A Coming Out Lesson For All Of Us

Be true to yourself... that is seriously hard-won wisdom.

Frankly, it’s bold as hell that you’d even read a blog post about being true to yourself written by a lesbian with not one but two ex-husbands.  Okay, perhaps you didn’t know that, but it’s not because I’ve been keeping secrets.

Let’s begin with a mind-blowing piece of Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s “The Invitation”:

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

Did she just say, “I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself“? Um, yes… she certainly did. This may leave us wondering, what does that even mean?When I married the second time, I already knew I was a lesbian. In the spirit of full-disclosure, it’s important to say that I didn’t really know what that meant. I didn’t understand the magnitude of that in my life; there wasn’t any way for me to understand because it was so new to me. I’d assumed I was straight… everyone had, and from what I could tell, the worst case scenario was not enjoying sex for the rest of my life. It was obviously something of a sacrifice, but one that seemed small compared to my children having to grow up like that. That was the essence of the offer that was laid upon my table. I would be loved. My children would be safe and cared for. They wouldn’t have to deal with having a gay mom.

Come out. Or get engaged. Say yes, or get a restraining order. That was the choice I had to make, and the persistence – his sheer determination – was unwavering.

I chose marriage.

I built a blended family, like the finest house of cards you’ve ever seen. And then, years later, I destroyed what I’d built, and the hearts of everyone involved. As lovely as it looked – the house, cars,  children, health insurance, even the marriage license (only for straight people… or those who are willing to play along) – the whole damn thing was completely false for me.

I am a lesbian and there was not enough love or patience or therapy in the world to change that. I was living in hell. I fantasized about driving my minivan into a concrete barrier on the freeway to get a “break” from the insanity of being me, in that life of not-me-ness I’d created.

I knew I had to leave. He did not want that… still. It was a disaster. I lost almost everything – spouse, friends, home, security, family, and even children. Yes, I lost the two boys that I’d raised like my own for years. It was hell… but it was my hell. I’d earned it. Hell is what you deserve when you nearly destroy other people’s lives because you don’t have the courage to be true to yourself. I had it coming, and I could bear it.

Whatever your truth, be willing to tell it, because your lies, whatever they are and whatever their motivation, ultimately don’t do anyone any favors. Be true to yourself… the rest is a tragic illusion that, when push comes to shove, you can’t even cash in.

Photo Credit: xavivix via Flickr

83 comments

Karen Howard
Karen H.4 years ago

Did you truly lose the children? They saw you being true to yourself, which is an important lesson. As they grow, they'll understand (hopefully).
I've known a lot of women who married Mr. Wrong for a variety of reasons: can't have sex before marriage, so I might as well get married so I can have sex; security; I'm getting too old to be single... Whatever the reason, marrying the wrong person isn't the answer.
Be true to yourself. If others can't accept it, that's their problem, not yours.

Paul Carter
Paul Carter4 years ago

My great-uncle came out, to me, when he was 70, I was 18 and straight. He had had years of unhappiness as a married man. Only when his wife died could he admit it to himself. I think he was very brave. Fortunately he found his happiness on a visit to New York. So if you need help to take a first step there are lots of non-judgemental people around.

Sofia Natsis
Sofia Natsis4 years ago

You are very brave and strong. Thanks for sharing.

Newton Voski Williams

People should be allowed to express there feelings without fear.
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Dawn R.
Colleen J.4 years ago

Life is short, so be true to yourself. :)

Pat W.
Pat W.4 years ago

The last paragraph was excellent.

Tammy K.
Tammy K.4 years ago

Thanks!

Paraskevi Angelaki
Voula Angelakis4 years ago

A wonderful article.

Francesca S.
Francesca Smith4 years ago

Excellent article!

Cristine Saunders

Good article...I've always been a lesbian..but grew up with proper christian values, and married a man...my family was alive...so I struggled to do the right thing?...I married a man..too please my family and show face..that I was a "Normal gal"...Well, altho I cared about the man I married..it ended up in divorce..that left me struggleling...,,,Now, at 64...I'm out of the closet...It took me my whole life to open up...and not give a damn anymore...I just want to be me, and love again...