Most people tend to look at coming out of the closet in a traditional sense, generally from a gay or atheist closet.While I think we all had a closet: your closet may be telling someone you failed or telling someone you have a tumor,… or any of the other hard conversations we have or had through our lives, all the closet is a hard conversation !!!Although topics may be very tremendous, the experience of been in and coming out of the closet is universal, it’s scary and we hate it, and it needs to be done.
Why is it scary?
Because inside, it is dark. You can’t tell what colors the walls are. You just know what it feels like to live in a closet.
I have been in a few closet in my life. And I can confirm that when I was seeing only darkness in my walls, someone else saw rainbows. I realize it’s true, once he explains his point or maybe later when I am through it. So really, I believe that any closet is no different than mine or yours. I have seen my breaking heart story many times among my friends, and each time I come up with a new perception because it doesn’t look the same as I take distance from my closet. It depends on where am I sitting according to my friend’s story. Was I sitting in a different closet, or just came out of mine, or years after? It’s not the same effect on how I see and deal with it. I feel like I grow up, from seen darkness to whiteness to colors. It’s a learning process in acceptance and forgiveness. So, imagine if been involved in the story has that deep effect, how far it can be when it’s your closet?
Sure everyone can come with hundred reasons why coming out of his closet was harder than yours, but here a thing: hard is not relative. Hard is just hard.
Who can tell me that explaining to someone that you stole his money is harder than telling someone that you cheated on him, who can tell me that telling your parents you are gay is harder than telling them you are changing your religion?
There is no harder, it’s just hard.
We need to stop ranking our hard against everyone else’s hard to make us feel better or worst about our closet, and just commiserate in the fact that we all have hard.
At some point of our lives, we all live in a closet and they may feel safe, or, at least, safer than what is in the other side of the door. But, you better know, no matter what your walls are made of, a closet is no place for a person to live.
I totally understand that been concerned about the reaction of the other person and the fear to lose him cause us stress. It’s hard but it’s a natural reaction.
What we should be aware of is that our body under stress has no idea if we are chased by a serial killer or if our computer just crashed, if we are about to jump out of a plane or about to tell someone that we love him. Our body panics and stresses in all these situations in the same way.
What is even worst is that our brain can’t explain to us logically that not having those hard conversations in the right time and let it go on for years, can harm us badly. Maybe cause I can’t see myself dying if I don’t tell him that I love him, but I can definitely see it if this killer is going to shoot me.
We forget that when we do not have those hard conversations when we keep the truth about ourselves a secret, it is like we are holding a grenade. You never know when it can explode.
I remember myself 20 years ago, I was frozen by fear, in my closet… been concerned about my family, my friends, complete strangers … I have spent my entire adolescence trying to not disappoint them: putting on my hard rock look and cheating on exams to help a student I had a crush on him were the scariest thing I had ever done in high school,
And now, look at me, I am turning the world ups and down, I guess with less harm, as I grow up.
To be honest, I don’t think it’s due to improving my abilities to deal with hard conversations as much as having the courage to face them more often. Many times, the hardest conversation I had ever expected in my mind and created in my closet turned to be the easiest in real life, in the other side of my closet.
What motivates me is the belief that if I don’t throw out that grenade, it will kill me.
Some people take life for granted, hope they will always have the illusion of luxury to stay in their comfort zone, their loving closet. Well, it is not true unless you are ready to live someone else’s life.
Many couples keep nagging about how high is the marriage budget. Rare are those who take the decision to deal with it. And by taking the decision, I mean passing to action! Not staying in their closet blaming traditions and parents. did they really face them with what they want? have they really explained their expectations about their lives?
They see their parents free while they are also poisoned in their closet; a different one, sure, but it has the same effect: controlling your and their lives, deciding for you and them what you need.
At some point, you will have to cope with people’s responses and mosque. Sometimes, you will find yourself even empathizing with them, as you realize, it may also be one of the hardest things that they had ever done too. That starting and having that conversation, as our parents, was them coming out of their closet too.
Between telling your partner you don’t love her and her accepting the fact, telling your father you have chosen another path and him planning for your coming back; there’s no harder. It is just hard for both of you.
Well, it’s right that when we take the initiative, we need more compassion to meet the others where they are and acknowledge the fact that they were trying. But in the same time, taking the initiative gives us the “am ready” card, fulfill us with the passion because that’s what we want or need to do.
Their reactions are not under your control and you can’t ask them for more than what they offer. If you choose to be real with someone, you got to be ready for real in return.
So in order to help you to be ready for real in return, I share with you the three pancake principals that I follow to come out of any closet:
– First, be authentic. Take the arms off, be yourself, do not listen to your stupid body who is stressing you out, because he doesn’t know the difference between a computer and plane crash !!!
If you want someone to be real with you, they need to know who you really are, even if that means that you bleed too.
– Second, be direct. Say it with the boundary off. If you don’t love him just say it, if you count on signs or say you are not sure of your feelings, he will hold on that hope that you may change. Don’t give people that sense of false hope.
-Third, be unapologetic. You are speaking your truth. Never apologize for who you are. Some focus might get hurt along the way, so sure, apologize for what you have done but never apologize for who you are. And yes, some focus may be disappointed but that is on them not on you. Those are their expectations for who you are, not yours. That’s their story, not yours. The only story that matters is the one that you want to write.
So the next time you find yourself in a black closet clutching your grenade, know we have all been there before. And you may feel very alone but you are not. And we know it’s hard but we need you out here no matter what your walls are made of. This world may be missing a piece without you getting out of your closet and showing who you really are. The simplest act is inspiring others, showing them that we are bigger than our closet and that a closet is no place for a person to truly live.