It’s interesting how things just happen. I always thought my coming out would be akin to Kubler-Ross’s 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Only for me it would be deflection, bargain hunting, fear and depression, exhilaration and finally who cares?
And it would be full of drama because that’s just the way gays are, isn’t it?
Let’s start with Denial, which in my closeted world was Deflection. I was a Zen Master at it. When questioned “Are you gay?”, the deflector (in this case me) doesn’t deny, he deflects: “Am I gay? Am I gay??? ….. Tell me who’s saying I am gay? Is it the hot mailman who would take my breath away if I was gay or the dorky delivery boy who probably is gay and fantasizes about me day and night? Not that I want to change this fascinating subject, but did you hear about Bob…?”
Stage two: Bargain Hunting. I changed bargaining to bargain hunting because let’s face it: I’m gay and I’m not about to bargain that away so that I could spend the rest of my life with some plain jane with no sense of humour. I was thinking it would unfold something like this: “Hmm… I’ll come out if I can have a muscular, handsome, rich man who thinks I’m all a man could ever want and will take me to another country and wait on me hand and foot every waking moment for the rest of my days. Otherwise, I’ll take the Rockports in size 9 1/2. “
I added fear to depression because I see them as almost being in sync. Closeted gays live in the fear of being outed, while depressed gays are just depressed and usually because deep down they want to be outed with all the finesse of Cinderella getting that glass slipper to fit, but life in the fear of discovery. Or else a gay man may use depression as a means of garnering sympathy and use it to maximum effect. It is what it is and those among us who would use it usually fit under the description of Drama Queen, even if they’ve never donned gay apparel. You know the type, they want you to know about their every little letdown and humiliation. Although one wants to be supportive, sometimes a good kick the butt is what is needed. Next time you hear, “I can’t go on… life has no meaning… what did I ever do to deserve such disappointment?”, respond with “Why does it always have to be about you, Mother?”
Acceptance becomes utter exhilaration . You know the feeling of liberttion. You want to shout it from the roof tops, you want to walk up to some stranger and say, “Hey, man, I’m gay!”, although that might not necessarily be a good idea in a red neck back water drinking hole in the middle of nowhere..
Finally, it’s who cares? And this my friends is the step you need to achieve. What happens in the who cares phase is that no one cares if your gay or if you’re straight. You’re just you… and let me tell you outside of a multiple orgasm, there just isn’t a better feeling. Since coming out, I have been told by friends and family just how happy I am. I attribute it to having the best partner in the world (I love you, sweetie), but can understand that getting through those phases has made my life so much simpler – no more gender switching when you’re talking about the weekend to your coworkers.
Looking back, when I was in phase one and asked if I was gay, I should have just yes and gone directly to the last phase. I would have saved a lot of time and grief and perhaps my hair wouldn’t be quite so gray..
My actual coming out just happened. There was no drama, no thunder claps and the earth didn't open up and swallow me whole. I was walking along the street with a good friend who kept hounding me about dating my personal female stalker (more on that in another blog)... He finally said, "why don't you just go out with her", I looked at him and said, "after 10 years haven't you figure out that I'm gay?" I finally said the "G" word and not about someone else. I actually admitted it to another human being (which I'm sure is somewhere in a 12 step outing program). He looked at me and said, "well, that does explain a lot. I didn't think you were gay because you always laugh at gay jokes!" I replied, "I laugh when a joke is funny."