My Question: Your fears about coming out....
1.) Were they realistic/realized, or were they over-blown?
A few people look at me differently, but mostly my fears were so completely overblown that it makes me sad that I didn't have more faith.
I did not come out till I was 40 years old. I had moved away from my family and was able to finally come into my own without their approval/dis-approval. When I was sure who I was (a matter of a few months), I made a special trip back "home" to tell my family. The area I am from, at that time was not accepting of gay's. For the most part, I was accepted, though I say that loosely. It is a topic that we do not talk about because it does not come up. If it does, I have no problem discussing it and my family knows that. So my fears were realistic in that there is still some homophobic tension between my father and my daughter towards me.
2.)What was your single biggest fear...and was it realized?
My biggest fear was that I would lose my relationships with people, only to realize that coming out forced me to really examine how important those relationships really were to ME...and lose the ones that are not. I feel empowered by that.
I have to agree with your comment. I was afraid of not being accepted most especially by my children (now 26 yrs and 24 yrs). I ended up getting one child who does not accept it and the other who does. It makes me sad that something like this can "make a difference" to someone you love. But I came to realize that if I could not be happy with myself and who I feel I am, then I could not possibly make someone else "happy". We cannot be responsible for making someone else happy, that has to come from within themselves.
3.) If so, was it as painful as you anticipated?
Coming out intermingled with Bad Divorce....hard to seperate each from each other at times, but to me coming out has been very comforting. I finally feel like I am sitting in my own skin. I feel whole and real. It just feels good to get honest with your own self and say "fuck everyone else and their expectations!".
Ditto to your comment. Especially when we get older, we tend to get more bold with what we think about other people's expectations. Fact of the matter is that we can never live up to someone else's expectations even if we tried. I would not say it was as painful as I anticipated, but rather disappointing for me.
4.) Your biggest triumph in coming out...?
The strength that I would have never known I had.
Yes to the strength I did not know was there and also respect for myself.
5.) Regrets....would you have done it sooner/louder/quieter/more forcefully/graciously etc??
I guess from my own perspective, I worried so much about what "might" happen, that it never occured to me that it might not! Any reactions that I have gotten have been a million times more rewarding than I imagined, and I think that a lot of people on the verge (of coming out) have a hard time seeing that possibility.
I do not have any regrets about coming out. My regret is that I did not do it sooner in life.
I would have done it sooner, but then I wouldn't have my kids....so that would be bad. Other than that reason, I wish I had just dealt with all of my fears before I got married. 13 years of trying to stifle yourself... is just sad. I regret that I didn't reach out to someone to talk to about it (a little more forcefully) when I was questioning my sexuality at a younger age.
I still had time after having my kids to realize who I was, but did not think it was an option and would not allow myself to consider it. This is due to the backwards thinking of the environment I grew up in. I had to fight my own homophobic misconceptions first, which is what I did eventually. There was no one that I could have talked to about it and the one example of a gay couple I had was a joke.
I regret that I didn't pry a little deeper into my own desires, because at that time I didn't feel that I was deserving of them.
Thanking you in advance for your thoughts...![/QUOTE]