It’s not just LGBTQ+ people that come out to the world. I mean, yes, this phrase is reserved for the ridiculous announcement that gay people seem to have to make to the world saying “hey, I’m gay.”
This is a conversation I’ve had with my sister. She came out to me and suddenly with each passing year, she became more and more herself. Shedding skins of who she thought she had to be. Who she was expected to be. Who she forced herself to be. And instead, she just stopped resisting and was free to just be.
In this same way, many of us “come out” to the world. Come out of the closet of who we thought we had to be, shedding skins of society’s expectations.
“Sometimes it takes a long time to sound like yourself,” – Miles Davis
Writer and TedTalk speaker (who inspired this post) Casey Gerald said that we are taught to reduce ourselves down to bite-size chunks that are easily digestible to others. To become strangers to ourselves so that the right people might accept us. Taught to mutilate ourselves so that we make sense to others.
We’re made to bargain for our worth: I’ll take away this part of me if you accept me into your partnership, friendship, school, university, job, club, or world.
But I’m so happy to see more and more people “coming out” and allowing themselves to be seen in their entirety.
It eats at us from the inside out to be anything but who we are. And I’m not talking about lying to try to fit in, although that’s a very bad thing to do, too. I’m talking about the more subtle ways that we hide away.
How we dye and style our hair until we’re unrecognisable to who we were born to be, and instead start to fit an image of beauty put on us.
How we choose money or status over following our dreams or passions, no matter how hard or farfetched they may be.
How we filter what we say and suppress how we feel and run from our thoughts just because they don’t suit that of those around us.
Conformity is “behaviour in accordance with socially accepted conventions.” It’s trying to fit in. But Fitting in is the opposite of Belonging, says Brene Brown. When we conform to fit in, we aren’t belonging. We aren’t safe, happy, comfortable, appreciated, authentic, or secure.
Instead, our status is vulnerable. Our position is fragile. We’re acting; playing a role. Playing at a game that we can’t win.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather come out and walk away from the game altogether. I’d rather stand alone and not have to hide, rather than stand with people with tape over my mouth and a constant chisel chipping away at parts of me.
And think about it, if we were all just ourselves, we’d be free. Free and comfortable and happy in ways we never have been before. Not buying this or that to find happiness. Not forcing ourselves to fit where we don’t belong. Not silencing or filtering or changing to be accepted.
Just all happy, connected, free.
“With the naked crust of all we are, we can build a better world.” – Casey Gerald
So, my coming out story is this:
- I’m a writer not because I’m good at it but because I love it. I’ll continue to do it, paid or not.
- I dropped out of university and I still bear that scar and feel the shame of that decision.
- I am a highly sensitive person, with a lot of emotions, matched with being an overthinker, compassionate, empathetic, and vulnerable each day. I care, I care a lot.
- I have Social Anxiety and at many times it comes along to paralyse me.
- I like many things: anime, films of all kinds, TV of all kinds, mythology, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, reading, having deep conversations, travel, exciting foods, and more.
- I’m not committed to exercise like I know I should be.
- I don’t see myself as an expert in anything. I’m flawed, have gaps in my knowledge, and I fall short. But each day I work on myself, get curious and ask questions, and actively try to teach myself new information.
- I’m bi-curious and can find any person attractive, interesting, beautiful, and worthy.
- I like spirituality, introspection, reflection, and all that goes on within us under the surface. I don’t know what I believe in, but I know I believe in the depth of myself. I find self-help books and online content to be helpful and insightful on this journey.
- I like to travel but it scares me when I do.
- I’m introverted; I will always rather staying in, reading, writing, or watching a film over socialising or being in crowds. I like good people, but in small doses.
I don’t fit in a neat box. I no longer aim to. I’m not a writer by society’s standard of what a writer ought to be. I’m not a nerd by this standard, either. I’m not a this or a that with a list of labels, traits, norms, and expectations.
I’m just me. Just Siana. And that’s just fine with me. Take it or leave it.
What’s your coming out story?
If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.
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