Ellen: Season Four - I'm Gay
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As the end of another year draws to a close, it seems only natural to take a moment and reflect on the last year.  I've often thought that the setting of our world can be an unfortunate combination of complicated issues that trigger political and emotional landmines while at the same time leaving little time for introspection.  As such, anytime I'm struck with the inkling of reflection, I try to embrace and grow it.

Reflection is important for emotional health. It's also imperative for personal growth. While many of my personal growth moments have been due to the generous patience and mentorship of countless of folks, I am also certain that self-reflection was a critical component.

I started my reflection with what would be best described as Hallmark thankfulness.  I have a loving and supportive family, a caring and inspiring partner, a community of friends, and a stimulating and fulfilling job. I have secure and convenient housing, access to education, a regular paycheck and I also have a steady supply of antidepressants. I'm grateful everyday. Reiterating why I'm thankful just because it's the year's end would be the easy way out.

So, I'm realizing, given my current situation, true reflection at this year's end is not just recounting what has happened or what I'm fortunate for, but really pushing myself to think about what I've been afraid to think about.  (Even beyond the typical "hard questions": Am I contributing enough to our global society? Have I been kind? Incidentally, a generous answer to both those questions would be, "sometimes.")

Even these past four paragraphs are probably longer than they ought to be because I'm reluctant to get to what I'm scared to say.

I'm anxious about having a wedding next year because I'm not totally comfortable with being queer. On top of that, admitting that I have discomfort with being queer is embarrassing for me.
It's not that my family and friends disapprove. They are incredibly accepting and supportive of me and my partner. I'm still anxious though. I think most of my family knows I'm queer, though I never really had a formal announcement; I didn't send an e-card. On the other hand, I've never hidden it either. Ultimately, the wedding will be the first time that I declare that I'm queer in front of my whole family.

I don't even know why I'm terrified. I've come out to crowds of strangers before. I've been put on display as the token queer. I've even been threatened before. This is my wedding where presumably all the people who come are only coming because they care and want to support me, and yet, I feel apprehensive.

I get so tired of being different sometimes. I get tired of psyching myself up to be unabashed and confident.

Maybe it's that I'm resentful that during a time that I'd just like to focus on celebrating that I've found someone incredible to spend the rest of my life with, it's also just as much about having a gay wedding. Even in a liberal city and a state that's passed gay marriage, we have to vet our venues and vendors and wedding planners. An unforeseen bonus to getting a wedding planner is that I no longer have to deal with hearing about it if someone doesn't want to do a gay wedding.
But maybe even more difficult is admitting that I still struggle with being queer.  I've been out for almost a decade and out to myself for even longer.  I like to think of myself as someone who's grown comfortable with being queer. I like to think that I've done all that soul searching and internal struggle and now I'm strong and proud. But I guess even after all that, I still can't figure out how to not let it get to me sometimes.  Every once and awhile, I still find myself wishing that I didn't have to be different.  And then right after that thought I wince because even more than that, I want to be the person that's ok with being different.

I hear my out and proud friends in my head.  I worry that if they find out that I have these thoughts they'll judge me and roll their eyes. Aren't we passed this? "Don't react with shame, react with pride!" "Don't let them disempower you!" And most of the time I can rise to the occasion, but sometimes I fail. Or I'm not strong enough. Or I'm tired. Or whatever.  And that disappoints me. But it is what it is and I can hear my same friends saying that I'm being too hard on myself.

Now that I've said it, maybe I can start to move on and enjoy my wedding.
 


Irene
12/29/2012 16:45

Love you Jess! And I appreciate the way you tell it -- it is what it is.

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01/11/2014 01:42

First gay should be accepted by family. I have been gone through the news and stories of gay people who struggled a lot because of there was not any family support.

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