I’m so tired of it all: living two lives isn’t something I can maintain while also living a thriving life. Picking and choosing what I do and what I talk about whether I’m “out” to the person I’m with is terribly exhausting. My last post spoke of a time I overcame my fear and opened up to people; certainly, that was a very good experience.
But as great as that moment was, that’s not the norm for me at all.
I am a long way from overcoming my fear of openness on a day-to-day basis.
The days when I am successful and don’t live in fear are few and far between. Much more common is the day when I am completely stressed over fears that are irrational and blown way out of proportion.
One of my deepest desires — when the time is right — is to be open with anyone about anything in my life without a moment’s hesitation. I’ve had a few glimpses into the freedom this kind of openness and vulnerability can bring, and it’s so good; it’s life-giving and encouraging and I want more.
And it’s quite possible for me—I’m not worried about how my parents or friends will react when I come out to them. But at the same time, I find myself unwilling to take the steps necessary to reach that point.
Why? I think to myself.
And I can’t come up with any rational explanation.
Sometimes it’s as if “coming out” and getting rid of the wall between my same-sex attractions and the rest of me will somehow make my sexuality more real.
It won’t; it can’t. Neither side of my life is any less real than the other, even today. But even though I know this, I don’t feel like it’s true.
So what do I do about it? I don’t really know. My brain usually works very rationally and logically, but this isn’t like that. And with all these irrational thoughts going on in my head, it’s hard for me to figure out what’s going on.
Thinking logically does help some with the intellectual side of my fear. But what’s so crippling about this fear is emotional, not intellectual.
It doesn’t matter that I know my family and friends will take it well — I’m still afraid. My terrible, crippling fear of openness, even as I want it so badly, just doesn’t make sense.
When I finally start to open up more to people, will that be the beginning of the end of my bouts of anxiety? I hope so. But the cynical side of me thinks it just as likely that some other fear will creep in, take its place, and the cycle will start all over again.
Do you also experience fear — rational or irrational — about “coming out” to friends or family? What’s holding you back from coming out and generally being more open with others?
* Photo courtesy Helen Harrop, Creative Commons.