Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Poster: Self-introduction / coming out story

My name is Justin and I’m a _____ (homosexual, Mormon, southerner, student, amateur gymnast, etc., etc., and so forth).

So, I'm the Friday poster.  I love to read.  Today I read a bit from Shaw’s prologue/apology to Mrs. Warren’s Profession.  I’m also currently reading a book about Buddhist psychology (The Mindful Path to Self-compassion) and, of course, blogs.

I majored in Korean, minored in chemistry, will study Russian this summer, and will start an MA in Asian studies in the fall.

I like posting media on blogs.  Despite my fear that you’ll perceive this as a personal ad, here’s a picture of yours truly with my little sister:

I talk about myself sometimes, but not a lot a lot.  But let me tell you a bit about what it was like to come out to my family.  I’m taking this with minor revisions from a post on my personal blog.

I was 18 when I came out to my family.  (I am 24 now.)  I came out on Christmas Day, at night, after all of the festivities were over.  I was between semesters at BYU.  I was afraid.  But I had also spent the months, and perhaps even years leading up to the event falling into habits of self-destructive behavior that I thought would ease the pain of feeling so different and fundamentally unaccepted.

I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to say what I wanted to, “I am gay,” when the time came, so I typed a letter which I read to and left with the members of my family.  I was so scared of how they would react, of where my life was going, of how I could ever face them after they knew.  But I said it and handed a copy of my letter to members of my family.  It said,

“I don’t even know how to begin.  I am gay.  However sordid that may sound to you, I am so pleased with myself for finally being able to say it.  I want you to understand how amazing it is for me.  Simply typing it right now, a week and a half before you will read this, seems to release, ever so slightly, some valve from a vacuum that has been sucking in and collecting so much self-hatred, guilt, and shame over the years.  I want you to realize how at peace I feel right now, knowing that with the release of this terrible secret also comes the release of those terrible feelings.  Do you now see why I must tell you?  I simply cannot keep holding this secret inside of me …

“I hope you understand that by telling you, however you react to what I am saying, I sense that it will be a positive thing for me …”

Needless to say, it seemed a monumental, awkward, and disconcerting Christmas.  But now I look back upon it, and it feels strong, brave, beautiful, and good.*  No person who intends to live a joyful life can be apologetic for the truths of their lives.  Easier said than done.

*This is a variation of the Latter-days quote about Sunday comics:  “Sometimes it all still feels like a mass of dots.  But more and more these days, I feel like we’re all connected.  And it’s beautiful… and funny… and good.”  The comics look like a mass of dots when you hold them close to your eyes.

Anyway, glad to meet ya’ll.  Hope to read more of your stories in your comments, posts, and guest posts.

(Quote source:

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