Your palms are sweaty, your heart is racing and you can't believe you're actually going to go through with this.
"No one can be authentically human while he prevents others from being so." —Paulo Freire, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed"
All of us go through life searching. We're searching for meaning or understanding, and we are trying to figure out who we are.
Sometimes, when we decide who that is, our lives get turned upside down. This is better than the alternative, which is living a lie.
Admitting Who You Are
Throughout life, you learn facts and figures. Information comes from all angles: teachers, family, friends, the Internet and books.
All of this slowly develops who you are. Sometimes you might not be prepared for it. You are living a worldly-approved, normal life with no intentions of veering.
Until you wake up one moment, and it all feels wrong.
You don't know what will happen next, you just know that you can't keep living this way.
Not Letting Others Change You
You have family, friends and people around you who know you, and they have a perceived idea of who you are. What if this revelation you have wrecks that? What if they don't support you? What if you ruin someone's life?
These concerns race through your head, quickly forming doubt. You don't want to upset those you love. You don't want to be the disappointment, the one people stare at on the holidays. Maybe you are wrong for assuming you are different.
Except you can't fool yourself. You know this is the path for your life; it feels right to you. This decision will make you the happiest person in the world.
If people truly love you, they will support you. That's what relationships are for: being loved for your faults and failures, along with your strengths and successes.
Having The Courage To Speak Up
Change is scary for humans. It rips you from your comfort zone and pulls you into the unknown. It takes a great deal of courage to be able to change and to be okay with going against the norm.
You are someone to be cherished. Not many people have the courage or ambition to even want to change.
You are the captain of your life. This is no time to be a cowardly lion. Otherwise, someone else will come in and start telling you how to live. That is not something you want.
Like in weddings, speak now or forever hold your peace. Except, here there are no deadlines. You can be 16 and decide this is who you want to be, or you can be 40 and decide the life you've been living isn't authentic to you.
All that matters is you are no longer having to lie about who you are. You can start living real life as the true you.
Evaluating The Relationships That Matter
Now that you've told people that this is who you are, you have to be prepared for the backlash. There may be some concern about you now having a harder life. And, there will be loss about people who cannot support you.
As much as this seems negative, this is a great experience. You don't need people who aren't fully there for you in your life, whether or not you changed. This experience will only help rid you of all the toxins you didn't even realize were in your life.
"Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a fake messiah." — Richard Bach
Coming out can mean many things. Maybe we decide to drop out of medical school to be writers. Or, we skip out on college to become actors, or we decide we love people of the same sex.
None of it is greater than the other. All are life experiences that require us to change and start living the truth. We need to all start embracing those who have coming-out experiences. Not because they need it, but because they are strong enough to say, "This is who I am."