One of the most difficult things to do is to decide WHEN to Come Out. That is in fact, if you are someone who believes in coming out! Some people don’t, they feel ‘why should they announce to the world that they fancy someone of the same sex?!’ It’s your preference if Coming Out is something that you should or want to do. If and when you decide it is, then deciding when to do it and to whom creates a minefield of possible outcomes. It can seem the most daunting thing that you will ever do, and to be honest it will probably be one of the hardest things you will do. I’m going to take you back to when I told someone, out loud, for the very first time….
I had been seeing ‘Bus Stop Girl’ (see First Kiss!) for a month or so and life was getting crazier by the day. As I had said before I was at University at the time so trying to juggle all that was going on was very tiresome. I lived in a house with a few other students and was attending weekly lectures, I worked and also had a very active social life, as University students do. I was insanely in love at this point, wanted to spend every waking moment with her and all I really want to do was to show her off to all of my friends. But where would I begin? Looking back now, I assumed everyone who was close to me was ridiculously stupid, blind and very very gullible. This was, of course, not the case.
Starting a relationship with another girl was amazing. I have no doubt in my mind to this day that these were great days but it literally turned my life up side down. Before hand I was pretty straight forward (excuse pun), reliable, honest and did everything with my friends. I had normally socialised, gone to work, played sport and went to lectures. This was apparently the OLD ME. When Bus Stop Girl and I were together nobody else knew where I was. I was slowly beginning to live out two lives at the same time. I would go to work and pretend I was there later than I was, or sometimes not be there at all. I would spend all given hours at her house or out with her and lied to everyone where I was. I felt at the time that these were omissions rather than full blown lies. I wasn’t ready to tell people yet as I was just finding my feet. At the same time I was being very unfair and not very aware. It was obvious to those around me that something was up. My behaviour was different.
An example of this was one morning the girls went to Uni from the house without me. I was not home. They got in and loads of people asked where I was. Why would I not go with them when I would be getting a lift? They lied to our classmates and said I rode the bike in… Then I’d arrive NOT on a bike!! All very messy. The questions were coming thick and fast and I really didn’t know what to do with most of them. The lies were getting more and more unbelievable and I was not treating my friends with the respect that they deserved. So I decided that I was going to tell one of them first to see how it went.
I decided to choose one of my best friends, lets call her Jill. Ugh no, lets not call her anything. It’s not relevant to the story. Anyway, we were sitting in our very small living room one evening and she said that she needed to ask me something. WHAT? This is NOT what I had planned… what was I going to say? She then asked me if I was on drugs! She was very worried about the changes in my behaviour and that I was not always truthful about who I was with or where I was going. SO FUNNY! Drugs!? Not my style at all. It was lovely that she was worried but was so far off what was really going on. I guess what I had to say could only be better?
I asked her if she remembered the girl from the pub whom she’d met a few times, she said yes. I was shaking at this point, really nervous, couldn’t look her in the eye and was taking forever to finish what I was saying. Eventually I told her I was seeing her. How was that going to go down? I’d finally told someone, but how was she going to react? We were good friends but not actually know each other that long. Had I made the right decision in picking her to tell? Her reply was very calmly and simply said.. ‘Oh right, my friend Lisa from home is gay!’ And that was it. We sat back into the couch and continued to watch the rubbish that had been on, that neither of us had been watching. Looking back now her reaction, or lack of reaction, was very good. There was no dramatic outburst, not a million questions from her as if it was merely gossip. Obviously the topic came up again but on that night we were both content with the fact that a) I was not on drugs and b) I had gotten this big secret off my chest. At least now there was someone that I didn’t have to lie to anymore.
That was the first time that I told someone that I was gay, although I did not even use those exact words. Like many of you reading this or those of you who will have similar stories in the future, you will Come Out in different ways to different people. Sometimes it will be easy, sometimes you won’t care and other times you may allow people to prejudge you. Lots of people do this anyway so sometimes no matter what you say or do it doesn’t really matter. As long as you are happy with who you are then that’s all that matters! You won’t always get the expected reaction, you may not get a supportive reaction but you’re better off telling those around you that you care about.
Following this first Coming Out it was not all great & rosy in the garden, there were lots of tough times ahead and I also lost people from my life…. this I will write and share another time.