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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Coming Out Of My Closet

A little while ago I watched a video that I found in my facebook newsfeed. If you have a few minutes you should give it a watch, it's amazing.


So I watched this, and I realized that I had a closet. Now, my closet is probably not like your closet. My closet is made of religion and ignorance. I was raised in a very religious family, we went to church a few times a week, prayed at every meal and believed that every word of the Bible was a law to be followed. I was raised to believe that alcohol was wrong, premarital sex was a sin, and homosexuality was not only bad, but something to be feared.

I held to these beliefs for years. I dabbled in being labeled a "liberal" by family members, thought about not caring if being gay was a sin or not, tried to be supportive of people I knew that were questioning their sexuality. But I kept running back to the blanket of guilt I was under, feeling like I was not allowed to believe anything other than what I had been taught. So, I wrote a religious blog, and ranted about the gay agenda. I preached fervently against homosexuality, quoted Bible verses, and taught my son the same.

And then something happened to me. One of my very dear and close friends came out to me.

Oh my. What was I going to do now? This was the first real personal experience as an adult that I had had with someone I knew being gay. This friend was, and is, very important to me. He helped get me through a divorce, he helped me move several times, he knew my son, had hung out with my family, and was there for me sometimes when no one else was. So what did I do? I very calmly informed him that it was his choice but I couldn't support him 100% because he knew of my religious beliefs, and he knew where I stood.

And over the next few months, I questioned my friendship. Would I still allow him near my son? Did I want his "gayness" to be accepted by my family and seen as normal? But....could I really give up my friend? Could I turn my back on him and tell him he was wrong? As someone who grew up rejected for many things, sometimes by family, someone who was an outcast, who was overweight and told she couldn't be loved if she was fat....how could I tell my friend he was wrong? That I was rejecting him, and that his love for another was a bad sinful thing? I thought...

How can love be wrong? What if my son came out to me? What would I do then?

And I made the decision that I would support him a hundred and fifty.....no, a thousand percent. I would go to his wedding, have his boyfriend over for Thanksgiving, wish them a Happy Anniversary.

So I emailed my friend and told him I supported him, that I wished he was truly happy, and that I hoped he felt free and that I was sorry for not saying these things immediately. And of course he graciously told me thank you and he was glad i felt that way. No judgment from him at all.

But...I was still stuck in my closet. I was afraid to tell my very religious husband how I felt. I was afraid my mother and my family would be angry with me for thinking something different than what I had been taught. I was still stuck in my closet.

About a year or so after all this, I almost had a heart attack, I had had an enlarged heart from stress. I also had severe anxiety problems, and my doctor put me on Prozac for it. And when the medication kicked in, I figured out that I was anxious because of what I assumed others thought of me...and that I needed to just speak up and be me...say what I was really thinking.

So I came out of my closet. I informed my family that I believed in marriage equality. I believed in equal rights for everyone....gay or straight. I believed that love was good, and if a man loved another man..then who was I to judge?

It wasn't all that well received, I'm having marital problems because of my "new" views, I'm being told that my medication has made me crazy, that I've been lying to everyone all these years about who I was. I'm getting accused of a lot, I'm being judged and condemned, hated and feared for being as honest and loving as I know how.

But I'm happier than I've ever been. I don't live under that guilt I used to have.

I'm free.

5 comments:

  1. Incredible. I am so happy that you have been able to come to terms with what you actually feel. It can be hard to be yourself, out loud, but you did it. I can only hope that your family can come to accept who you are. It can be hard to be where you are now, because the other side seems so far away, but remember; it wasn't long ago that you felt the same way they do now. You can still remember the way it felt to be that person. That means that you know exactly how your family feels. It can be hard, being on the side of morality, when those you love THINK they are. Time will tell. Love will find a way.

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  2. Rule #1: If you're not happy being you, you're doing it wrong.

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  3. Airing out what we're going through is sometimes important, and I'm glad you finally found the courage to stand up for yourself and to truly be honest with people. I will take the same route, but what I have to say will probably be sneered at and hated because of how unpopular these views are in this day and age.
    First off, I have never hated you and I never will. I believe that love is the most important feeling we have today, and it can drive us to to do great and fearful things when it comes to our friends and loved one. I never, ever put you in the place where you couldn't disagree with me, and I never forced you to conform to my beliefs. We both made compromises and there were important lessons that I needed to learn from you, and you from me. We have been together since 2006, and you came into my life at a very hard and sad time. Back then, my "religion" and beliefs were something you embraced and even went so far as to tell me that these were the things you were missing in your life.
    Fast forward to the present and you have done a total 180 on me, and now my "religion" and beliefs, which you've known I've had since the beginning, are a detriment and an oppressive thing to you. The person you were before the prozac, and the person you are now are two totally different people. Granted there are parts of you that I still recognize, and we still share some good moments and feelings, but I feel like something is suddenly missing.
    I've always stated, and will always maintain, that I'm glad for your self confidence, and I'm glad you're speaking your mind, but the one thing that is most precious and dear to me is my Christian beliefs, and you - who held many of the same beliefs - have set them aside.
    I know you're still figuring things out, and I'm still here while you do, but my beliefs and what I hold dear will not change, and I cannot ignore what I know to be truth - and the only real truth is what I find in the Bible.
    As for the reason to this post: I do not hate homosexuals nor do I think they are to be despised and feared, I've even had coworkers and people in my life who were homosexual, and I treated them the same as anyone else.
    If they were to ask if I believed there should be equal marriage rights for homosexuals, or if the homosexual lifestyle is right, I am constrained by my beliefs - constrained as much as they are in their beliefs - to say no. I don't believe a man should have two wives, nor should a man have a relationship with another man's wife, the list could go on. Everyone has their own belief system, and everyone has the freedom to say whether or not they accept homosexual lifestyles without fear of persecution or disdain from a minority.
    If my belief established that homosexuality was right, then I would be on board wholeheartedly, but I know what the Bible says about it, and that is the final authority.

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  5. Hi, can I contact you through your email? I've something to share that might interest you.

    Aaron
    aarongrey112 gmail.com

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Be nice. Or I will find you and sic my pet zombie on you.