We All Have Closets
Today I feel like I’m 15. I’m definitely not, and this is where time starts to confuse me. I like to attribute it to the fact that pretty recently I had to start my entire life over.
Three years ago I was married to a man. Three years ago I realized I was gay.
I wonder if I will forever feel like an adolescent, knees knocking, pigeon-toed, never quite feeling in or out of place, never quite sure which direction to head. As more time passes, I kind of think this is just me and how I’ll always feel. My mother claims to still feel 17, so maybe it’s genetic. More realistically, I think it’s probably just pretty normal. Don’t call me a woman, I feel like a girl. I guess Britney said it best.
There has been a lot of talk in the media lately surrounding the idea of privacy and celebrity. Should one come out or stay in glass closets, locked closets or dark closets? At the end of the day, I think the climate of the world we live in bestows a certain amount of responsibility on those of us who possess information that may help another human. And while that might mean you don’t get to be as private as you’d like, is privacy more important than helping a cause that is greater than you? I suppose that is a personal question – and you don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to – but who really lives a private life? And is that even possible without deleting the kind of human interaction and connection that makes life feel worth living? I don’t know.
In my case, I wish more than anything that three years ago there had been some other twenty-something married girl who had realized she was gay and lived to talk about it. I searched and searched for anything, anyone to relate to. All I could find were teenagers of whom I was jealous because of their early detection, and 40 and 50-year-old women who had married and raised children before deciding to reveal their true feelings. I was stuck in the middle somewhere: living in New York – a city where no one gets married until at least the age of 30 – and young. I thought I knew things, but boy (girl), was I very wrong. I thought I knew myself, but I didn’t. I thought I knew love, but I didn’t. If I talked to you about all the possible reasons I wasn’t in tune with my sexuality sooner, you would be my therapist and I’d be paying you a lot of money. I can only afford one therapist at the moment, so we’ll move on.
There’s a lot more to the story, obviously – most of it involving heartbreak, guilt, tremendous struggle and pain. I hurt someone and hurt myself. I hurt some friends, and they hurt me. But there’s a light as well, and some days I forget that I made it to the other side. When I remember, I am kind of amazed I made it out alive. I’m not trying to be dramatic – many people would say that dealing with divorce can be as difficult as dealing with death. When I think about how almost half the population goes through this to some varying degree, I look around me and I’m kind of in awe. We’re a pretty cool thing, us humans. We’re capable of a lot and no one really knows why or how.
I’m not super into labels, because I believe in a certain fluidity that exists in life, but for label’s sake, I’m gay. It’s really not a big deal. Our closets are stuffed with many similar things – I’ll leave the flannel cliché’s alone – but I don’t want any skeletons in mine. Maybe I’ll talk about this more in the future, and maybe I won’t, but I would like to go on record as saying that we’re probably all more similar than we think. If you happen to be someone struggling with sexuality, I would just like to tell you that you’re gonna make it. It’s going to get better and better and better, but I can’t really tell you why or how. I’ve seen it happen and the only thing I can really come up with is that’s the way time works. It’s like driving in the dark: headlights can only help you see so far, but you still manage to make it home.
How cool is that? Hang in there.
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