On coming out when you’re an introvert

I’ve been in a relationship with my girlfriend for five years. It’s incredible. We compliment each other’s differences enormously well, due to the fact that she’s an extrovert who people gravitate toward, and I’m an introvert who gets so overwhelmed by the choices on Netflix that I can’t pick anything. And because I’m an introvert, coming out to my family — a family, in which, to my knowledge, everyone else is straight — was a terror-inducing, near-impossible task.

On numerous occasions I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be easier if I could just yell it from the rooftops? Get everybody in a room together and explain myself? Those options would actually be quite difficult, because A) climbing the roof in my building is mildly precarious, B) my family is very spread out geographically, and C) I would never do such things. So, how was I to sufficiently drop the bombshell?

Well, I wrote a lovely letter. I’ve always loved writing personal things, which has possibly been to my detriment, as I’ve often been told I overshare, but it gets the point across. However, this wasn’t just any old confession of sexual orientation. This was a long overdue admission that I was head-over-heels in love with my best friend. My best friend, who I was already in a relationship with. My best friend, who my parents had met and assumed was just my best friend.

The words were difficult for me to write, and the letter was no doubt difficult to read. Also, the fact that I lived on the other side of the world from my parents was hard, as things could get seriously lost in translation. Whether the meaning of the letter was lost of not, I’m not sure, for I wasn’t there when the metaphorical bomb was dropped. I did, however, brace myself for the impact.

However, after the letter was received, there were no alarming telephone calls or emotional backlash. I believe the first word in response was “WOW!” which, due to the exclamation mark, made our exchange light and breezy. I took deep breaths and opened my eyes wider to ensure I had read the reply correctly. I had. Coming out to my family was actually over. My letter had been signed, sealed, and delivered.

Okay, so it wasn’t quite over. Questions started trickling in, but because I had discussed put all the basics in my letter, I felt mostly equipped to tackle anything “extra.” Things in that category included adult topics such as whether or not and how I would have children, and if this was just a phase, or whether I was certain this was going to be my future for the rest of eternity.

As I sit here, five years after the start of my relationship and about four years since I came out to my parents, I’m enjoying my current life and look back fondly at the anxiety-riddled decisions I made back then. As for the future, I’m going to continue charging forward as the person I am – introverted, yet confident, clear-headed and (hopefully) aware of every possible consequence that come from words written as though straight from my mouth.

Trilby Beresford is a freelance writer from Australia, who currently resides in La La Land. Her work can be seen in Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Geek & Sundry, Nerdist, Bullett Media, Flood Magazine, American Film and Comicosity. When people ask what her favorite film is, Trilby usually responds with “Stand By Me.” However if she’s being totally honest, it’s “Clueless.” Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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