Coming out is supposed to be a great, liberating thing. It’s supposed to be a gay person relieving himself or herself from this heavy burden that he or she has been carrying for far too long. But I’ve found that coming out inadvertently becomes a burden that is just being transferred to a few trusted people.
Things would be different if we all came out completely all at once. Meaning, if we came out to everyone we knew in the same day, same moment, same announcement. And for some people, that may be possible, for others of us, it’s definitely not.
Some of my friends have been out for many years, and when they describe their coming out, they describe only doing it a small handful of times: once to their mothers, once to their other close family members, and once to their close friends. As a younger person, having less of a role developed, it’s easier to come out and adopt society’s “new role” closer to day 1.
As a person gets older, society claims more and more of them. You’re defined by the things you do, the people you associate with and the way you hold yourself day to day. As a mature person when society knows almost everything about you, it’s more difficult to come out and burst the perception of who you are. It creates more of a shock, more of a buzz. More people now unwilling to collaborate with you in the same way, more people who have a perception of the queer community that they disapprove of and now associate you with.
I’ve noticed, that when people pass their pre-/early-teen years, they feel more of a responsibility to come out slowly. And oftentimes, in this process, sharing a secret with others only makes the mess more unruly.
When personal issues come up, it feels natural to go to the people you’ve trusted with your coming out, because they know more of you than others. But after some time, after what seems like deviation to this person or small group of people for everything that you’ve been holding inside — it becomes too much to ask of another person. It becomes too much to ask them to hold and I feel guilty, inadvertently. It’s an accidental regret that weighs down.
Coming out is supposed to be a beautiful thing. But sometimes, it’s just too much.