It was 5 years ago this past Saturday, August 1, when I openly identified as gay. I marked this date as my Outiversary because it was when I told my parents and switched my Facebook status. (of course it was partially based on my social media…do you expect anything less from me? lol).
As you know, from my previous posts, I was disclosing my identity with close friends while I gathered the courage to tell my parents;
But finally it just had to happen. As much time as I wanted to have to prepare, I unfortunately quickly learned you can never be prepared.
One of my parents was able to hear me out reasonably well, and acknowledged they still loved me though they didn’t understand nor agree with my identity. The other parent did not go so well. I still remember clear as day the first and last thing they said to me for a good while was: “that’s not God’s will, you’re going to go to Hell”.
I knew that I would hear that comment or something along that line and I prepared as best as I could, but in all honesty, you are never prepared for it. Even though I had a lot of support from friends, who have become my family, it only took that one comment to send me down a path that I’ve worked on overcoming for the past 5 years.
From alcohol to sex to depression to poor choices everywhere, I was a hot mess for a few years. Thank goodness for my friends, and now Michael, who have been there to anchor me. A few times it seemed too dark to continue, and if it weren’t for them, I’d probably be in rehab if not worse.
My relationship with my parents is pleasant and platonic now. Its no deeper than general topical conversations, such as politics, weather, etc. unless we talk about our faith, which I still identify as Catholic. Michael is my “good friend” for the most part, and I never really share much of what’s going on with us other than general life information such as interviews, apartment moving etc. But I still hope and am working towards the idea that one day they will come around completely.
Its been drilled into me from childhood that family is not blood; since my brother and I are adopted, this was our family mantra. But it’s not just legal custody either. Its the people you go through life with. Some you share blood with, others you don’t. They are there to take care of you, listen to the same drudge over and over, and are patient. They literally pick you up off the floor or feed you. They are truthful and supportive and give you a kick in the ass when you need it…and even when you don’t. As one of my favorite memes says:
Everyone has their stories and their journeys with coming out. Some are stories about supportive friends and or family, others are about alienation. Still others don’t get told; too often we loose that precious soul because it’s too much for them to bare alone. This is my story , and thankfully I am here and able to share it. Its thanks to each person who has been there for me in the past few years that I can share it and that you didn’t let me go. I hope that it helps you to understand me and one man’s journey to accepting himself.
To celebrate my Outiversary, I posted the following on my social media platforms:
5 Years ago today, I came out as gay…it’s been an interesting 5 years.
I received so many congratulations, supportive and loving messages, from friends family and brothers, and I was reminded what the true definition of family was.
So, I want to say thank you to each and every one of you who has supported, helped, survived and endured with me the past 5 years. From my Flint peeps, to the Kappas, to the BFFs and my cohorts. And I want you to know that I try to pay your love and support forward every day.
It can only take the smallest thing to send someone on a journey be it good or bad. Every person has that superpower…the power of influence. Sometimes intentional, other times not, sometimes positive other times negative. But I hope in sharing my story you are encouraged to use your superpower to influence and support for the better and can be like my circle and support network who got me through to the past 5 years to others you encounter.
Until next time
Peace, Love and Pandas!