I realized just the other day, only after someone text me to say "happy anniversary" that its been six months since I have publicly come out. While it's been a lot longer than that that I have been gay, I thought back on how quickly six months has flown by, and put together the top 10 things I've learned.
10. Coming out won't change the fact that you're still insecure about some things.
Just because you come out, you don't immediately have an injection of confidence that gets rid of the insecurities. At least for me it didn't. I still am shy around someone I find really attractive. I'm still nervous when someone asks me what I think about a certain guy. Getting over some of those takes time, don't be embarrassed by them, but don't let fear grip you either.
9. Suddenly life seems less worrisome, and things a bit more clear.
It may sound cliché, but once you come out, I literally felt like I didn't have a worry anymore. Don't get me wrong, I didn't feel on top of the world, but I knew the energy I spent trying to hide or wrestle with it, and keep it from some people, could now be spent in a healthier way, freeing my mind to see life, and truly live life for the first time. People will say you have "a glow" about you -- just not the pregnancy one!
8. It's like Instagram knows you're out.
Suddenly you come across a lot more hard bodied reminders of what your body DOESN'T look like, but a little double tap on the screen keeps you hoping somehow he sees your like, and he starts following you back, and then he DM's you, and then you exchange numbers, he schedules a trip from Europe to come and see you, and then you live happily ever after. Really? I'm the ONLY one who has wished this!?
7. Dating doesn't get any easier once you come out.
Just the opposite in fact. Ok, so maybe meeting your future Mr. Right on Instagram isn't gonna happen. Somehow, I thought dating would be easier and a relationship would come soon after. If I'm out, others will see me as approachable, and hopefully more attractive. NOPE! With all of the apps, dating sites around today, finding someone genuine to grab coffee with, or go to dinner with is still just as hard. So until it gets easier, I'm told to just keep putting myself out there.
6. Not everyone will support you, that's OK.
They, don't have to be ok with it, YOU do! While it may be 2014, still there are some people that aren't ok with you... being YOU. (It sounds crazy I know!) I found out, not everyone is going to be cool with you coming out. I refused to let that get me down, but rather used it to have conversations to get people to see one another as equals, no matter what the differences are, homosexuality aside.
5. Your coming out can be a catalyst for someone else's, yet their story will inspire you daily!
I came out publicly in a blog post, and never expected the amount of feedback (positive and negative) that I got from it. Still, while people said how much my post helped them make the decision to come out, there are countless of stories each day that have inspired me when reading or watching them -- that have me as nervous as hell as I was before pressing submit on my post. Its people like Sam Smith, Tom Daley, Ellen Page, and Ben Hobson, that I literally imagine myself right there with in their moment of vulnerability, saying "I stand with you, even if no one else will."
4. You run out of places to go and eat.
Sure there is always the club, but who wants to go there on a Wednesday night!? Chick-fil-A doesn't want you eating their chicken biscuits. Arizona business can refuse your patronage. Cracker Barrel won't let you stand behind the register of their country store, wearing an ill fitted, hideous brown apron. (See #6. Ugh, fine, to the club on a Wednesday it is...)
3. Some people aren't ready to talk about it yet. (EVEN THOUGH it's been six months)
Just because some are taking longer to digest it than Bruce Bogtrotter eating chocolate cake in Matilda, give them time. They may never actually say anything about it at all, and others may just not be sure WHAT to say.
2. You notice you take a stand for more social issues.
Before you come out, you are so concerned with hiding who you are, that you really are afraid to speak up for some things, because then people may "be on to you" and begin to figure out the secret you're trying to hide. Once out, you realize that having a voice, and standing against injustices and in favor of equalities is truly the only right way. I even felt a little embarrassed and ashamed I tolerated some things at times, by saying nothing at all.
And the MOST SHOCKING thing I learned six months after coming out...
1. Not that much has changed...
You are still you. You still shop at the places you did before, hang with the people you did before, listened to the same music you did before. Why? Because YOU were being YOU all along. The sooner you realize that you are no different, and have great things to offer in life, the sooner others will begin realizing that and treating you as such. You were you, you've always been you, and you should ALWAYS BE YOU!