One of the ex's major gripes about me is my being in the closet. I clearly recall how he broke down in front of me when he said he wished I didn't have to be so ashamed of him. And vividly I recall how I broke inside to see him breaking because of me. A part of me wanted to rebutt it was his fault for taking me in despite this glaring shortcoming. I mean, he knew full well I wasn't out when we started talking and going out and he willingly accepted that it was okay. Was he thinking that I'd suddenly change my mind and throw open these closet doors I've kept shut for decades now for him? Because if so, that is slimy, dodgy at best. Yet I bit my tongue and allowed myself to chew on this bitter pill I was served.
I understand how terribly selfish I had been for the most part of the relationship especially in terms of my openness of it towards people we care about. It makes sense, of course, given he's out and I'm not. I got to know and meet his family, nay, his entire clan, he didn't mine. Except of course when I would tell him about them, which gives one nowhere near the satisfaction of actually getting to meet the other's family in person. His friends and classmates knew of me, only two of mine did. There's more to enumerate, obviously, but you get the idea about the one-sidedness of it all. I constantly convinced myself it was only fair. There was an unwritten rule that he accepted it and there was nothing to talk about. But then I would be reminded of the issue when we would go out and we had to consciously avoid places too crowded, too near the places my friends and acquaintances frequent for fear of being seen together, be content with nods and subtle smiles to acknowledge each other in public.
Despite the open communication we had when we were together, my coming out was never fully and seriously discussed. I guess he knew I was adamant about it and he had to make peace with that major flaw as I made peace with some of his. Which was dumb of us, to be honest. Of me, especially. I really did not give it much thought until after the breakup. This whole time I was thinking I could get away with living in the shadows as someone walks alongside me in the light; sometimes he'd get in, sometimes I'd get out but never totally. Perhaps we didn't have that open communication I prided ourselves to have had after all.
But I think I'm making progress. I had the emotional bandwidth and time to make sense of my apprehension earlier this year and this is what I got:
I am terrified of coming out because I'm a coward (I only speak for myself, so chill). I am no people-pleaser but it'd be false to say I don't fear the judgment of people I barely know, much less people I do not like. I hate that I will probably be disowned by my family after so many years of me trying to fix my relationship with them. I don't want to be alienated, no one does. I like being in the closet because I'm selfish. Because I like the preferential treatment I get for being thought of as straight. Girls dote on me, guys are comfortable with me, people generally like me and I like belonging, despite my constant need to be alone. I enjoy being in the closet because it's cozy here. I've been here all my life and stepping out will be plenty inconvenient. Because we live in a messed up world where everyone needs something shown to gain other people's respect and acceptance. And I'm fucking lazy and apathetic and tired to help upend this absurd normalcy. Of course, I knew all of these all along, I just wanted them to remain intangible for the longest time so I wouldn't have to deal with them (Yep, that's depressing).
Nope, I'm not coming out. At least, not yet.
The plan is to get the family to be financially independent of me. Perhaps in two or three years time. Sure, I can do that now but I feel like it'd be nothing short of blackmail to come out to them yet they'd still have to rely on me. That'd be extremely uncomfortable for all parties involved. At least, in three years, say they kick me out and write me off the family tree, I could just live somewhere far and they would have no need to contact me.
Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe I'm getting a lot less stupid. Maybe because love happened to me. Whatever it is, I want what the ex wanted for me. To be free and to be proud of the love he had for me. To be free and to be proud of me. And if I am to love again, I want to love the way he loved me.
In the meantime, I offer my deepest apologies, my good LGBT comrades for hampering the call for equality. I know how hateful it is of me to be thinking of just myself and I've no acceptable excuse. I swear I'll catch up and make up for all the years of dilly-dallying.