My life has been a series of coming outs. I always imagined myself as a conformist (stop laughing!), until the universe conspired to show me that a) I will never be “normal”, b) that normal does not exist, and c) that I’ll have a hell of a lot more fun as a conventional nonconformist–a practical radical if you will. Each time I came out, I peeled off another layer of my social self–that part of me that wants to fit in and not make waves.
Because I was born to make waves.
My first coming out was the result of a moment of clarity: I saw the beer in one hand and the mirror with the cocaine on it in the other, and in that moment knew that as long as I drank, I lost the ability to Just Say No. And more importantly, the ability to create the life I wanted.
I came out as an alcoholic and addict.
Not so I could wear a label for the rest of my life, but so I could clearly and decisively leave those playgrounds, playmates and playthings behind. And, so I could ask for help. I needed to come clean so my addiction was no longer my good girl’s dirty little secret. After all, we are only as sick as our secrets. I learned that my truth is more important than looking good.
Then, after much hilarity ensued while trying to date men sober, I realized that I was er, not exactly straight.
I came out as a lesbian. (I prefer “gay” but tomatoes, tomahtoes…)
Talk about an upset to my conformist self! Crap, now there was no way I was going to blend in and do all the right things that society expects like marry a man and have children. What I got from this coming out is that I don’t have to be what I think people want me to be for them to love me (or for me to love me). And that if I’m unashamed of who I am, people won’t be weird about it either. Or if they are weird about it, it is really apparent it’s their issue. I learned that honoring myself is more important than conforming.
Next, I knew I was dying a slow death-by-career, but my mind wouldn’t even let me consider such a radical action as getting a whole new gig. I had to get heavy enough and miserable enough to again go the nonconformist route.
Then I came out as a life coach.
This coming out was just as traumatic as the others! I thought life coaches were a bunch of wacky rainbow chasers and unicorn trainers–I was so not down with that. What I realized is that I bring ME to whatever I do. I define the title, the title does not define me. I learned to speak with my authentic voice–the voice of an irreverent, saucy, feisty, swearing, funny, recovering alcoholic, gay life coach.
Now, I feel another coming out coming on. It has to do with complete acceptance of what I’m thinking and feeling in any given moment. It has to do with feeling more than a little ranty about the self-help idea that we’re flawed and need to be fixed. It might just have to do with rainbows and unicorns… I’m not quite sure yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime…
What are you becoming?