Monday, August 5, 2019

12 Years Since Coming Out

August 12th marks the 12 year anniversary of my first coming out. I’ve told that story hundreds of times at Ally Nights, in one on one conversations, in trainings for church leaders, in firesides, lessons at church, class presentations, and on my blog. I’ve told it so many times that it’s become a story I tell and the actual memory of the event has become a little obscured by the constant retelling. 

Craig and I from that summer
As August 12th approaches I started to wonder what that day was actually like in 2007. And if I had a video recording of that conversation, would it match how I tell the story? So I pulled out my journal and read what I wrote that day. Memories flooded in as I read my own handwritten words. I remembered the orange glow of the streetlight as we sat on the grass and talked. I remembered how about 15 minutes after coming out we started walking home. Mitch and Craig shifted the conversation back to more standard topics and I couldn't understand how they could do that so fast because my world had just changed so much and I still had so much I wanted to say. 

I’m glad I took the time to write out what happened that day so that these memories could be preserved and rekindled. It was also nice to see that my telling matches what I recorded about the experience. Here’s what I wrote in my journal that day:  

August 12, 2007 Sunday

I’m going to write about something that I hadn’t planned on writing about. I’ll write more about it later. For as long as I can remember I’ve been more attracted to boys than to girls. It sucks and I’d change things if I could. I will never act on it. I’ve been struggling with it on my own for a while and I decided that that wasn’t healthy and that I should tell some trusted friends about it. I’d decided to tell Craig and Joleen, but I kept chickening out. I finally decided that I’d tell Craig today. 
I was talking to Mitch on the phone tonight and he wanted to hang out tonight because Emilie’s out of town. I dragged Craig along to visit Mitch and determined that I would tell them about my struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA). So we went on a walk and sat down in a park and I told them that I wanted to tell them something. At this point I was so nervous that I was feeling physically ill. I almost didn’t tell them, but I finally blurted out, “For as long as I can remember I’ve been more attracted to guys than girls.” I explained how I wasn’t going to act on it and how I wished I didn’t have it and how hard it was. Mitch spoke the most at first and asked what he could do to help. I said that he really couldn’t do anything except support me and let me share my feelings with him. Craig shared a lot of encouragement and advised me to read my patriarchal blessing and to speak with the bishop. I’ll do that. I also said how I hoped that he wouldn’t feel awkward knowing that his roommate was attracted to men. I don’t remember the words he said, but he basically said that he’d always be my friend and that this wouldn’t change anything between us. That’s what I needed to hear. 

I felt a big burden lifted off of my shoulders when I told them and I’m so grateful that they were understanding and supportive. I’m glad that I can discuss my problem with someone and that they will support me. I’m also glad that Craig still wants to be my roommate. 

1 comment:

Dina Roberts said...

I admire your courage in opening up to your friends. It sounds like they were fairly supportive...which is nice.