By Adam EisenhutComing out was like riding a roller coaster. I had eased myself into a relationship with my first boyfriend, not saying anything publicly and not even telling him too much of what was going on. Day by day I was clicking up that first peak. The night I was completely honest with him and we decided to make it “official,” I was in ecstasy. I could look over my entire life and understood so much more about myself. I was so overcome with joy and relief by having admitted to even just one person that I was gay that my body shook with no other outlet for the emotion.
And then the release.
Whether I was ready or not, the process of coming out had begun and was about to happen faster than I had ever dreamed. I told very few people myself, and in fact only remember telling one. At the time, I was attending an arts school for musical theater so one was enough. The news spread like wild fire. I was lucky not to face any adversity from my friends. They were supportive and being out helped a lot of my friendships as I had more confidence to open myself up to others.
I knew, however, that being out would not improve my relationship with my parents and hid my sexuality from them for another six months. Eventually, in a fight I was having with my mother over her not liking the fact that I had gay friends she said,
“I don’t like you hanging out with those people.”
“Those people? What if I’m one of those people?”
“Well, are you?”
I came out like a five year old who was admitting to having drawn on the wall in crayon, but I was out. She told me that my father cold never know, (I hadn’t planned on telling him, so I was glad she wasn’t going to) and reminded me how wrong I was, that there was no way I could be gay and a Christian. She told me that she would not just sit back and watch this happen to me; that Satan would not steal her son away from her.
We went through phases. There were times that we could co-exist and as long as she could convince herself that there was a glimmer of hope that I may not actually be gay and we would be fine. But as soon as she was faced with the cold, hard, glittery truth she would fall into a fit of depression and lock herself in her room. At some of the lower points, she would accuse me of being a whore-as all gay men clearly are and now that I was one I must be too, I overheard her telling my sister that she couldn’t stand being around me, and she tried to force me into a session with a Christian Psychologist.
My dad did find out, and to this day I have trouble forgiving myself for not having more trust in him to begin with. He offered his support as awkward as it might be as he tries to figure out how to deal with a gay son, but he reinforced his love and told me that he would be there if I needed it. I couldn’t have asked for more. I was so ashamed of myself for not having told him myself that I couldn’t look him in the face as he told me.
And then the ride leveled out. I went off to college, half way across the country; my mom and I get along, but we don’t talk about the gay thing. Unfortunately, for now, that’s the solution to our relationship. I have been working on being proud of who I am and finding my own happiness in that. I have learned that I can’t make my mom happy; she has to find happiness on her own. I hope one day she’ll ask me if I am seeing anyone, or that she’ll show up to my wedding when it happens, but in the mean time, we’ll take baby steps. And perhaps we won’t ever get to the stasis I desire.
Now that I seem to just be coasting, with my wind tossed hair and hoarse throat, I grin as I look back on the ride. I learned so much about myself and what is important in life. Happiness is found when you are proud of who you are, and while it might not have been the smoothest experience, I have found my pride, and I have found my happiness.