Thursday, October 10, 2013

A SONG FOR COMING OUT

October 11 is National Coming Out Day. It's an occasion that means far more to me than Monday's Canadian Thanksgiving/American Columbus Day. Whether you are all out or not out at all, it is a day to think positively about your LGBT identity and express yourself with a greater freedom and confidence.

I do not see the day as any kind of mandate to out yourself. Coming out is a long process. For me, there have been many plateaus in between the strides and setbacks. At 49, I am still not out to everyone. I do nothing to filter my mannerisms, but I could stand to be more open. Will that suddenly happen on October 11? No. The day, however, allows me to reflect on my next steps and reminds me that there are formal and informal networks which can offer support when the people closest to us seem to reject us.

While there are many negative posts on comment boards on the internet, YouTube has many inspiring "It Gets Better" videos. I bought the book as well and will read a couple of entries to mark the occasion. As well, Twitter is an amazing place to connect and receive support. I have carefully selected my followers, building a strong gay network while also avoiding the accounts of the multitude of self-professed gay porn stars. (You can be anything when hiding behind the a keyboard.) On my RuralGay Twitter account, I have participated in plenty of positive exchanges; not once, has someone directed hate at me. (I discount Twitter Spam, alerting me that "someone is saying nasty things" about me and posting embarrassing photos. I don't have that kind of legacy. Bad profile shots? Sure. It doesn't get worse.)

If you need more inspiration, let me suggest the song "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. Co-written by Jack Antonoff of the band fun., the song's lyric's are tailor-made for coming out. In fact, Sara acknowledges here that the song was written for a friend who was struggling with coming out. The lyrics follow:

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside, no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you want to say
And let the words fall out honestly
I want to see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out honestly
I want to see you be brave

I just want to see you (x3)
I want to see you be brave

Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bowed down to the mighty
Don’t run and stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
And show me how big your brave is

Say what you want to say
And let the words fall out honestly
I want to see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out honestly
I want to see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good.
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

If you say what you want to say
And let the words fall out honestly
I want to see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out honestly
I want to see you be brave

I just want to see you (x3)
I want to see you be brave


Let me just add that Sara's CD, "The Blessed Unrest", is a winning collection. I bought it at my local Starbucks two weeks ago and the songs have steadily grown on me. I just can't eject it from the player in my car.

So, there you go. Get inspired. Be yourself. And, yes, be brave.

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