I’ve spent so much time telling myself to be brave for today. I can’t believe I’m even doing this. I kept going back and forth, trying to find a fine line between letting people in and protecting my heart. I wondered if today is walking too fine of a line.
But here we are. There’s no turning back now.
Ok, let me back up. I want to tell you about the day I came out the first time.
At 16, I fell head over heels in love with my friend. It did not work out for a million reasons I’m not going to detail here - the most significant being she was straight.
At that age, I didn’t know what a lesbian was. Watching the movie Philadelphia was the first time I had words for this feeling every time I was around certain girls. Acknowledging that feeling out loud was so much more, though. Growing up in a strict, Catholic, military family - I knew being gay was wrong. I don’t know that I 100% even understood what it was. I just understood that it was a bad thing to be.
I spent weeks thinking about what I might say to my Mom. I was so scared. Then, I decided I would be brave. Not sure why or what courage I summoned, but I was determined to have this conversation. So that night, I asked my Mom if we could talk. She laid on my bed casually with both hands behind her head. “What’s up?”
I felt nothing close to casual. I felt like the walls were caving in. Heart racing, palms sweating, tears starting to well in my eyes. I can’t even imagine what my military accountant mother was thinking. She’s not exactly a high EQ person.
After the most prolonged pause of my life, I spoke. “I don’t want you to hate me.” I said it over and over until I could barely breathe. Then, finally: “I’m gay.” Without flinching or even moving from this oh-so-relaxed position, she said, “I know. It’s ok.” 100% unfazed.
That wasn’t the case with the rest of my family. The frustration and hurt I experienced at 16 convinced me I couldn’t be who I am with the rest of the world. So after I came out, I immediately went back in the closet until I fell in love and felt brave enough to love out loud at 21.
Today I’ll be brave again.
For most of my life, I’ve felt like I wasn’t enough of anything. I was a masculine girl or a feminine guy depending on the angle you looked at me. In the book Untamed, Glennon Doyle describes it as cups - the boy cup, the girl cup, the gay cup, the straight cup. I spent so much time trying to figure out which cup I belonged in.
What she wrote next was a life-changing moment for me. She said, “why are we making cups when we are the water?” Why was I trying to fit into cups when I can just be me?
So here it is. I am non-binary. For me, that means I’m just a good human. Not a man. Not a woman. A human that wants to help every person they can. A human that wants to be seen and respected just like everyone else. I use they/them pronouns, and I’m just like you.
I don’t know what your brain is doing. Maybe you have questions. If so, ask. I’m a safe place. I won’t promise all the answers, though. I’m still learning, and I hope you’ll be willing to learn with me. If you don’t know what to say, I would most appreciate a reaction from you that’s much like my mother’s all those years ago - a love unfazed.
I also hope you’ll celebrate with me - that this truth isn’t coming out between choked sobs. I’m celebrating the bravery I’ve built up over 20 years that has made me feel ready to be seen in a world I’ve spent forever trying to fit into.
That’s unquestionably dessert worthy if you ask me.
Thanks for listening, for reading, and for being a part of my life and journey.