The Power of Coming Out

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

This morning I logged on to Twitter to read this:

myndemayfield: country music singer chely wright comes out on oprah http://bit.ly/cMNgw9 | inspiring

Then I watched all 3 parts available on youtube. And Mynde was right…it was inspiring.

Chely Wright’s story is not only inspiring, it’s exactly what I’m in business for—to help you see that you have have the power to just be you, too. She talks about layers and layers of shame, self- loathing, fear, and betrayal of herself. I know the feeling, and if you’ve come out of the closet or even thought about it, you do, too.

The shame comes from thinking that there’s something wrong with you. The self-loathing comes from feeling like you’re doing something wrong. The fear is about people—someone, anyone—finding out about your secret. And the feeling of betrayal comes from a deep knowing in your soul that you’re not honoring yourself.

Shame. Many of us are taught from a very early age that being gay is a sin. That it’s wrong. That if you’re gay, there’s something wrong with you and you need to be fixed.

Self-loathing. When we have this idea in our minds that being gay is wrong, we want to make it right. We want to do the right thing, and when we can’t “do the right thing” we feel like a failure. We feel like we’re bad, and letting everyone in our lives down by not being able to follow what we “know” to be right.

Fear. Because we can’t seem to pull ourselves together and behave according to the ideals of the society around us, we fear that we’ll be found out. We fear that people will “know” our secret and out us. We fear that we’ll be ridiculed and ostracized. And in some cases, we are. And this perpetuates the fear, keeping it alive, sometimes for years.

Betrayal of self. Whether you recognize it now or not, there’s a deep-seated knowing that nothing is wrong with you. This is what creates the conflict within of wanting to come out. You know who you are on the inside, and you want that to match who you are on the outside. You’re living a lie by omission in knowing you’re gay and appearing on the outside as though you’re not.

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The thing about coming out is that there’s no how-to book on it. There’s no manual. There’s only watching others and doing what’s right for you. Some paths are simple, some paths are complex. Some paths have many obstacles, some have few. Some paths are walked with many, some paths are walked alone. The only real pattern among paths is that each is unique.

Coming out is a personal process that cannot be diluted by following a simple set of instructions. The only set of instructions I’ll offer you is to make your process your own. Chely made her process her own, and it looks good on her. In her process, she found a way to hold her power and inspire others to do the same.

In her own words, Chely Wright is taking her power back by no longer allowing the word “lesbian” to be used as an insult against her. This is a huge part of the process, but it doesn’t come without laying a foundation of trust within herself. It takes this first layer—a foundation of self-trust— to peel away the layers of shame, self-loathing, and fear. Her process builds and feeds off of a great deal of love and deep knowing that she is perfect just the way that she is.

Know that even if there are things you want to be different in your life, that you are perfect just the way that you are. In order to make those changes and become exactly who you will be, you must go through whatever it is you’re working through right now. There’s no sense in judging how you got here because you simply can’t change what’s already happened. You can only be in this space right where you are right now, and move forward from there. And you can only move forward from that space if you acknowledge that you’re there and are willing to move from it.

Being a lesbian is not an insult. For me, it’s simply what is. The power in that is simply allowing what is to Be.

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