Today I am beyond thrilled and so appreciative to have Andrew of The Pewter Wolf stopping by my blog for LGBTQ YA Month to share his coming out story. It takes a lot to talk about something so personal, and I ask you to treat this post and Andy with the respect deserved.
When Jo asked me if I wanted to take part in her LGBTQ month, I was thrilled and honoured. But actually writing the blog itself was, actually, hard. There’s been a few blogs in the past that I found hard to write. With most of them, it was because I had no idea how to express myself in them. But there’s a few – yes, a few – posts that I find hard to write because they are quite personal and private. And while I think writing this might be helpful, it’s still private and I’m quite weird about privacy when blogging. I know, I'm one of THOSE people. So, by the time you read this, I MIGHT have forgotten I've written this so… yeah…
There’s a Russell Howard joke about the term “Coming Out of the closet” and how it’s the only time you EVER use that word. Closet. And how, if the term was “coming out of the wardrobe”, people would think you’ve escaped from Narnia or you’re Aslan. And when you go “No, I’m gay”, people would be shocked. “Does Aslan know? He’ll be cross with you…”
I don’t like the term. I know it’s easy to say and I say it all the time while talking about sexuality. But no straight person has “come out”, have they? Or is that “coming in”? I can’t imagine a straight person having a “coming in” party. And yes, I am writing this rambling paragraph because I have no idea how to write about me … *grits teeth*… “coming out”.
Fine! Am biting the bullet.
I never really thought at about it when I was growing up, but I was never one of those people; you know the type, who were always on dates or with someone. The person who, within days of breaking up with someone was dating someone else. I wasn’t one of them. While in my teens and studying for my GCSEs, I was focusing on my GCSEs. I suspected but I never gave it any thought. It was while I was at college that I thought “Maybe” over it. Maybe I was gay or bi. It was only in my late teens (16 onwards) did I really think about it. But, now here’s the thing: I didn’t worry about it. I know this makes me weird as some other people WOULD get stressed and upset and freak out over this revelation about themselves. But, with me, I didn’t. I kinda thought “Well, I haven’t met anyone. I haven’t started dating anyone. So, I’m not going to worry about it. Plus, who in their right mind would date me?”
I know I sounded quite confident back then, but I wasn’t. I was quite shy. So the fact I thought like this surprises me. But I didn’t tell one I had these thoughts and feelings. I mean how would I explain? Where to start? And the reactions? What would their reaction be (soap operas didn’t help as, when someone came out, the family would be upset, horrified, throw the person out or disown them. Yeah, way to go soap operas of my youth!)
So, a few years went by (till my mid-twenties), where I grew more happy in my skin, but not completely. I still didn’t tell anyone what I thought – no, that’s wrong. By my mid twenties, I knew – but I was continuing to live. I did temp jobs and was making good friends. I was continuing to live. And then I met someone. It happened quite by accident. We went out on a date (at the time, I didn’t think it was a date, but it so was). And slowly (or quickly - depending on how you view love stories), I fell in love.
And still, I didn't tell anyone.
It took time to tell people. Whenever I got enough courage to talk to my family, something happened. Well, that's what I told myself. Basically, I chickened out. One time, I told my boyfriend out for a meal and, as we were leaving, I bumped into my sister and her at-the-time boyfriend. I was so flustered in seeing them, I introduced my sister as her boyfriend and her boyfriend as my sister. SMOOTH, huh?
Luckily, my boyfriend didn't mind. I know most boyfriends wouldn't. But mine's very patient with me. Even now.
So, time passed and, one day, it happened. My Mum decided to join Facebook, and because of this, I just told her. It was terrifying. I'm not going to lie to you. I was scared out of my mind. I had every terrible scene play out in my head. And... my Mum went "I kinda suspected." And for the next half an hour, during the 10 o'Clock news, we talked. I think my Mum saw how freaked out I was in telling her and she said she would tell my sister. Which she did the next day. And my sister and boyfriend's response: "It's about bloody time!"
So, yeah. Not your average "coming out" story. But I haven't found one that is "average" so let's not go there.
I suspect I agreed to write this because I want to say to those of you out there who are still "in the closet", no matter what age you are or your gender, that no matter how bad you think it is, it isn't really. Yes, it might feel like the end of the world and yes, it will probably scare you witless, but it will get easier and surely, the idea of being true to yourself and the idea of love is worth it.
That sounds slushy and gushy, doesn't it? Am going to have to ruin this blog now... Who wants to see a cat wearing a top hat and a monocle?
I can't thank you enough, Andrew, for such a fantastic and honest post. You are amazing! So what do you think of Andrew's story? Again, treat him with the respect he deserves.