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I’m Coming Out!!!

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ComingOutDay

I was engaged in a discussion with some peers about the coming out process for LGBTQ men and women. One of the openly gay men in the group shared that for him, his life has been a perpetual coming out process … over and over again. He expressed that it’s never about the one, ultimate coming out experience but instead an ongoing series of experiences with various people, in various settings and with various responses.
Let me pause here to insert that this brief post is not to undermine the difficulty and complexity of the coming out process(es) for LGBTQ men and women, but instead to open the window to think about how many of us in our daily lives are also experiencing a coming out of sorts however minute in comparison.
After the previously mentioned conversation ended, my mind began to explore the various “coming out” experiences we all have. Those times when we open ourselves to vulnerability with no certainty as to if or when our emotions, desires, confessions or revelations will be reciprocated. The times when we reveal a deep dark secret for the sake of bonding or simply to be released from the bondage of holding it in. The times when we share with someone who has experienced trauma or pain, that we too have had a similar experience. The times that we decide that being in the closet – any closet – is no longer where we want to reside so we open the door to fully being and expressing ourselves. No longer do we hide behind being shy or reserved, or unsure, or insecure, or nonchalant, or obnoxious, or loud, or rude, or un-bothered, or arrogant. But we instead come out of the closet in our wholeness and embrace both our flaws and our gifts; our defeats and our destinies; our loves and our losses. Only then have we truly come out … only to be repeated time and time again.

Culture of Silence

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Silence

 

When I am frustrated, angry, sad, confused, hopeful, hopeless, excited, engaged, contemplative I write. Today I felt like I couldn’t get home soon enough to do just that … write … and release.

The last few weeks, the topic of silence has continued to be relevant for me. It started with someone I love becoming offended by a response I have to reading an article in class on how we live in a society that seeks to silence us, thereby causing a slow death of sorts (literally and figuratively), to a friend asking me an extremely personal question and me indulging in conversation only to ask a question in return and have them become … silent, to a subsequent article discussed in class today about there being  power in silence, to witnessing how we can have very powerful stories but because don’t know how to be silent these stories are lost and/or lose power, to another conversation with another friend about our silence around specific topics such as obesity, to yet another post on this being one of the main areas where we need to be silent (paraphrasing) as it relates to the lives of others. That’s a lot of silence and non-silence!!!

My post today is simply a public affirmation that I will remember to choose carefully. When it is inappropriate, offensive or from any other place other than love or concern, perhaps silence is the best route. But when my opinion is solicited or justice is at stake or I just feel a burning desire my voice is absolutely warranted. It is my hope that the weight of others does not become my own to the point that I silence myself and that I always – or as often a possible – use my voice as a source of support, love, and encouragement – even if that means that very thing becomes an object of attack. And finally, I am learning that when my openness – my voice – is not welcomed or embraced I have the courage to seek spaces of affirmation and am able to speak. Freely.

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