Why Coming Out In The Closet Is A Must?
|Photo courtesy of Gay Counsellor|
Coming out can be viewed from different angles. The first one is that we should come out because if we continue to live inside the closet, we are not living an authentic life - which is a life free from lies and pretensions; a life lived as we want without fear or qualms or doubts. This mindset presupposes that authenticity means being true to the world by presenting your whole self, not your shadow. To live otherwise would be to become a caricature of yourself.
This argument is so powerful because it does ring true yet when we examine the lives of practically every person on earth, there are facets to all our lives which we choose not to reveal to everybody, the so-called private persona. This does not in any way suggest duplicity of character but rather, a realistic awareness that our truth can be used against us to render us unproductive, torn, or even destroyed. It is also a choice for self-preservation, which is a genuine and legitimate need. Therefore, since everyone practically has a dark side, why should we hold ourselves to a higher standard of behavior by feeling that we should out ourselves just to become an authentic person? Why should we allow ourselves to be pressured by a society that is even more warped and debauched than we are? Authenticity is living a life with an awareness that we are imperfect yet strive to be a better person everyday. Is there a better definition of authenticity than that?
Another perspective is that outing yourself will make you a happier person and a more psychologically balanced individual. Who amongst us is completely sane? The truth is many of us can function even as we are faced with challenging situations (depression, mental anguish, personal crises, etc.). We only have to learn to switch off our emotions and destructive thoughts when time and circumstances demand it. If everything else fails, then we should learn the gift of self-acceptance. We should stop torturing ourselves by trying to live up to the ideal which everyone around us are incapable of reaching anyway.
Also, is outing oneself the key to personal happiness? If that is what many of us think, then we misunderstand the meaning of true happiness; which is a state of acceptance and peace even in the midst of troubles. Our happiness is never dependent on our circumstances but rather, on how we choose to live with it. So whether we are living as a heterosexual man in a palace in Calais or a discreet employee in the hinterlands of Timbuktu, our happiness depends on our choice to be happy regardless, not on someone else's shallow interpretation of happiness.
I write this because I do share with many of you the torture of hiding in the closet and the fear that I will be exposed. But I learned that I hold the key to the closet's door, which gives me complete freedom to live outside its confines and retreat to its comforting embrace when things become threatening. Is that cowardice? I call it balancing my life. Do I become less authentic because I refuse to out myself? On the contrary, I become more authentic by honoring my true self and not allowing compromise by trying to satisfy others around me or using their values to justify my very existence. I am who I am but more importantly, I am excited at what I can eventually become - my hopes, my joys, my desires, my all.
So, should outing ourselves become the focal point of our lives? DEFINITELY NOT! Living our lives the best way we can is!