It is Pride Month and for the first time, I will be celebrating this month as a member of the LGTBQ+ community. This is my coming-out story.
It came as no shock to my husband. It was months before the shutdown when he and I sat down in our living room with our two young children asleep upstairs.
“I just need to say this out loud,” I declared. It was almost as if I was trying to justify why I was even sharing this news.
“And nothing is changing. I’m not leaving. I’m still me. Nothing is different.” I continued until my husband paused my follow-up line.
“I support you.” I heard him say, “Thank you for telling me.”
He was not shocked or rattled. He was with me. He supported me. No questions asked.
I told the truth – Nothing was going to change and nothing was different, right?
Except that everything was changing. I just didn’t know what that change would look like.
Anytime that you release truth to yourself, to others, or in prayer, a shift will happen. There is freedom – you can feel it jolt and hear its arrival. But ushering in freedom is a continual process that we are never fully done with – becoming yourself is a marathon and it seldom is painless.
Because truth -spoken in joy, pain, or fear – is still truth. And it changes everything.
We have a phrase in our family. I started using it when my babies were young: We tell the truth in this house even if it’s hard.
Living dependent on alcohol was hard. Admitting to those who loved me that I needed help was hard. Getting sober was hard. And staying sober? That’s a different level.
Living in a toxic brand of the church was guilt-inducing. Separating myself from that brand – leaving a physical building and people- left me numb. Deconstructing my relationship with God and putting it back piece by piece? Hard. Very hard.
What kind of hard do you want? What is worth it?
You could stay in that unhealthy marriage, spend thousands on books, workshops, and marriage counseling, and try everything under the sun to make it better. You could cry every single day. But you also could leave, file divorce papers, hire a lawyer, share custody of the children, and start over.
Which one is the freedom-releasing-best-becoming yourself story that you want to live and tell about? Where do you want your blood, sweat, prayers, and tears to go? Because they will go with the story you are living or the what-if story you play over and over in your head.
“I just need you to know..that…ya, know I just need to say this out loud! I’ve known for so long but I never felt safe enough to share it.” I tearfully uttered to my husband.
Friends, I was too scared to place any information on you for fear you might not understand. I could not sift through more shame rhetoric (I’ve lived through enough of that). Because I did not have answers for the inevitable questions you would ask, I backed myself in a corner to give you space. I remained small because I did not think it mattered.
Translation: I wanted to keep everyone else as comfortable as possible.
Why do some of us feel the need to be martyrs of our OWN STORY to keep others comfortable in THEIRS? Why do we continue being small so our needs don’t overwhelm others?
So on the last day of June 2020 in the passenger seat of our van as my husband was driving us all home from a fun day of socially distanced state park creek jumping, I decided that I did not want to be small anymore. I turned to my husband and said today was it. It was the last day of PRIDE month. I wanted to come out with it.
I publicly announced that day that I was bisexual.
And then a few of those inevitable questions came.
“What does that mean?” (It means I am Bi.)
“Are you getting a divorce now?” (Nope. It means I am Bi.)
“So did you fall in love with a woman?” (Nope. But it still means I am Bi.)
Some awakenings are met with agendas and schedules. For me, my agenda is right here. You are reading it. My agenda is just to tell this story and my schedule has one item listed – a reminder to keep telling it.
What I want people on the outside of this to know is I am working daily to honor and value my bisexuality in the same way I honor and value my marriage.
Being a bisexual woman in a heterosexual marriage can exist in the same space. I can not recognize one without recognizing the other. My love and life with my husband are valid. My declaration and embrace of my bisexuality are valid. But there is also guilt lingering in the waiting room – for waiting until I was thirty-eight and married with toddlers to acknowledge my sexual orientation or with the constant deconstruction of decades-old toxic male-dominated rhetoric on female bisexuality.
I must sit with my guilt whenever it arises- and affirm over and over that I am enough – that my timing is my timing and the legacy I leave in this life will play out regardless.
“I am bisexual, Greg.”
“I know, babe. I support you. And I’m proud of you.”
What a different world we would exist in if those were the words our children heard from our mouths. Think of how our world would shift if we shamelessly declared who we are and what we are and were met with support, validation, and pride.
I do not have all the answers, know the next steps, or anything beyond this present moment. But I do know that I will not stop becoming myself – my true self – and live the life I was meant to live all along. I also give myself full permission to rest in the fullness of knowing I am loved from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. I will celebrate me because I am worthy of celebrating.
And to those in the LGTBQ+ community that may have been robbed of their affirmation- please hear me:
You are valid.
I am so very proud of you.
You are loved.