Some of us spend more time in the closet than others. Looking back it all seems rather unnecessary for many of us, but everyone has their reasons for not coming out sooner.
Whether it’s fear of our friend’s judgement, the rejection of our parents and siblings, apprehension about how it could negatively impact our academic or professional careers, or simply a free-floating sense of unease at the prospect of venturing into wholly unchartered territory, exterior and interior forces can all too often conspire to keep us from telling our truth to the world — even if we’ve already faced that truth ourselves.
And it’s a vicious cycle: The longer it takes for you to make that first tentative step, the more time sweeps by that could’ve been spent easing into your new skin and living the life you were supposed to lead.
And, of course, the sooner you come to terms with your sexuality, the sooner you can soldier through all the necessary pitfalls, awkward phases, and transient growing pains that come part and parcel with the process.
In a new Buzzfeed video, a group of men and women reveal what it is that they would tell their fearful, formerly closeted selves in order to bolster their confidence, make the transition easier, and help them better steer their course.
Below you can hear what these folks would say.
I would tell myself that everyone else already knows and they’re just waiting for you to say it.
It’s dark in the closet. Get out there and be who you were meant to be.
Your dad is going to be cool with it. Don’t trust older guys just trying to steal your youth. Stop punching guys for calling you gay, use your words and brains. Other DL dudes are a waste of your time. Spoiler alert: living open, makes you more happy than hiding.
The shame nearly destroyed you. Glad you made it out…battered and bruised…but at least u made it. And stronger for it.
Derrode Louis Rowe
You not going to last long.
I would tell myself to stop trying. Stop trying to be the closeted child they entreated you to be. Stop trying to be perfect so they will love you. They will never love you. Stop trying to please them. When you tell them you have a fatal disease, don’t be shocked at their response. I would tell myself that it was all one big manipulation to control your behavior so they could keep face in their narrow-minded community. I would tell myself that your father will prove the degree of his cruelty by placing his contempt for you above his love for his family, above his religion, above everything. He will disinherit you post-mortem, and all of your efforts to have established a positively meaningful relationship with him will die an ugly death. I would tell myself to live MY life; to follow my instincts (which have seldom, if ever, steered me wrong), and cherish every happiness, even the shreds.
But of course, it’s too late now.
You’re a sad, sad person… your parents didn’t give you the tools you would need to be a better human being and your support system was nonexistent. You equated love with sex with people that were only preying on you and it warped your sense of affection and what you thought you deserved. You tried so hard to pray it away to God (by the way, not really a God person, anymore) and change so hard, and all it made you do was wish you were dead. Being told how ugly you were, how fat you were, how being gay was wrong, and shutting yourself off from the rest of the world creating your own with headphones in your ears and dreams of a better life (still working on that). You are just so hurt, and so angry, and so depressed at the world, not wanting to try because of how other people will look at you, what they’ll say. I still hurt for you and what you went through… but, I have to let you go.
You’re in a time capsule that I cannot reach… part of a portrait of life I cannot change, and you are no good for me. I’m sorry your pain has not healed, but your pain allowed me to grow. It’s so much better now, for me and for LGBT people in America. Oh, if you only knew how we are treated in other places in the world. I have to live for them… and for you. I wish you could have had the courage the gay guys around you had to be who you are… but I understand. I’m still trying to undo much of the mess from your life, but I’ll do it. This isn’t a journey for you, even though I wish I could take you with me. But you are a part of my life that is no longer there and a part that needs to stay where it is, in the past. Just know that I’m happier than I’ve been in a while and will live this life for you.
Goodbye, Laurence at 13 – 18… no more crying, okay?
No one has a reason to be closeted except misplaced self shame.
I would say “stay there, unlike other entitled people, you live in a fascist country where you could easily be jailed. Get the hell out of there sooner than you think possible.”
Wow I am a little shocked and saddened at some of the responses to this article. I guess I had it pretty easy compared to some of you. I hope you are all in happier places right now and that future looks bright and full of hope.
I am was never in closeted I have always being my very effeminate flamboyant self.
@Scribe38: I love how you’re always semi-victim/semi-thug. Hilarious!
@Xzamilio: @GG: Hugs and best wishes to both of you.
@Masc Pride: maybe you should tell your younger self to get over all the obvious abuse your dad, uncle, or step dad has put on you. Maybe you should tell your feminine gay kid self that’s it okay, and self hate and being fake masculine won’t make your family love you, or others even like you. Lastly tell yourself to get some needed therapy so you don’t spend time on the Internet attacking gay men you don’t have the balls to be.
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@Scribe38: Looks like I hit a nerve. I can totally see you guys joining hands for a group cry. Awww. lol
Don’t be scared. You have some really great friends and a mother who understand you better than you realize.
I’ll repeat what others already said.
The shame piece of it is BS. Conquer that right away.
“Come out come out wherever you are….”
When you do come out, don’t spend too much time around affected gays.
Don’t bother coning out, it doesn’t bring happiness, it doesn’t bring some fairy story of acceptance or confidence or love. It’s just a different part of society you still don’t fit in with. Probably easier to stay in.
You’re so deep in the closet you smell like mothballs, which is probably why nobody wants to be around you.
I spent 13 years in the closet. I “wasted” so much opportunity I said. But…. that closeted experience gave me a son. A lovelyyyy beautiful SON! Jonathan Nieves
Life controls our fate not one. We do not control it as we think or would like to.
Some powerful and moving answers here.
Chile, trust me. You are wayyyyy better looking than those liars and posers in the club will ever give you credit for. But watch what you eat, and limit your acohol consumption, because that weight will creep up on you if you’re not careful. Don’t worry about how soon you should come out, that is the least of your worries.
I would tell myself to tell even more people to go “F*ck Yourself!”, start punching back earlier, take better care of yourself, trust less people, and get out sooner.
It’s not going to be the big deal telling the family you think it will be, believe it or not everything will be ok.
First thing I would say is stay true to yourself, you’re gonna make it out alive. When the kids call you ‘Greer the Queer” own it early on, because when you do in High School, they respect you for it. When you try to stop your Step-Father from “beating the sissy out of you” words won’t work, you’re 12, use a bat. When both sets of parent’s throw you out of their homes, don’t accept “I’m sorry. I still love you” and don’t apologize for who you are. Tell them flat out “No! You don’t”. Tell your Step-Mother she’s wrong there is something besides gay and straight, you don’t have to choose. When the older gentlemen that take you in and provide for you decide it’s time to go, have an exit plan and stay friends, neither of you did anything wrong. And last but not least, your looks and charm will only take you so far, save some money for retirement.
Dry your eyes and take my hand. Its all going to be ok.
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Exhale, it will all be ok. Promise!
I would tell myself that my mother and kid sister will love and accept me because even though my mother will say it is a phase at first. She will understand this is part of who you are and she will be in a better position when your sister comes out years later.
I’d say: Stay in there. Gay guys think it’s hot to hook up with “straight” guys but will treat you like garbage if you ever come out. And straight people will hate you unless you’re really attractive or a funny cliche.
It doesn’t get better at all. Not for people like you. Never.
@scotto: Sadly true. User Bauhaus’s response is a lovely example of how supportive our community really is.
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