Wednesday, July 26, 2017

“Coming Out” Can Be Scary – Even If You Aren’t Gay!

Darn, if I hadn’t deluded myself that my “coming out,” after all these many years, was not to be an event. Instead, while I had, conscientiously, set my blueprint-oriented mind on preparing for New Horizons’ Annual Board Meeting agenda, which would include a press release -- about me -- that was likely to be its center fold, I had minimized the impact the overall plan would bring about.

At the onset, it seemed to be an ordinary, forthcoming event, to my minimally detail-focused mind. I would preside over the meeting.  Three new board members would be added to our long-term three, bringing us to six. All would agree New Horizons' small “zones of peace” projects was now going to need to take less of our attention than it had been for the past decade. 

Trump and Team in office and the overall polarized conditions in our country meant that building “zones of peace” everywhere you go needed to temporarily go to the sidelines. Genuine survival was demanding our attention be elsewhere these days!

It wasn’t as if I hadn’t been mentally preparing for that “annual event,” our board meeting, where my forthcoming “press release” was to be the main business. Of course, I had. I am a competent administrator. I know how to do my job!

The turn-around, however, was that, now, Plan B, “Anastasia and her message and back story,” were to become our main focus. This meant that “Anastasia’s Coming Out” would become our daily business.

It wasn’t as if I hadn’t been planning my “return” to D.C. for decades that the press release was announcing. I had been -- and -- rehearsing various scenarios of what that would be like, off and on. However, I couldn’t quite fill in the details. Who could know how these would be when  “coming out.” was going, by nature, to be an interactive process?

Then the actual day came of publicly announcing my “return,” the day we would take the press release I had been drafting in my head for years, refined by my board, and set it on the path of its first steps, sending it out into the BIG world; the realm that goes way beyond my computer, where I had been languishing, living a half-life more or less, for the past decade or so.

Writing and posting blog articles is one way of putting oneself out into the public domain. And it is an activity that does have a degree of human interaction. This becomes especially apparent when one sees these are being read, as Google’s Analytics will tell you they are. Still if connection is what you are after, this method is not quite fully human. 

As it turned out, moving on from those preliminaries, the day, actually being yesterday, came. 

And I was completely unprepared for the whoosh of baseline human emotions the presenting of it brought forth out of me!

The press release had been written and approved by my board, which had actually not exactly been a shoe in either, but a process, not an event.

So I did it! I sent out the first press release to a well-chosen talk show host, selected because: 1. She is spectacular in her field; 2. I had already had the privilege, some thirty years ago, of being on her show; and 3. Still today, I am a great fan of hers. I thought she, the talk show host, and I could be a good match, once again, for an interesting and lively show.

Having taken this long awaited step, I then found myself shaking like a leaf inside!

OMG!!  What did I do, next? 

I texted a handful of people that I am totally sure love and respect me. This loyal group of friends and supporters sent me back all kinds of wonderful “Go girl” messages. These I followed up on by being: 1. incredibly grateful; 2. Heart-warmed; and 3. Collapsing into a puddle of tears for which I had no idea of the source.

At this point, I thought I was in need of something more than texting could provide. So I picked up my little Smart Phone and called someone who I thought would be caring and compassionate of my coming apart just as I was “coming out.” Thank goodness for my astute intuition. My instinct led me to call a lesbian friend of mine. 

She knew all about “coming out”!

Definitely I had made a good choice. With tears puddling down more fully now, she and I spoke for a while on my behalf. Soon , wise woman that she is responded to my telling her I was “coming out” of hiding after decades and decades of concealing parts of myself by asking --
“What happened all those many years ago that set you into going off hiding?” 
Smart woman!  She knew "coming out" was a process, not an event, with many back stories behind it.

But, you know, I didn’t actually have an answer to that question. I had to think about it for a few minutes.  Then memories began to flood into my consciousness, along with a torrent of tears. 

Why – and – how had it come about that I left a seemingly successful career on the Washington, D.C. fast track?

I don't exactly know the answer, at least not the full story. I have been burying the details for so very long. However, it didn’t take long for me, after that conversation, to realize that the answer is not a simple one. 

That’s for sure!

I will need to take time to even answer this question for myself. Nonetheless, already I can see, as I begin diving down into my psyche, that the process of answering the question and finding the answers is seeming as if I am raising up a sunken ship, weather beaten, water logged, old and rusty, but, glory of all glories, a ship full of treasures; the bounty being a retrieval of lost parts of myself.

The way I am going to about this taking back of me is that I am going to allow my “return” to truly be the unfolding journey it will be, not an event. 

I will set my mind to going as softly as I can into the memories and related emotions and luxuriate in the findings. 

I will honor the rebirth, reverencing that this just might be one of the penultimate moments of my life, respecting that it may exemplify the true meaning of my name, Anastasia, “She Who Rises Again.”

With this all in mind, I can now truly see that “Coming Out” Can Be Scary – Even If You Aren’t Gay!” And, that learning from my LGTB friends might just become one of my treasured gifts from the adventure.

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