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Having been in and out of denial for most of my life, coming out for the third—and hopefully final—time at the age of 48 is emotionally and mentally challenging.
I find myself looking for evidence that I’m really gay. (It was pointed out to me, of course, that straight people don’t have to look for lots of evidence, they just get on with being straight).
The problem with denial is the depth of the suppression that has occurred. My mum always said “If you can choose not to be gay, then do so.” She was trying to make life easier, but since I was so suggestible I think I took that to mean “You can choose not to be gay.”
And so I did my best.
I identified as gay before going out with both of my wives. The first was meant to be a simple meet-up to go to an event together for a group we were both in. It was never meant to be a date. I don’t really know how it turned into a marriage except that as the ‘responsible one’ I wanted to beat my older brother to marriage.
We were talking this morning and he expressed how resentful he was around that time that I had my life so ‘together’ while he was still messing about. Little did either of us know that ‘together’ was nowhere near the truth!
My second wife, I really liked her and we played badminton together. I literally said to her, out loud, when driving to a game one time: “I really like you, if I wasn’t gay I’d ask you out.”
I’m not sure how we ended up going out, but we did. And we ended up married. And, well, we know how that works out.
The pressure from parents, society, upbringing, peers to be ‘normal’ is high, and by having the “choice” option put in front of me, I thought it was the easy way out. Turns out I was wrong. It was the hard way out.
It was only about six months ago I read “Why be happy when you could be normal?” by Jeanette Winterson. So much of that book resonated, and yet I was still in denial. My subconscious was clearly showing me the path.
So… I don’t need to look for evidence, although as I allow myself to be who I am, flashbacks show up with more and more evidence. As I allow those repressed memories to surface, there is no doubt.
But it doesn’t make it much easier. I guess the subconscious is slow to catch-up sometimes. I spent forty-odd years programming it, so I don’t know why I think it will be happily de-programmed in a flash.
With all that ramble said, I am thoroughly enjoying the process here. It is a beautiful thing to allow oneself to blossom. And that’s what I feel I’m doing. Finally, for the first time in my life, allowing myself to thrive.
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