Something I am thinking of putting on Facebook for today:
Today is coming out day, not a day to force people to come out - that has to be done in your own timescale - but to make it visible that it's something very difficult that some people have to do.
Thinking about it took me back to when I started coming out, and made me realise that it's a process that doesn't really stop. For me, however, it did get easier to do.
The first time I was terrified of what people were going to think, how they were going to react and just how badly I was about to screw up my life.
And that is what stopped me for, oh, so many years. People commented on me being brave when I eventually did it. But I wasn't. I was petrified. In fact the only reason I did come out is that I was more afraid of ending up in hospital with a panic attack (again) or worse. Really, really not good times. I slept poorly, I could not concentrate on anything and felt I was spiralling away and had no idea what to do.
Thankfully the support around me, from close friends and family I told, to medical professionals, made that first round survivable. And so I moved forward. After each round of having to come out I had such support from a large majority of people that it gradually made the process easier.
But what I have noticed is that I still have to come out, even now 7 years after that first time. New people who give do a double take when I mention my wife rather than husband. Or those who get to know me well enough that my history becomes important (seeing as I refuse hide my past to those close to me - random strangers don't need to know my history, but I am not going to invent a second narrative to my life for those who get to know me now).
But, it is much easier now. Much. And for that I would like to thank each group of people that helped me in round before by being brilliant human beings and listening to me when I needed them to, and by treating me as just me when I told them.
Thank you! I have been unbelievably lucky with my story. Something I never take for granted. If only my story was the norm, as it should be, then there wouldn't be a need for coming out day, and me from around 5 years old to 35 years old wouldn't have needed to be terrified and so alone.