GIVE THEM A SENSE OF PRIDE, TO MAKE IT EASIER
In a rare (for me) show of conscience, I’ve been trying to minimize the number of times I blatantly invade my friends’ privacy by writing stories about them here without their explicit permission. Instead, I’ve tried to focus my posts exclusively on me, the programming lineup of the WB and whatever president has died recently. But for today and today alone, it’s back to the juicy stuff.
Some of my favorite comments and emails that I’ve received have been from people who responded to my coming out stories, often because they’re going through something similar themselves. So along those lines, I felt an update about Greg was in order. If you’re new around here, the short version is as follows (If you’re interested, you can read the long version here and here and here and here and possibly a few other places, too.): Greg and I have been friends since high school. Late last year, I (belatedly) came out to him, and shockingly, he came out to me in return. Then he came out to his two best friends from college, and they came out to him, too. It was weird and hilarious and sad all at once. Then, feeling secure in his identity for possibly the first time ever, Greg went out and became a big slut. The end.
Only it wasn’t the end. Greg still had one more hurdle to jump in the great Coming Out Marathon. (I know marathons don’t have hurdles, but I don’t have hours to spend coming up with good metaphors, okay?) You see, Greg’s game-winning touchdown occurred when he recently came out to his father. That was the one he was most nervous about, and the last major person he needed to come out to. By “major”, I mean that maybe his dry cleaner still hopes he’ll meet a nice girl, but other than that, Greg can pretty much be described with the requisite journalistic modifier “openly” gay.
So Greg drops the g-bomb, then Dad takes the brief, uncomfortable pause that’s part of pretty much every coming out story, and Greg decides to fill the silence by saying, “… and I’m happier than I’ve ever been”.
“… and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”
Can you imagine how proud I felt when he told me that? No, you can’t, so stop trying, you fool. Just looking at the words now, my eyes start to tear up, my chest puffs out, and the corners of my mouth pinch upward in something resembling a smile as I exclaim, “That’s my boy!” It’s really incredible to see how much Greg has changed these last few months, and if I had anything to do with it by nudging him out of the closet, then I couldn’t be happier either.
I’m not writing this to pat myself on the back. I decided to breach Greg’s privacy because I know there are people who’d be inspired by reading this, and that that would make Greg happy. When I picked up the phone to call Greg last October, I never imagined this story having such a happy ending. But that’s only because I was operating on fear, as was Greg. Fear did a lot of damage to both of us for a long time, and I know there are plenty of other people out there who are still afraid. So to them I say: the closet is bad, bad like the evildoers and bad like asbestos and bad like the new Wilson Phillips album*. It’s not just bad for you but for the people you care about, too. I’m not saying everyone’s coming out experiences will go as well as this, but they probably won’t be as bad as you think, and they might even change someone’s life.
Oh, yeah, and Greg’s in love now.
The greatest love of all — and the other kind, too. It’s funny how that happens.
*an informed opinion. Yes, sadly, I bought this.