Coming Out

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?

40 comments on “Coming Out
  1. Hey Bridgette, what an awesome article! I didn’t know any of the stuff in there and had to laugh out loud at the “I thought life coaches were a bunch of wacky rainbow chasers and unicorn trainers” bit. Brilliant! Oh and, by the way, it definitely is tomaaaaahtoes! 🙂 lots of love, Jana xx

  2. Nice! I’m coming out as a girl who will no longer try to make a small town work for her even though the “good girl” thought it was the right thing to do. I’m once again becoming the city girl I’ve always known is me. 🙂

  3. Love it, Bridge. You’re so “lucky” that you keep getting so many opportunities to clarify what you want and who you really are. But you’ve stepped up to the plate and turned those into the life -rocking opportunities they really are. Awesome example you are for us.

  4. Such delicate honesty… just when I thought you were the master of clear communication you add another elegant facet to your writing that inspires me further, this tribe is very cool and I’m so glad you’re ‘Bridge Commander’

  5. I can SOOOOOO relate to this (as you might imagine)–Ive come out as many things – a infertile myrtle, a person who wanted to DOWNSIZE, A doctore turned interior designer (really?) -oops try again–a doctor who turned life coach and never looked back, an animal totem “queen” (Thanks Deb Droz), and lately as a daughter who is taking care of her own vibration (not respons. for mom’s anymore) –hell I am just getting warmed up….bring on the absurd- the non-conformist, the whatever we WANT- cause there in lies the GOOD STUFF!!!! YEEHAAA! BRING IT ON!

  6. Kerry — thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Jana–I like tomahtoes, makes me sound fancy.

    Laura–thank god there are no style points for coming out. 😉

    Cynthia–Woot! Love it!

    Amy–love your spin on it.

    Michelle–thank you!

    Sarah–You are fun to watch girl, bring it on is right!

    Erika–Traveling is SO GOOD for you. 😉

    Diane–love you.

    Thank you all for stopping by!

  7. I love this! I completely relate to the onion layers peeling off and feel so blessed to know that I can! I have come out as the mother of an autistic son. It took a long time to come to peace with saying those words out loud and to other people. I have realized that we were given exactly what we needed and that our life is not what other people would view as normal but it is our normal, it is what we know, love and cherish.
    Thank you for your truth and honesty! Cannot wait to see you riding a unicorn to the end of the rainbow!

  8. Well said, Bridgette! Clarity and coming out have become almost a daily thing for me. Very trippy. Thanks for hitting “publish” and letting this post out. Brilliant! xoxo

  9. “Your TAOness” aka Bridge Commander. Beautiful way of explaining what “coming out is”. Wish all could be free to come out and feel comfortable removing the shackles of secrets.

  10. Bridgette: I absolutly loved this! It is so the honest, no BS you, that I so admire! As you honestly learn and share, I learn and share…unicorns, pink ponies and all.
    Love you 😀

  11. Wowzers! What an inspiration! Thanks for being so open and willing to be you. Like somehow we all need ‘permission’ to do the same? How does it feel to be ‘out’ all the way?

  12. I know when I’ve read a powerful piece of writing. I start to get that uncomfortable feeling within me that there are more layers that need to come off. Have you ever seen the movie: Secrets and Lies? There are some powerful scenes about shedding secrets. Thanks Bridge…

  13. Bridgette—what an awesome blog post!! I loved it. I can so relate on many levels.
    I have coined the phrase recently Love-Nut Tribe. I will say that you definitely fit. Wahoooooo to all sister goddesses for coming out, in whatever form/s that takes!!

  14. Oh my god I love this post! Just while reading it I was thinking of all the ways I censor myself, so I don’t offend anyone (not that I’m really that bad, but the occasional f-bomb does pass my lips!:)) and I laughed. “What I realized is that I bring ME to whatever I do. I define the title, the title does not define me.” This just made my whole week! Thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

  15. This was SO timely for me, Bridgette – thank you, as always, for speaking so cleanly to so many of us. 🙂

    Coming out seems to be a continual process if we are authentic. The only time we don’t discover further layers to peel is if we are in stasis, frantically ignoring our inner voice telling us it’s time for more change, more growth, more revelation.

    I’m also minded here of Narnia, again – every gate we go through leads to a larger, wilder, and more beautiful land, which in turn contains another gate (or many) leading to even larger, wilder and more beautiful lands.

    I’ve come out as bisexual, as a deliberately-non-child-bearing woman, as polyamorous. I’ve come out as a tattooed/pierced deviant in a corporate environment. I’ve broken other rules of other sub-tribes I’ve been part of in my life. Each time I’ve had to question myself deeply, painfully, and thoroughly – which leads to truth faster than anything else I know.

    Last year I came out as a life coach, which freaked me out at least as much as you for the same reasons. I get an additional dose of cringe, because I’m also an astrologer, and if you want to talk “horrible cringe-worthy stereotypes”, look no further – which is why I hadn’t planned on outing that part of me. Admitting to “life coach” was about as much as I could handle.

    However, the Universe in Her infinite loving wisdom had other ideas, and I’m being dragged kicking and screaming into owning my star-gazing, planet-loving Self…because it’s forcing me to step into the reality that “I define the title, the title does not define me.” This has been really hard for me to accept and I’ve been fighting it for several months.

    The truth is that I am a fiercely intelligent, educated, thoughtful, discerning, iconoclastic, deeply insightful astrologer and life coach, and I don’t have to let the cringe-worthy stereotypes about either of those professions define me.

    Thank you, ever so much, for that very timely reminder.

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