Ever since my not so near death experience, I've been going through a lot of personal changes. That is to say, of course, that not everything about me is different - but a lot of things are. I gladly welcome change and progress because it reminds me that I'm still alive and that I'm still here. Although I do allow myself to experience new things it has thrown me off balance. I feel like a lot of changes are happening all at once, and I don't think that I'm equipped to handle it all by myself.It is interesting to note that, while some things have surely changed, I have stayed fairly true to myself over the years. When I first came out of the closet at age fifteen I laid out a ten year plan for myself, goals that I wanted to accomplish by age twenty-five. As I approach that decade mark I can't help but notice that I haven't exactly been following my map. I blame the new iPhone map application, that thing is awful!
Anxiety starts to creep in and take hold of my very being as I experience these changes. I say that they are good because they are replacing my bad habits and vices but they terrify me because I worry that I will get lost in all this change. Not to say that I'm losing myself completely but I feel that I might lose the parts of me that I want to keep.
Let's go on a bit of a story break here. Last week I went out with my friend, Roya, and we made our way into a clothing store. In the past I've always enjoyed shopping, whether it was for me or for someone else, but this time something was different. I believed that my masculinity was at stake. In the male-dominated society we live in, the masculine and the feminine are constantly butting heads. Shopping is an activity dubbed by many to be a very feminine thing and, in my upheaval of change, I didn't know what to make of it.
I think the reason why I was so useless that day and why I was so uncomfortable in my own skin was because I was suppressing my feelings and judgment. I expressed these sentiments and concerns with a few friends and they all told me the same thing, "Just be yourself." That's a bit hard to do at the moment as I am consciously and subconsciously reevaluating my values, actions, and lifestyle. Whether I act feminine or masculine should be of no concern to me, but the fact that labels are infiltrating the way I run my life is a problem.
I still accept these changes and will try harder not to allow social labels to interfere with my path toward discovering my true self. What I'm trying to get at here is that you should love yourself for who you are and not let society, or anyone else for that matter, dictate the way you live. Refuse to be categorized and put into a box. Love yourself for are who you are.
The one thing I can take away from this experience so far is that things really don't go as planned, but that doesn't mean we can't have have a worthwhile adventure. I'm happy to report that, while I still don't have a single Broadway credit or Tony Award for that matter, my political career has been going quite well. I started off as a young political activist in San Diego, California where I was the president of my high school's Gay-Straight Alliance and continued working in social politics during and after college, last year working to pass New York's marriage equality bill with the Human Rights Campaign.
Social equality is something about which I am very passionate and involved. I believe it is important to be knowledgable of our history so that we may be able to improve our present and ensure a brighter and more positive future. That being said, the first of October marks the beginning of LGBT History Month, a celebration of prominent members of the LGBT community that promotes the education of our significant contributions and impacts throughout history.
With National Coming Out Day (11 October) just around the corner I'm excited to present to y'all my interviews with five members of the LGBT community, asking them about their experience with coming out of the closet and how they were able to find their niche in the world and thrive. I wholeheartedly agree with the message of Dan Savage's It Gets Better Project. It really does get better, but only if you accept positive change within yourself as well as the support of those around you.
Check out the Coming Out of the Closet section on the navigation bar above for links to great articles and resources on coming out.