And trust me, there is a lot of fallout involved.
So why did I do it? I didn't have to go public. I didn't have to tell my whole world, which mostly consists of varying degrees of conservative Christians, that I'm gay. I could have stayed quiet, kept only those close and supportive in the loop.
Announcing it was a choice, and it was a very deliberate choice.
The first reason was because I have lived a lifetime hiding, sometimes even from myself. I'm done. I have no desire to keep quiet about a very important part of my life. I have no desire to hide who I am. I am proud. Never thought I would say that, but I am. I have probably watched this video a dozen times in the past few weeks, and there are a bunch of parts that really resonate within me. But the main thing is this: "No matter what your walls are made of, a closet is no place for a person to live."
Watch it. Trust me.
Maybe the hardest reason to verbalize is the fact that I also came out because I wanted people to understand that what they say matters. As a kid, the word "gay" was synonymous with "disgusting", "unnatural", "sinful", "abomination", and "repulsive". I heard it from the living room couch and the church pulpit and the desks in my classroom. As a scared teenage girl, I just wanted to be loved and I never wanted my friends and family to use those words to describe me. And so I repressed as much as humanly possible. I slid into a life of trying to please, a life full of depression and self hatred. What you say has an effect on the people around you, and you may not even realize who you are talking to. You may not realize when you use a gay slur around your buddies that you are driving a knife into one of their hearts. You may not realize that your evident disgust over a couple holding hands makes your friend terrified to be honest with you. These things matter, your words matter.
Two days ago, I got the words "I am significant" tattooed onto my arm. I got it as a reminder, not only of this moment in my life, but as reminder that I don't want to go back, even when it is bound to seem easier. Because it is easier, in some ways, to live a lie. It is easier to make people I love happy, to be able to see respect and admiration in their eyes. Being honest comes at a price. But the price of life as I have lived it has been sacrificing my feelings of self worth. I have felt small and scared and disposable for most of my life. For the first time I feel strong and significant and happy with who I am as a person. Again....a closet is no place for a person to live.
In the midst of all of this, my kids have been a bright light. They don't know what it means to be a heterosexual versus a homosexual. They don't care. They love me, all of me, fully and completely and wonderfully. I am their Mama. They are the definition of acceptance, of every kind of person. They could care less what the color of your skin is, what you worship, or who you kiss. The world has so much to learn from them. In the end...I have no regrets, because life has brought me them. Life has brought me here. And here is not a bad place to be.