Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor

Wednesday

19

August 2015

6

COMMENTS

Why You Need to Come Out of the Damn Closet

Written by , Posted in life

Since I’ve come out publicly, I’ve heard from lots of readers brave enough to send me a whisper of “me too.” They write to me because they’re stuck—they’re in a confined space, and they want out. But they’re scared to move. So here’s a little encouragement if that sounds anything like you.

First, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: You’re not the only one who is scared of coming out. I know you probably think that everyone else has all their shit together (HAHA), but the truth is, whether we’re straight, LGBTQ, or none of the above, we are all giant messes and we care way more than we should about what other people think.

I know, we should have learned our lesson in middle school and gotten over it already, but it was either that or algebra, and Mr. Frick said that if we didn’t learn about x + y = z, our whole lives would be really confusing, so we went with algebra. But we really should have tried to learn that other thing too because as it turns out, living your life afraid of what someone else might think is even more confusing than numbers disguised as letters.

It’s confusing because to play it safe and not do anything ever that could possibly cause someone to disapprove of you is completely fucking impossible, and when you try to tell yourself that you have to do an impossible thing, your mind goes lskjdjdhfuweugg! and your heart does too.

But I get it, you know—coming out is hard. It’s scary. And it’s also the best thing you can do for yourself. Believe me, I have been right there.

Think of it like this: If you come out, you risk getting really shitty reactions from the people you love and from people who don’t even know you (I don’t know which of those makes less sense, but they both suck). No thanks, right? But here’s the alternative: If you don’t come out, you risk never getting to be yourself. And if you’re not going to be yourself, who are you possibly going to be?

Maybe you just had three really quick ideas flash through your mind about what kind of made-up person you could pretend to be. Guess what? I love you, but those were awful ideas. Please never consider them again. You are literally the only person who you can be. Even if you put on some weird disguise, you would still be you underneath—you’d just be uncomfortable as hell. You can take my word—it’s not worth it.

And that leads us to the other terrifying possibility, which is that, since you are the only person you can be, and since you’re afraid of being that person, you decide maybe it’s better to just not be. With all the loving tenderness of my Jesusy-heart, I am saying to you, BACK THE FUCK OFF THAT LEDGE RIGHT NOW. You are here, and you need to stay here. There is a reason you are breathing right now, and it doesn’t have to be anything huge or glorious. YOU are reason enough.

Once when I was a kid, I felt so much despair that I shut myself in my (literal) closet and buried my face under a pile of clothes. I squeezed my eyes shut to try to block out the whole terrible world, and I prayed that God would just take my breath and let me go away. But there was a reason I kept breathing, even if it’s just because my survival instincts kicked in beneath all the blessedly insufficient laundry, and I let myself out of that damn closet. I realized that it was letting me hide but that it could never do what I really wanted it to, which was to make me feel okay.

And that’s what I want you to know: No matter how well you’ve constructed it, your closet will never make you feel okay—and it might even succeed at suffocating you. So please breathe. Let yourself out. Be you. And keep being.

  • http://KelseyMunger.com/ Kelsey L. Munger

    This is so so good.

    • http://tamaralunardo.com/ Tamára Lunardo

      Thanks, friend.

  • http://allmydeamsarejellybeans.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah Out Loud

    Hi Tamara

    Cool. But, the but is it’s not always this easy. Some can loose everything they hold dear (friends, family, community ,Job,sometimes their life) for being honest about being gay. That sucks , as Americans would say.

    My girlfriend was cut off from her family, when she came out and said she was in love with me. In fact it was worse than that: her father ripped his trousers(pants) , which meant he was in mourning for the loss (death) of his daughter. So to my girlfriend’s father, she is dead to him.

    However, it was -despite the bitter pain- as you say the best and
    most liberating thing she’s ever done.The other important thing is that as a gay religious couple we both follow the Torah with kavannah (purpose of [your] heart) which says :

    ” what does the L-rd your G-d ask of you but to fear the L-rd your G-d, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul”(Deuteronomy chapter 10 verse 12, I think in the Christian bible )

    X
    PS: are you married yet?

    • http://tamaralunardo.com/ Tamára Lunardo

      Oh, I absolutely agree with you that it’s not always– and in fact I’d say not often– easy. That’s why I felt like I needed to write some encouragement for people struggling. I think when and how and whether to come out are intensely personal choices and, like you said, often have heartbreaking consequences. That’s why I think it can be so tempting for people to just stay shut up in their “closet.” And yet I’ve seen the emotional toll it can take when we do that, and I wanted to offer another angle– what it can cost NOT to come out– for anyone who might need it. (As it happens, a young person who reads my stuff just decided to finally come out after reading this, and I know they are feeling scared but free!)

      I’m so sorry that your girlfriend was one of so many for whom coming out had devastating consequences. And still, I’m happy for you both that she is living in freedom now. I know it must be bittersweet. Blessings to you both as you walk the path together, loving and serving the Lord.

      P.S. Casey and I are getting married on Oct. 17!

      • http://allmydeamsarejellybeans.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah Out Loud

        Hi Tamara

        I think , well it’s my own belief, that if God can harden pharaohs heart , then he can likewise warm the heart. So one day….

        I was about to say October is a bit autumnal , but realised you live in sunny Florida. It’s the english summer right now. So it’s , raining!!?

  • http://allmydeamsarejellybeans.blogspot.co.uk/ Hannah Out Loud

    Coda-as per a song -:

    “You’re feeling nervous, having your doubts
    Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t fit in the crowd
    Keep standing tall and hold your ground
    Show ’em it’s not okay to let them kick you down

    Don’t let em ruin your time
    It’s now or never, never
    Oh oh oh oh
    Just let em know it’s your life
    So do it, use it, flaunt it, own it
    Ahuh, that’s right”

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