Oh the whole “coming out of the closet” thing.
Every gay person’s favorite thing in the world.
When I was a kid the last thing in the world I thought was that I was gay.
I mean, growing up I was most definitely a guy’s guy.
Played every sport on the planet it seemed (and pretty damn good. I was an all-star in pretty much every sport I played), loved watching sports, wrestling with my friends, playing with cars, and well, doing all the things that normal boys would do.
As far as I was concerned, I was your typical boy.
I even would think about what life would be like when I was older, with a gorgeous wife and amazing kids.
That’s “The Dream” right?
Well, as I went through puberty, and discovered the joy of a certain part of my body, I began to realize that something about me might be a little “different”.
I can remember as young as 5th grade thinking about boys and when there was someone I thought was cute, wanting to kiss them.
But, as most young gays do, I kept those feelings to myself (up until just recently, actually).
Being gay wasn’t normal right?
It was gross and like the worst thing in the world for a guy to be, right?
That’s what I thought at least.
Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve gathered by coming here, slowly but surely I finally came to the realization that I was, well, gay.
So, what goes along with realizing your gay?
…that whole “coming out of the closet” thing.
Since I’ve started coming out to people, I often get the question of why.
Not of why am I gay (thank God), I’ve been pretty damn lucky in that regard.
In fact, I’ve received only positive reactions to the whole thing.
But, they often want to know why not earlier?
Apparently I’m not as good at keeping my sexuality a secret as much as I thought I was.
Just about every single person I’ve told has said, “well duh”, or something along those lines.
You get the idea.
So I’ve decided to lay out exactly why it takes “so long” for most gay guys to come out and what it’s really like for us (at the very least, me).
By far, the biggest reason I didn’t come out sooner is because of fear.
There is such a massive fear of the unknown that absolutely kills you…
The fear of not being accepted by your friends.
The fear of not being accepted by your family.
The fear of not being accepted in your workplace, or your community…
…you get the idea.
Realizing that you’re gay, that you’re “different” is like no other feeling I can describe.
And it’s something that’s so tough to tell someone that’s straight.
As much as you want to think that they understand, it’s just tough.
It’s not like anything that they’ve experienced.
The constant struggle of trying to accept yourself for who you are and then, once you finally realize that you are gay, to be able to muster up the words and confidence to tell the people that you love is just draining and an emotional roller coaster to say the least.
Here’s how I describe the coming out process to my straight friends.
Think of something you did as a kid that you were scared to death to tell your parents.
Something that you felt was like the absolute end of the world and you were so ashamed of what you had done that you finally had to tell them.
Imagine the back and forth going on in your mind of what you were going to say and how you were going to say it.
The constant feeling of butterflies in your stomach.
Going through the scene a million times, thinking about exactly where you will be and how you will say it.
THAT begins to describe the feeling and the whole process, kind of.
Not because it’s a “bad” thing to be gay, but it’s just something so difficult to actually tell people, at least at the beginning.
It feels like you’re telling them that everything they expected of you, all the dreams they had for you are never going to happen.
While I get that may be an extreme, that’s certainly how I’ve felt about it.
Quite frankly, it’s scary.
It eats you up inside.
Thinking about how you’re going to tell them and how they are going to take it, constantly, is such an emotional drain.
For me, I’ve played the whole scenario over in my head at least 300 times on how I would come out to my parents.
And no matter how many times I play the scenario out in my head, it doesn’t really get any better or easier.
It’s tough, and it’s most definitely a struggle, but at the end, it’s absolutely worth it.
At least for me so far…
Could you do me a small favor please? If you liked this post, please share it! And of course, feel free to comment all you like. I read every one of my comments :-)