best, I am aware of how fast time goes by so I now spend the time when I am with the boys playing and having a wonderful time.

Thank you again for spending the time "talking" with me.

It is hard to figure out what to type, when you read and want to support but their life experiences aren't ones you have ever had to face. I don't judge, or give my self a strong talking to if the habits of a life time pop back up. I have decided I want to be a better person, for me and myself. I am a Christian, but I believe and work hard on practicing the judge not lest you be judge. I am very happy to leave all that to God. I think there will be quite a few surprised people in Heaven when they see who is there with them.

I hope I haven't offended you by my faith, but it is a part of me. I had breast cancer about 18 mos. ago and found my belief in God helped me. I do not have cancer now and I did not have chemo or radiation. I have great respect for those who are going through that in their fight against cancer.

Whoops! gotta go! Have a wonderful day/night!

Actually, I might do a blog about faith. That's a really great topic to bring up. Thanks for doing it! And no, totally not offended.

So glad that it did not offend/upset you.

I need to settle in my mind what things I believe. So many ideas it is hard to really know what I feel until I try it on for size. By that I mean thinking about it for a while and then seeing how I feel about it later.


That's the best way. It took me a long time to figure out what I believe and it was only by exploring everything that I found it.

How are you doing? I am okay, had to change the pill I take for hormone therapy and it is kicking my ass. I am so tired! I took an extra day off this weekend and I feel so much better for doing that. First time in 4 years I took off days that wasn't for recovery from an operation.

I live!

(Anonymous)
I'm okay. I've been struggling a lot with my mania, which basically means that my ability to commit is no existence, hence the lack of updates. But I've been good. I am in a therapy class to teach emotional control in a healthy and positive way that acknowledges the importance of emotions.

And that is a good silver lining! It's nice to break the pattern, so to speak. I hope your pills level out soon. The drag from new meds is a drag.

^lol, that was me. I forgot to log in. *sigh*

I am so glad to hear from you! Glad that your alive. (in my mind I remember He's alive He's alive!) LOL. I probably have that wrong and it is actually it's alive.

Are you teaching the class or a student? I should find a class like that to attend. I could use that ability.

HUGS!!!!

Taking. It's an outreach program with the local hospital. It focuses a lot on critically looking at problems as they are, not as you fear they might be, and finding appropriate means of channelling the emotions. It's very don't judge that you are crying. Find out why you are crying and do what you can to fix it. If it can't be fixed, here as some tools until you no longer feel like crying. It's pretty spiffy.

I actually recommend reading the Tao of Pooh, as the class is based on some of the learnings in there.

I should find a class that would help me deal with anger. My sisters are not talking to me. I think what they told my husband was they were done. All in caps with periods after each word. All this over not being around when I had the double mastectomies and afterwards. He had texts with them. Seems that no one actually uses their phone for phone calls but as a text device.

I should talk with them but I am actually still hurt by there actions or rather their lack of actions, to have a conversation.

Let me know how the course works out.

I am glad you are still around. I was concerned when I didn't see any posts from you. Silly me, I should just posted on your page.


  • 1