I debated writing this post. I debated it because I didn’t want come off too preachy or too self-involved. The plan was to just let people witness my truth unfold over time. And then I realized that was entirely the wrong idea. It needed to be more than that. It had to be more than just a “dropping of the bomb” on everyone. It needed to be RELEASED. Released from a life of living a lie. For I’ve been a slave to my own fear. A slave to other people’s perceptions or expectations of me. Looking back I can’t be entirely sure whether those beliefs stemmed from my mind or from the reality that surrounded me – though neither place is any less forgiving than the other.
For 24 years, I’ve been living a lie. And only recently did I start opening up to my family and friends about my sexuality. They took in my secret with astounding grace and a kind of profound understanding and I will always love them for that. They made me realize, that to them, they have always and will always only see “Austin”. That they see me under no labels nor under any false pretenses.
Some people feel that it is now cliche to “come out” and that it has become unnecessary. I’m here to tell you, that those sentiments couldn’t be further from the truth. That it is wholly and entirely necessary.
I sit here in a coffee shop – now there’s a cliche, folks – nervously fidgeting over this letter and I feel the overwhelming instinct to shield my computer screen from the people sitting next to me. God forbid, they see what I’m writing and know that I’m gay. What would they think? How would they react? …Those instincts I have come from nothing more than an intricate web of reactionary responses I’ve created due to a lifetime of hiding my true self.
And for that reason right there, we need things like this to be necessary and warranted. That very fear needs to become extinct. What’s more, it needs to be looked back upon with disgust and shame. After all, we as a human race, are known to have had some powerfully, hate-fueled occurrences of bigotry and discrimination. And we’re not proud of one of them.
I could sit here and bleed out before you all. Bleed and cry over the pain. And tell you how awful it was growing up gay. But, I won’t do that. I won’t do that because WE ALL experience these things. We all experience mistreatment from others. We all experience isolation. We all experience the fear of rejection. That is what makes us HUMAN. I suppose we experience those things, because that’s just life. And it’s what connects us.
So, understand this: I’m not asking for you to agree with my lifestyle. All I’m asking is for you to accept that this is me, in the truest and purest form. And we all need to be the truest forms of ourselves. Suffocate the fear and embrace the courage to live the life you should be living – the life you DESERVE to be living! I’ve spent years running from myself, constantly seeking out some better version of me out there in the world. When all along, the real me has been here at my side, waiting to come out.
Cheers and love.