To be, or not to be - "out" that is. It's a question we all have to ask ourselves numerous times every day/week/month/year. Every situation is different and many issues must be addressed before we make the decision. Different risks, the need to be "up to" the task, or just plain trying to decide if it's worthwhile.
Coming out to ourselves is, of course, the most difficult "coming out" we encounter. Family and society send us messages from our earliest memories about meeting the man, marrying, having children and that 'white picket fence'. I don't think there are many of us who had a lesbian role model while growing up - though hopefully that is changing now. For myself, I don't think I was so much "hiding" from myself as much as I just never thought of it!
So, you finally come out to yourself and now you have to come to terms with it. I don't recall being "upset" by realizing I was a lesbian, but I do recall the long journey I took in travelling the road of self discovery. Suddenly I had to test every memory against the new knowledge of my being "different." Many memories stood up against this new discovery, but many didn't. So then you question if your new discovery is perhaps a fraud. In and among all of this, you have to keep asking yourself, "how the hell did I miss this about myself for so long?!"
Finally, you accept that you are "different," but you aren't! I mean, how many of you felt as if you were any different now than you'd always been? I know I didn't. I was still Therese. However, this was a big enough "change" in my life that I would have to explain this to family and friends who had known me for more than 30 years! How else would I explain that suddenly there was this woman who was with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? (I figured eventually they might notice I'd gone from two to the Well, y'all know what might decision was about being out with my family and friends, so I won't bore you. I won't soft peddle it either - it wasn't easy and it was downright scary in many situations. It took my family a long time to come to terms with it - but I think they're finally there. I lost some friends, including a best friend of 30 years. And I've even lost a job - but I have a better one now, without having to worry about being "found out."
The bottom line is, no matter how many times you come out, or even if you don't - it's never "over." I'm "out" everywhere in my life, but I still have to face that decision on a regular basis. A new person on the job, my son's new teacher, a man "hitting on" me - all are only some of the situations that come up every day and I have to decide if I should/want to/need to come out all over again.
I'd love to hear and post stories from others what they feel about coming out - how they did or why they didn't. So send your stories and let me know if I can post them! I think we can all learn from each others' experiences and ideas!