Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about my first time coming out to someone. And, actually, my second time, too, since that one’s actually more fun.
So, I had been thinking about the fact that I liked women for awhile. If you can believe, I had 3 years worth of New Year’s resolutions stating: “tell someone I might be gay”. Really – who makes resolutions like that? Apparently? Me. So, yea, you can say this this topic had been on my mind for awhile.
To be honest, even just writing it down somewhere — on paper (okay, virtual paper) where if I were careless someone might see — almost gave me hives. That’s how adverse I was to admitting this to myself. There were a few years where in my own personal journal I’d refer to my gayness obtusely (“that thing I don’t talk about”) for fear of being found out. THAT’S how “I so can’t be gay” I was.
It’s funny: my coming out experiences have been almost strictly divided into two camps. All of my gay friends were like, “Uh, DUH. We were just waiting for you to figure it out.” All of my straight friends (with the exception of one) were stunned and completely surprised. I personally felt that it should have been more middle of the road from both sides: a little surprised, but quickly “Oh yea, I can totally see it now that you pointed it out.” Kind of like having a hidden superpower. Or something like that.
The first time I uttered it out loud? I mostly remember. What I DO remember clearly are the three 20oz beers I had beforehand. The conversation was with an old friend of mine — one of my few lesbian friends — who had been hinting at me for years that I might want to consider the possibility of dating girls. And while I was planning on bringing the topic up, she did all the work for me. Somehow the talk evolved into “playing for the other team” and I remember blurting out, “I think I want to. You know, on the other team. I think. At least I’ve spent a lot of time considering doing that.” And I basically fell over my words while my friend smiled and laughed at me a little, understanding my awkwardness and discomfort and relief at having finally said it out loud. With another real, live person listening and everything.
The second time, my first straight friend to know, my heart was about pounding through my chest. It had been a number of weeks since that first conversation, and I knew that the rest of my life needed to know, too. So, I started with one of my closest friends, pretty confident that she’d be okay with it once she got over being surprised. In fact, almost wondering if she’d have the same reaction as my other friend: that it wasn’t news at all. But here’s how this one went down…
Laura: so, do you have a St. Louis Cardinals shirt I can borrow?
E: Sure. Why do you need it?
L: I’m going to the Cubs/Cards game next weekend and need to have something to antagonize the Cubs fan with.
E: <laughs> Great! Of course. Who are you going to the game with?
L: I’m taking a date there.
E: <pause> You’re taking a date there or you’re going on a date?
L: I’m taking a date.
E: Who’s the guy?
L: You mean, who’s the girl?
L: <raised eyebrows>
E: So, when you come over Friday you can look at what shirts I have.
E: <… still processing…>
E: Oh, and when did all … *this* … happen?
… and so the conversation went.
We ended up standing in the parking there for hours, me answering questions – or at least trying to, since not all the answers were clear to me even. All I know is that it felt so damn good that someone in my normal, everyday life knew.
So now – at least a little bit out. Just the teeniest bit out. But – a start. And I felt like a rockstar… a big ol’ lesbian rock star.